Thursday, 25 February 2016

Silk Slips

Do you know why silk slips are called ‘slips’? The answer is surprisingly obvious, stemming from the ability to literally slip these undergarments on and off with ease. Well, I’ve been slipping in and out of thoughts about all things slinky and silky recently, mainly thanks to writing this rather personal essay for Refinery29 on slips, sexiness, and our changing relationships with clothes (and the bodies beneath them!) over time. The piece sprung from thinking about the fashion industry’s carousel-like obsession with reviving ‘underwear-as-outwear’ every few years – a trend that, as you’ll read there, I hugely took to in my mid-teens. Any very long-term readers may even recall the odd outfit post brimming with lace, pink silk, and vintage thermal vests… See here, herehere and here for a handful of examples.

It was an absolute pleasure to work on that essay, and I’m also pretty bloody thrilled because Refinery29 is a brilliant, smart site full of writing I admire. Side note: I recalled the other day that I actually first made an appearance there several years ago, snapped at LFW in my mermaid skirt with tassels like seaweed. Look how long my hair was!

Also, in a twist of good timing, here are some rather more up-to-date images of me in a series of silk slips that I slunk in and out of whilst shooting Pippa Small’s latest jewellery catalogue. The photos were taken by the wonderful, wonderful photographer Susannah Baker-Smith, who I’ve written about before here. This time it was more of the same: lots of time spent sitting, draped in dazzling jewels, working out the best arrangements of hands, hair and face in each portrait. After a day in slips, it felt almost strange to shrug back on my tights and boots and thick winter coat.

And on that note, I think it’s time to do the reverse and don my ridiculous dusky mauve Italian silk vintage dressing gown, make dinner, pour myself a glass of wine, and retreat into the evening with a good book (like the cliché I am).

It's been a busy time. I recently wrote this for Collectively, looking at where we're at with conversations about diversity, beauty, and the fashion industry - as well as a love letter to my all-time favourite vintage Jaeger dress. Oh, and I forgot to mention that last month I was included on the Metro's top five upcoming social talents. I'm glad that all my procrastinating on Instagram has its uses! (If you like selfies, old Hollywood stars, carefully posed shots of books, and the odd shot of Oxford, you may find something there to enjoy...) 


Closet Fashionista said...

Wow these photos are gorgeous! I love the jewelry and you look amazing in a slip! Oddly enough I haven't worn one since I was little, haha. My mom got slips for my sister and I so we could feel older when we were like 10 XD
Going to read your article for Refinery now!
(and, oddly enough, my toes don't freeze in the boots! I thin it's because the rest of me is so covered up, haha)

Alyssa G said...

I love these photos! I really want a silk slip now.
xx Alyssa

Willow said...

As soon as I saw the title, I knew how much I would be relating to this post! So many people I know have told me that whenever they see silk, they think of me (I quite like to brag about that, too). Wearing silk clothes is the next best thing to not wearing anything at all - in fact, I think it may be better! And I have a particular soft spot for silk slips/PJs/nightgowns/lingerie/robes, they're just glorious. I too wear underwear as outerwear, and find people's reactions to the supposed implications both amusing and annoying. The pajama/lingerie section of charity shops are one of the first places I head to when I walk in, as that's usually the place I'm most likely to find silk, and it's not uncommon for me to be given judgmental looks from elder women who possibly think I'm too young for lacey things. But it is so odd, how I can wear short, tight, low cut things and no one bats an eyelid, but when I wear something that covers plenty that has a bow here, or some lace there, all of a sudden it's so shocking? Short dresses with bare legs, or full tights...but knee high socks aren't acceptable. Particular shades of's all so confusing to me! In my most recent post, I'm wearing a sequined black leotard in a dimly lit setting, and I did hesitate before posting - wondering if it would be seen to have 'sexy' implications and if I'd be seen as too young, but really, I love shiny, silky, lacey, beautiful things far too much to let the odd bit of self-consciousness stop me from wearing them, plus, sometimes I do feel sexy wearing those things. I love, love, love these pictures. I've always loved the pictures Susannah has taken of you. The quality of her images are so very fitting for a personal discussion on silk slips; the mood of her photography is tender, soft and sensual, with a rawness comparable to translucent silk. The first image is my definite favourite that I think best suits that description; with your gentle expression, the bare skin with the odd freckle, a curl brushing the base of the neck, the subtle colours, the clarity of the jewels - it's just all so gorgeously composed! I'd love to be able to take pictures like that. Hope you're well x

Melanie said...

There's so much going on. It's a good thing you're getting these time managements skills under your belt now because you're going to need them more and more. So exciting.
I love slips and peignoirs and men's silk robes too. Such a staple.

Vix said...

Such beautiful photos. I bet anyone who reads this will start hunting the chazzas for silk slips after seeing you looking so fabulous in them.
Your jewellery is divine. xxx

Carlota Antolin Vallespin said...

I would die (or kill) to posses some of these silk pieces. Also, why not, for this big rock necklace too.
I love silk too but I do not own so many pieces made of it. Sadly the ones I have are slowly disintegrating because they are very old and used. Still I keep them like a treasure in my wardrobe even if I cannot wear them and I just look at them.
You look ethereal in the pictures. Beautiful as a fairy who lives underwater.

Kisses! said...

Incredible pictures. I'm a big fan of slips, and I love the jewelry you paired the slips with.

Lola Byatt said...

So many brilliant pieces of writing to fill my saturday morning with :) yay! Refinery29 is one of my fave sites so it only feels right that one of my fave blogger/writer is on there! I absolutely love slips, I only ever wear them over things and it always gives a plain looking top a bit of a lift and looks really different to what i normally wear

i was so pleased to see you on metro! x

Ivana Split said...

you look breath-takingly beautiful! Slips are indeed something special and I can't wait to read your article about them.


I agree with all of the other comments in that you look radiant and these are such great images. I remember wearing slips a lot and always loved my silk amd lace styles. Great job on the essay! x

Ivana Split said...

I've read the essay now...and I liked what you wrote about how nice it is to be able to reinterp the trend of wearing lingerie, being able to wear it in a new way while being more confident with who you are...I have a few vintage slits but I don't think they're real silk...I'm fascinated by the fact that vintage lingerie covers more than modern dresses, so when I style it, I never have to worry about whether it is too short..and I still feel very daring because it is (or was) lingerie:)

Miu said...

Absolutely pretty pictures and also very pretty jewellery :)