Style benchmarks of my early life (including an entire student loan on one outfit)

You can see why hands me downs were an issue.

  • A pair of red dungarees aged around 6. Notable for the fact they were neither made by my mother nor hand-me-downs from my older sister. Both these points are not disagreeable in themselves, but we were always strapped for cash in the seventies and early eighties so ANYTHING bought was hugely satisfying. They were from Clockhouse at C&A and they were glorious: fire engine red with clunky metal hooks and a pleasing pocket on the front. Perfect tree climbing attire and for lightening those moments when you are gardening with your dad and stick the fork through your welly (this actually happened). Accessories with a pudding bowl haircut only IF YOU PLEASE.
  • Chocolate brown velvet waistcoat and pedal pushers aged 8. You can blame Adam Ant for this (ask your mum). Not just brown velvet but edged in gold trim, I wore this look with a cream satin style blouse (that my mum made) for a school disco. I also took my records to same said disco, with my name scrawled on the front (the front!) in silver liquid pen, so it's obvious I had a bit of a thing for disco glitz. See the Sixton lurex socks we stock if you think I’ve grown out of it. Haircut Of The Time: rat’s tail plaited at the back. Ugh.
  • Mustard dungarees, long sleeved white tee, pink homemade floppy hat, Clark’s Wallabees. This would have been 1989, as I have a photo of this I can produce as evidence taken by my first boyfriend. Unbelievably, he also wore dungarees on a regular basis and was neither an idiot nor MC Hammer. I would like to point out I had an eating disorder at this time which probably didn’t help me make rational decisions. God bless living in a small coastal town that thrived on raves in the late eighties.
  • Shaved head, pierced nose, ‘Blur’ beads, tight 70’s T-shirt, pinstripe wool trousers, DM Oxblood boots. This fledgling had finally flown the nest and was at art college in Epsom, smoking too many roll ups, holding two part time jobs down and going to The Laurel Tree in Camden to try and get off with Graham Coxon. Many years later, I managed to get myself into a situation where I would pass Graham on my way into work and say ‘hi’, blush furiously and then need a lie down when I finally got to work. At The Laurel Tree, I once lent him my lighter and then had to sit in the ladies trying to unlace the 16 holes to stick the lighter back in the top of my sock. Let that be a warning to you all to think twice before you attempt anything more complicated than a 6 eyelet shoe.
  • Burgundy velvet Ralph Lauren suit. Another warning to all students: don’t get drunk and blow your entire loan on a suit in Harrods whilst your friend goads you into it. Obviously this was around 1993/4 when student loans had just been introduced, so we’re not talking multiple thousands but I’m remembering most of a grand going on a suit I wore pretty much three times. Then I lost weight and fashioned the jacket into a cod-double breasted thing that was never really doing it for me. I wore it to a wedding, then put it in a bin bag in a loft and promptly moved house *Ralph Lauren weeps silently in a corner*


Jo Johnson