London - Leafing through a fashion magazine is usually one of life’s secret pleasures, a wonderful escape from work and men into a world of pure fantasy.
Not so this season. As well as oversized ruffles, ghastly stripes, baggy Bermuda shorts and unflattering sheer panels, designers have decided to resurrect a nightmare from my fashion past, the most hideous fashion item short of culottes ever to walk the streets.
Dungarees are back. I kid you not. For the fashionistas at Vogue and Grazia have deemed it so.
We all know fashion reinvents itself, but revisiting an ill-fitting protective garment more commonly seen on farm workers is pushing the boundaries of style to breaking point.
When I looked at the latest pictures of models slouching down the catwalk in their dungarees, I was sucked right back to the Eighties. I cringe when I say this, but back then, my favourite outfit was a pair of white, shapeless dungarees.
I’ll admit they were comfortable, if worn loose. But, then again, so is a onesie — and I wouldn’t be seen dead in one of those.
Yet there I was, a quarter of a century ago, confidently modelling dungarees like they were a haute couture gown. How could I not have seen how bad they made me look? They are, perhaps, the least feminine outfit a woman can wear.
I didn’t seem to mind the baggy crotches, the lack of a waistline and the billowingly wide legs. They might be easy to bend over in, but they’re hardly the height of glamour.
As well as being white, my precious dungarees had big pockets and lots of gold buttons and buckles. I wore them with a red belt to match the oversized T-shirt I wore underneath.
I bought them a size too small in the vain attempt it might give me some shape. All it meant was every time I sat down I was in agonising pain, as the crotch rode up so high it threatened to divide my body in two.
For picnics in the park, I’d team them with white plimsolls; for Sunday lunch at the local pub, a pair of red pumps; for evening — yes, I considered them glam enough for a disco — it would be big hair and black stilettoes with a matching belt and sheer net vest underneath.
Such was my love for the dungaree, I made my boyfriend get a matching pair as well, which we wore together. We thought we looked like Sting and Trudie Styler. We looked more like Ant and Dec.
But we weren’t the only ones to do this. We might snigger now, but they were the height of fashion in the unisex Eighties. Bananarama were the poster-girls for dungarees. Even George Michael wore them back in the days when he was still pretending to be straight.
So why on earth are the style gurus reinventing these shapeless and unflattering monstrosities now? It’s a whole new level of misogyny.
Of course, there are some women who can just about get away with dungarees — women who are 6ft tall and bone-thin. Some of the curvier celebrities have come a cropper in dungarees. Take the luscious Heidi Klum. Dungarees made her look dumpy — despite the fact she teamed them with a tiny vest.
Maybe she thought the flash of cleavage detracted from her saggy bottom. Sorry Heidi — even your dreamy figure can’t elevate the dungaree into a style statement. She looked as if she was concealing incontinence pants underneath.
But, perhaps, the worse example of the new dungaree comes from Stella McCartney. Somewhat bizarrely, she has taken inspiration from the dungaree to create a new type of all-in-one — a cross between a baby’s romper and overalls. The result? A woman who looks like a half-empty sack of potatoes.
It doesn’t matter how you dress them up or who the designer is, dungarees will only make you look like a Lithuanian builder at work.
Take it from someone who knows. You have been warned. - Daily Mail