Ode To The Instagram of Trinny Woodall
Updated: May 3, 2018
I was first introduced to Trinny Woodall, like most people, through her TV show What Not To Wear with Susannah Constantine, in which they told tired, middle-aged mothers how to improve their style. They gained tremendous success telling women in places like Bolton ‘do you know what? You actually have a really good waist! Here’s a £350 tailored suit jacket to show it off. Dress like this for now on. You’re welcome’. ‘Trinny & Susannah’, as they were known, were very good at making women feel great about themselves by spending lots and lots of money.
Suffice it to say - I adored them. I thought they were hilarious and confident and whip smart. I used to buy their annual style book every Christmas for my Mum, but sneakily read through the whole thing in mid-December, careful not to get the paper grubby. I made a note of all their fashion tips, always arranged by event or body shape. At the age of 8, I decided I was a “column” and would forever dress accordingly. I imagined a day, when I was like 23, when I could afford their lifestyle.
In the late noughties, Trinny & Susannah fell out of favour in the fashion advisory circle, usurped by wide-eyed young upstarts like Gok Wan. But Trinny & Susannah left a legacy, having literally invented a genre of television in telling tired, middle-aged women they didn’t look like a sack of potatoes. I’m not going to lie. I didn’t really think about the rise and fall of Trinny & Susannah for a long time after that.
But then, about ten years later, I came upon Trinny Woodall’s Instagram feed and everything changed. She was still breathtaking, still hilarious, still oddly relatable. I became obsessed and fought hard to get my friends obsessed too.
Have you seen Trinny’s latest??? reads the daily, feverish message between myself and my friend. I never miss a video and I have become an expert in her back-catalogue.
I am addicted to Trinny Woodall’s Instagram on a level that defies productivity, reason and sense. Every day I absorb every aspect of the videos she posts, analysing them in depth and watching them over and over again. Like any masterpiece, these videos are rich in meaning and detail, with more to notice on every viewing. In “Back of the Cab Chit Chat” (2017), one of my favourite ever videos (a punishing 11 minutes long), Trinny, doing her makeup from a London cab, lies down on the seat in order to show us the entirety of the outfit covering her six-foot-frame, including her heeled leather boots. Much of the video is spent addressing her fans directly, sometimes by name. She adores her followers, genuinely listening to their feedback on her products. At the end of almost every video, she spins around with a flourish and walks off into the ether. Where is Trinny rushing off to in these moments, I wonder? Great thinkers will never discover it.
These are the Truths About Trinny that cannot be denied:
1. Trinny looks great. At 53 years old, even the most eccentric of sartorial choices look phenomenal on her willowy frame.
2. Trinny is absolutely, unapologetically, incandescently mental. She springs out of bed at 7AM on a Sunday RAVING about her new CLEANSER. She likes to put EMPHASIS on random WORDS. She wears a face mask on the back of a motorbike while live on Instagram. On a daily basis, she goes to the Zara on King’s Road, picks out a new item, and showily raves about it to the camera, totally unselfconscious about the fact that she’s in a crowded high street shop. It is impossible not to adore a woman who is so amazingly crackers, so wholeheartedly devoted to her life-long quest to make women look and feel a bit better than they otherwise would.
3. Trinny is smart as a whip. She has built an empire from a phone, an Instagram account and a couple of Zara coats. She knows what she’s doing and she’s damn good at doing it. Her feel for self-promotion, and natural showmanship, is bar none.
4. Trinny is very keen for us to know that, in spite of her 50-item strong sequin jacket collection, she is Just Like Us. She only talks about high street clothing and will often put an item from H&M back on the shelf because she ‘can’t afford it’ (lol okay Trinny).
Trinny likes to refer to things in singular: a bright LIP, a well-cut TROUSER, a silver platform BROGUE. Her life is comfortable and luxurious. But yet: we don’t dislike her or envy her. Why? I think, first of all, because her enthusiasm is genuine. And, what’s more, she’s in on the joke. Trinny strikes me as the kind of woman who could laugh at the brand she has built for herself, able to accept teasing and adulation in equal measure.
1. A Bright Lip
2. A Well Cut Trouser
3. A silver platform brogue
4. An eye-catching sequin coat
5. A fur gilet
6. A fuschia suit
7. A cape (it ‘adds drama to any outfit’)
8. A complex seven-step skincare routine
9. Zara. She really fucking loves Zara.
After modelling her latest ensemble, Trinny will bring out Chloe in the same outfit, who is (conveniently) a UK-national-average size 16. It is not clear what Chloe’s relationship is to Trinny, or why she seems to hang out in this adult woman’s home, waiting to be summoned into frame.
It’s easy to be cynical about Trinny. Of course she’s trying to sell us stuff (her new makeup range TrinnyLondon Match2Me was released just in time for Christmas). Of course she is privilege personified, and maybe, it could be argued, that there are more important things to think about in 2017 than statement capes and Prada boots.
But I love Trinny because, whether consciously or not, she is fully embracing her own madness and joie de vivre. She loves her daughter. She loves her fans. She loves a fur gilet. It is this unashamed, unqualified delight that makes her irresistible. The middle-aged-woman is an oft-ignored demographic, as rarely seen in popular culture as the Abominable Snowman is seen in Tottenham Court Road. But Trinny, all of herself all of the time, makes middle-age look riotous fun. As the world around me changes in startling ways, there is one corner of Instagram that will remain the same.
I’m sure she’s just high on life, but whatever she’s on, I would like some. Long may she upload.
Written by Matilda Curtis
Illustrated by Helen Walker