This two-piece was perfect with my Vidal Sassoon bob
ANGeLA BAILeY, 72, lives with her husband in Bath. She donated a purple two-piece outfit that was designed in 1962. ThIS outfit was around ten years old when I acquired it in the early Seventies through a swap with another mother at my daughter’s primary school in Bloomsbury, London.
We were quite a sociable group of mums and, as I recall, she liked a coat I owned, so we made the exchange.
I already had a couple of Mary Quant pieces. My first was a long, black, column dress with a polo-neck, which I wore with papier mâché earrings; huge gold balls that were about 3in in diameter. I had bought that one with my pocket money in a sale at the department store in Suffolk, where I grew up, and got a pale blue evening dress while a student at Goldsmiths College in London.
But this one was everything to me. It came in two pieces: a tight-waisted, pleated purple skirt and then a matching, long-sleeved top that’s inverted at the front, with a collar and a bow to tie. When I put it on, it swung just so. I had a tiny waist then — I don’t any more.
It wasn’t an evening outfit — in those days, evening dos required something long or glamorous — but it was the sort of thing you went out for lunch in or to a friend’s party during the day. When I first left school I worked as a junior sales assistant at Fortnum & Mason, earning £ 6 a week. We sold Pucci and Christian Dior; Mary Quant’s designs were so different. I was tall (5ft 10in), with size seven feet and an unruly mass of dark hair — the exact opposite of the blonde, curvy Doris Day look everyone wanted. Mary Quant’s designs really spoke to me, as did the Vidal Sassoon haircut that she sported, which I copied. You could go anywhere, do anything, and feel relaxed. I last wore the outfit during the eighties, before my younger daughter was born. Since then, it’s been packed away in my wardrobe, carefully wrapped in tissue.
I must have raided it for buttons at one point — there’s one missing on each cuff — but I simply couldn’t bear to throw it away.