ELLE Talent Competition 2017: Runner Up, Caitlin Black

When we launched this year's annual writing competition with the brief to pen a memoir about 'The Outfit I Will Never Wear Again', nearly 1,000 aspiring writers entered. Here is one of our five runners up.

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I was sixteen years old when I found them in a box filled with my mum's clothes from the eighties. She was a fashion buyer and had every high- waisted, bright coloured, shoulder padded emblem of the era of excess.

I poked through her iridescent jumble of clothing, fascinated by the stark difference between her wardrobe from her twenties to my more subdued, less architectural clothing of my teens.

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I had no choice but to try everything on! I put on every piece form my mum's box of confident clothing and modelled them for her, feeling both silly and excited whilst suddenly lusting after blue eye shadow and hair higher than heaven.

It was difficult to find a piece I could feel comfortable wearing with modern accessories, without looking like I was headed to a dress up party or a dodgy Madonna wannabe.

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Then I saw them; a pair of extremely structured, black high-waisted jodhpurs.

Apparently equestrian wear had a moment in the eighties and not in the Ralph Lauren sense.

Never had I seen pants that gave one the illusion of larger thighs instead of slimming them away.

Apparently equestrian wear had a moment in the eighties and not in the Ralph Lauren sense.

Yet as I pulled them on, I fell in love with them. These bizarre angular things of beauty needed an occasion to be worn, and I was going to find it.

At sixteen I didn't shy away from more extravagant clothing, as I used my sartorial choices as a weapon of rebellion against the trend driven, cult like nature of most teenage girls' style.

Yet wearing elbows on my thighs had never crossed my mind as a cool way to look different.

The occasion of an after party, for my schools end of year ball, at a club presented itself. This was the moment to pretend I was Brooke Shields and that I knew how to ride a horse.

The borderline religious ceremony of getting ready for a night out took longer than usual.

I pulled my long brunette locks into curlers, and decided to pair the jodhpurs with the highest, most sparkly heels I owned.

I used my sartorial choices as a weapon of rebellion against the trend driven, cult like nature of most teenage girls' style.

Then in my messy room filled with my slightly more sane friends putting on respectable LBDs, I yanked up my mother's trousers, smeared on red lipstick, because the glittery heels and obnoxious pants weren't enough and headed to the party, dressed to avenge a non-existent ex-boyfriend.

My rebellious act gave me the required attention and I managed to wall not wobble in my heels and thankfully not impale someone on the dance floor with the sharp edge of my trousers.

The night was fun and was an unsolicited moment of confidence for a pubescent teenage girl.

I understood the flash characteristic of the eighties and indulged in the frivolous dress up aspect of fashion.

I danced and laughed and flung my hazardously large hair around, before going home and becoming a millennial again.

I have never worn those jodhpurs again and probably never will.

But I will forever remember them as a token of a by-gone era of extravagant style and that time I really didn't care and wore the damn thing.

Competition winner Beth Crane, and five runners-up (Caitlin Black, Sian Norris, Angela Locatelli, Lily Peschardt and Victoria Richards) each receive a monogrammed Smythson notebook from Selfridges.


This article originally appeared in the August issue of ELLE UK

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