Since the age of eight, when I was still wearing look-alike Kappa poppa pants from the market, completely unaware of fashion or what I was wearing, my one and only style icon (second only to Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle) has been Ellen Griswold, star of The National Lampoons.
Before I was aware of how to shop for clothes and how to put an outfit together, when I still just wore whatever fell my way, I had a burning desire that every outfit I wore should make me somehow become Ellen Griswold. I wanted to achieve that classic, elegant eighties chic; billowing cream blouses with long sleeves and pearl buttons, chunky knit jumpers; pink silk and green satin.
Growing up in north-west England in the nineties, I had more chance of meeting Lewis Carroll than actually looking like this, or even finding those clothes in the shops. Then suddenly, miraculously, something happened. About two years ago fashion began to shift. Suddenly, the classic eighties style was coming back. Starting slowly, naturally with Topshop, the cream blouses, waistcoats and satin were coming back. Now it became possible to buy those clothes that I had longingly aspired to since my mum bought my clothes from Runcorn market.
Here are a few of the items which helped me on my way to achieving my ultimate, lifetime ambition; for my wardrobe to look like Ellen Griswold’s….
One of my favourite outfits is the green skirt, worn with a cream blouse, for Christmas Eve dinner. I had dreamed of this outfit for years and years, and then last Christmas H&M had one which was identical. Shown in the two pictures above, the H&M skirt is the same green, the same texture and has the same sexy, above the knee kick. I only wear it at Christmas, for very special occasions.
My second favourite item is the black jumper. I couldn’t find a better picture of Ellen wearing hers. It’s black, snugly fitted, covered in white spots with a row of pretty white hearts. Again, I had dreamed of this jumper all my life, as my Christmas Jumper Mecca. I never held much hope of finding an identical match. Then suddenly, two weeks ago, I wandered into Primark. I have been boycotting the shop because of its association with sweat shops, and I had promised myself not to buy anything. I went in with my sister and hanging on a shelf was MY jumper; Ellen’s jumper. Black, snugly fitted, white spots and a row of white hearts. £11!
The National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (or ‘The Griswolds’ as we call it) is one of my favourite films. It’s hilariously funny, warm, charming and exciting to watch, and it brings my entire family together every Christmas, playing second fiddle only to the Coca Cola advert. In fact, part of the reason for our love of the Coca Cola advert comes from The Griswold’s. Our copy (on VHS) for years, before we got the DVD, has been a copy we taped one Christmas day. Two advantages of this are that any swear words or suggestive comments are cut out for family enjoyment without those awkward moments, and secondly; all of the Christmas adverts are recorded as well, so that we can enjoy the old nineties festivity every year, including the Coca Cola trucks, which have now become everyone’s earliest indicator that the ‘holidays are comin’.
Merry Christmas x