Eleven-year-old Margaret was inexplicably awkward. I’d just started Year 7, and was the smallest person in the entire Senior School standing at a hefty 4 feet 3 inches, with disproportionately skinny limbs, and a weird hairline (truth be told, my hairline is still bloody weird – Paloma can attest to that). Keeping in mind that past-the-knee board shorts emblazoned with ROXY (and matching pencil cases twice the size of my then-face) were still the best thing since sliced bread and/or Paris Hilton, my favourite weekend jacket was a deep blue washed denim jacket with square pockets, square shoulders and a hem that stood squarely away from my pint-sized torso, just above the hip. All the hardware was gunmetal, all the seams were artificially distressed, and we were the very best of friends.
In Year 10, I sprouted 8 inches and happy jacket and I were to be no longer, though I got over this devastation pretty quickly upon discovering some sort of personal style beyond ballet leotards and sweaters, and developing a distaste for distressed denim altogether – indeed, I was still too short for distressed knee patches to actually fall at the knee, and gave up on the idea of crawling around on carpeted surfaces in multiple vain attempts of wearing out the correct region of cheap denim.
For the past five years, I’ve avoided denim jackets like the plague (save one or two of my Mother’s from the 80s during my fleeting Vintage phase of being Sweet Sixteen and a Half). On somebody with a baby face such as mine, they seemed invariably awkward and restrictive, as if my paternal Grandmother in China… she does love a good ill-fitting denim shell. My acceptable outerwear lengths, too, have fallen ever closer to my ankles (I have now plateaued at mid-calf length coats, for I have not the balls to drop it to the floor), until the day Ben at Nobody introduced me to this little Miss.
Part of the magnetism was surely some form of nerdy nostalgia – the proportions of this shell are essentially panel-for-panel to my yesteryear bestie. A charcoal wash and minimal distress later, my little black jacket is all grown up as a more street-level incarnation of that damned blazer-across-shoulders obsession that
this industry won’t shake for as long as Carine Roitfeld reigns supreme. And so, as far as I’m concerned, the awkward denim jacket is back in the game.
I will admit, though, that the grown-up element requires a helping hand in the form of lace. I will admit, too, that I’ve never been a strong lace wearer: exhibit A being this image directly above, in which I neglect to notice the sheer lace panels on either side of this Self-Portait dress, before electing to wear look-at-me baby blue underwear for the world to see.
At least it wasn’t red.
Meanwhile there’s something uber sexual about a lace-and-leather combination that makes me a little uncomfortable, so again, dark denim to the rescue. Lace for your Mad Men, your My Fair Lady, your Great Gatsby, and your Jane Eyre, and denim for James Dean. Or so I like to think.
Treat them like your boyfriend jeans – roll around in bed in them, red lippie and black stiletto them, Hey Macarena them.