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Image / Editorial

An Ode To The Attention-Seeking Art Of Overdressing


By Sophie White
24th Feb 2018
An Ode To The Attention-Seeking Art Of Overdressing

Sophie White has never mastered low-key and these days she’s completely happy to keep on overdressing until they bury her (in Gucci please)


I am always overdressed, I don’t know any other way to be. It’s shouty and try-hard and I suspect, a little off-putting to the cooler among us, but I’ve let go of caring. Over-dressing actually gives me profound, very palpable joy. I enjoy a flower crown at brunch, leather trousers for a funeral and several costume changes most days. The day of my father’s funeral I was even sorely tempted to snap a quick #ootd as the occasion had afforded me the opportunity to wear one of my fave over-the-top ensembles, a Joanne Hynes dress with a beautifully elaborately exaggerated silhouette – I recognise that I may have a problem.

Cosplay wasn’t much of a thing when I was younger but had it been, believe me I would’ve been all over that sh*t. As it was when I was in school, I couldn’t help but add to and embellish my school uniform. I was a devotee of the New Romantic style which is inherently all about being that little bit too much. I slit the sleeves of my standard issue white shirt and ‘repaired’ them with glinting seams of tiny safety pins. I rejected the school tie in favour of a skinny black leather one. I acquiesced on the school blazer front but only because I could wear it several sizes too small, giving it that late 70s punk vibe. I looked pretty ridiculous (this is substantiated by witnesses and even some documented records – graffiti on the toilet walls counts, right?) but nothing would quell my insatiable appetite for dressing up.

Overdressing is a state of mind. When I arrive looking Met Gala-ready on a random Tuesday evening for an early bird with friends I sometimes, briefly reflect on how completely and utterly overdressed I am but then I think “screw it, this is what gives me pleasure”. Invite me to a party and I will glean so much mileage out of planning my outfit, the prospect of socialising completely takes a backseat. All I can think of is what ridiculously OTT ensemble I’ll be cobbling together.

There’s particular friends I love to meet up with because they too are overdressers. I go outfit hunting with the express motivation of impressing them – let’s be real, we’re rarely dressing to impress men. My general rule is that if my husband is admiring my outfit, I’ve done something wrong.

The overdressing enthusiasm does have some unfortunate side effects, for example I have three ball-gown style skirts, yet somehow not a single decent white tee shirt. I also quite often have to answer the question: “Ohhh, going somewhere nice?” upon encountering one of the neighbours having opted to wear leather trousers and cut-out boots to do the Wednesday playschool drop off with “No, just over to the school.” It’s a little sad and highlights just how wide open my social itinerary is that I’m resorting to dressing up for the school run.