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Self-isolation fashion is something else, isn’t it? For some, working from home means going ‘smart-casual’ – shirt and tie on top, underwear on the bottom, for those all-important, waist-up conference calls.
For others, particularly those who aren’t at risk of being caught out on Zoom, pyjamas have become entirely valid day-wear, so you don’t have to change clothes when you go to bed. Excellent.
But, if you’ve seen the Twitter hashtags #dontrushchallenge and #stayathomechallenge, you’ll see self-isolation is giving some the chance to let their inner fashionista run wild – basically, as Sony Music recently tweeted: it’s isolation, but make it fashion.
With that in mind, I decided to let my eight-year-old daughter become my personal stylist, for an entire week. Whatever she chose, I had to wear all day... including any rare trips outside.
It’s an experiment I tried once when she was three, and I was curious to see how her tastes might have changed in the intervening years. Turns out, not a lot. She still loves a sequin. And polkadots. And bright, bright colours.
Here’s how it went.
Monday: 1970s chic
Monday starts fairly tamely. I tweet about my little girl’s first choice for the week – a dress from the 1970s, teamed with bright coral lipstick – and nobody guesses it has been chosen by a child (note: what does this say about my usual wardrobe choices?). Vintage sunglasses are added, to round off the outfit. I’m pretty impressed by her opening fashion selection – I might even wear this to work in future. Win.
Tuesday: Lime green galore
I knew Monday was a fluke. Come Tuesday, it’s ‘no-holds-barred’ lime green satin – with matching nu-rave neon sunglasses, of course. My daughter tops it off by suggesting I wear a dark purple lip... and slip-on Vans. This is the outfit I wear on my daily walk through the park, and my weekly shopping trip. We’re all weirdos, now.
Wednesday: Polka dotty
“You look like you’re working behind the bar in the pub in EastEnders,” a friend says when I send her a picture of my outfit. She’s right – there are polkadots, so many polkadots. Today, my daughter chooses a dress I last wore at a hen party, 10 years ago, before I had two children. It’s a bit of a tight squeeze, to say the least. She teams it with a contrasting green 80s polkadot jacket that Madonna would be proud of, brown ankle boots and bright red lipstick. Now... last orders. Who wants a pint?
Thursday: Leopard print feast
Wow. Just... wow. Thursday dawns, bringing with it a veritable feast of leopard print. The really special thing about this outfit is that it does not match. At all. There’s a pair of leggings in one type of animal print, teamed with a dress in a different type of leopard, underneath a vintage blue palm-print skirt that’s also slightly too tight for me, and grey leather cowboy boots with a skull motif. This week is not going to be a comfortable one – difficult when you consider I’m spending much more time on the sofa than usual. And I’m not getting away from that EastEnders reference, am I?
Friday: Tulle lovin’
“Why don’t we dye your hair a CRAZY COLOUR?” my small stylist suggests. I think it over for a moment, then find myself nodding. After all, we’re in quarantine, now. Anything goes. Even purple hair, a giant pink tulle skirt and a t-shirt with three wolves on it, howling at the moon. “You look like a princess!” my three-year-old son later tells me. Win. 10/10 for weirdness.
Saturday: Glitz and glam
“I chose something special, because it’s Saturday,” my daughter beams. Oh, good. I know what it’s going to be before she even presents it to me: the gold, sequinned, fishtail dress I bought for £2 in a charity shop and have (unsurprisingly) never worn. “Hey Google,” my daughter adds as I get dressed, “play ‘late night jazz’.” I find myself smiling – even as I’m ordered to put on an acid-wash denim waistcoat. She knows me so well. The Amazon delivery driver who I wave to from the front porch does a double take, then shrugs and waves back as he gets in his van. It’s quarantine. He’s seen it all.
Sunday: Bold ball-gown
“I love this dress,” she says, handing me my outfit for Sunday: a bright red, floor-length ball-gown. “It’s just really, how do I say this... beautiful. Especially on you. With your hair.” Awwww. How could I resist? Even if I do remind myself of Madam Mim from the classic 1963 Disney film, The Sword in the Stone. And let’s not forget, a dress with pockets is a dress for life – even when ‘life’ means staying at home and watching Netflix for the next however many months. If you can’t wear a red dress, with purple hair, during a period of unprecedented national confinement, when can you?
Monday (again): Floral mash-up
To round off the week – and bring us back to where we started – my tiny team (by now, the three-year-old was involved, too) go full Gok Wan. The temperature has dropped, but that doesn’t stop them carefully selecting a floral beach sarong two-piece skirt and crop-top, the likes of which my post-baby body hasn’t seen in years. They also choose sunglasses and a blue leopard-print hair tie, to round off this very special combination. As an afterthought, my daughter grabs me a coat. “This one,” she says, brandishing – yes, you guessed it – more leopard print.
I ask her how she feels the week has gone, and whether she’s enjoyed our ‘experiment’. “We’re still doing it, aren’t we?” she says, with a look of disappointment. Sigh. I guess we are. What’s the worst that could happen?