I haven’t had a style icon for a while.
But last weekend I was watching a documentary on The Good Life and it reminded me how much I adore Margot Leadbetter.
Margot Leadbetter is a suburban housewife par excellence. Given other circumstances Margot Leadbetter would be running a multi national corporation, but if she’s going to be a suburban housewife then she’s damn sure she’s going to be the best Suburban Housewife for a hundred miles, and the best dressed with it.
I’ve always loved how Margot has an outfit for every occasion. For day wear she wears gorgeous smart 70s suit and hat combos, when cleaning she has the perfect 70s house dress and turban, if she’s running the local amateur dramatics association then she’ll be dressed in dramatic frills and ruffles, and come cocktail hour she’ll be dripping with diamonds.
Margot is more than a style icon to me. Although she’s fictional she’s one of those amazing strong women yet vulnerable women that abounded in the sitcoms I grew up with in the 70s and 80s. Characters like the also incredibly well dressed Sybil from Fawlty Towers and Margot from The Good Life were all part of helping to form my identity, for better or for worse!
One of my favourite incidents in The Good Life is where the Goods suggest that Margot is perhaps too weak and feeble to carry a large sack around in the muddy garden, causing her instantly to swing a sack over her shoulder to prove them wrong (and knock everyone flying, but we won’t go into that). There might be things in the world Margot doesn’t want to do, but no one is going to tell her there’s something she CAN’T do.
Of course, I could never really wear most of Margot’s wardrobe without extreme care. Margot is what can only be described as “statuesque” I am “short”, “curvy” or if you’re feeling less polite “dumpy”, and if I jumped into Margot’s wardrobe of flowing maxi dresses I’d look it, but there are certainly principles of coordination, dressing appropriately for the situation and generally being well turned out, with half an eye on fashion and the other half on style that anyone can take on board.
The plus side of grabbing a bit of Margot’s style is that original 70s items can still be picked up fairly cheaply in Charity Shops and at Boot Fairs. If you want someone else to do the hard work for you then here’s a couple of vintage pieces available online that I know Margot would LOVE.
1970s Striped Knit Dress £15 on eBay
1970s Snakeskin Print Maxi Dress £35 on Lovely’s Vintage Emporium
Pink 70s Chiffon Dress with Scarf £86.41 on Etsy
1970s Green Velvet Jean Varon Dress £100 from Penny Dreadful Vintage