Dee came to visit us at Rockamilly last year with her best friend and her god children. She told me then that it'd taken her a long time to get here but that it was a story for another day. Well today is that day.
"Hi, I'm Dee, 41 from Hertfordshire. When I was in junior school I was bullied. I was the short pasty girl with glasses , bad skin and braces. I discovered my love of retro/ vintage when I was about 15/16 after making a new bunch of friends the previous year. We would listen to the Beatles, The Who, together with popular indie bands and all go to either a local club or travel to London to explore the bright lights. I've always worn clothes that don't fit into the typical high street box. It is important to me that I'm not a high street snob though as even the most random item can be teamed up with something else to give a more vintage feel. I am lucky to be able to sew, knit and craft in general so a chunk of my wardrobe is handmade. My friend calls my style Random Retro which I love as its a perfect description of me. I adore bright colours and apparently I look my best wearing striking colours, even if on occasion I go to work looking like a children's TV presenter.
I had my son in 2005 then in 2008 I had viral meningitis. It affected me loads. I lost my confidence, gained weight and I wasn't me. For so long I'd coveted dresses from Hell Bunny but just couldn't justify the cost as I had no idea where I'd wear them. I eventually went to a now friends shop and tried one on and instantly fell in love with a red , white and black polka dot 50's dress. From there I started looking more into vintage fashion again and picked up accessories, inherited a few pieces, made others. I had started finding the real me again. It was fabulous. Then in October 2009 my son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 4 and a half and then in Nov 2017 I found a lump in my left breast. I held off to observe it as I didn't want to spoil Christmas for my son who had spent the previous in hospital. January arrived, I went to the Dr's,then hospital and in late March was finally diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. I spent the next year to 18 months fighting and having many surgeries,it made me look not too dissimilar to Sally from Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas. As a final 'kick her when she's down' moment, I lost my mum 2 weeks after completing active treatment. This meant we had to move house quickly. As if things weren't stressful enough already.
We moved June 2018 and in July I was admitted back to hospital with Meningitis again. I felt as though I must have been rotten in a former life to deserve all this. The thing that carried me was my love of cheerful vintage/repro fashion, a positive disposition and a great support network. I'm now 2 years in remission, content in my quirky house that we call the Purple Palace , working at a wonderful school ,with a great team and able to wear what I like ( as long as its functional). Children and staff are always commenting on my outfits that I hope will inspire them to be who they are and not necessarily follow the crowd and also to have a go at making your own things. These days I'm swaying towards wearing a more 30's/40's look as I love the classical styles and shapes. As I'm getting older its more fitting in my mind. I've been building up my collection of hats and repro lingerie this year and I love it. During lockdown I have taken a lot of photos and discovered I have never felt so confident in my own skin - scars and all. My hair is in my mind perfect for me, I love my curves and my style enhances it. I met a man, Simon, in Dec 19 and I'm hopelessly in love. He has made me feel complete and more settled than I have ever been. He adores my style. I think he has never met anyone quite like me before. He describes my style as sophisticated, classy and says I have impeccable taste. Life is good its just sometimes you have to go through a lot to get to your final destination, but hey that's true in most epic movies. When I was in junior school I was bullied. I was the short, pasty girl with glasses, bad skin and braces. I will always been that little girl inside and dress as the woman she was always meant to be.
Love Dee x"