So avant-garde in my oily boilersuit


Regarding the recent discussion about boilersuits (Liberated and louche – all hail the boilersuit!, G2, 13 March), my friend Jillie and I were travelling around Europe in the mid-1970s, our income supplemented by busking. As we approached the East German border in Berlin, kitted out in our Millet’s boilersuits, our guitars slung over our shoulders, the two border guards said something and collapsed into giggles. Jillie translated for me: “Here come the workers!”
Joanna Harding
Holmfirth, West Yorkshire

• In 1976 my family and I visited a friend in California. I decided to bring the children home on the QE2 (steerage) “for the experience”. While in San Francisco I bought a jumpsuit – skin-tight denim with flares. I put this on and sashayed along the corridors up towards the bar, feeling like a real cool cat. A woman approached me. “Do you work here?” she asked. Collapse of cool cat.
Margaret Harvey
Netherbury, Dorset

• I never realised that all my working life as an engineer I was a forerunner of political gender-resistance by wearing a boilersuit.
Hugh Edwards
Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria

• The boilersuit was the de rigeur style of dress for the sinkers, welders and platers at Shildon British Rail Engineering in the 125 years it operated before the Conservative government closed it in 1985. But more of an oily blue rather than the orange and pink shown in the article.
Peter Sixsmith
Shildon, Co Durham

• Can’t find a suitable Churchill/Bowie/Jarman boilersuit? Make your own – Kwiksew pattern K3389 (sewing machine required). There’s a whole Guardian Weekend article here.
Bob Everett

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