First impressions: the prêt à porter (re)collection

coat-hanger_m-300x215The black lace skirt with flesh tinted lining, a pale yellow silk blouse, one richly floral Chinese dress and a pair of black suede heels.

These represent a handful of perfect pieces that hold memories, some momentary others momentous but all marvelous.

Thoughts of the lace skirt’s first sortie make me smile every time my fingertips touch it on the rail. One balmy evening in Rome, a gentle stroll through a traditional Piazza prompted a fit of giggles from my companion: why? All these ancient Italian men sitting around the square, they think you’re naked under that lace.” I looked around and indeed, this elegant number had caused quite a stir – and a shocked one at that … as making an impression goes, for better or worse mine was made in that moment.

My gorgeous palest yellow silk blouse was bought specifically for a launch party. On the appointed day, it came with me to work carefully folded into a bag but – alas! – it was retrieved at the much later appointed hour creased beyond reproach. With no time to lose, I rushed for help to one of my local, regular restaurants where the staff ironing board and iron were immediately assembled and lo! the blouse pressed into perfect service for me. I sipped very happily the welcome glass of chilled sparkles provided to temper the wait.

What of the richly floral Chinese dress? This was purchased in my long-ago PR heyday for an architecture-related launch, the party for which I had festooned with tiny red and deep pink roses. I received many complements that night, for the well fitting frock was flattering. The night became charmed however when towards the end of the night I observed a certain Starchitect on his way out. Entering the revolving door he caught my eye and leave he did not: he came right back round again to present me in most magnetic manner with the rose from his lapel. I remain a devoted fan of the dress; he’s still pretty hot, too.

The ultimate joy of my wardrobe however, was the now demised black suede heels that came with optional gold kid-leather ankle straps. These fabulously expensive shoes did everything a girl could want and more; I walked in them and on air almost every day for nearly three years. Arriving at a summer dinner party one evening I strolled outside and spotted the not yet acquainted BB. Making certain to perch silkily within his sight I confess: I did That Thing. I crossed my legs in slow and sensuous fashion watching as his eyes alighted upon my gold encircled ankles. Right there in that garden dear reader, romance burst into bloom.

But … some good things have to come to an end and these Cinderella slippers very nearly fell apart. I couldn’t bear to see them go and took them to my cobbler for one last fix. “Sometimes, love,” he said sadly, “you just have to say goodbye.” And he put them in the bin. Happily their legacy remains with BB by my side and along with our romance my shoe collection grows.

These vignettes have reminded me that what one wears on any day at any hour speaks for how you are perceived or understood in that moment. Had you worn something else, the events triggered by those perceptions might – just might – have turned out differently.

What will you wear tomorrow?

© Giovanna Forte 2015

About fortewinks

A PA at 19 and self employed PR at 26, Giovanna is now a British healthcare entrepreneur and public speaker. She is also a bon vivant, mother of two accomplished, entrepreneurial daughters and recently became a Nonna. Youngest-of-All is a Melbourne Top 30 under 30 Chef and founder of, the city's finest destination for pastries and soft-serve. FirstBorn is a published author as well as Certified Aromatherapy Practitioner; her studio is in East London and she can be reached through
This entry was posted in Design and architecture, Feminism, Friends, Life and romance, London, PR, Shopping and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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