I was terribly disappointed when my godfather gave me a DKNY t-shirt for my 10th birthday, believing it to be a hand-me-down from a boy I had named Daniel Charles Nicholas Yemen. (I was a 10 year old un-troubled by things such as spelling). I remember waiting all day to quietly explain to my Mother what had happened. 'Darling,' She replied smiling hugely. 'That's not what this is. This is a designer t-shirt.'
DKNY became, for the Winter of 1996, the most-worn designer in my household, almost exclusively because I refused to wear anything else. 'Donna Karen,' I told my little sister knowledgeably. 'Is famous for providing clothes women can wear from day to night.' My little sister remained impervious to the sartorial excellence of Miss Karen, informing me that she, too, wore her clothes from day to night.
I am still, 15 years later, looking for the perfect day to night wear; a little piece that tells everyone I am just at ease in the boardroom as at the ball. (The fact that I frequent neither of these places does not worry me at all).
'What I need,' I said to my little sister recently. 'Is something which is elegant and well-made, that I can wear from the office to dinner, without being over or under-dressed at either event.'
'Something you can wear from day to night?' She asked, the infuriating thing about siblings being that they remember all your past idiocies.
It was in my bid for this that I stumbled across yolke, a new lifestyle brand set up by Anna Williamson and Ella Ringner. Only a year old, Yolke make elegant, beautifully made pieces- the exact type of thing I was looking for. I began excitedly to plan a suitable lifestyle around a particularly lusted-after 1930s style dressing gown. From silk shorts to jumpsuits, Yolke's offerings are high quality, textile and print led clothes, which change subtly with the seasons.
Delighted with my find, I showed my Mother the site. 'I would love a jumpsuit,' She declared. Appalled, I tried to steer her towards much more 'age-appropriate' silk and cotton long shirts and so on. Undeterred by my prudishness, she simply contacted one of the founders.
'I spoke to Anna,' She told me a few days later. 'And Yolke sell more neon clothing to the over 50 than to any other age-group.' I stared at my Mother in horror, wondering if she had convinced Yolke to make her a bespoke neon jumpsuit. 'I told you,' She continued, unaware of the nightmarish quality of my thoughts. 'You young people are so boring.'
Irritatingly, it turns out she was right. Yolke, who introduced their neon silk shirts to cater for the young and fun, saw sales soaring with the over 50s, whilst the under-30s remained firmly wedded to their pastels and neutral tones. Yet my Mother also spoke approvingly of the t-shirts, whose arms are cut slightly longer than normal, giving a more flattering silhouette to the wearer.
Keen for Yolke to live up to my long held desire to recreate the halcyon days of 1997, I tried on one of their silk shirts. Which rather wonderfully, because the shirt itself was almost see-through, had its pockets perfectly placed to cover my bra, rendering it sheer, rather than transparent. I wore this shirt very successfully from a day in the office (which contains a boardroom, although I was not invited to enter it) to a dinner party, with only admiring comments from the other guests and no disciplinary action from my bosses on appropriate workplace clothes.
Yolke also sell blankets, cushions, and rather wonderfully, monogrammed pajama sets, which I tried to persuade my little sister to buy for me, explaining that it was the natural continuation of a long-held love of clothes with initials on them. 'Of course,' My little sister replied. 'Let me get some with DKNY on for you immediately.' My little sister does not seem to be taking my transformation into an impeccably elegant, appropriately-dressed social whirlwind seriously, but that is sure to change when my Yolke order arrives.