Jane and Beryl were amazed when they looked in their wardrobes, just how many of their clothes were versions of what would have traditionally been attire made for men - whether it be military jackets, dress up tuxedos or humble workwear.  And in fact, it's this kit that is the most comfortable: trust men to have got there first. But Jane and Beryl are not above pinching any good ideas and claiming them for their own...

                                             The Boiler Suit 


Boiler suit, Wicks, £15, shirt, charity shop, £6

Jane rocks the 'Rosie the Riveter' look and is very happy in her cheap boiler suit. She has never found a fashion version to fit, (never long enough in the crotch - ouch) but this does the job. Bought for her Drive a Steam Train experience, she is planning to give it a few fashion outings before it is relegated to paint overalls. 

The Pin Striped suit



Pre-loved suit House of Gallet £40, top White House Designer Sale £25,
 vintage bowler £10, Ankle boots, Shoe The Bear, Hambledon Winchester
 £130 

Beryl is just about old enough to remember city gents in London wearing bowler hats (also known as billycocks!) and pin striped suits on the daily commute. Jane is rightly suspicious that Beryl has never worn this suit. 'It might be useful if I am up in front of The Beak,' protests Beryl. Jane concedes that perhaps it is wise for Beryl to have something for court appearances, just incase she is arrested again. It was a right farrago last time. 

The  Military Jacket


Jacket £18, charity shop, Italian wool Trousers £150,
 At Last, Andover (past season)

Jane and Beryl would probably admit to a mild obsession with military inspired clothing, especially if it is red, has FROGGING, VELVET DETAILS AND BRASS BUTTONS! Sorry everyone, Jane has had to administer a sharp slap, to her faithful sidekick, who sometimes gets rather overwrought at the sight of a fine vintage find.  Beryl thinks she looks rather like Sergeant Troy in Far From The Madding Crowd and Jane thinks it prudent to agree at this point.  

The Tuxedo


Tuexedo jacket, Zara, £85, trousers, Zara, £69, trainers, White House Sale, £55

Jane has had a very long love affair with the tuxedo suit stemming mainly from a marvellous compliment she received when wearing one at 21 ('That IS a long time ago,' says Beryl, 'are you sure you memory serves you right?') Jane ignores her friend, huffily. 

We digress... Jane was wearing a second hand version to a college ball, where the most desirable man there told Jane that she had upstaged every other woman present. The words 'out-classed' passed his lips. But these were the days when every self respecting student wore acres of taffeta to every do, so perhaps it wasn't that hard. Nonetheless, Jane has always kept one in her wardrobe as the go to outfit for moments when 'class' is called for.



The Biker



Pre-love Jigsaw leather jacket £150, Farhi jumper £60,
 pleather trews pre-love £12, boots TK Maxi £39

'Get your motor running,
 head out on the highway,
 looking for adventure,
 And whatever comes our way'
 (Born To Be Wild)

There is a whole bunch of kit that comes neatly under the heading of biker apparel, once predominantly the preserve of men but now available to everyone. Not even the word 'chick' has to be condescendingly applied. Jane loathes anything tight and leather, but Beryl has a sneaking regard and will wear it rebelliously. The question is, can an old, short bird, get way with this? Hell, yes, of course she can. One point of interest, however, is that Beryl has split these pleather fronted trousers right up her 'Lady Bejesus' and is not sure that they will go under the sewing machine. Que sera, sera. 
('Ha! Told you so! Not meant to be,' says Jane, nastily).   

The Artful Dodger


Shirt M&S past season, Waistcoat (Jane's vintage)
 Cords H&M (past season) Vintage top hat and scarf, Boots Jones Bootmaker £59 sale

Odd to cite the Artful Dodger as a fashion reference, but Jane and Beryl love this look, the constituent parts being a waist-coat, a white shirt and rolled up cords or tweeds. In Beryl's opinion victorian street urchins wore very comfortable kit.  Beryl's only new purchase towards this style is a pair of flat button boots, which she also wears with maxi dresses: this look is definitely all about the boots. As often with Jane and Beryl's style stories, nix the hat and scarf and things instantly become wearable. 

The Tails (minus the top hat)



Frilled shirt, £49, tail suit, vintage, £100

Jane and Beryl are now into their full on dressing up fantasies: well, if Jane will never actually be a concert pianist, she might as well act/dress like one. It's all good clean sport, after all. Although Jane cannot vouch for the promised comfort of this number - as it's the real vintage McCoy, it's made of the most incredibly hot scratchy worsted. Hmm, dressing up only, she thinks.




The Ringmaster's Jacket



Red ringmaster's coat, made by Jane, dress, Ghost, £165

While Jane and Beryl love nothing more than mucking around in improbable clothes, back to the plot, namely, to BORROW from the boys, rather than necessarily adopt the complete outfit. This jacket is a great add on to the very feminine dress which is one of Jane's Ghost favourites and this is how she wears it  - usually. Not to say that it hasn't come out with spangly leggings, whip and thigh length boots when the occasion demands... but that is quite another box of tricks.







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