Gemma Tries It On: My 'Maasai Maras' are ideal for urban jungle


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Fashion is an easy target. Wearing something remotely out of the ordinary can be met with ridicule and up-and-down stares. But it's harder to deal with that piss-taking when it's on your own doorstep, so to speak. Or on your own sofa, to be precise.

My otherwise lovely boyfriend takes great pride in naming the things that I wear that he isn't fond of or if he sees an opportunity for a (sometimes, admittedly) funny joke.

The first item of mine to be "named" was a pair of leopard-print Ashish for Topshop – huge platform wedge shoes that, every time they come out of the box, get called my "Maasai Maras". I'm not sure if he didn't like the fact they made me a foot taller than him, or if, they were in fact, horrid. They are currently gathering dust in my fireplace.

Then came the "pantsuit" (said in an American accent) which "makes me look bigger than I actually am"... Now there's a statement to put you off of wearing a jumpsuit if ever there was... He did like the Christopher Kane part leather/part solar system print "Star Wars" dress that I borrowed for a party and also my "Sergeant Major" boots.

Not as popular were my "lollipop lady" flat sandals from Opening Ceremony, which were introduced to my wardrobe this summer, and yes, the neon-yellow vinyl does create some unwanted attention and I always seem to sit next to a man wearing a high-vis jacket on the train, but I wouldn't say they are out of the ordinary. They just glow up at night when traffic passes. People do like to comment on them – "wow, your shoes are really bright!" "I know, I know," I say. " I'm wearing yellow shoes, I'm mad, me!"

I know what you're thinking, "sounds like her boyfriend has good taste", but I can assure you, I'm right (and always am) when this particular argument rears its ugly head.

So I went to have my weekly look in Cos, knowing it was payday and that I hadn't been in there for a couple of weeks, I was sure to come out, paper bag in hand. As I carefully manoeuvred around the rails I came across some culottes. The dropped crotch and the wool fabric were a bit Comme des Garçons, so I thought I'd give them a try. I liked them, the wide style wasn't as unflattering as I had imagined. When I pulled some strange shapes and squatted they looked a bit odd and clown-like, but I surmised I wouldn't really be squatting in public, so I got them. In the back of my mind I was wondering about all the possible names my new trousers would be christened. "Baggy crotches" or "poo'd yourself pants" were the top contenders. Only time would tell.

So hesitantly I tried them on for him and waited for the sarcastic comments. But, all I got was "they remind me of what I used to wear when I lived in India".

That's it? I must try harder.

Gemma Hayward is Fashion Editor of 'The Independent'