Last month, my lovely and funny blog friend Connie asked her readers to recall their Very First Personal Fashion Moment.
I left a comment about my Chicken Dress...
...and here it is.
This photo was taken in 1967; I was 3, and singing into my skipping rope.*
The dress was a hand-me-down, it had been worn by both of my older sisters and dated from the 1950s.
Bright colours, a great print, secondhand - a pattern was established with this dress.
Parrot print, plus a peacock.
1980s Hawaiian dress, cardigan, bangles and tights - charity shopped
Peacock necklace - vintage market
Boots - retail (sale)
I had an interesting exchange with a couple of customers in the shop last week. I heard a man telling his wife how much he liked 1970s styles, and we got chatting. I was wearing a 1970s maxi which the couple admired, but the man said that he could never wear a Seventies suit (he had been trying on jackets and browsing the suits).
Why? I asked. He spoke at length about living in a small village, and speculated about what his friends, neighbours and colleagues might think if he wore something unusual and different. I listened, then suggested that maybe he was overthinking things. If he liked a certain style of clothes, perhaps he should just wear them without worrying about anyone else's opinion.
His wife clapped her hands, and said she met you 5 minutes ago and she's got you pegged. You overthink everything!
Sadly he didn't buy a jacket, but I'm hoping a seed was planted. What's the worst thing that can happen if you wear what you love? The couple were visiting their son who is a student in Sheffield, and maybe next time they're here, they will call back into the shop and make a purchase.
What sort of a vintage seller would I be if I didn't wear it myself, and passionately advocate for the beauty and value of old clothes? What I wear is proving a talking point, and I love having a job where my eclectic wardrobe is a positive benefit.
I'll take my parrot dress over to Patti's for Visible Monday.
This outtake is the real me rather than the posed me - a bit gawky and inelegant, but friendly, fond of laughing, and usually talking. I'd spotted a friend working in a nearby garden and we were shouting across to each other while the camera snapped away on the timer.
*Perhaps that skipping rope prefigures my penchant for karaoke just as much as the chicken dress sets the scene for my style preferences? My mum helpfully wrote on the back of that photo that I was belting out Puppet on a string, the UK's Eurovision entry in 1967. I still know every word.