Wednesday, 22 February 2012
The Blessings of a Good Thick Skirt - I Should Ra-Ra
I love this book by Mary Russell: a collection of tales about inspirational women, braving their way around the most inhospitable corners of the world. I aspire to their 'sally forth and sod the consequences' attitude. When I first arrived in Bodrum, I had very little in my holdall and I wouldn't have included a thick skirt. I was an Eighties girl and my favourite clothes were my two ra-ra skirts. I hoped they made my waist look narrow and hid the chubby thighs that had been the bane of my teenage years. They probably made me look like a backing singer from Wham or an extra in a Duran Duran video, but I was oblivious. I wore those two skirts to death and then I discovered Yılmaz the tailor; a sartorial epiphany. Yılmaz's tiny shop was down a narrow ally in the centre of Bodrum. You could take any item of clothing to him and he would reproduce it for the equivalent of a couple of quid. He measured everyone just the once and kept their measurements in a notebook. I had ra-ra skirts in every colour under the sun, I was especially partial to big flowery prints that should have been covering a sofa not my bum. Bodrum market was called the kumaş pazarı, the material market, and there were plenty of stalls selling fabric that had originally been destined for the export market. Designer names such as Sanderson and Jane Churchill were on sale for a few pounds a metre. Where have these stalls gone? This week's Tuesday market had only one fabric stall and there was nothing worth looking at twice. I suppose the factories are now more careful where their bales of cloth end up or maybe these fabrics are now made in China. I miss Yılmaz, but it's probably a good thing that his shop is no more. I might have been tempted to have just one more ra-ra skirt.