Jane Winkworth

Cupboard Love! January 11th 2012

I wish I could say “Less is More” where my clothes are concerned. I wish I could exist on a small, smart, designer Capsule Wardrobe - just a few basic staples etc - Well I can’t! For me, more is more - and more and more! I am in the very enviable situation of having a huge house which is occupied these days by just myself, my husband, several dogs and the occasional visiting grandchild.

Guests are housed in a separate guest cottage, so, I have plenty of space to keep my mountains of clothes. I am also in the very enviable situation of having a gorgeous dressing room which as a converted bedroom has wall to wall closets of immense proportions and windows looking out over my rose garden. I love this room. Rows of suits, jackets, trousers, jeans, shirts, skirts - all colour blocked, hanging like precision drilled soldiers. Every jacket with a plastic shoulder cover (John Lewis haberdashery department are the best and great value for money).

No horrible, bendable wire coat hangers for me. Every single item hangs on a satin padded hanger from Peter Jones (white for summer, black for winter). Coats and suits hang from cedarwood hangers from Morplan. My cupboards all have to be immaculate, nothing out of place - every handbag (deior over eighty) is stuffed with tissue paper and kept in it’s original cover. I never buy cheap bags, only designer bags, mainly Dior and Chanel or my own beautiful French Sole bags. I also hoard and keep clothes, they are wrapped in acid free tissue paper and packed into plastic storage boxes and kept under various beds throughout my house.

I love my clothes and I love fashion - I even love all my old clothes! With this in mind, last week, I decided to re-visit one particular “under the bed ” storage box on which I had written several years ago “Black YSL”...nothing more than that. I opened the box and from the perfect tissue paper emerged a beautifully tailored, deepest black Tuxedo jacket and extra wide pants/trousers! With this was a carefully folded and still immaculate black lace Chanel top. This ensemble had to be over twenty years old! I must have bought this outfit in the late seventies or early eighties (I wish I had kept the receipts!).

Now although I am older, I am still slim. All those years ago I was a size 10 with a waist - now I am straight up and down! I struggled into the trousers - a bit tight on the waist but hips perfect! Then the jacket…oh heaven! Gorgeous Yves St Laurent tailoring at it’s sumptuous best. Perfect lapels, beautiful pocket details, shoulders square, masculine but delicate. Next, the Chanel top…tiny buttons all down the front and again typical of Chanel. In the box too, was an original black satin Chanel belt with two gardenias attached. I could hardly remember buying it all but slowly the memories flooded back and I could recall most of the parties and events that I had been to, wearing this delicious outfit.I took the trousers to my lovely Polish dressmaker in Weybridge and she let the waist band out a little, they looked and felt great , wide and swooshy and comfortable!

A major Press event at French Sole which were to be held in our showrooms at 26 Brook Street seemed to be the perfect event to bring back the Yves St Laurent suit and so it was with nostalgia and excitement that I wore it to face the Press - always a very critical and fashion savvy collection of people! Everyone adored the suit. It was stroked, examined, photographed, admired and smiled at! The tailoring was remarked on as were the wide bottomed trousers and the Chanel lace top was almost torn from my body by several excited fashion bloggers. Everyone agreed that as a classic vintage suit it had stood the test of time and looked amazingly “au courant” and completely up to date.

So, the moral of this tale is that if you are going to keep clothes stored - make certain that you keep them carefully folded. I also pack the sleeves - all in acid free tissue paper with a moth repell paper on the very top and then into an air tight storage box and of course with a full description label attached. Then just wait for a few years to pass by, don’t put on any weight - and hey presto your beautiful outfit will once again be right back in fashion and still look brand new!

Categories: Fashion, My Week

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Charities Jane supports:

The Royal ballet school English National Ballet Starlight ACCA The Royal Marsden Havens Hospice