Ready to Wear: Playsuits have lost their shock value, so dungarees could take their place
Monday 31 August 2009
Fashion isn't always celebrated as a deep journey of self discovery, a continual round of aesthetic and physical challenges, but it should be.
And perhaps the toughest area of fashion's assault course for the body and soul, is trying to pull off garments that are fundamentally 'a bit wrong.' There are plenty of classic pieces such as the belted trench, or the little black dress, that never really go out of style, but then neither do they offer the sheer exhilaration of making an item universally considered to be dodgy look good.
Step forward the latest much-maligned garment to mount a comeback campaign; namely dungarees. They appeared at YSL in black leather, worn with nothing more than a scraped back ponytail and red lipstick, at Chloé in rich black velvet with gold chain and jewel adorned straps, and at Gaultier's couture show in peacock-coloured crocodile and slinky silver sequins. Amid the exquisite grandeur and craftsmanship of couture, these silver disco dungarees, in all their glittery should-be-so-wrong-but-actually-so-right-ness, really set my heart aflutter. This was the 'cocktail dungaree', an altogether most sophisticated beast than the sloppy denims favoured by any 1980s romcom heroine worth her perm or Felicity Kendall in 'The Good Life'. They looked sexy and sophisticated rather than just the default garment of the latter stages of pregnancy.
While dungarees weren't exactly splashed across the catwalk – this look seems like more of a slow burner – it's creeping back into our collective consciousness in other ways. Sonia by Sonia Rykiel has brought out a pair of wide-legged black crepe dungarees with a cross back which somehow look understatedly chic. Alexa Chung, pied piper of trends and she who must be followed, was snapped sporting a denim dungaree dress over a white shirt and short blue dungarees by APC who has also brought out a short red pair and a long denim pair. The vintage boutique Rokit says that dungarees are always popular but that they are selling particularly well at the moment. Now that jumpsuits and playsuits have lost their shock value and become something that even the most risk-averse dresser might consider, dungarees could be poised to take their place.
Unlike playsuits, dungarees aren't necessarily only for teenagers or twentysomethings, but they do look best on a willowy frame. Major curves and dungarees don't mix. Avoid wearing them with a striped top unless you are actually a garlic seller or Alexa Chung, and although YSL styled their overalls with nothing underneath (right), don't try this at home (or out on the town) unless your fashion role model is Jodie Marsh. Carine Roitfeld, editor of French 'Vogue' might have advised her daughter never to put comfort first, but the new dungarees have the happy side effect of being as comfy as a pair of old pyjamas.
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