A to B has always been a little bit of a challenge for me, often finding myself in the lemon-ell-oh-pees. I enjoy the scenic-route, the meanders, zig-zags and, inevitably, u-turns. But with fashion in general, and clothes in particular, I've always been pretty straight down the line. Togs and trinkets? Me likey.
That's not to say I don't occasionally get a hankering for the perverse, the contrary, the...unusual. My mum paints a vivid picture when she describes the phase I went through of refusing to take a pair of tights off my head. It was my 'long hair' apparently and it went on for weeks. Ditto the time I declined point-blank, to take off my nightie in exchange for some actual clothes so good old Mum, to teach me a lesson, took me out as I was. She received no less than 5 compliments about what a pretty dress her darling daughter was sporting. I don't know if this is conclusive evidence, but I've noticed that often, it's the maverick move that pays off.
Drama school extolled the virtues of the 'bold choice'. Strong and wrong. So, in the spirit of disturbing the natural order (which is over-rated anyway, who wants to be eaten by a lion?) I've been experimenting. Enter, stage-right, making the boldest of bold choices, the back-to-front approach to dressing.
It actually all kicked off because of the complicated relationship I have with my boobs. I'm the only-quite proud owner of 2 DD's (4D's? Space and time? Now that's a big responsibility to carry around.) A cleaving heavage is all well and good but when your fronts are full, things get full-frontal. Boobs akimbo I veer between bar-maid and Hattie Jacques (who, despite the shared name, I try not to model myself on). I also get treated very differently when they're out and about, because, hey, it's only 2017 and we couldn't expect society to have evolved THAT far.
It was after a particularly hectic week of being assaulted by male strangers that I took matters into my own hands. My cool new men's shirt (from previous outings here and here) was hanging on the back of my door and in a fit of perversion I slid into it backwards, fully expecting to look like a dentist.
But no! Excitingly, it kind of worked. (In a dentist-y kind of way).
The backwards collar provides a kind-of turtle neck, my favourite silhouette (being as it is the exact opposite to showing off 'the girls'). It fits surprisingly well and is virtually unrecognisable as the plain white man-shirt. The cuffs are upside-down and so do that very trending big-cuff thing effortlessly.
In fact, the effortlessness of the whole thing is what makes it so successful. It's very 'Oh I've just thrown this on without EVEN enough thought as to whether it's EVEN the right way round, but I look fabulous, let's have a cocktail'.
I'd keep the rest of the outfit simple so you don't end up looking like Mr Potato Head with a full and disastrous re-arrangement. But do what you want, there are (clearly) no rules here.
So- I'm going breaking my own advice immediately and try it with a second item. I'm such a rebel.
This is a lovely (rather MIssoni-esque, I think to myself in more pretentious moments) cardigan from French Connection. I usually wear it loose over a t-shirt but the occasional time I wear it as the V-neck it was intended to be, people either maintain terrifying insistent eye-contact or I have to un-hook their nose from my bra-strap. Neither is ideal. Backwards though, it's a whole other story! You still get a hint of the erogenous, in back-form, and boob-gate is averted. Bingo. If I was seriously daring I might unbutton it all the way down, for full spinal exhibition, but only for special occasions. The V-neck at the back provides the chicest boat-neck and if I tied it at the bottom it would further accentuate the waist. I feel like Brigitte Bardot on a down-day, it's wonderful.
And because I just said 'keep it simple', I've paired it with this very understated (ahem) skirt, to sate the whole 'Strong and Wrong' approach so instilled in me by actor training.
This might be the equivalent of doing a heavy Glaswegian accent in a Hedda Gabler audition but I don't care.
Some things are so wrong they're right.