This story is over 5 years old.

A Girl's Guide to Falling Apart with Dignity

How to dress when you go to get drugs, madness, herpes or a foetus sucked out of you.

Young Nurse by Sam Cherry, 1954

So you followed our advice and have been sleeping with older men left, right and centre. But seducing pensioners gets old pretty quickly whereas ailments – especially of the mental or genital kind – can stay with you for a lifetime. So this time around, we thought we'd assume an inch of social responsibility and tackle the sartorial savoir faire required to visit those places populated by people who would much rather be anywhere else. Hospitals! (Or any other place filled with people in white robes acting all superior because they spent ten years studying corspes.)


Just to be clear we're not talking about visiting Aunt Muriel after her fifth hip replacement (it's OK, all the patients in A&E look like shit and emotionally you're a mess, save your best clothes for the funeral). We're talking swabbing your genitals for warts and sucking a jelly foetus out your womb with a tiny, little vacuum cleaner. Did that last sentence make you shiver? Good, that means that despite Google Images' best efforts you are still human, and if you're human, you're weak, which means all of the following advice is invaluable to you.

We know it's hard dealing with "personal issues", but it’s even harder dealing with them when you’re dressed like shit. Dress well and suck it up. Just like a baby-hoover. Vrooooooom….


Clockwise from top left: Zara shirt, Topshop bowler, Topshop leggings, Vivienne Westwood scarf, pinafore, Reebok trainers, pearl tie pins, Cos jumper, Kiehl's tinted moisturiser

Picture this: You wake up; throw on some white J Brands, swing past the surgery, get distracted by a window display that looks like it was designed by JG Ballard and you hit the shops. As you’re looking through the latest paltry offering from Topshop Unique, disaster strikes, and suddenly the Red Sea is gushing out of your vagina and all over your jeans. What the fuck?!

No, not what the fuck. This happened to a real-life friend of mine. Tie-dye wasn’t even a trend that season. Hugely awk. To avoid this kind of amateur mistake while maintaining the virginal reputation you hold so dear, we’ve compiled a tasteful and snappy montage of outfit ideas. Firstly, the absolutely last thing you want to do is wear something tight and uncomfortable. I’ve never had an abortion, but I’m guessing that a) it’s horrid, and b) it hurts, so no high-waisted denim shorts, even if they are your summer staple, K? Also, jeggings are an absolute no-no. You can’t get an abortion in jeggings. Who are you, fucking Maxine Carr? Never lose sight of who you are, if you do that, you’re basically the same as one of those black Nazis.


Instead of light-coloured clothing that could prove to be… unhelpful, try to emphasise your purity by wearing solemn, demure silhouettes. Think Prada, Karl, a touch of Celine’s slick AW13 glamour. Nothing too Pilgrim-y though, you don't want to look like you're trying too hard to make it up to God, the Pilgrims threw people who had abortions down wells.

No, you want something understated, teetering on the brink of prim. Never forget: for every action there is a reaction, and the reaction you want in this case is a lot of pissed off people who believe that the reason young men kill each other in the street every day is because a snake whispered to a naked guy thousands of years ago.


Clockwise from top left: Ashish sweater, Always pantyliners, Plush condom hat, Cos panel dress, The Body Shop Super Volume Mascara, Cos wool dress, Barbour jacket, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar, Oysho pack of star and polka dot print Brazilian briefs, Cos hidden lace-up boots

Unless you are a massive a-hole, this is a situation you'll have found yourself in a few times already (if not, stop reading this, and click here – they are very clean and full of fun gays that will keep your stay judgement-free.)

Now that the public service announcement's done with, I'm gonna cut straight to the cottage cheese-looking mucus that may or may not be hanging from your vagina and the clothes that go best with it. Cool? Cool. To begin with, sexual health clinics have a strange power that turns even the most confident of sluts into a hunchbacked mass of shame and repentance. This is despite them being one of the few places where you can be sure everyone does it, apart from the woman behind the counter who’s wearing a burqa.


Everyone in the room is already assuming that your dick/vagina resembles Simon Weston after a lengthy Final Destination sunbed sesh, so you'll want to confound those cynical fucks by appearing to be comfortable in your actions and accepting of their consequences – think BP CEO circa massive Gulf Of Mexico oil spill. Only this time, petrol = foul bodily fluids, but the only thing on fire is the part of your body you make babies with. If you want to keep a straight face during the oral/anal sex question time (who the fuck uses condoms when giving head, people who strap up with supplements from The Mail?), you'll need to strip yourself of any sexuality. So go for tailored pieces and clean-cut lines and avoid anything tight at the crotch or you're looking at a month of peeing in the shower to help ease the pain. A pair of pleated, drop-crotch trousers and a white T-shirt – paired with black leather lace-ups – and your younger brother's overcoat, for instance, could do wonders. What could be even better however, is a shift dress that will allow you to wait the 20 minutes it takes the doctor to chat the nurses up before examining you. With your panties over you face, but your head held up high. Independent bitches. And for god's sake: do not even think of approaching anything resembling an overall (that is jumpsuits, playsuits, catsuits, suits of any kind) because your legs in stirrups with three doctors squeezing your genitals trying to determine whether that spot is a wart or an ingrown hair is awkward enough. Being naked at the same time might just kill you. That's about it: Top it all off with a pair of cotton briefs (I can't stress this enough; things down there need to breeeeaaathe) and a condom hat to show you have learned your lesson, and voila! Your labia might be dissolving, but your will to stay in the country stays intact.



Clockwise from top left: H&M jumper, Joules Allsorts socks, Olympia Le-Tan bag, Cheap Monday jeans, Pamela Love ring, Ugg hat, Mulberry scarf, JW Anderson X Topshop shirt, Ash boots

As a crazy person, you tread a thin line between letting your shrink know you wanna fuck them (which is actually a depressingly easy thing to do) and wanting to convince them that you don’t need constant monitoring, drug tests and behavioural tranquilisers. In order to do this, you need to think like the blue-balled, middle-aged psychiatrist that is sitting in front of you, work out where they shop and how they express themselves in their clothing. Pander to their massive, balloon animal ego: If you dress like they do in their down time, it'll be down to clown time.

Something slightly beatnik will show them that your mental illness has transformed your soul into something that is dark and poetic. imagine yourself as a reformed Winona Ryder, a bit weird, but essentially harmless. You steal The Man’s beauty products, but you’re not gonna blow up his hotels. That’s the vibe, now target it: a plain, boyish button-up shirt that gets all flouncey at the elbow, the kind of skirt a librarian wears and statement earrings.

Alternatively, go for black drainpipe jeans (not over-tight, and definitely not with embellished bum pockets, I only say this because you are insane and you might somehow think that was acceptable, but it’s definitely not) are a good place to start. Some inoffensive black boots, a soft jumper. The juxtaposition between hard and soft in your outfit will make your shrink think that you are well-rounded and possess a fully-functional mental state. What a gullible prick. Good luck getting fucked, crazies!



Clockwise from top left: Comme des Garçons Shirt bag, Topshop Unique teddy coat, Ugg boots, Muveil sequined puppy sweater, faux fur patchwork mittens, New Balance trainers, SpiritHoods hood scarf A couple of years ago, my friend Bonni was waiting in line for check-in at the airport when this giant bear hugged her from behind. She screamed; which prompted the bear to take off his bear-head and reveal that it wasn't a real bear, but in fact her high-school boyfriend, Pete. Pete had just gotten out of rehab for the third time and was working at an airport dressed as a bear because he had ruined his life by being an idiot. Moral of the story: Drugs are really fun, but there's a limit and once you cross that limit, it is absolutely essential that you style yourself into never crossing it again. No one wants to end up like Pete, he's dead now.

My thinking is: Rehabilitation centres are supposed to create a holistic, relaxed environment that allows their patients to be their true selves and get rid of any anxiety about fitting in or doing things the "right" way, right? Then this basically means that now is the time to let all your mental instability shine through your dilapidated septum like a beacon lit by self-delusion and brain cells. Wear whatever the fuck you want, especially if it's the kind of thing people back home would sneer at; those ear tunnels your boss demanded you get rid of and the boot-cut Levi's your boyfriend teased you about – put them back on with pride, add several layers of madness makeup and a tonne of mismatched items on top. Wear at least one furry accessory at all times.


Round everything off with a pair of Ugg Boots or New Balance trainers, or some other kind of hideous novelty bag. Wear those on your feet, arms, head or stuff them up your ass for all I care. You're looking at a month of having people take things from you and tell you how to feel and act, you might as well adorn yourself with every embarrassingly unfashionable item you ever owned, and look your absolute worst while you're at it. Who’s gonna give a shit? If you end up fucking your lawyer, it’s a Disney movie.

Follow Elektra and Bertie on Twitter: @elektrakotsoni / @bertiebrandes

More guides for young ladies:

A Girl's Guide to Screwing Older Men

A Ladies Guide to Buying Drugs

What Ladies Need To Know About Peeing Outside