I’ve just returned from a very nice, but very middle class feeling evening of Christmas Drinks with people from my village and, in particular members of a few choirs my wife is associated with.

I guess I’d place myself as middle class if that just means University educated and having a respectable office job.  However, there’s middle class and midde class. There were multiple company owners there and one Lady – a Countess more accurately, in fact

My brushes with aristocracy have really been limited to overtaking Princes Charles on a motorway some time ago. He was driving an open topped Aston Martin which may not tie in that well with his green credentials although, to his credit, saving fuel by driving at 55mph – and the two unmarked escort cars trailing him were a necessary evil I guess.

Encounters with Countesses have been pretty much zero. In fact it had not occured to me that we even had Countesses in this country. However, whilst I knew quite a few of these people and they’re all very nice, I did find myself dithering for some time about what I should wear there.

My experience is that the confidence people of this ilk tend to have is demonstrated by wearing obviously clashing clothes – bright red corduroys and bright green shirts for example. Those colours are normally only worn by presenters of young children’s TV shows – as they feel confidently superior to their viewers and by those well into the tiers of the middle classes as they feel confidently superior to everyone.

This led me to thinking we should have some standard dress code to remove the smart casual dilemma altogether. I’m thinking of  something along the lines of tartan . You can have a standard with your own regional variants but everyone knows that on Burns night, everyone will be wearing a kilt and will be unencumbered by underwear.

We could have other country variants on the same theme. The French could wear their own colours of stripy tops and onions, the Dutch different coloured clogs and culottes, or whatever those trousers that only reach down to mid-calf are called.

The English – God Help us – would wear Morris Dancer outfits with different coloured ribbons to flail about to differentiate themselves.

I accept all of this sounds ghastly, but it does at least mean we’ll have no fashion qualms before this sort of social event.

All this, I think you’ll agree has some merit, but does need a suitable body to administer this new social standard.

Let me propose Belgium as the owners.

Pretty independent, no discernable characteristics of its own (if we leave aside their habit of putting fruit into beer – where by rights no fruit is required) and most importantly a proven track record led by Brussels in administering standardisation where, by rights no standardisation is required.

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