In the latest of a series that sees Standard Issue writers celebrate the clothes that make them happy, Lou Conran reflects on the dress that makes her eggcups runneth over.
If I were to describe my figure I would say it was the same as my nan’s. You won’t know her (well you might do, although I’d be surprised as she’s been dead 15 years) but Marg was a squat little woman the shape of two eggcups squished together, with diddy legs in little court shoes/furry slippers.
I’ve always found it a bit difficult to find clothes that a) fit and b) make the most of my nan’s body. I’ve always said that if I were two inches taller I’d be even-stevens but I’m not so I just have to put up with it.
While on a visit to Brighton many years ago, I stumbled across a fabulous shop called Get Cutie. This shop is, for me, the equivalent of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Beautiful fabrics, wonderful designs and clothes made to order. Moneywise it’s a touch out of my price range but when you think of the fact they’re handmade, will last, and are eye-catchingly brilliant, then it is totally worth it.
My first frock from Get Cutie is, I think, my favourite. On first glance it looks like red and white roses on a black background, but when you look properly it’s actually skulls and roses. When I bought it, it fitted perfectly. A-line in shape, cut in at the waist with a cheeky neckline and three quarter length sleeves, it made me feel flipping sexy and very feminine, but mostly just bloody brilliant, which is something I rarely experience.
Every time I’ve worn this dress, I’ve had a positive reaction. By positive I mean I’ve kissed a boy, been approached by a lesbian (plural), stopped a security guard chucking my friend out of a club and been chastised for wearing it to a wedding.
The dress has its own fans too. I wore it once for an Edinburgh Fringe poster and had a lot of messages from people, not bothered about the show, but wanting to know where the dress came from, and how fab they thought it was. Maybe I should just do an Edinburgh show about the dress.
Nowadays, as my eggcups runneth over, the only place I can wear it is in my living room, along with the high-heeled shoes I love but can’t walk in because I have flat feet. I can’t be the only person in the world that wears her favourite attire to dust the sideboard and hoover the hallway, in a 1950’s housewife fashion, surely?
The other dresses are equally as fantastic. I can just about get into my cake pencil dress (black, with cakes and biscuits on). But there’s no hope for the prom dress with 1950s ladies on it. If I wear it I do a Judy Finnigan, and no one wants to see that these days, not now the girls resemble the sort of bags you use to pump icing onto cakes.
But the dresses are fabulous. And I want more. As a curvy lady they make me feel a million dollars and there is nothing more liberating than that, especially when you’ve got your nan’s body. Figuratively speaking.
Lou is a comedian, writer, actor, lover of curry and cheese, and is also a giant simple child.