Mustard pants colour my judgment

You may catch me out and about wearing a creased shirt. Or possibly a sweatshirt that looks as though it hasn't seen the iron. Your first thought may be, 'Hello, he's doing his own ironing at last'.

You may catch me out and about wearing a creased shirt. Or possibly a sweatshirt that looks as though it hasn't seen the iron. Your first thought may be, 'Hello, he's doing his own ironing at last'.

But, no, my skill with the steam iron has not improved; my efforts leave clothes looking slightly more creased than when they came out of the washing machine. Mrs H has decreed that this is one duty I am simply not competent to perform.

And, no, Mrs H has not taken some form of industrial action - well, not quite.

Actually, the current situation mirrors what happened with the legendary pair of mustard underpants. Remember them? They were included in a multi-pack I bought. There was a range of colours such as a sober blue and navy, but among them was this pair in a pale mustard colour. Mrs H took an instant dislike to them. I pointed out that they were below the surface; no one else would see them.


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“But I will!” she exploded.

After a while I became aware that I hadn't seen them for a while so I challenged Mrs H to reveal their whereabouts.

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Uncompromisingly she replied: “I've thrown them out!”

I am still allowed to buy my own underpants but I take great care in choosing the colours, nothing too avant garde.

Other than underpants and socks, I am not allowed to fly solo when buying clothes. My colour co-ordination is abysmal and I appear to have no idea what suits me. Sometimes I am sent on an advance expedition to identify a few items I think may be fit the bill. Later, Mrs H will accompany me on a follow-up visit, dismiss them all and pick out alternatives.

But occasionally I will sneak something under the radar. I've smuggled the odd item into the house; a shirt for example. And there was the green polo shirt.

Mrs H was quick to point out that she didn't like it. It wasn't a shade of green that suited me. I thought we were out of the woods with that one when, after a few washes, it faded slightly and Mrs H admitted it wasn't so bad. Then I noticed there was a delay before it arrived back in the wardrobe along with all the authorised polos and T-shirts.

If I wanted to wear it, I had to retrieve it from the airing cupboard where it appeared to be stuck at the bottom of the ironing pile. I was faced with the prospect of ironing it myself, thus inserting additional creases into the material or wearing as it was. I opted for the latter and, if worn under a jumper, I got away with it.

Gradually I realised it was consistently at the bottom of the ironing pile. Naively, I assumed that other things were taking priority, but one day Mrs H spotted that I was wearing the creased polo shirt.

“You know I don't like that shirt,” she sniffed. “That's why I don't iron it.”

Ah, so that was it. She hadn't gone to the lengths she did with the mustard underpants and spirit it into the bin but she was nevertheless, throwing obstacles in the way. I decided to take a more thorough look at the ironing pile.

Languishing at the bottom was a shirt I'd forgotten about. And, ah ha, what's this? My maroon T-shirt with the logo of my favourite beer emblazoned on the front. I was roused; I challenged Mrs H on the matter.

“I hate that T-shirt,” she growled. “The colour doesn't suit you.”

“Well, I only wear it around the house,” I said indignantly.

“Exactly!” she spat back.

But there's more to it than clothes that I have bought. Even something she has sanctioned may get black-listed at a later date. There is the brown moleskin jacket for instance. She was with me when I bought it. I tried it on, she authorised the purchase and it was added to my wardrobe.

When I'm getting ready to go out, she will often say things like: “Why don't you wear that blue shirt?” But, thinking back, the moleskin jacket was never put forward as an option. Then one day I mentioned I was going to wear it

“I don't like that jacket,” she confessed. “And you've got no shirts that really go with it.”

In a brave act of defiance, I wear the jacket regularly - and Mrs H has grudgingly agreed that I do have the odd shirt that's “not ideal but it'll do”.

I am not good at refreshing the wardrobe. Suddenly I'll notice a jumper has got a bit baggy round the waist. I'll reach for another and find that one's the same. This triggers the cycle; off I go on the quick recce of the shops and two days later I am standing among the rails with Mrs H concluding that they don't make a jumper that ticks all the boxes for my shape, age and hair colour.

We did find one in a suitable style but the colour wasn't right. It was… how would you describe it? A sort of mustard colour.

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