Poems in ‘The Wardrobe’ 

Two of my poems — about clothes — have been published in The Wardrobe, an online literary Please do read them here …. https://theclothescollection.wordpress.com/issue-1-3/sara-nesbitt-gibbons/


List Poem

(Not actually a poem! All the clothes that didn’t fit my lovely pregnant body; another sixty days of clothes.)



Levi 553s. Because I could afford new Levis in Thailand and I was eighteen and didn’t know how slender I was, and because they have a French sort of look to them, and because we’ve travelled together.

Sand White embroidered grey drainpipes. Because I was a size 36 for a while there.

John Rocha winter sky blue grey cords. Because they were smart casual when I was a literacy development worker.

Tommy Hilfiger low slung flare jeans. Because they looked liked a sailor’s trousers.

Zara Basic skinnies, dark blue. Because they fitted like leggings and showed my toned legs.

Mustang black flares. Because mum adored them but lent them to me.  Time for her to get them back.


Miss Sixty denim high button-waisted with braces. Because it still had the £100+ price tag on but was £10 in Oxfam with a fixable zip, and because I wore it on the Wolf and my first date.

Bukhar stretch denim mini with subtle, snake-effect maroon trim in soft fabric and split on front left thigh.  Because sometimes I wanted to be outrageous.

Miss Real pale, dusky pink tutu mini skirt. Because my mum gave it to me and I thought I really might wear it.

Vintage / retro St Michael full-skirted black velvet midi. Because it was beautiful while it went round my waist and swished at my calves.

Jigsaw bias-cut, side zip midi / long skirt, dusky lilac blue.  Because I really must have been that small.

H&M black A-line with beige piping and trim.  Because it was cute.

Hennes Collection stretch, A-line, black knee-length / midi skirt with deep front and back split.  Because I worked in a real office once.

Tiered, crazy 80s print A-line skirt. Because I love that print, it’s mad and makes me happy! Keep for post-maternity.

Black, velvet vintage St Michael pencil skirt, with side pockets.  Because I first met the Wolf wearing this.

Cream wool skirt, Principles, with black flower embroidery.  Because it was a pressie from GM and useful for work.

Beige (beige!) bias cut skirt with blue and pink flower print.  Because it spoke to me, nonsensically.

Monsoon Twilight long fitted skirt, beaded and embroidered.  Because it’s something a lady in a Cadbury’s Milk Tray advert would wear. Keep, for when it fits.

Red, midi, leather pencil skirt.  Because it’s a red, midi, leather pencil skirt.

Electric blue leather A-line.  Because it’s an electric blue leather A-line skirt.

Brown leather pencil skirt. Because it was butter-soft and a great MA interview piece.

Black, A-line leather midi. Because it was a break-up skirt that got us back together.

Vintage MaxMara calf length, fitted and flared, black wool skirt. Because it was for a ghost costume and turned out to be a lovely skirt.

Denim mini. Because I cut the pockets off.

Dark charcoal stretch pencil skirt. Because it’s sophistimacated.

Cut-off inky blue cord mini. Because it went well over skinny jeans.

Black officey skirt. Because I worked in an office and it had pockets.

Lucy Paris crinkle maxi, with lilac, blue and gold stripes on hem.  Because it looked like fun.

Sky blue velvet A-line mini. Because it reminded me of the seventies when I was sixteen.



Pale gold, glittery stretch dress. Because it seemed like a nude neutral. Free size. Hardly worn.

Deep cherry silk cheongsam, with painted effect of flowers in maroon, white and pink-red.  Because it was so striking and fitted every so often.

Blue silk summer evening dress, H&M. Because there’s a parrot poking out upside down from orange and pink flowers.

Plum satin and matte 1930s style evening dress. Because the Wolf bought it for me, even if it’s never fitted.

Coast slate blue fitted stretch dress, knee length, with ice blue sash. Because I hoped to fit it for a wedding or two.

Black stretch velvet, sweetheart, strapless dress with thigh-high split.  Because I was Plenty O’Toole in this, aged 17.

St Martin’s, Dark green ‘nurse’ dress, with bird and tree embroidered on back.  Because it was costume.

Hamell’s Petites vintage, lemon yellow dress with machine embroidered all-over detail and big yellow and brass-effect buttons.  Because it was foux de fa fa.

Crystal cave dress, vintage.  Because I was obsessed with Seizure.

Black wool Jigsaw shift, button through.  Because it’s so sixties and I’ve had it since my teens – give to mum.

Red, satin St Martin’s dress. Because every woman in the shop told me to.

Psychedelic satin halter neck dress. Because it will do nicely for a wedding one day.

Thai silk, tailor made evening dress.  Because I used to live in Thailand and wanted a silk dress to wear forever.

Backless, vintage LBD. Because it was unusual and classic.

Black, stretch shift dress. Because it was useful.

Vintage blue and white striped seaside summer dress.  Because it’s a stunner and has a dropped, V-shaped waist and full skirt.

Blue, tiered hem, cross-fronted linen dress. Because I spent hours colouring the seams in blue to match the colour mum and I had dyed it.


Shorts and Trousers

Voodoo Dolls cotton pale pink shorts.  Because they were a good, nude basic.

Atmosphere, black shiny bootcuts with button and fasten detail. Because they were black.

Europa, luminous green denims. Because I could.

Black Phase Eight trousers. Because when they fit me, they’re the most flattering trousers ever.

Cropped brown linen, Monsoon.  Because they should have worked.

Topshop, grey checked. Because they didn’t fit my housemate.

Cream, tailored French Connection trousers. Because, wow, I could.

Bronze, vintage Topshop hotpants.  Because they’re gorgeous.

Ex-jeans, high waist, short shorts. Because they look good on my bottom.

Black camping shorts. Because they seemed practical but were ugly.

Black suit-style shorts, knee-length. Because they were quite smart really.

Black linen hotpants. Because they were great when they fitted.

Savida sequinned harem trousers, black, never worn! Because I hoped they’d fit.

Multi-coloured sequin hotpants. Because one day, I’ll join the circus.  Keep.



Lilac, Jigsaw. Although it never fitted, it was a gift from mum.

Black, strapless, ruched chiffon, Oasis. Because it was lovely.

Black broderie anglaise with cream underlining, ruffled cotton bust and waist.  Because it was too cute.

Black, stretch with spotty trim.  Because it was a dotty spotty party.

Jigsaw, black, ruched and gathered.  Because it was for a degree show.

Red and black, beaded, with ribbon-tie back. Because it’s special.



Cream Hunters and Gatherers top with sequinned cuffs and waist, and split sleeves.  Because it was so sexy in 2001.

Mulit-coloured sequins on black velveteen tee, Walthamstow Market.  Because I was going to wear it with my sequinned hotpants.

Wraparound, vintage floral, cotton blouse.  Because it’s sweet. Keep.

Monix Monix vintage, 80s belly top, blue with black velvet bow.  Because it’s an eighties crop top with a bow, and I love Madonna.

Orange tee-shirt with empire line and loose waist.  Because it was useful for moving around a lot without being body conscious, at work.

Turquoise, bell-sleeved with silver butterfly across front.  Because my mum’s special friend gave it to me, and he thought I was a size 10. Keep.

Green blouse, Petticoat Lane market. Because it was a pound.

Blue satin, Chinese-style, long-sleeved, embroidered top, adapted by my mum.  Because at 15, this was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.

Black suede waistcoat with tassles and satin back.  Because something told me it would come in useful one day – never worn.

Cotton shirt, safari print, H&M. Because it was my first job after uni.

Lacy shrug, black. Because it was a different New Year’s Eve.

Vintage Debenhams shirt, blue with white collar.  Because it was there at the right time.

Little broderie Anglaise blouse. Because it’s been a useful layer.

Crossover white wool vest. Because it was very flattering until it lost its colour and shrunk.

Sheep in a field, pure wool tank top.  Because I adore it. Keep.

Dragon-sleeve, asymmetric black jumper. Because it was so fierce.

Fine-knit, black and white sleeveless turtle neck. Because it looked like scales.

Orange short-sleeved jumper. Because it totally went with everything.

Grey jumper dress. Because it was perfectly of its time.

Chainmail bikini. Because… why not?

Open-backed, ice-blue chiffon with silver sequins and big ribbon, Lipsy. Because it’s born to be a dancer.

Green boob tube. Because I was a student.

Cream jumper, Zara basics. Because it was a good basic.

Black, boiled wood jumper. Because it was freezing and I needed cover!

Black, sheer blouse, H&M. Because it looked like an Ozzie Clarke design.

One-sleeved, white, stretch, sheer top with asymmetric waist. Because it was summery.

Fitted broderie-anglaise vest. Because it was very British seaside.

Purple, white, green and orange flowered halterback. Because it’s so pretty.

Pink silk vest with embellished orange and pink flowers and beading and orange chiffon tie.  Because it’s perfect for hot weather.

Royal blue, Yves Saint Laurent, vintage silk tee-shirt.  Because it’s YSL baby! Thanks Oxfam.

Shanghai Tang pink and cream silk top, with cherry blossoms.  Because it was in a charity shop and it’s so delicate.

Cropped, white top with multi-coloured embroidered flowers, with button front and ribbon tie at waist. Because it’s so sweet and I was mad to think myself too fat for it.

Tee-shirt fabric cheong sam, flower print, H&M. Because a lot of photos over the years seem to have me in this dress.

Vintage, long sleeved Monsoon top. Because it should have been groovy. We never fitted each other.

Black, wraparound stretch blouse. Because it was smart before I laundered it.




Champagne and black lace and satin zip up jacket. Because one day, it’s gonna be perfect, Mum is always right. Keep.

Cropped, puff-sleeved cotton-denim.  Because I was much smaller then.

Cropped denim sing coat.  Because it went with everything.

Vintage Jaeger burgundy / deep tomato velvet blazer, with puffed shoulders.  Because it rocked.

Soft leather, black, wraparound leather jacket. Because it’s so unusual.

Ann Taylor, floor length, black satin evening coat.  Because it’s so dramatic.

Grey suit, tailor made, Thailand. Because it was a gift from my work there.

Green, embroidered, cross-over, silk. Because it was New Year’s Eve.

Blue, broderie Anglaise cotton lightweight summer jacket. Because it would go over Summer dresses.

Tie-dye, black and red, zip-front. Because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Monsoon, white, with embroidered and punched trim.  Because it should have been perfect, if my arms had fitted.


Strappy silver sandals. Because they looked great under jeans.

Black courts, very high heel.  Because sometimes I kick ass in a US court of law. Oh no I don’t.

Satin peep-toes, red. Because they were perfect for my 25th birthday.

Round-toed satin killer heels, red.  Because they were £2 on Brick Lane market.

Jaguar wellies.  Because they’re jaguar wellies.

Heeled, chocolate brown LK Bennett ankle boots. Because I used to be able to walk in these.

Purple galosh-style ankle wellies.  Because I thought they’d look good with skirts.

Post Mistress, knee-high boots. Because we made it as far as Waitrose together.

Shiny black, crinkly PVC, super high heels.  Because I was a Miss Muffet zombie once.


Week Seven

(First draft)



Green dress on a monster,

swamped me, sticky, lumpy

thing I used to own.


Proper, now, as the puppet’s

boundaries, the inside out

of childlike monstrosity


all padded and fragile

bulging at belly and arms.

Habit of a servant-monster


whose anguish lifts

those cuffed flailings

into an open cry.


My old, green dress is

a perfect shape

for grievous dreaming:


clear gesture, solid

open V of raised arms,

the stomach sunk.


Something will become

of my dress after this show,

packed with puppet pieces


for another transformation,

the bamboo, padding, sand-

filled bottle, plank, coffee


tin. The papier-mache head,

sad-faced, we also pack in:

useless now, sure to decay.



Sara Nesbitt