The CAMPUS Blouse by Lyn Thomas

The CAMPUS Blouse

Clothes Pegs ( is a humorous memoir consisting of 30 short pieces connected by the theme of clothes and illustrated by family photographs. Each piece is based on a garment which acts as a trigger for the narration of a significant episode in the life history of a working-class girl growing up in Wolverhampton in the 1950s and 60s and winning a place at Oxford against the odds in 1971. ‘The Campus Blouse’ describes her struggles to fit in in her first year at Oxford, when she discovers she does not have the right kind of family background, clothes or accent. After Oxford she marries into a middle-class French family and does her best to be a good wife. On separating from her husband in the 1980s she moves to Brighton, where she discovers feminisms and other loves. In later pieces she faces ageing, retirement and life in post-Brexit Britain. By ‘pegging’ the stories on to items of clothing, the author is able to explore the lived, material experiences of changing class through education; gender; sexuality; and ageing. Any risk of excessive nostalgia is contained through the tight structure of the ‘clothes line’.


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