"There is grey in your hair,
Young men no longer suddenly catch their breath
When you are passing;..."
from Broken Dreams by WB Yeats
I live in an area that's packed with students, and I love seeing how they dress. Although most of them have only recently got out of school uniform, it's clear that conformity is still the norm, and they dress in packs. The current uniform is: denim shorts, opaque tights and huge bags and shades for the girls (as dictated by Grazia/Alexa Chung); and highlighted hair and beanie hats for the boys (however hot it is) plus, as Colin has discussed (How Male Fashion Changes, 26 May), trousers hanging down as low as physically possible. It is really quite an art to suspend your trousers just low enough to show off your pants yet keep them from falling down completely. It kind of defies gravity, and must be extremely unrelaxing, especially when cycling.
One thing that's really noticeable, too, is how much makeup the girls wear to nip in for a lecture: all these 19/20 year olds with their beautiful plump young skin hidden beneath a mask of foundation. As anyone over 35 is only too aware, your skin is fabulously fresh at this age even if you don't realise it at the time – it seems mad to cover it up with slap.
As you get older, however, your skin becomes more lined, patchy and dry (as my friend Lucy pointed out, rather cynically, in a birthday card once, it's all downhill from 21...). So a bit of liquid help comes in handy. I hate the thickness of many foundations and have stuck with Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturiser as an alternative. But lately I've been trying Chanel's Vitalumiere in Nude, a super-light formulation that doesn't clog or sit heavily on the skin yet has much better coverage, smoothing out blotchy and liney bits. It's moisturising on the skin rather than drying, plus it has SPF 15; vital, as there's no point splashing out on any anti-ageing creams and lotions if you're not going to protect your face with sunscreen. Cheap lipsticks, eyeliners and even serums can be great, but I feel like it's worth investing in something decent to make the best of your skin. Ask the Chanel lady to help you get the right shade – she will test it on your jawline – as there are few things more ageing than the wrong colour. It's around 30 quid, but if it eases a midlife crisis, that seems fair – think of it as liquid Botox....