The answer to that question, of course, is no.
I can do this, I thought, scrolling the jumpsuits of George at Asda online on an average evening at home. I could get a whole new outfit for Piglet’s birthday and it will cost all of £12. Hey, I might even go to Asda, the real one, the one I haven’t been to since 1993 when my idea of a wildly hedonistic Saturday afternoon was to get my mum to drive me there, then spend an hour in the CD section listening to U Got 2 Know by Capella (vastly underrated, that song) on repeat on the headphones while she did the weekly shop unbothered by pubescent daughters demanding Now That’s What I Call Music compilation albums with their frozen pizza. I bet there’s loads of cheap George at Asda booty in there. Tropical print jumpsuits and reasonably comfortable gold sandals, and who knows what delights on offer in the children’s section, and not just for Piglet. I can still fit into kids’ clothes, right?
Armed with my new tropical print jumpsuit and gold sandals, I declare the era of Topshop over. American Apparel is gone. No one is even wearing the disco pants anymore (a crying shame as I invested heavily in three pairs in different colours, plus a pair of disco hotpants for the summer); Topshop will be next. No one needs a shiny plastic bomber jacket in white mesh anymore. The combined might of George at Asda, Primark and a posse of local charity shops have completely taken over the shopping landscape. Whatever was I doing, pre-child, spending silly money on Miu Miu handbags when I could have fit everything in a £10 pleather backpack by Primark all along? I have changed, and my shopping habits have changed along with me.
Then I entered Topshop.
Oh, the blouses. The distressed shirts, the interesting shapes, the volume, the statement sleeves. So much more fabulous than their poor relations in Primark. The tailored trousers in a beautiful shade of shocking pink. Oh, Elsa Schiaparelli would be so proud.
And the denim. The Jamie, the Joni, the Mom. Can I get away with the Mom now that I am a mom? The answer is almost certainly a resounding no, but oh, if only I could. If only I was still young and hip enough to get away with dyed grey hair, oversized glasses and the Mom, without looking like my own mom circa 1985. Perhaps the answer to instant cool lies in pairing everything with sharp contouring, but I suspect it may have more to do with youth and beauty. Not that I would know, as I’ve never attempted contouring.
I skip the Mom and head instead for the Joni. Playing it safe, now that I am old. Only yesterday I was painting the kitchen in my Joni maternity jeans. I know I’m safe with the Joni. I pick up the smallest size, the six with the 25 waist and the 30 leg (I am short).
“What do you think of these Piglet?”
“Lots of holes,” he says plaintively. It reminds me of the time I wore a pair of self-scissored ripped jeans in a rural town in the industrial heart of China in 2003 and the locals laughed at me because I couldn’t afford new jeans, not realising I was merely channelling Shakira in the Whenever, Wherever video. Like the rural Chinese, Piglet is ignorant of the trends. Even today he insisted on wearing a red top with green shorts.
I head to the changing rooms, confident that I will emerge a vixen in my super high waisted ripped Joni jeans. I may even develop contoured cheekbones on the way out, and platinum hair like Rita Ora. Hell, I will BE Rita Ora. Piglet is released from the pushchair.
“Yes, you can take him in!” trills the teenage shop assistant graciously. I wasn’t planning to leave him outside, but thank you, young lady, for your permission.
I slip on the jeans. Very comfortable.
And then I look in the mirror.
I look like a sausage that has been a little too tightly packed into its skin. When did I get so fat? What is that around my middle? I don’t even look good from behind. And what in the living hell is that poking out of the ripped bits? Is that my skin? Why is it puffy? Oh God, it’s FAT! I look absolutely obscene. There is no way that I would wear this out.
“What do you think Piglet? Do you like these?”
Even my toddler thinks I look horrific. Even the relatively inoffensive denim shirt I have chosen to pair with the jeans makes me look like a line dancer from the video for Achy Breaky Heart, or a middle aged American mother dressed up as a cowgirl (which may possibly be what I am, minus the American bit).
Ladies and gentlemen, I think the era of Topshop may indeed be over, but not for the reasons I imagined and totally against my will. I am now forced to admit that I am JUST NOT COOL. And reader, it hurts.