Katherine Parkinson on her Ossie Clark dress: ‘I was paranoid I looked like a bumblebee’


The look I love Vintage fashion Katherine Parkinson on her Ossie Clark dress: ‘I was paranoid I looked like a bumblebee’

The actor discusses her love of vintage clothes – and reveals that Jennifer Lopez was once her style icon

‘I thought I would grow out of vintage.’ Photograph: Piers Allardyce/Rex/Shutterstock

This is an Ossie Clark dress, which I bought while I was very pregnant, so I hadn’t even tried it on, but I’m a big fan of Clark, and hoped that I would fit back into it at some point. It’s a bit faded at the sleeves because I got it from an antique shop in Harrogate when I was there filming In the Club, but I just love the buttons and the crepe material.

This was the first time I wore this dress, and I was paranoid that I looked like a bumblebee. I had been busy rehearsing for Home, I’m Darling and I didn’t want to worry about buying something new for the opening night. In the play, I wore lots of 50s clothes – so it was nice to wear something from a different decade, the 70s. I also wore heels the whole time – two and a half hours, running up and down stairs – so here I’m wearing Tabitha Simmons velvet ballet flats, for the preservation of my feet.

I thought I would grow out of vintage and graduate to really sleek, monochrome, French-lady dressing, but it just hasn’t happened. I still seem to have a lot of 30s, 40s and 70s stuff. I have realised that your personal style is perhaps set in place quite early on; if you were a punk, for example, there’s a part of you that stays that way. I kind of have the same hairstyle that I had when I was four! But, when I’m working, I do seem to go to the opposite of what my character wears. In my 40s and 50s, I want to become one of those people whose clothes look simple but expensive, rather than complicated and cheap. I always feel less guilty about buying things like this dress because, hopefully, they will retain their value. It’s a bit like having an antique in the house.

At the school gate, I am usually in pyjamas, trying to pretend that they’re outerwear. I remember when J-Lo made leisurewear really glamorous – I think I really embraced that. I used to walk around in those velour tracksuits – a matching top and bottoms with bling. That’s how I dressed throughout the 90s, so perhaps my style has changed after all.


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