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In praise of - string vests.

EAGLE-eyed viewers of Sky Atlantic may have noticed a strange anomoly during recent ad breaks.

A clip for cult HBO drama, Girls, shows the lead character Hannah Horvath, played by the brilliant Lena Dunham, in a sweaty, clubbing scene.

Nothing odd about that, you might think, it is a show about twentysomething hipsters living in New York. But look closer: she is wearing a neon yellow string vest. And good on her, I say. For far too long the poor old string vest has been banished to the fashion doldrums, unfairly categorised alongside snoods, leg warmers and socks worn with sandals as the domain of the naff, slobbish, stylistically challenged and Rab C Nesbitt.

But I, for one, love a string vest. Before you turn up your nose in dismay, here's the (abridged) science bit. The brainchild of Norwegian army commandant Henrik Brun in 1933, he cleverly fashioned two fishing nets – previously used to catch herring – into a garment that he correctly deduced would wick away sweat, while the remaining fibres trapped warm air next to the skin providing insulation.

Owning a string vest is like being an urban Bear Grylls – you never know when it might come in handy. At the supermarket? Simply whip off your vest, tie a knot at the bottom and voila you have an eco-friendly bag for toting the groceries home. Equally it can be utilised for everything from straining tea to rustling up a tourniquet (admitedly this is purely anecdotal, I've never tried the latter, or indeed the former, but remain quietly confident). Besides all the top cyclists wear them. And I like cycling.

Is there a string vest council? A special group commissioned to bolster and boost the image of this much beleagured item? Well, there should be. It's high time the string vest reclaimed its rightful place in the cultural zeitgeist. Who's with me?

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