I invented a new fashion. (YOU’RE WELCOME, WORLD.)

It’s called ‘Time Traveller Faux Pas’.

When I first started attending sneaky courses, I discovered that magicians and stage-inclined hypnotists could be easily identified – by their waistcoats. Or, if they’re not the waistcoat-wearing kind, they will favour some other flourish. Check out these magnificent shoes. (I SEE YOU, WIZARDS.)

But I’m not a magician. And I’m not sure how I feel about being a ‘hypnotist’ either… I kind of think of myself as, well, an undercover person. A glitch in The Matrix. A Live-Action Role Player in the game of life. Or, on a bad day, a harbinger of doom.

But where are my fashion options for self-identifying among my fellow Matrix glitches? Nowhere – that’s where.

And so I created ‘Time Traveller Faux Pas’.

‘Time Traveller Faux Pas’ is the art of wearing something that is simply out of time.

It is distinct from fashions where followers strive for a yesteryear aesthetic (eg, women who look like 50s housewives). It is distinct from Gothicism, steampunk and hipster ironies (eg, cool vintage details, curly moustaches and horror show chic). It’s distinct, in fact, from any genre where the wearer seeks to belong or become ‘other’ in some way – from the zaniest Japanese street fashion to dressing like a tramp.

No. ‘Time Traveller Faux Pas’ is for people who have gone underground. It’s for the people who want to change the world; to fuck shit up; who seek to change things – importantly – from within. Those who work in offices and businesses the length and breadth of the globe who are the ‘dangerous dreamers of the day’. They otherwise appear perfectly unremarkable. They wear the right clothes. They carry the right bag. Perhaps their shoes are a little scuffed and you suspect they’re mildly hungover of a Tuesday morning. They likely do not conform in key life areas (relationships, kids, ownership of property, ability to watch daytime TV).

But they conform in their appearance.

Such people are the perfect supermodels for ‘Time Traveller Faux Pas’.

The art – and science – of this fashion comes in its restraint and subtlety.

Here are some ideas for spring/summer 2017:

– Are you from, or have you recently visited, the Victorian or Edwardian eras? If so, your 2017 wardrobe would have had to have been made by your last-time local tailor. Have common high-street outfits (think: Topshop or Zara) copied by a fine, old-fashioned tailor.

Source a couple of key items of pristine clothing, accessories and reading materials from pastimes. Not the kinds that make a statement. Just things that are… wrong. Wielding old reading materials on the tube is particularly effective – you will trigger a peculiar sense of déjà vu, if nothing else.

– We all have our comforts and habits. I myself prefer flat shoes and am addicted to Sudafed decongestant nasal spray. What would your out-of-time equivalents be? Smelling salts? Once-was-new-fangled underwear that you now just don’t feel right without? Mysterious accessories from the near-future that go ‘ping’? The crucial thing is to use these objects quasi-covertly – if you attract glances or comments, you must immediately (yet poorly) hide the object, seem embarrassed, generally do your utmost to arouse suspicion and a kerfuffle, and then hasten out of the coffee shop or wherever, never to be seen again.

– Unfortunately, thanks to the reintroduction of the original Nokia mobile phone, carrying old technology is the fashion equivalent of Crocs for true Time Traveller devotees. The only option is to become a secret curator of cutting-edge technologies. So, out of the blue, Debbie from accounts payable is caught in the stationery cupboard using some space-age holographic calling device. That sort of thing. (Note: this will be prohibitively expensive for most Debbies, but hey-ho.)

– High-fashion magazines bear no relation to reality. Take some small detail expounded by a glossy literally. You don’t want to look like an extra from ‘Zoolander’– it could be you just adopt the ridiculous stances and stares of a model. Or copy some preposterous styling detail, like carrying two handbags or wearing a pair of hugely expensive trousers as a scarf.

Do share your ideas for ‘Time Traveller Faux Pas’ in the comments box below.

And please remember, folks: the only acceptable acknowledgement of a fellow Time Traveller is a knowing glance or, at most, a cheeky eyebrow pop. We don’t want to go drawing attention to ourselves, like those waistcoat-wearing magicians.

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