Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More hot new evidence that Posh Is Back: demand for monocles

The meisters of specs at Vision Express have been confused and bewildered recently by a number of enquiries about monocles, so they are starting to sell them in London. They will cost £50 and come in a pouch, with a string to put around the wearer's neck. "It's one of those inexplicable fashion things," Vision's chief executive said last week. "We've had dozens of requests from customers in the past few months, so we thought we'd bring back the monocle on a trial basis. We're as puzzled as anyone by the interest."

Last seen on Bertie Wooster, Patrick Moore, a ventriloquist's toff dummy and a dotty duke or two, the monocle is a hapless piece of magnifying machinery. My grandmother used to have one and I could never fathom the thing - constantly falling out, you couldn't read more than a half a sentence at a time before you had to catch it and try and pop it back on. They were swiftly replaced by glasses that didn't fall off every time you moved your head or coughed and no one looked back.

Until now.

So what's happened - has the country suddenly suffered a case of one-eyed myopic syndrome? Is there a Daily Mail scare we should be aware of? Have years of squinting at iPhones, the tiny text on food labels and celebrities' cellulite in Heat magazine begun to wreak eyeball havoc?

No. Simply put - Posh Is Back. Along with double rows of pearls, Barbours and toffee noses, the monocle is the latest must-have style item.

As India Knight said about this recent phenomenon in her Sunday Times column:

I was thinking how odd this was and then I remembered that the streets of fashionable Shoreditch, east London, are littered with young people wearing Barbours, strings of pearls and — spotted last week — those ├╝ber-Sloane pie-crust collars. I find it too mind-boggling to analyse — let’s just say said young people weren’t on the way back from a weekend at the ancestral pile — but it rather cheers me up. Being a Hooray may be unhelpful if you’re a politician, but out there on the street it’s never been more fashionable.

(So excited has everyone been about this monocle revival story that it has been reported everywhere from the Daily Telegraph to LA Times and the Huffington Post.) It does make me wonder though - if the trendies of east London are prepared to go back that far in time for their fashion inspiration, what else might be up for grabs? Top hats? Crinolines? Walking canes? Let's just say, I look forward to getting off the tube at Liverpool St and tangling with the Labradors.

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