Just Seeing Me…

I’ve decided not to partake in the Friend Friday Blog Award Nominations (gee, I love a catchy opening sentence…). Not because I don’t want to give anyone credit – quite the opposite. I mulled over it for ages – and was certainly not short of ideas for nominations – but decided in the end that I wasn’t comfortable specifying names when the blogging world is an embarrassment of writing talent riches.

(Stop shouting “cop out”! I’m trying to be sincere here.)

Instead, I wanted to tip my hat to all of you who commented on last week’s body image post. Bizarrely (and rather naïvely), I expected to read a ton of light-hearted but earnest Friend Friday posts from self-conscious bloggers who found being photographed a chore – as I do. I couldn’t believe it when I read post after post that at best was body-loving, or at least body-accepting. It felt like turning up to a party in a sexy bunny outfit and discovering it wasn’t fancy dress. Or sliding down a fireman’s pole and showing my underwear. Either way, you get the Bridget Jones imagery.

“What do you mean, you don’t hate your bottom?!”
After reading 10 Friend Friday body image posts I started to feel very emotional; after 15 I had to make myself a strong cup of tea to sort myself out. I was amazed at how it stirred up all sorts of feelings and insecurities about my self-image.

A few hours later (armed with another strong brew) I read the comments on my own post. They varied from the comical response to me cropping off my head in all my photos:

See, the redhead is for blogging. You should see the one I wear for reeling in the boys.
…to the reassurance of those who understood:


From the philosophical:


…to the encouraging:

…to the downright affecting:

I had a bit of an epiphany, if you like. I’ll be honest with you, comrades- and lord knows this ain’t easy to admit – but I went through the gamut of emotions that day. I felt like I got so much from my friends, from other posts, and the input on my own post. The whole thing shook me up, in a good way. The most surprising vibe I got was the idea of ‘facing my fear’, i.e., posting more pictures of myself, not less; I assumed that happiness would come from avoidance, rather than acceptance…but you all taught me a valuable lesson that day. Even hearing that bloggers tooks lots of photos to get the right one – that was a revelation!!

“I’ve either got body dismorphia, or a seriously warped mirror…”
In my original post, I quoted John Berger, who said that ‘women watch themselves being looked at‘, and there is a large amount of truth in that, particularly for me. I realised I’d stopped valuing myself for what I was doing, or who I was, and started judging myself on my looks, my wardrobe, how many times I wore high heels. Suddenly fifteen plus women were telling me to ‘let it go’, and it had a powerful effect. The truth is, it shouldn’t necessarily be our goal to love every bit of our bodies…but to not let it get in the way if we don’t.

So: a big thank you to all of you who commented on that post. Allow me a moment of sincerity to say I was a little overwhelmed. A small comment from you meant a lot to me. I’m on the up now, folks!

And so, inspired by you: an outfit post – complete with head (my very own). I didn’t even put any make-up on it, or nuffin’.

M&S coat, Topshop jumper, H&M skirt, Primark boots
It feels quite strange even posting that – one photo of me, today (in what could be considered an homage to Franca, the colour guru). You daily outfit-posters and photogenic types are just going to have to trust me when I say it’s a big deal for me.

I’ll leave you with part of Fashion for Giants’ comment, which I think puts it all in perspective:

Amen to that. So thanks, all. You’re real pals. 

And you’ll be sick of my face come June.


Mrs B's eBay Sale – everything under £10!

**UPDATE – a few items have sold but I’ve posted some new ones 
– click here to see my full list of items**

Hey there, chickens!

In my last post, I made passing reference to the fact that I’d cleared out most of my wardrobe. On a sudden impulse, I emptied everything I didn’t want anymore…and was left with very little. Thanks to some timely advice from Make Do Kate and Pearl, I salvaged some of it – luckily, as I seemed to be dooming myself to a lifetime of pyjama-wearing – and the rest has gone on eBay. 

Half of this lot is waiting for a good home…

Not one of these items is more than £8, and most are less than that, but I wanted to share the best of the bunch with my blogging buddies in case you are interested. I need to make a few quid, yes – but I’d be happier selling to someone I ‘know’, safe in the knowledge that they’d gone to a good home…and may even pop up in someone’s outfit post sometime!

So without further ado, here are the picks. If you are interested in anything, just click the image to go through to the eBay site (my listings here) – and feel free to email me with any questions!

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Go bold this summer with this lovely red Monsoon wrap dress:

Currently bidding at £1.20 + postage

Or plump for florals with this strapless dress:

Buy it Now – £5.00 +postage

Indulge in next season’s love affair with colour in these red high-waisted peg vintage trews:

Vintage trousers – £6.00 + postage
Look at the cute belt!
On the same vintage route: grab this fab dress – dare you to wear it with orange-red tights!

Vintage dress – £7.00 + postage
Best label EVER. Fact.

Anyone remember this photo? Well I’m selling both items – if you want em, click away:

Oui Set silk blouse – £6.00 + postage
Tweedy skirt – £5.00 + postage

I also have a slightly larger skirt in a tweedy pattern – shown here with a pussybow and cardigan:

But it Now – £4.00 + postage



H&M dress –SOLD

Blouse – SOLD

Orange IS the only fruit.

Instyle magazine

It’s no secret that colour is gonna be big this year. So, after my recent post on wearing colour, I’ve decided to branch out.

Folks, I’m embracing orange

Jaeger AW 2011
Orange has cropped up all over the catwalks, from Jaeger to House of Holland, and although I draw the line at orange stripey socks (they are cute, mind) I do think it makes a great accent colour.

House of Holland AW 2011
Yet again, finances mean my only option is to delve into the depths of my existing wardrobe (and since I threw half of it out last night in a ‘fit of pique’, that was much easier than usual). I don’t know how I forgot about it, but I unearthed this lovely orange leather clutch that I found at a vintage shop in Prague…

Here it is again, having lunch somewhere near  Malostranská Beseda. I was a mere 23 years old…
And again, at a wedding in 2007. I look quite impish, don’t I?

So, lovely bag, never fear – you will get an airing this year. And I think it’s quite a restrained step, considering I’ve embraced it with such gusto in the past:

Mrs B as Cyndi Lauper, 2006
How will you be wearing orange this year? 
Will you be wearing orange this year?!

Wardrobe in a Winter, er, Wonderland…

I’m going away next weekend, for fun and frolics with the family by the sea. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well think again, bright angels, because this is the seaside in the north of England. Sea spray so harsh it exfoliates your face, winds so cold you have to eat fish and chips just to maintain a healthy body temperature. But don’t get me wrong – I am looking forward to it, and as someone who hasn’t been away for a couple of years, I am extraordinarily excited about planning my holiday wardrobe, sub-zero temperatures or no.

I think the word we’re looking for is ‘bracing’.

So. What to wear? I am not in a position to buy a new wardrobe (and let’s face it, buying denim cut-offs in July holds much more holiday promise than a waterproof cagoule at the back end of February). So, in true make-do style, I have promised myself that I will use this as an opportunity; I will wear some of the most neglected items in my wardrobe. And try not to horrify my grandmother in the process.

First off: footwear. For inspiration, I headed straight for the best: who did winter chic better than Ms Bradshaw? (stop groaning at the back – everyone’s allowed to play the Carrie card at some point in their blog’s life, surely?) I loved Carrie’s Paris wardrobe, which even managed to turn me round to over-the-knee boots. This look in particular is one of my favourites – white ankle boots, patterned dress and pink leather gloves all quirky touches to an otherwise chic and neat outfit.

Cheer up, Carrie – at least it’s not Blackpool!

Thanks to Carrie, I have decided to take… my vintage off-white shoeboots, purchased on eBay three years ago. 

Not scuffed…just previously loved!

White?! Ankle boots?! I received many a look of horror when I bought these, and I admit they’re odd, quirky little things, but styled up right I think I can pull ’em off. Or as Miranda might say, “I love them they’re my thing, let it go…”

What do we think? 
With a sneaky pair of tights and a cute little dress, do you think I’ll get away with it?

Blackpool image from RedCafe.net

Carrie image from HBO website

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Remember to click the image and add to the comments if you 
want to join in the en masse Fashion/Feminism blog posts!

Friend Friday: Body Image.

We’re walking on eggshells this week, my dears, with a pertinent topic for bloggers and non-bloggers alike: Body Image.

Since you started blogging has your image of yourself changed?

Yes, but not necessarily for the better! I think I lived in a bubble, happily unaware of whether my hair needed a more thorough brush, or if I needed to tone up my arms. Photographing yourself is hard enough, photographing creative outfits harder still…but photographing yourself for the perusal and analysis of other people?! Terrifying. It’s certainly made me look at myself more critically. Add some ridiculously photogenic fellow bloggers into the equation, and it seems like a hopeless business!

Facing away is always a trusty tactic.

Are you self-conscious about any aspect of yourself? If so, do you go out of your way to avoid it or do you post it/talk about it anyway?

Yes, of course, but wouldn’t talk about it in a post for fear of drawing more attention. It’s similar to when someone gives you a compliment on your skirt, for example, and you respond with, “Thanks…shame about my cellulite though!” I think some people do it because they are generally happy with the way their bodies are; some do it to prevent other people pointing it out. Me, I just dodge the bullet altogether…

Based on how you are feeling now, what do you think the future holds in the evolution of your body image?

I had heard from various sources that you become more comfortable with yourself as you get older – one of the reasons I have been looking forward to being ‘a girl in her 30s’. Unfortunately, I suspect a sudden addiction to buttered crumpets levels that out – and that, my friends, is the position I’m in. Swings and roundabouts. Factor in the increase of comments on my appearance from friends and family, and I think I may be a few miles from Self Image-Nirvana. In other words, you’re not going to get much Bossa action til I develop a profound love of salads.

Do you photograph yourself for your blog? If so, how do you feel about the experience when you’re having your picture taken? If you choose not to post pictures of yourself, what prompted that decision?

I am often loathe to post pictures of myself. I get excited, get all styled up, eagerly upload them…and often end up practically sobbing into a large glass of Pinot Grigio. I have to admit that as soon as I step in front of the camera, I just don’t know what to do with myself, so amuse Mr B no end with my oddly contorted poses. I find that taking ridiculous amounts and cropping out my head works wonders…

‘Vanity’ – Le Jonghe.
Paint is kinder as a medium, I find…

I read art critic John Berger’s Ways of Seeing when I was 18, and it changed my whole view on self-image. According to Berger: 

To my mind, posting regular photos of myself compounds this situation and makes it concrete; it makes me far too conscious of what I look like. That said, I don’t believe I’m under any obligation to post photos of myself – each to their own!

What would you want every person who struggles with body image to take to heart?

That’s a hard question to answer, as I’m certainly not as comfortable as I hoped to be. I suspect – sadly in a way – that people are far less critical of others than they are of themselves and are more likely to comment on the positives of an outfit than find fault. That has certainly been my experience.
Laura, from For Those About to Shop wrote a fantastic article lately about body image, asserting the not-always-popular view that we should stop focusing on how our bodies look at all – Dove Campaigns and Gok Wan be damned. In fact, I’m going to back-pedal and say that’s why I cut off my own head – I’m not vain, I’m just forcing you to focus on the clothes, darlings. And most of the time, that’s what others will do.
The cunning Bossa head-crop…
 How has being a blog-reader or -writer affected your body image, if at all?
And what advice would you give self-conscious types?

For more information on Friend Friday, click here
To read all the other participants’ posts, click…yes, you guessed it: here.

Calling All (Feminist) Fashion Bloggers…!

Are you a feminist? Do you feel like like sticking your head above the parapet to say so? Then read on…

Recently, The Citizen Rosebud asked “Where are the feminist fashion bloggers?” Courtney of Those Graces answered (and has developed her answer in subsequent posts). Through further discussion a few of us established a need to talk about the crossovers and conflicts between fashion and feminism. We formed Feminist Fashion Bloggers (FFB), a network for fashion bloggers interested in feminism and feminist bloggers interested in fashion. We decided that we wanted to do a blog event to coincide with Women’s History Month.

And we invite you to join in.

Show us YOUR “Fashionable Feminist”! on Wednesday 16 March

We are inviting bloggers to answer the question: How do you express your feminism in the way you dress? In the past I’ve had such thoughtful and incisive comments on a variety of fashion/feminist-related issues, and it’d be fantastic if any of you fancied taking up this challenge. Feel free to answer by outfit posts, or essay, however you see fit. 

You can sign up by replying in the comments, with your name, blog name and email address. Or, click the envelope icon under ‘Hook Up With Mrs B‘ to email me direct. If it’s not for you, I ‘ll let you know when the posts are up – and I hope you’ll chime in…

Current FFB members are: 

For those about to shop
Mrs. Bossa Does the Do
Oranges and Apples
Those Graces

For more information on other FFB events, click here, or select the FFB tab at the top of the page.

Friend Friday: Colour Wars.

This week’s Friend Friday is all about colour – and let’s face it, those of us enduring the dismal days in the UK need an injection of vibrancy. I for one am very excited about the upcoming colour-blocking trend; I loved the collections at Gucci and especially Aquilano.Rimondi – I haven’t been so behind a trend since Prada’s Spring 2000 collection (the one with all the pleated skirts and ostrich skin). So put on your shades, people…and off we go!

What colour dominates your closet? 

It used to be black, but after succumbing to pressure I began to branch out into jewel tones: emerald, plum, deep sapphire… I found that wearing them on my bottom half made the transition a whole lot less scary.

Love pink and red together.
I would never wear pastels, white, or neon colours…and neutrals sap all the colour out of my already-pale skin.

If money weren’t an issue how would you change the colour emphasis in your closet?

This used to be an entirely black selection. Can’t believe I own that much pink…

I have become obsessed with cobalt and Yves Klein-esque blues. They are stunning shades, and they make my hair look redder – it’s a win win situation chez Bossa. I have a coat, jumpers, skirts…and of course my beloved vintage silk dress:

So if I had a real influx of cash, it’s most likely that I continue to turn my world blue. Or dip my toe into the neon pond by investing in a pair of this season’s Miu Miu shoes.

What is your mantra about mixing colours? 
For me, it’s got to be all-black or multiple jewel colours. I love tan leather with everything. As for what one shouldn’t wear…try as I might, I find it difficult to wear any combination of black, brown and navy, which is a total leftover from my very colour-conscious mother.  

Plum, navy, forest green, tan. My kinda combo.

For you, how do you incorporate colour into your outfits? 
If I’m feeling brave I will wear multiple colours together. If I’m feeling slightly less brave I’ll pop on a pair of coloured tights. If I’m all-out chicken I’ll perk it up with a necklace or some shoes…

Which blogger(s) do you think do a good job of incorporating colour into their wardrobe? 
Without a doubt: Franca, of Oranges and Apples. Her colour choices are fabulous, quirky and brave. Every outfit post makes me want to applaud. She is, also in my opinion, the mistress of coloured tights; she almost tempted me to buy some orange ones the other day. Don’t fret, my dears – I said almost…

Franca, my Colour Guru: and these are some of the lower-key outfits…
What about you, fellow fashionistas? 
How does colour feature in your wardrobe?  

For more information on Friend Friday, click here
To read all the other participants’ posts, click…yes, you guessed it: here.