The Writerly Review of Black Polo-Necks by Frances Holland


Have you been doubting your writing identity lately? Feeling as if you’re on a par with other people when you know you’re actually so much better than them? Then you need a wardrobe game-changer, and Frances Mulholland* is here to help!

The ‘You look very French today!’ One
This black polo neck is actually more of a dark grey; made from incredibly thin material, it usually retails for around £6 in Asda, and is perfect for when you’ve just bought a new bra you kind of want to show off through the almost-opaque fabric.
Cheap and figure-hugging, team this with black trousers after seeing an advert on Facebook for ‘Les Quatres Cent Coup’ on BFI Player. This will fool people into thinking you possess Gallic insouciance without having to actually download BFI Player, because it’s shit and doesn’t work.
The Investment Piece
So-called because you could have laid down a deposit for a nice semi-detached with front and rear garden for what you’ve just forked out in Reiss or the Autograph section of M&S. It’s pure cashmere, which you have no idea how to wash, and you can’t ask your mam if you can stick it in the machine with some Woolite because then you’d have to admit that you just spent a month’s salary on a fucking JUMPER.
The Magneto
It’s blacker than Jeremy Hunt’s soul, it kind of feels like cashmere but won’t break the bank, and you don’t have to dry it on a flat surface. But it WILL transform you into a human Van De Graff generator, giving out static shocks like Boris Johnson gives out child support payments.
This little number also cannot be worn when smiling as it will transform your face into a grotesque blob of chin and cheeks, so you’ll have to make your peace with looking like a scowling comic book villain if you’re going to wear this. From Dorothy Perkins or somewhere sensible.
‘Just getting some new author photos taken, NBD.’
YEAH right. Such a small deal that you’re now 90% primer and your own parents wouldn’t recognise you. A black slash-neck is the avant-garde alternative to a polo-neck, and when paired with a bookcase background, will make you look astonishingly like Maeve Brennan of ‘The New Yorker’ in a candid shot round Truman Capote’s gaff.
JK, you still look like a butternut squash wearing a binbag.

Other Writerly Accoutrements…
Jewellery: keep to a MINIMUM, or you risk tipping over into “Art Teacher” category. Unless you want to spend six hours talking about Mondrian and Hummus, in which case, knock yourself out with your giant earrings.
Satchel: These are great for carrying notebooks around in. They are, unfortunately, rubbish for carrying anything else in, and don’t even think about putting your keys in it unless you fancy taking up leather-stitching.
Nom de Plume: *See above. Mostly so the kids from work don’t find me.
Freezing cold flat: Perfect for that “impoverished artist” vibe. You already have this, as you’ve spent all your money on fancy coffee, Moleskin notebooks, and black polo necks.


About the Author:

Frances Holland has been writing ever since she was five years old, when she realised that putting an amusing caption on a drawing of her dad could get cheap laughs. Her inspirations include folklore and mythology, as well as the everyday lives of the people around her. She lives in Northumberland. This creative non-fiction piece has been inspired by her writer’s residency at the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle.