• Kate Clarke

Girls In Their Summer Clothes

I bought a new dress.

It feels quite wrong to buy clothes Terry will never see. Particularly beautiful clothes.

It is midnight blue with a coral print and a 1950s, Saint-Tropez vibe.

Terry would have said: "That is fabulous. You look like Leslie Caron.....I really need a shirt in that fabric."

Don't get me wrong, Terry wasn't one of those weird blokes who expect to have input into the clothes their lover wears. That was never going to happen. But he did always notice a striking outfit. And he was certainly the kind of man who wrote songs about the kind of women who wear dresses.

I have a favourite sun-dress in a bold, fuchsia print. The first time I wore it he said: "I love that fabric. It is very similar to one of the classic Moygashel designs."

Terry knew a lot about fabric. He worked, as a young man, in haberdashery, in Reading's Heelas store. Then, later, he clothed the town's Mods in Harry Fenton.

And he was certainly a detail man.

We knew a couple, briefly, some years ago. He was boorish, loud and vain. She was warm, lively and lovely. They had been together for a number of tense years. Once, we all happened to be out in town together and we dropped into a shop so she could ask my opinion on a dress she had been eyeing up. "Should I get the red or the blue?" she asked me.

"No contest," I said. "Red is your colour."

Her bloke was eye-rollingly impatient to get out of the store, so he stayed mute.

Terry, who had been in the woman's company only handful of times, chipped in: "Kate's right, red is your colour - not scarlet, or vermilion, but this soft red, edging towards terracotta. It matches the shade of nail polish you wear to work."

She was delighted.

Her husband was dumbfounded.

I can't explain why I was proud, but I was.

https://soundcloud.com/terryclarke47/the-purple-dress




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