Simon Doonan works a lovely scarf and even lovelier dog model into his new display for his book How to Be Yourself

Best in Show! Simon Doonan indulges in a bit of doggy dressing for his new book

Window dressing gave the author confidence and this recent post proves he's still very much the master

Simon Doonan, the writer, media personality and author of our brilliant new book, How to Be Yourself hasn’t spent all of his professional life tapping away at a keyboard. “Before I became a writer, my trade was window dresser,” he writes in the new book. “I spent my days schlepping mannequins and making giant poodles out of feather dusters."

This early and highly rewarding career, working for such prestigious stores as Barneys in New York, gave Simon both skills for life, and a healthy sense of pride in creating things. “I am a big believer in manual competence,” he writes. “I can declog gutters and toilets. I can change a car tire. I could probably figure out how to change the oil. My years of prop making, set building, and mannequin fluffing have given me a breezy, confident relationship with the physical world."

Simon Doonan. Photo by Joe Gaffney
Simon Doonan. Photo by Joe Gaffney

“Trades make people happy,” he goes on. “In my experience, trades are every bit as conducive to self-expression as more prestigious jobs. They are also a reliable source of income: landscape gardener, sushi chef, electrician, DJ, florist, and...drumroll...hairdresser. Learn to cut and/or color hair and you will work forever. No matter what horrors engulf an economy, people still pay to get their hair done. You never spend time in a hair salon and think, ‘If only these poor unhappy people could work in a place where they get to be themselves and have fun.’ In the hair community, everyone is fully actualized.”

And, while Simon himself might have moved on to star in TV shows and pen columns, he returned to his old trade, in order to promote his new book.

How to Be Yourself
How to Be Yourself

“I’m sure Dostoevsky or Charles Dickens szhooshed some gorge displays whenever a new book hit the shelves,” he wrote in a not-entirely-accurate description of the habits of his literary forbears, in the text to accompany this recent Instagram post (above).

“FYI Michael Kors gave me this poodle two decades ago," he added, before going on to inform his followers that the scarf came from JW Anderson’s recent collection for Uniqlo. The style, composition and general szhooshery are, of course, all Simon’s own work.

For more advice and insight from the world’s best-informed ex-window dresser order a copy of How to Be Yourself here.