Simply Be: ‘Real Moments, Real People’

Have you ever looked at clothing in adverts and thought that it looked great but so very impractical? You know, the sort of clothing that looks great in a beautifully styled photo but that you probably wouldn’t be able to sit down in, wear a coat over, run for a bus in, or fasten a seat belt accross. A couple of years ago, I wrote about the difference between fashion advertising and the real world, discussing some of the things that mean life just isn’t like the glossy magazines, and now fashion retailer Simply Be is asking people to share those stories. They have asked fashion and beauty bloggers to share their funny stories, provoking memories and fashion mishaps, and are commissioning illustrators to depict the scenarios described in these stories. Here’s mine along with a lovely illustration by Alison Hansen (click on the image for a larger version).

Artwork by Alison Hansen Illustration for Simply BeA couple of summers ago, I made plans to go out to a fancy restaurant with a couple of friends, for a long overdue catch up over good food and drink. Seeing as I’d not seen them in quite some time and the venue we’d chosen was rather plush, I decided that a special outfit was required. On the day I pondered my options and eventually settled on my navy polkadot wiggle dress, along with some red accessories including patent heels. I was extremely pleased with myself and set off to work feeling like a million dollars. However, I’d forgotten that the all-staff summer meeting was being held at my workplace that day.

I work at London College of Fashion, part of the University of the Arts London, and am usually based at the most central of its six sites. Normally the all-staff meetings would be held in the same building as my office, so wearing a wiggle dress and heels wouldn’t have been a problem. I’d only have to deal with a short walk to and from the tube stations and, as a regular commuter, I knew this wouldn’t be a problem in my chosen outfit. However, during that summer my usual building was closed for refurbishment and our little team ended up sharing an office with some lovely colleagues at London College of Communication in Elephant and Castle for three months. The all-staff meeting, however, was being held at one of LCF’s other sites in west London.

This wouldn’t have been a huge problem only that particular site is a ten minute walk from the Tube station. That’s ten minutes if you are walking fast in trousers and flat shoes but, remember, I was not wearing anything nearly that practical. As amazing as stretch bengaline is, it’s not a great choice if your day involves a lot of movement, and especially not when it is made into a long slim fitting dress! This particular one is more of a ‘posing for photos’ kind of frock. As you have probably guessed, I didn’t adjust my timings accordingly and began to worry while I was on the Tube that I perhaps hadn’t left enough time for my journey. As I tottered through Shepherd’s Bush, tugging the hem of my dress down every other minute as it kept riding up an embarrassing amount, colleagues kept walking past me at what appeared to be high speed saying “you’re going to be late!” As if I didn’t already know!

Thankfully, despite all that, I made it to the meeting just in time and enjoyed a glass of Pimms in the afternoon sun afterwards with some lovely colleagues I hadn’t seen for months. The evening meal with my friends was glorious too, but that walk from the station will be forever etched on my brain. Note to self: always leave more time when dressed like a pin up!

Look out for the hashtag #SimplyBeReal on social media to find more stories throughout the year. Artwork by Alison Hansen Illustration for Simply Be.