However. He is now four and a half and at school, and is showing the slightest bit of interest in choosing his own clothes. I always said that when he was genuinely interested, he could look however he wanted (as long as it didn't involve any bloody Disney characters or Rubbish Bears, obviously. I have my limits). Worryingly, he is turning to my husband for style advice. I say 'worryingly' because Richard is known throughout Cheshire for his commitment to awful shirts, the most recent of which is turquoise and has cheetahs all over it. This is the sort of horrific character trait that slowly reveals itself to you if you get engaged to a man that you've only known for a few months. Be warned, ladies.
Richard modelling his Christmas Shirt. No, he did not get any that night.
So here, for the education of small boys far and wide are Mr J's top fashion tips:
1. "Never wear one colour from head to toe. Unless it's black. Then you look like a ninja and that can only ever be a good thing." This was after Rory attempted to team a pair of grey tracksuit bottoms with a grey long sleeved top. "YOU LOOK LIKE A GIANT SLUG" shouted Richard. "GO AND GET CHANGED IMMEDIATELY." Wise advice.
2. "You can never have too many pairs of snakeskin shoes. In fact, the pairing of snakeskin shoes and a cowboy shirt is a classic." This nicely demonstrates the scale of the problem that I live with every day. I should have had fair warning of this when he begged to carry a 'pimp stick' as part of his wedding outfit. Needless to say, there was a ban on marital pimp sticks.
Yes, I married him. Pimp stick optional.
3. "Only ever wear one cool item at a time. This includes hair. Otherwise you are trying too hard. For example, son, your new Nirvana top must be worn with a neat side parting and generic jeans. Quiffed up hair can only be worn with a basic t-shirt or shirt. In fact, for best effect, team a quiff with glasses for Proclaimers Geek Chic. It shows personality. The Ladies like a bit of personality."
The Proclaimers look. Note that Lightning McQueen made an appearance despite my best efforts, the little red git.
4. "We can co-ordinate but never match. We can both wear Converse trainers, but never the same colour and style. Check shirts must never ever be in the same colours and must be accessorised differently. Remember The Great Festival Faux Pas of 2012 when all three of us ended up wearing navy and white stripes and let that be a lesson to you. Sartorial nightmare." To be fair, I still cringe when I remember the matching blue and white stripe incident.
The Disgrace boys demonstrate how to do 'coordinating but not matching'
5. "Hawaiian shirts are very now."
Seriously now, that kind of statement can only lead to this sort of atrocity.
6. "Don't show anyone your pants, however cool they are. Even if they're really brilliant Superhero ones, they are not for showing people. You can describe your pants in vivid detail, but never get them out." Modesty. Very important.
7. "And never - and I'm very serious about this - NEVER do triple denim."
Especially when it's teamed with a Movember moustache. November 2011: A dry month for Mr J. And, yes, that's a Zammo 'Just Say No' keyring.
I hope that's cleared up any style quandaries for you all. I'll leave you with a final picture of Richard sporting his current favourite shirt - the one that's got me praying to God that summer will never come - and one of Rory having picked his own outfit for the school disco. Rock on, boys.