Serengeti

On days when I am feeling a little blue, I will wear something outlandish or daring. I like to think that this foreignness jolts me out of my reverie and forces me to look at things in a different light – to feel them in a different way.

Today is one of those days. With the weather set to match my mood I opened my cupboard and instantly knew it had to be the Serengeti dress. A recent vintage purchase, I have never worn her before, but having tried her on a couple of times knew exactly what I was in for. I call her Serengeti because she is covered in these bizarre pseudo-tropical safari prints, with sequin detailing and a beautifully ruffled neck that belongs on something a lot more silky. All of these strange and incongruous features – including a crepe mustard lining, a zip up the back and a cut suited to a much more forgiving fabric – combine to produce the most miraculous of finds. The neckline is judiciously tight, my oesophagus encircled by a ring of sadistic, silky ruffles. I feel sure that when I peel it from my body there will be a scarlet imprint of it ringing my neck, but this is all part of the point, really. It makes me realise that things could be a lot worse. On other days like these it might be something fun that brightens the blues – my sky high ruby reds, for instance, or my ra-ra sailor skirt, which never fails to make me smile (or strut).

This dress also reminds me of something Jackie Burger recently said, about wearing things that you just love, regardless of whether they are in fashion or not. This is how I dress on a day-to-day basis. I still wear things that I first fell for when I was 15 and have lavished with love ever since. I painstakingly handwash, dry clean and store these gems so that they will be with me long after the stitching has started to unravel or the elbows have worn thin. More often than not, these are the pieces that people find most memorable. And it is because they are stylish, irrespective of trends or timing.

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