Is it sensible, when you’re forty-two and know better, to wear a long, sequinned tee-shirt to a party/book reading? As a dress? If you wear black tights and shoes and a jacket to tone the thing down?

If you have to ask the question, you know the answer, Sophia Bennett. The answer is no. No no no no no no no! Everyone else at the party/book reading will have spent the day in London Book Fair meetings and will be in Sensible Shoes. Will they think you look like some latter day glamourpuss Zadie Smith? Or a scatty old lady who forgot to put on her strides? You know the answer and yet you persist.

The thing is, after the Barbie episode the husband sensibly suggested not buying more fashion-related stuff until I actually receive some money from book sales. So although the perfect little cocktail number is dangling from a hanger in my local boutique, in my size, practically with my name on it, I have to prise something out of my existing wardrobe and wear that.

Hard to believe, but I was with my mother when I bought the sequinned tee-shirt dress last year. Of course, to my mother I will always be twenty-two, and that’s lovely. But my mother won’t be there on Tuesday.

Everything else in the wardrobe is too old/plain/sensible/boring. I need to wear something that will make foreign publishers and book buyers think ‘Threads? What’s that again? Oh, it’s that book by that woman I met in London at the Book Fair.’ Jeans and a tee-shirt won’t do it. My old Ghost dresses (knee length, sensible) won’t do it. The sequins are not sartorially ideal, but they are at least memorable.

Sure, the book buyers will think, ‘Oh yes, it’s that book by crazy, shiny woman I tried to avoid at the Book Fair,’ but the point is, they will remember me. And hopefully remember that my book is shiny and lovely and wonderful. And forgive me, I hope.

Or blame my husband. I’ll tell them it was his idea.


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