The first outfit I explicitly remember choosing for myself was for a trial day of Pre-Kindergarten when I was four. A few months later and I would start wearing a school uniform, something that would become my main form of dress for the next thirteen years. Own clothes were for weekends and holidays, so my wardrobe was for the most parts made up of school uniform and night clothes. For that trial day I wore a white t-shirt, navy blue leather shoes and a brand new pair of bright yellow dungarees (overalls to you Americans). I remember having to roll the hems because they were too long, but feeling so very grown up because of all the pockets I could stash my various treasures in. I was too young to have a wallet or keys, but I remember spreading out buttons and pencils and other titbits (tidbits to you Americans) in all the various pockets. Man, I loved those dungarees.
I have a photograph of myself from around that time in which I am wearing a pair of brown corduroy dungarees, and I remember going on to wear my brother's pair of emerald green corduroy dungarees (having only older siblings, hand-me-downs were a matter of routine). I actually wore rather a lot of corduroy as a child - my father, a man who has never worn a pair of jeans in his entire life, did not think denim smart. But that pair of bright yellow dungarees are the pair I remember most vividly, no doubt due to the occasion on which they were first worn. Even though I now wear primarily black, there is always in the back of my mind that child who loves bright colours and eye-catching patterns, however that tendency now happens to express itself in different forms (handkerchieves notwithstanding).
It has been over a decade since I last wore a pair of dungarees, yet it is something I have found myself wanting to do for a long while now. On a related note I have also been on the hunt for a suitably decent black apron to wear when working, so any recommendations would be welcome, but I will save that for another post. The most common forms of dungarees one tends to encounter these days are either the denim dungaree or canvas dungarees, both invariably categorised under the heading of functional workwear. But there is obviously far more scope to this type of garment, and it is that scope which I am interested in exploring for my own dressing. Perhaps unsurprisingly I am very much drawn to the wool versions Yohji Yamamoto has offered in the past, but I thought I would post photographs from this season's Kris Van Assche show. What he presented was a marriage of the two traditional sides of men's workwear, creating a uniform based on the idea of protection and smart presentability.
It took me on a journey through my own memories, and I found myself wanting to discover not only that garment again, but that feeling again. So now begins the journey to find my own pair of smart woollen dungarees.