Wednesday, January 11, 2012

dressSTORY: The One Sponsored by Wimbledon

For info on the dressSTORY project see here.

The One Sponsored by Wimbledon.
The facts: 2008, Oasis
Purchased: £40 in Oasis Sale in Autumn 2008

When I left the West Yorkshire Playhouse after just over three years of dealing with people projectile vomiting working in the FOH department, along with the cake and coffee and a good proportion of the vodka that could be supplied by North Bar I was presented with vouchers for Oasis. (I'm just going to throw this out there: leaving Leeds was very good in the present stakes. When else would anyone have thought it okay to gift me a tambourine?). This dress, purple and floral with a netting and thus a skirt that swirls in a pleasing manner, was bought with some of those vouchers as my first new clothing purchase in London. In those months whenever anyone complimented me on it I would say it was the dress that the WYP had bought me and this made me feel affectionate about both the dress and the theatre. See current/future employers - buy me a dress and I will feel warm and fuzzy towards you forever.

Of all my dresses this is the one that crops up most often on photos of me on Facebook. I would hazard a guess (what with the netting and it being dry clean only) that when Oasis were selling it they didn't envisage an 'everyday wear' policy. To which I say - bah! This is most definitely a dress for everyday wear when you want to look nice. And sometimes looking nice just helps.
Thus there's photos of me wearing it pottering around Greenwich, eating afternoon tea and, most recently, at Arsenal Fan's birthday. The photo above, the dress still officially in the new category, was taken at Whitby Abbey (I'd removed my coat, briefly risking pneumonia, in order to get a photo of it). It's the bright flash against an otherwise gently melancholic set of photos - melancholic because of the late Autumn of a North facing, grey stoned Yorkshire seaside resort but also, melancholic in my memory, being, as it is, the day a friend died.

But that isn't quite how I think of this dress, any more than I automatically respond now that it was a leaving present (sorry WYP, I've readdressed that here at least). There's the exuberance of the posing, giddy with wine and sparkly-camp-Eurovision joy in the middle of the West End, pulling 'boyband' poses and finding it all far too amusing.

But, most of all, this dress is getting up at 6am, catching the train to Wimbledon and joining the most civilised queue of my life in order to get ground tickets for the tennis with Surfer Girl and Charming Canadian. Something that seemed even more appropriate given that it was Canada Day and we were thus forcing
Charming Canadian into a day of the most stereotypical Englishness every invented. Strawberries and cream and tennis and a woman with a parasol (okay, maybe not the last bit, but have a parasol I do and take it with me to Wimbledon I did). Once into the grounds I procured us a prime spot at the top of Henman Hill (none of this Murray Mount crap around here, thank you), where we could see the screen and, when appropriate dip our feet into the fountain. And dipping feet became quite important because it was bloody hot. So hot that even my factor 30, parasol covered body turned the not particularly attractive colour of over-cooked skin.

What I hadn't clocked when I'd put the dress on that morning, however, was that it matches the colours of the Championships. Indeed I didn't even clock this until someone asked me if I was being sponsored by Wimbledon to sit on the hill in my dress with my parasol up. Because, it seems, in these circumstances everyone loves an English stereotype (even my burgeoning sunburn fitted in). Sadly I had to reveal that no, in their wisdom, the LTA weren't paying me (though, let it be noted, I'm not adverse to being paid to sit and watch tennis whilst wearing a nice dress if the proposal ever comes up). I think the dress subsequently contributed to the surprise around me when the tennis actually started and I began to scream loudly enough to burst eardrums.  Because caring too much about tennis is something I do in some style. And that style is loud.

Being a triumph of a day Andy Murray powered his way into the semi-finals and, in one of the matches of the 2009 tournament, Andy Roddick defeated Leyton Hewitt and I got to be one of the lone voices on the hill who wanted this outcome.


Anonymous said...

The leather is nice and supple and I like the color. The only down side is the size and weight of the hardware; makes the leather hobo bags heavier than it should be, but still pretty fashion and funky bag I meet in!

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