This week I have astounded myself with my sartorial flexibility says Elaine Kingett. I popped down to Brighton from London for a quick overnighter, my 32-year-old son Will was coming out of hospital after a tonsillectomy. Due to complications with his recuperation, it’s turned into a six-night stay for me, with no change of clothing. I’m a minimalist packer at the best of times. I travel a lot for work and play and said goodbye to hold luggage couple of years ago – I did a month in Greece with just cabin luggage, last year. Almost everything I may forget can be bought at the other end and gone are halcyon days of idiosyncratic local packaging. Now global brands are everywhere.
So I’ve spent every day in the same black, long dress and yes, coincidentally, it IS a kaftan. Albeit, a fine cotton, charity shop one. I could have even slept in it but I did bring something for that. On chillier days, I borrowed my son’s Levi’s, tucked the dress in and wore it as a blouse. On sunnier days, I hoicked up the sides and bunched it up under my pants. My daughter did suggest I high-tailed it to Primark for some emergency underwear but I just washed out my Intimissi every night and hung it out to dry on the balcony railings.
It’s been a liberation – I’ve seen different friends every day so no one’s sussed my secret – and actually, I’m quite proud of my ingenuity. It’s certainly taught me a lesson about not needing to chop and change my outfit everyday. My kaftan even has a small tear from a puppy’s sharp teeth in Andalucia – I think that adds character and, as my mother would say, ‘At least black doesn’t show the dirt!’