The news that fleecy all-in-one suits are flying out of the shops faster than they can be cranked out of a factory in China, brought a rictus smile to my face this week, reminding me of a close encounter with a 'onesie' – as I do believe such garments are known as, stateside – this summer.
My 16-year-old niece Ari [left] had come to visit me in France, and at the end of her stay, we went shopping in London to buy, among other things, a new school uniform.
‘What else are you planning to buy?’ I asked, as we set off for Oxford Street.
‘What I would really, really like is a giraffe suit,' was the left-field reply.
‘A giraffe suit?’, I repeated.
‘Yes, for Halloween.’
(I should point out that, because she is tall, her nickname at school in the Cayman Islands, is 'giraffe and a half' – or ‘haff’ as it is pronounced there).
‘You can buy many things in Oxford Street but if you find a giraffe suit, I will eat my (very old) Prada bag.’
Less than half an hour later, lost in the hell of a store that I usually avoid for ethical reasons, I heard a triumphant cry.
‘It’s time to eat your Prada bag,’ shouted my niece swiveling her hips in a victory dance and pointing to a giraffe print all-in-one, hanging limply on a rail.
Then her eyes then grew even wider. 'Oh. My. God. LOOK AT THAT.'
I followed her gaze to the zebra equivalent of the giraffe suit, hanging next to it in all its 100% polyamide glory.
‘I’m so buying that for you,’ said my niece.
‘Ahh, that’s very kind Arianna, but I honestly can’t think of any circumstances in which I would wear a zebra romper suit. Plus it might scare Biff.'
‘Oh pleeese let me buy it for you. We could both wear them to the airport tomorrow. Look, it even has little padded zebra feet.’
Such was her enthusiasm that for one foolish moment I actually did consider accompanying her to Heathrow dressed as a zebra.
The problem would have been the return journey, when I would have trotted onto the Heathrow Express alone, padded feet and all, looking for all the world like I’d given my care worker the slip.
Salvation came in the form of a tiny frilled black skirt.
‘Screw the giraffe,’ declared my niece, emerging from the changing room with a wiggle and a ‘My dad’s gonna kill me’.
'Don't worry about him,’ I said. ‘Get that. Definitely. And look, there's a really high pair of studded ankle boots to go with it.’
And so, with such diversionary tactics, I escaped the zebra suit. Back in France, I told this story to my friends Sarah and Steve.
When he had finished choking on his glass of Madiran, Steve declared that the image of me in a fleecy zebra all-in-one with little padded feet, was so very funny that it would forever be etched on his temporal lobes.
My brush with a zebra romper suit gave everyone a good laugh. But in the light of this week's news – 'We've all gone crazy for onesies' was the headline in the Daily Mail – I'm beginning to think that my niece was on to something.