Remember the TV classic Challenge Anneka? It was one of the all-time great TV ideas: a challenge, set up like a treasure hunt against the clock, with an always-game Anneka Rice running running running, just ahead of a bumpy handheld camera, receiving instructions from command central on a head mic.
None of us remembers the missions (always in a good community cause). What we remember is Anneka never wavering in her pace and, of course, the jumpsuits.
I can’t wait to see what the jumpsuits will be like this time, after Channel 5 announced it’s reviving the show. Anneka is, after all, a glamorous 63-yearold on the move, and we can all relate to that. And, unlike 30 years ago, we’re living in peak wearable jumpsuit times.
The choice is virtually unlimited, your jumpsuit no longer has to be Lycra with neon flashes, and 60-something women are as likely to wear them as their daughters are.
Channel 5 is reviving TV show Challenge Anneka, with Anneka Rice, 63 (pictured). Shane Watson is excited to see how the jumpsuit will be worn this time round
The programme’s wardrobe people can just pop into any shop on the High Street and pluck a different one for every episode, then a smarter one for the wrap party. Should they need any tips, here’s a few I’d heartily recommend.
Starting with ones that are appropriate for dashing about on a deadline, I’d head to LF Markey, where the jumpsuits look just utilitarian enough, but are fitted in all the right places.
Television presenter Anneka Rice in a blue iconic jumpsuit, £149, Ossie Clark at debenhams.com, leather jacket, £69.99, zara.com
In my opinion, it’s a mistake to steer too far from the classic jumpsuit features; you always want one that opens in front, whether buttoned-up, zipped, or a wrap, and it has to look relaxed, never tight. But just as important, you want it to flatter your figure and make you look like one neat package. We’re only interested in the figure-conscious variety — as Anneka certainly will be.
Left: Anneka in a grey jumpsuit, £649, Faith Connexion at Fenwick. Right: Anneka in a Tropical print jumpsuit, £49 riverisland.com, black jacket, £49.99, zara.com, black patent heels, £149, reiss.com
My favourite, and the one chic 50-something women I know own, is the zip-up Danny boilersuit in indigo (£180, lfmarkey.com). On the whole, boilersuits are looser, unfitted and made of heavier material, so this one is an exception.
This style ticks the crucial four boxes — it has an elasticated waist, wide straight legs, long sleeves and a bit of spandex in the mix (you don’t want your boiler/jumpsuit to be stiff). And being denim gives it an extra dash of cool.
JUMPSUITS: 2022 RULES
- Go for fluid fabrics
- Cinch waist in evening
- Roll up long sleeves
- Avoid black
It comes with short sleeves, too (£160) in navy, coffee, saffron or mid blue, but I prefer to roll up the sleeves of a jumpsuit: it looks smarter and it’s more flexible. You can wear this one year-round.
Another jumpsuit with one leg firmly in the practical category (the other in the chic camp) is Autograph by Marks & Spencer’s Tencel navy jumpsuit (£69, marksandspencer.com). Tencel/lyocell is brilliant for jumpsuits — soft, fluid, forgiving and light but somehow also containing. This one has wide legs, a tie belt and a zip with an O-ring pull so it’s dressy enough for work. I love the easy shape, which somehow flatters all figures. For anyone who feels trussed up in a more fitted jumpsuit, this is the way to go.
The less utilitarian option is an elbow sleeve, linen jumpsuit such as Hobbs’s in summery green (£149, hobbs.com).
A loose-fit jumpsuit in a soft linen is perfect relaxed everyday summer wear. If you prefer a short sleeve at this time of year, M&S has a cotton and linen blend, button-front six-pocket style (£75) which looks great in light or dark blue.
It’s a little bit more casual, but with a jumpsuit, it’s a lot about how you wear it.
If there’s an occasion to go a bit smarter, the answer is a gold zip-pocket or two, a fluid fabric, and swap your trainers or flat pumps for a low-heeled or chunky flatform sandal.
Me+Em’s jumpsuits never skimp in body length and there’s lots of choice including a pink Tencel, zip-up jumpsuit (£175, meandem.com) which, when belted, has a just-dressed-up-enough feel.
Otherwise, if you want something plain and elegant, which you can glam up with gold sandals and chains, Cos’s belted Tencel jumpsuit (£99, cos.com) is a good bet. Crucially it’s dark navy not black, so looks smart rather than hard.
That’s more or less covered everything Anneka might need to get the job done.
We’ll be right behind her.