Monday, 27 April 2015

Fitting the Image

It’s funny how small things can have a large impact, particularly online. There are plenty of actions we consider to be pretty throwaway – a picture perhaps, a status update or an observation poured into 140 characters and forgotten soon after. Often they flare for a second or two, snagging someone’s attention, before subsiding into the great big junk pile of all that is no longer ‘current’. Forgotten as the minutes tick forward or the clicks go by.

Yet it’s always gratifying to know that occasionally the fleeting can have longevity. Take this example. A wonderful and gifted friend of mine named Rebecca Pearson has been modeling since her teens. Aaaaaages ago (which shows how long it takes me to write up things on occasion) she posted a picture on her Instagram of herself at eighteen, with an accompanying caption about how skinny she was at that point. I saw it and commented on how she’d been beautiful then, but I thought she looked even more amazing now. Shortly after, I received a lovely email from her, saying how the collective weight of people’s observations, including mine, on how she looked better now had made her really pause for thought.

She ended up writing a brilliant piece on it all, which you can read here (and I’d recommend her blog in general as a fab resource for everything from practical information on modeling to some hilarious anecdotes about various jobs she’s done). She quoted me in it.

This was all many months ago now, but I’ve thought about it on and off ever since. I wonder if being a model/ former model/ sporadic model brings with it additional body image anxieties. Not only do you have all the famous figures society and the fashion industry deem to be beautiful, images of their lithe limbs and flat stomachs and lean frames hard to escape. You also have past pictures of yourself. I have a visual chart of myself from the age of thirteen onwards. Those six years of images document a slow but steady alteration from pre-pubescent girl to the shape I am today. That’s a kind of extraordinary trajectory, but it does have its downsides.

When I began blogging - and modeling - I had the kind of non-existent hips that meant skinny jeans sagged, older people would look at me and sigh “you could wear just about anything” (or swoop on me at vintage fairs going “I have a tiny dress no-one else could fit!”) and fashion magazines thought it appropriate to use me in editorials selling clothes to adult women. Incredibly unsettling, it was also the kind of figure that meant I would attract scatterings of 'pro-ana' followers on my blog. Although it was worrying at the time, in retrospect that deeply perrturbs me.

My weight was entirely healthy(ish) at that age. I ate tons and tons, did no exercise beyond PE lessons and had little comprehension of the fact that my clothes size had a kind of cultural currency. In fact, I’d get pissed off at people making any comments about my (lack of) weight, and would occasionally wonder what a life with boobs might be like.

Then I went through scoliosis, surgery, the last stages of puberty, the natural shifts in weight that  can happen throughout your teens - that general narrative of alteration with some unexpected twists. I’ve written enough about all that before, but there’s something else too. I only acknowledged (and I mean properly acknowledged) last summer that, at a low level, I’d been unhappy with my size for at least the last three years. Not in any destructive way, but in the number of times I’d see an image of myself and think, “hmm, I really am bigger than I used to be”, or look in a mirror and feel worse for the rest of the day, or burst into tears if something didn’t fit. That began to happen with much more frequency throughout the first half of 2014, and I felt pretty shit.   

All of that has subsided significantly since, and I feel very comfortable with where I’m at now. Yet you know what? I still didn’t want to put in those last few sentences. Why? They feel weak, foolish, self-indulgent. If this were a Guardian article, the commenters would be racing to tumble over their keyboards and tell me all the ways I’m wrong and narcissistic and irrational. Well, the last one’s right. It was irrational.

But knowing that something is silly won’t necessarily stop you feeling it. Knowing that there are much, much bigger problems out there may give perspective – but it won’t immediately vanish that sense of inadequacy away. We humans are complex creatures. One can accept that a feeling or way of seeing oneself is ridiculous whilst still remaining dissatisfied. And it’s oh so easy to write incredibly angry commentary on the bullshit of body ideals, and still have a self-image problem. 

Maybe, actually, it’s not something exclusive to models. Now we all have our own visual charts, and we live in a society where women are told time and time again that their worth lies in their weight (or lack of it), as though controlling the amount of flesh spread across your bones constitutes some kind of grand achievement.

For me, the message to come back to again and again (and one I’ve brought very strongly into 2015) is to view my body as marvelous – rather than a site of failure. Yes, I am not the same shape I was when I was fourteen. But that’s exactly how it should be. Now I eat really healthily, cycle, and have an active, independent life. And, more importantly, I’ve learned to inhabit my body properly. It’s a good one. It looks fabulous in heels and swing coats and sixties dresses. It has long legs, lips I can paint bright red, hair that will never properly be tamed.

And even better, I have so much more presence than I did as a scared, skinny young teen. Now I get to march around, look (and finally feel) confident, and damn well make sure people notice when I stride into a room.

This dress is a special one - bought by my grandma in a NY thrift store for $20 when she was a struggling actress (back in the late fifties). The shop assistant assured her that it was Balenciaga, donated by one of a number of wealthy benefactors of the shop. Although we have no label to prove it, the spider's web levels of intricacy definitely suggest something of couture level. It now fits me in a very different way to when I wore it back in 2009, and I think it looks a lot better - mainly because I can inhabit it properly, and make it mine. It's worn here with second hand shoes and vintage jewellery (the necklace also came from my grandma). 

Monday, 20 April 2015

What Goes Around Comes Around - Part 2

I didn’t know it would happen so quickly. In fact, I was sure it should take longer. Why so soon? How so swift? Couldn’t I be granted a longer grace period, a little longer for it all to come back – instead of returning before I was ready to face it full on? Was there any rhyme or reason to such odd circularity, history ready to repeat itself seemingly infinitely?

I could be talking melodramatic bollocks about any number of things above, but I’m afraid my attention is focused in tightly to something plenty will think of as frivolous – trends. Ah, trends. Like the friend at the party that everyone thinks is kind of cool, but does have that irritating tendency to repeat the same story again and again.

Maybe I’ve been more aware of this recently, because it’s the first time for me when the magazines and catwalk reports seem like mirror image copies of the ones I picked up five or six years ago when I was a newcomer to the whims of the industry. Clogs? Check. The seventies? Check. Florals for spring? (Groundbreaking). Check. Obi belts? Check. And suede? Check, check, check.

Then there are the generic similarities between designers that one can loosely group together – things with labels like ‘whites’ or ‘sports luxe’ or ‘stripes’ or, with true airheaded offensive aplomb: ‘ethnic prints’. These aren’t real trends, but constants that can be packaged up as something new. Continuing with the party analogy, think of them like the people who turn up to every gathering going – very familiar, all dressed the same, being mildly edgy without any real innovation, but probably guaranteed to have a good time.

Let’s backpedal to suede though. It genuinely is one of my favourite fabrics. I have suede boots, suede dresses, suede jackets and a sixties suede A-line coat. Still on the lookout for the ideal suede skirt (been eyeing up these Beyond Retro ones – starkly similar to what I wore at my first ever LFW. Sadly that Topshop number had to go when I actually developed hips). Oh, and of course, this suede top, pictured above. I want to call it ‘buttery soft’, as that’s how it would be described if it graced the pages of a glossy mag, but ‘buttery’ is among the more bizarre fashion adjectives. Butter is greasy, slippery, sticky and liable to melt if left out of the fridge too long. This suede top, however, is smooth, supple and pretty cosy.

I first posted it on this blog almost exactly five years ago on April 28th, 2010. I’m out by a mere eight days (if I was truly dedicated I would have waited, but, you know, I’m an impatient gal). Back then I wore it with a black body-con dress, pointy Italian heels and a long string of faux pearls I’ve since lost (damn it). The little accompanying post mentioned Phoebe Philo’s sway at Celine, and nodded to the heritage of that suede t-shirt – originally belonging to my paternal grandma in the seventies. I even quoted Oscar Wilde (go fourteen year old me!) The whole thing was titled ‘What goes around, comes around.’ So consider this a continuation of that orbit. Maybe I’ll style it again in another five years when the industry inevitably looks to the past again. April 2020, I’m looking at you. Hey from nineteen year old me to twenty four year old me (good lord). Hope you’re having a good time. Hope you’ve found your ideal suede skirt too. 

This time round I'm wearing my suede with a vintage Betty Jackson silk shirt, some second hand velvet shorts (basically impossible to see though) and second hand heels from eBay. 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Politics of Engagement

The last general election in the UK took place when I was 14 – in my penultimate year at secondary school, an interest in politics slowly nurtured in between homework assignments. There was Nick Clegg. Oh, Nick Clegg. How exciting he sounded! Ready to shake up the political system, to listen to young people, to do things differently. Well, we all know how that turned out…

Skip forward to sixth form: coalition in place, cuts happening, various relentless rounds of grim news. One of my good friends and I had regular coffee and conversation dates in our favourite cafĂ© – caffeine fuelling big, rambling chats about policy, art, education, the environment, gender, housing, benefits. In summer we sat outside in the courtyard at the back, gabbling excitedly – steam and words rising around us.

She’s now actually studying politics. I’m doing English at a University whose name appears in the national press regularly – often in relation to our cabinet, many of whom trod the privileged path from good prep to private school to Oxford - or Cambridge. Before the reshuffle there were more individuals who’d attended Magdalen College (Oxford) than there were women. Yep. Really.

I don’t claim to know the kind of social sphere they inhabited there. It still exists, but it’s not one I’m familiar with – only having observed it from afar, much as one might watch a wildlife documentary with odd curiosity. This city houses a lot of different versions of the ‘Oxford experience’ within its streets, spires and colleges. Words like ‘Bullingdon’ and ‘boating dinner’ have no relevance or interest to plenty of us studying here.

Being here does give a glimpse, however, into the inevitable flaws to be found in having a cabinet primarily composed of those who’ve never worried about money; who were told by their elite fee-paying schools that they were destined to succeed; whose sense of entitlement is stitched into the seams of their clothes. And that’s before we get to the overall make-up of Westminster, where only one fifth are female (more like Stella Creasy, please. I love her. She’s fabulous.)

Oxford is also the constituency I’ll be voting in come May 7th. This is the first time I can take part rather than watching from the sidelines and I’m pretty much positive that vote will be going to the Greens – for all the reasons I articulated in the Sunday Times Style the weekend before last (see the pictures above).

Please, please can I stress at this point that the deadline for registering to vote is April 20th. It takes less time than watching a Youtube video or procrastinating on Twitter. Students and young people need their voices to be heard, but you’re silent if you can’t (or can’t be bothered) to vote. There’s a huge number of missing female voters too, as pointed out in the excellent #XXVOTE campaign by the Youth Media Agency.

I’ve been dipping in and out of election coverage – trying to inform myself, but also not to live in a perpetual state of raised blood pressure. I am simultaneously more fired up by and frustrated with politics than ever before. What raises my hackles most is the slippery rhetoric: the hollow words, pat phrases, sound bites and general performance of it all. I don’t mind performance if it's interesting or meaningful, but there’s little of that to be found in this dull (and pretty dirty) grapple for seats. Instead it becomes about who can win more voters with this comment or that neatly enticing policy. Fuck the actual human implications. It’s all about power here. Many of them speak a lot - but say pretty much nothing in an attempt to win everything.

Obviously there are some brilliant MPs out there. To deny that would be unfair and ignorant. Many do care about their constituents, about improving this country, about the environment, about the NHS and schools and housing and mental health and plenty of other things too. But you know what? Not enough of them, by far.

I was talking over all of this with my mum. She’s a former teacher. The state of education is an ongoing conversation in this household. Yet, as she said, “every time I look at any exchanges taking place in the House of Commons chamber, and see the behaviour on show, I feel like I’ve stumbled across a riot in the classroom.” 
Having gone to a secondary school where lessons did sometimes descend into chaos, I fully agree.

“My inner ‘teacher voice’ rises”, she continued, “and I want to stand in the middle, and in quiet, commanding tones, remind everyone of the rules that basic, civil human behaviour operates by: taking turns, no shouting, treating each other with respect, listening, putting one’s hand up to speak, and not saying rude, personal or provocative things. These seem to be lessons that many instantly un-learn once they become an MP. It would not be tolerated in any school, or by any inspection. Why can’t Ofsted fail Westminster on its behaviour policy?”

We need more of that all round. Respectful human behaviour – grounded in empathy and understanding, rather than a quest for control. That doesn't mean claiming that you totally ‘get’ what a life is like that’s very different to your own, but it does mean a willingness to put yourself aside, listen, respond and think your way into someone else’s shoes. It’s what great novelists do all the time – asking the big “what if?” Why can’t more politicians do that?

I was styled in the most fabulous Stella McCartney ensemble for the shoot, along with my own vintage coat and shoes. Photos were by David Yeo and styling by Flossie Saunders. The fab Fleur Britten was immensely searching in her questions, and I was thrilled with the write up. A pleasure to meet everyone else who was featured too - stressed to me again the importance of being young, and engaging with politics, even if it feels like the politicians aren't engaging with us. 

Monday, 13 April 2015

A Vintage Adventure at Angelo's Palazzo

For a little while my days have been a mix of ducking, diving, zipping and zooming. The holidays hit partway through March, and the first fortnight away from academic work became an alternating rhythm of London day-trips and languorous lie-ins to catch up on sleep. Things have slowed down since (I’ve just returned from a family trip to Turkey – more on that soonish), but among the train commutes and meetings of those initial two weeks, there was another adventure further afield – a 24 hour interlude in Bologna, joined by the lovely Olivia, Carrie and Monica.

The reason for our oh-so-fleeting visit? A treasure trove of clothes found a little way outside the city called A.N.G.E.L.O. Vintage Palace – aka, the actual embodiment of my personal heaven. As someone with a keen-cut taste for everything from twenties to seventies (occasionally stretching to eighties if it’s one-of-a-kind fabulous), several floors full of carefully cultivated vintage clothes is nigh-on close to perfection. A hint of hyperbole there? Maybe. But I feel it’s very much justified.

This Palazzo is owned by Angelo Caroli, a man who knows more about vintage than I could ever hope to guess at. He’s been working in the realms of the past since 1978, when, at 17, he was employed as a styling consultant on a radio programme. A quick-forged link with a local second hand shop owner piqued his interest, clothes initially amassed for personal and commercial use slowly transforming into a desire to gather, preserve and protect a (rather large) slice of fashion history. His current shop is three years older than me, having opened in 1992. All in all, he owns about 180,000 items from 1850 to present day.

Anyway, enough of biography – back to the clothes rails for a moment. Entering the shop was a little like moving through a bright, fabric-filled Wonderland; a suspended space cut off from the drizzle and damp streets outside. The best vintage shops often do this. They’re not necessarily stranded in the past, but nonetheless give an air of otherness, of existing slightly outside the clock the rest of us work to. Maybe a more apt literary comparison would be something like a sartorial Narnia (sans witch and lion, obviously) – i.e. a private kingdom complete with its own internal time, only to be found behind an unprepossessing entrance. A Narnia with more denim jackets, perhaps.

The ground floor stocks women’s, men’s and children’s clothes. Up the curved staircase lie further gems – several rooms of meticulously chosen goodness, including a handful of more high-end designers. I can’t think of a better word here than the (now over-used) ‘curated’. This is a shop defined by Angelo’s conscientious eye for detail, shape, proportion and good design; from the clothes themselves to the displays assembled from hatboxes, handbags and mirrors. I ran my hands over tea-dresses and silk blazers, salivated ever-so-slightly at the suede capes, and generally felt a bit miffed I couldn’t buy pretty much everything.

That’s not the end of it though. Above the shop lies Angelo’s private archive, stuffed to the rafters (literally – on the top floor we could hear the drumming of rain on the roof) with some seriously special garments. These clothes have been used in fashion editorials, films, music videos, adverts and exhibitions, with others influencing new collections (plenty of designers have knocked on his door seeking out inspiration). He’s also supplied plenty to private archives, including Gucci’s.

The best part? We were allowed to play dress-up there. I felt like a child let loose in a sweetshop – one part exhilarated at the liberty of it all, one part overwhelmed at where to begin. First I dabbled in the odd delectable outer layer, quickly moving from a green velvet Dior dressing gown to a Moschino coat with purses for pockets to a cape Little Red Riding Hood would have been proud to wear. Then it got serious: a seventies YSL black dress with an inbuilt cape (general note to the fashion world – more inbuilt capes please), followed by more YSL in the shape of a long-sleeved leaf-print gown. After that, some gorgeously constructed couture dresses. Plus hats. Oh the hats! While I swished around and jumped in and out of one outfit after another, Carrie found a fabulous baguette bag, Olivia hung out in a fifties dress in the bathroom (it has pink walls and a retro bathtub full of rolled up pairs of jeans), and Monica eyed up all the handbags.

I suppose I should explain the reason for this whole trip (aside from sheer revelry in gorgeous garments). The four of us had been invited along by McArthurGlen, a designer outlet chain with stores across Europe. This year they’re running vintage festivals in two of their UK locations – Swindon (30th April to 17th May) and York (21st May – 7th June). For each of them, Angelo has assembled a pop up collection of items for shoppers to get their hands on. In addition, there’s also a ‘Timeless Style’ exhibition charting the significance of particular items, trends and iconic pieces from the 40s to the 90s. Think everything from Chanel quilted handbags to designs worn by Marilyn Monroe and Jane Fonda. Plus, on the VIP launch weekends for each, there’s the chance to have your own vintage items evaluated by the man himself. If the whole experience is anything like the enclosed whirl of patterns, cuts and careful choices we got to glimpse here, then we’re all in for a treat…

This post was sponsored by McArthurGlen, but consider the unbridled enthusiasm for all things A.N.G.E.L.O. vintage to be as genuine as genuine can be. If you ever find yourself near his shop, then go, go, go! Many thanks to MG for treating us so well whilst we were there, and to Angelo and his lovely assistants for being charming, enthusiastic and gracious while we ran around his shop. Also big appreciation for Olivia and Monica who kindly supplemented the images taken by the photographer on the day with a few from their cameras too.


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Blank Page: A Few Thoughts on Writing

Writing is a funny thing. I do so much of it. Often I feel like I know nothing – at other times that I’ve got it reasonably sorted, that I know how to arrange words and sound out their rhythms. Those are rare, wonderful moments, but significant ones. They must be rare though. I’m still negotiating this medium, continually learning the art of a good sentence, the ways to tailor cadence. The more I feel it out the more I love it, my lines and paragraphs becoming supple material to work with; to hew, construct, assemble, polish to the right pitch. 

It’s an ongoing process of learning and refining, so I find it interesting that I’m sometimes asked for tips from others - receiving emails requesting advice. I have to admit this is something that still feels strange. The questioning tends to fall into three categories: the first to do with improving one’s own writing, the second asking where I find ideas, and the third addressing ‘success’, however that may be defined. Even though I don’t feel hugely qualified to answer any of them, a few scattered thoughts came to mind – and I may as well set them down.

First – how to improve? Well the easiest way forwards is practice. Write and write and write. Having a blog for nearly six years has been the most invaluable structure for me, needing self-imposed commitment week in and week out. I may look back on posts from several years ago and wince at the grammar, but I can only do that because I’ve improved through constantly working at it. Moving from ‘not-so-good’ to ‘better’ requires as much typing/ scribbling/ scrawling as you can regularly achieve. It also helps to look at it all with critical perspective – and never get complacent. Where do you want to go next? Is it worth pushing yourself out of the usual comfort zone to do so? If a section doesn't flow, why - and how can you rectify it?

On a more general note, reading things aloud usually reveals a multitude of (small) sins like repeated words, labored images or overly long, baggy sentences. I just cast an eye back over my last few lines and realized I’d used the word ‘only’ in three adjacent sentences. Two of them have gone now.

The flipside to ‘write, write, write’ is ‘read, read, read.’ Read anything and everything. Read it, then question what you like – and what you don’t. Whose style and thoughts do you admire most? For me at the moment, that list includes Jeanette Winterson, Siri Hustvedt, Alan Garner, Laurie Lee, Anne Fadiman, Margaret Mahy and Virginia Woolf. A mix of essayists and novelists (some are both). All treat language as both tool and craft. And these are just a few of the writers I admire on the printed page, before we even get to the multitude I read online... 

Second – how to find ideas? I’m definitely not the best person to ask here. I tend to dream up too many then fail to find the time for completion. They spring up from all sorts of places, whether an in-depth conversation with a friend, a book I’ve read, an exhibition I saw, an idle musing inspired by too much time on Twitter… You get the idea. Most are united though in my desire to question, explore, celebrate or interrogate a thought; giving it room to be rolled around, unraveled, and hopefully pieced back together again. Essentially, be open to what’s around you, and zone in on what you find interesting. Also, if in doubt, brainstorm and work through knotted ideas with ink - bullet points, arrows and squiggled lists galore.

Third – how to find ‘success’? Oh lord. I kind of didn’t want to include this, as my ambitions stretch so far into the future that I can’t see (and wouldn’t want to know) the end-point. I feel I’m hardly started. But I guess if we break it down to the basics of “how does one end up writing for particular platforms?” then there are a few practical pointers. One is that the two principles above come first. You have to be willing to learn, to tweak your voice and content for a particular audience, to come up with new ideas all the time. After that, it’s a lot of unsuccessful pitching, the almost certain belief you’ll never get there, quite a bit of legwork (usually for free), the sacrifice of lots of spare time, a pinch of luck, and the occasional gleam of opportunity. Enter writing competitions. Begin a blog. Get yourself on social media. Take small chances in the hope that later they’ll lead to bigger ones. Networking helps too, both in person and online. It’s an unfortunate name for an activity that, if genuine, should be about having a deep-felt interest in others – rather than some cynical way of viewing people only in terms of what they can give you. Tirelessly create your opportunities – and be open to those that come your way.

I guess the fourth point to all of this is that every writer has a different trajectory, and way of doing things. So many love to write about writing, packaging up their personal experience of pitching and publishing then delivering it as general truth. Of course we all have our own quirks and interests and means of getting our work done. So maybe some of this will be relevant, maybe none of it. Who am I to say anything with more authority than another?

(Fifth - When finished I read this aloud to someone else, and as a result made at least ten tweaks, deletes, word changes and clarifications. Apt, really...)

The link to the outfit? Well of course daaaaarlings, this is exactly the kind of thing I sit down in at my desk for a day of work - boots and all. I jest. It's not far off though. The mornings when I write sometimes take place in pyjamas, at others in full-length dresses, floaty smocks or great shirts. No regular uniform, so to speak. This just slots in among the rest. And, of course, everything here is second hand. 

Friday, 3 April 2015

Desperately Seeking Jumpsuits

For a while, I was a woman on a mission. What was the grand goal ahead? Was I working towards some big achievement? Well, yes, actually (more on that soon), but for the purposes of this piece of writing – no. I had a far simpler mission. I was a woman desperately seeking a jumpsuit.

I hunted through clothes rails, combed eBay, sniffed out every one-piece in Rokit and Beyond Retro, all to no avail. Being rather tall and very picky (eighties? No, no darling, not quite what I’m looking for. Think good tailoring and louche elegance, not shoulder pads), I knew it was going to take a while… I was in this for the long haul.

Let me take a step back and unravel the logic. Why did it have extra significance, above all other wardrobe items? Call it the elusiveness factor. Unlike, say, a cotton sundress or good silk shirt, the jumpsuit is hard to get right – to be tucked and seamed for perfect fit, providing an optimum amount of confidence. Think of it as the relationships conundrum of the clothing world. Intelligent, interesting, attractive, compatible people where it just works aren’t always easy to find. Plenty have qualities making them ideal friends, but nothing more – well suited to fabulous conversation and raucous evenings, rather than longstanding, unwavering devotion. (Actually? Who am I kidding? That’s exactly how I view my best friends too). 

It’s easy to try plenty of them on for size – nearly there, but a little too tight, or short in the leg, or designed in such a way as to make your torso seem twice as big. There are also many that one could settle for, if necessary, but with the knowledge that they’re only temporary, merely a stopgap on the way to a better fit. But oh the moment when you find the ideal! Suddenly the waiting is worth it. Now you can look fabulous, and feel all the fiercer. Whether it’s some strappy black thing, or a more robust creation complete with sleeves, buttons and a collar, there’s a hard-to-pin-down quality to the best jumpsuits - a kind of easy, practical glamour adding extra slink to your stride (plus, obviously, the less sophisticated frustration of having to half-undress every time you go to the loo). Jumpsuits are powerful. They mean business. You can’t stand around apologetically in a jumpsuit. The right one won’t allow for that.

I don’t think I’m the only woman who’s been seeking out the superlative jumpsuit. I’ve had a handful of conversations/ rounds of commiseration with others over the pursuit of this seemingly unattainable garment. I guess it’s a hard one to get right. It must suit your body shape, flatter without either constricting internal organs or leaving you with lots of excess fabric, and hold its own with some audacity. Not much to ask…

I finally found mine in a charity shop (where else?), hesitantly taking it the changing rooms, convinced it wouldn’t accommodate my length of leg. But I got lucky. I’m not sure yet if it’s the one for me, but for now it suits just fine. And I tell you what – I feel rather formidable whenever I’ve got it on.

Everything I'm wearing with the jumpsuit is also second hand. This set of observations was partly inspired by a Twitter conversation earlier this week, when the ever-excellent Sophie Heawood was singing the praises of (and looking amazing in) a particularly delectable jumpsuit from BOB by Dawn O'Porter. In response, Niki from Miss Magpie Fashion Spy swooped in quick-smart with her pens to whip up some wonderful illustrations. She kindly allowed me to reproduce them here. I think between the two drawings, she aptly captures the potential of a fabulous jumpsuit to uplift, enhance and generally make the day a bit better. Oh, and while we're in the subject of all things all-in-one, I should point out that Vix rocks a catsuit like no one else. See here if you need convincing. 

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