How to wear car mechanic-chic.
Contrary to what recent fashion features might have you believe, street style is still alive and kicking. That’s street style in its true form; in the getting sartorial inspiration from people you actually see on the street capacity, rather than the getting no inspiration from the highly groomed, non-imaginative girls pictured at fashion week wearing a full look from one designer (who has paid them to do so) form. I can confirm that authentic street style inspo is back with authority, though, because this week, I became obsessed with a boiler suit being worn by a woman in my local pub. She looked amazing.
PHOTOGRAPHY: ZAC FRACKELTON
It’s not like I wasn’t already a fan of boiler suits – I have three. But I hadn’t worn them for a while and this was the impetus I needed to brush them off (and in one case, chop off the over-long arms and legs) and get wearing them again. The boiler suit I’m wearing here is a few years old from MiH but I couldn’t track down Woman In Pub’s boiler suit in my size and besides, she owns that particular look in my neighbourhood of south east London, and who am I to take that from her? Not only that, but the key to making this look work is finding a boiler suit that is exactly the right fit for your body – not always an easy task, particularly when you are 5ft3 with a fleshy tummy and big boobs – and this MiH one is ideal for my frame. So it pays to hold on to one when you find the perfect fit.
Woman In Pub’s boiler suit was also ideal for her frame and I loved that she had styled it with Birkenstocks, a printed head scarf and a flash of red lipstick. Thanks to my excellent investigative skills (and the logo on her back pocket), I deduced that it was from workwear specialists Carharrt. I popped into their Covent Garden store to try on – always a must with boiler suits because arm and leg length has to be just right – but they only had size medium, and while the length was good it was just too generous in the body for me. Asos does still have the same overalls available in small, medium and large, though, if you too want to emulate the excellent style of Woman In Pub and are happy to try on at home (I genuinely don’t know who she is, by the way, but if she happens to read this, HELLO! YOU LOOK GREAT!).
And of course, I’ve worn mine with Birkenstock-style sandals. While I am a HUGE fan of genuine Birks, there are loads of cheaper versions out there for those on a more modest budget. One of my favourites is Oak & Hyde, whose slides come in really lovely colours, including the yellow I am wearing here.
Hush silver ‘Woodstock’ sandals, £69 (hush-uk.com); Birkenstock ‘Arizona Birko-Flor’ sandals, £65 (birkenstock.com); Moses sandals, £23.99 (seasaltcornwall.co.uk); Office orange ‘Oslo’ sandals, £26 (office.co.uk); Shoe The Bear rose ‘Cara’ sandals, €69.95 (shoethebear.com); Zara soft leather buckled slides, £49.99 (zara.com)
As usual, please let me know your thoughts. Have you been inspired recently by someone’s outfit you saw on the street? Have you ever stopped a stranger to ask them where their shoes/bag/coat is from? And how do you feel about boiler suits? A cool take on the one-piece, or a step too far in the direction of car mechanic?! Leave comments below!