How Would You Wear…a Printed Jumpsuit?

Oops, I did it again.


It happens occasionally – I’m browsing for a perfectly practical item of clothing and I leave the shop with something über-trendy. This time the practical item was a pencil skirt. And the envelope-pushing item was a snakeskin-print jumpsuit. I know, I know.


I blame you. Or at least the blog. It was exactly the same with the velvet harem pants – being around fashion lovers can make us do crazy things, prompt us to get wild with our purchases. Don’t get me wrong, I think the jumpsuit is fabulous…but when I look at it, hanging on my bedroom door, I just wonder how the hell I’m going to get away with putting it on me, not least because it requires me to show my arms – the thought of which makes me want to live in a kaftan.




According to InStyle, I should be wearing it like so – all clashing prints and multiple bangles – but I don’t think that’s my bag. :



Nice shoes though.

So, as with the velvet harems, I turn to you, dear friends, and ask:

How would you wear a snakeskin jumpsuit?

Have you made any out-of-character purchases lately?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments…

UPDATE: want to see how I wore it? Read Outfit Post: the Jumpsuit Edition.


6 Things You May Hate About Me.

It’ll be short and sweet today, as things are quite hectic chez Bossa, what with my prep for the Royal Wedding street party. Ha. Kidding. Between moving house and attempting to dodge the bullet of redundancy, it’s been a fun month so far, and I’m finding it tough to keep on top of everything in the blogging world. I’m also still pondering the results of my recent survey, so keep your eyes peeled for updates.

Anyway – on with the show…

Have you seen the Enchanted Vintage Clothing website? If not, hotfoot it over there sharpish – I promise you’ll find engaging writing and beautiful vintage outfit pics. Jessica, of said blog, has given me a Stylish Blogger Award, which is ever so nice of her. Thanks also to Ann of Annimal’s House, who also nominated me! Her wild and wonderful outfits have to been seen to be believed.

The idea behind the award is to share a bit of your self and pass on links to other blogs that readers may enjoy. Scroll down for my nominations.

So, here goes – six things you may not know about me…

I’m a sucker for facial hair.

You may or may not know that Mr B has a beard, and you may or may not know that I like it very much. He seems to have sent me on a voyage of facial hair appreciation, which runs from the relatively safe ruggedness of Lord of the Rings heroes, to the more controversial moustaches of Tom Selleck and Bella’s dad from Twilight. So sue me.

I love storytelling.

I used to work in public libraries, and getting a classful of 8 year-olds excited about books gave me a real high. I learnt that you don’t have to know how every character talks, or how every animal moves – the kids will tell you. I find it so inspiring being around these little people who have no inhibitions and let there imaginations run riot. The slow-mo jungle scene re-enactment was a highlight for me.

My favourite storybook – funny and dark…

My fancy dress costume of choice would be…
…Judith, from Artemisia Gentileschi’s painting of Judith and Holofernes.

Judith’s the one on the right – would you mess with her?!
Call me twisted, but I always imagined that walking into a party covered in blood and carrying a fake severed head would be a good conversation piece. Beats “what do you do for a living?”, anyway.

Speaking of which…

I once played a flesh-eating woman.
Tempted as I am to leave that hanging, I’ll explain – I was in a production of Euripedes’ The Bacchae, complete with toga, twigs in my hair, and intimate and vigorous dance routines with 10 other women. I’m just glad the director decided against covering us in gravy to make us smell of meat.

Graham Greene is my favourite author.
The author of The End of the Affair and The Quiet American isn’t really ‘in fashion’ anymore, but as soon as I read the first line of Brighton Rock I was hooked; the lean writing, flawed characters and quietly devastating storylines make for incredibly compelling reading.

Julianne Moore/Ralph Fiennes in a scene from The End of the Affair

When it comes to fashion, I love…
…clothes on the borderline of ugly and beautiful. Or fabulous and trashy. Though you may argue that these shoes are just trashy. I can live with that.

I hereby nominate:
SK{ru}SH: this thoughtful blogger is a great writer, and does a mean line in remixing her clothes…
The Sartorial Nerd: Her tagline (‘Feminism. Fashion. Science Fiction.’) is enough for me to recommend her, but if you want fashion with a brain, then this blog is for you.
Northwest is Best: A fellow Mancunian, Jacky does a great mix of quirky outfit posts and feminist critiques. And the girl knits her own knee socks, for goodness sake!
Oranges and Apples: I’d be very surprise if you haven’t read Franca’s blog, but aside from being a fabulous Feminist Fashion Blogger, she also mixes colours like there’s no tomorrow. Feeling trepidation at incorporating yellow into your outfits? A trip to this blog will sort you out.
Aesthetic Alterations: Another brainy lady, she would be worth checking out if only for her jacket collection. However, it’s always a pleasure to read about her life, her art, and her relationship with her partner, the ‘Mystery Photographer’.
Look, Know: A diminutive yet feisty lady with an impressive hosiery collection, Raisa at Look, Know deserves this award for her frankly fearless fashion choices. Get over there, tour de suite.

So tell me – are you harbouring a secret love of beards?!
Which blogs do you recommend?

Ladies in (the) Red.

Today I’m wearing…red – for those ‘in the red’.

Yesterday was ‘Equal Pay Day’ in the States – the day that symbolises how far into 2011 women have to work to earn what men earned by the end of 2010. Here in the UK it is in November, highlighting the fact that, because of the pay gap, women are in effect not paid for the last two months of the year. And people claim there is no longer a need for feminism…



It’s common on both sides of the pond to ‘wear red for those in the red’, as well as in other parts of the world (see New Zealand, above). Of course, red has also been used to raise awareness of heart disease, AIDS, and more recently the events in Japan, but personally, I’m quite pleased that a colour so significant for women – and one so sexually loaded – is worn to highlight the pay gap.

The media happily tells us that ‘men prefer women in red‘ because of its associations with sex, even a signal of some basic biological impulse. On Valentine’s Day shops are awash with red, from cute cards to raunchy underwear. That aside, red has always been one of my favourite colours to wear. As a child, many people told me I couldn’t wear it because of my red hair, an rule I happily ignored. I love its associations with glamour and power, boldness and dynamism.


Red as liberation?
A few months ago I read an article called Red Shoes: Linking Fashion and Myth. In it Dr Elaine Webster (aka ‘Dr Frock’) interviewed numerous people, discovering that many linked red shoes with sin, prostitution and illicit sex, as you’d expect. Some also associated red shoes with dance, perhaps symbolising freedom …or even just as a means of injecting a ‘bit of colour’, which she suggests, is a “metaphor for an enriched life”. Appealing, no? Red in this sense is a vital colour, suggesting choice, sexuality and a strong identity. And let’s not forget the Ruby Slippers, shoes that enable the wearer to both escape and return home…


Red as a restriction…

By contrast, in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, women are denied their sexuality and an escape route. Women who have been chosen for childbearing are dressed entirely in red, with a white headdress which literally and metaphorically limits their vision. In one section, Offred, the main character contrasts the old and new connotations of the red clothing that form part of her imposed ‘uniform’ – once associated with dancing, red clothing has been easily transformed into symbols of women’s function:


Gilda pulls the gloves off, Offred pulls em on.

Red has many other interpretations, of course: it’s a warning, a sign of courage, virility, vitality and anger. But in this case, it signifies debt. It ain’t all about the clothes! If you’re a UK citizen, go to the Fawcett Society website to find out how you can do your bit to help close the pay gap. US citizens, try the Pay Equity site. We need to keep fighting this.

What does red mean to you?

Did you wear red for those in the red?


Atwood, Margaret, (1996) The Handmaid’s Tale, Vintage Classics: London

Webster, Elaine. “Red Shoes: Linking Fashion and Myth.” Textile 7.2 (2009): 164-77. Art Full Text. Web. 13 Apr. 2011.

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This post is one of a series of monthly posts by the Feminist Fashion Bloggers.

Click here to read the other posts.

Click here to join the discussion in the Google group.


How Marni Helped Me Find My 'Fashion Formula'.

Is it possible to have a ‘fashion formula’?

Grit and Glamour recently wrote a great post on her work wardrobe formula. In some ways I realise I do have a formula for work, and it’s pretty dull:
flat shoes (on feet all day) + grey/black pencil skirt + jumper = yaaaaawwwnn….

Ssh…don’t tell anyone I’m living the Librarian Cliché
I can live with this, however, and it gets me through. I got to thinking about the times I’m not at work, the times when I’m not restricted by dress codes. Am I the only one who finds her work and non-work wardrobes blending together…to the point where my conservatism definitely holds sway when I make my clothing choices?

Well no more!

After my wardrobe clear-out, I was feeling short of inspiration. Slowly stepping away from my all-black security blanket, I couldn’t decide whether to ‘ground’ my wardrobe with a few ‘staple’ items (see, I know all the terms), or inject new life by taking a more daring approach. Enter Marni.

Ah, the colours, the fabrics – the socks…
Groaning my way through past Marni collections, I started to wonder: is there a sure-fire way of capturing the quirkiness that I so love about their clothes…without spending too much cash? Adding that extra element to the equation that would result in a more interesting me? 

Some of Marni’s colour-clashing goes against all our instincts…and can a gal really get away with wearing knee socks 14 years after leaving school? I mean, yeah, Alison Goldfrapp did it, but she’s way cooler than me. And it could be argued that it you’re capable of playing the theremin with your crotch, as she is, your legwear stops being an issue:

In the end I decided that there were a few key elements to my favourite Marni looks: on the one hand unexpected colours and quirky statement necklaces and on the other, the aforementioned ribbed knee socks and ‘dull’ old grey tights, worn either with peg trousers or knee-length skirts. 

So in this vein, I went for both practicality and a touch of discord: I bought a couple of plain but versatile and belt-able cardigans, and went on an eBay hunt for brocade, silk, orange…and an odd vintage dress (I’m often happiest in a vintage dress – I can’t deny it). I wrote about the spoils earlier in the week – want to see some in action (complete with sunglasses to hide my sore eye)?

ASOS trousers, vintage blazer, New Look silk top
Vintage shoes, grey school socks

What about the knee socks? Well, in the interest of economical shopping, I grabbed a bumper pack from the nearest school uniform shop, and I was away. And as it turns out, everything looks a little bit quirky with grey tights – I have found the ‘x‘ missing from my equation.

Topshop jumper, Linea silk skirt, Dune shoes

Mango cardigan, vintage M+S dress, Zara belt, vintage shoes

Do you believe in a Fashion Formula? 
What tricks do you use to give your outfits an edge?

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Like this post? Or is there another kind of post you’d like to see more of?
I’m having a re-think for Mrs Bossa Does the Do, and would like input from you, my readers.
Click the image below to take a quick survey.

Is Pink à la Mode?

I’m really pleased that my recent post on the gender/colour-coding of pink made it into Links à la Mode – for myself, of course, but also because of the recent influx of thought-provoking posts in the blogging world.
Here’s to ‘fashion with a brain’! Read and enjoy.

Fashion: Forever Evolving

Edited by Collette Osuna of Statements in Fashion

Hello everyone! I’m super excited to be making my debut as an IFB Links a la Mode Editor this week. As I visited each link, I was reminded that each had the exact thing in common with the next, that Fashion is Forever Evolving.

From your Mothers fashion advice, a beauty “how to” video, or a legendary icons passing, fashion is always changing and taking form in a new shape. I am constantly thriving to acquaint myself with the “fashion unfamiliar.” This weeks links did just that for me. I’m thrilled to be a new member of the IFB family and cannot wait to see everyone’s posts throughout the upcoming year!

Links à la Mode: March 31st

Shopbop Sunglasses: DITA, Karen Walker, Retro sun, Tom Ford, Mosley Tribes, Ray-Ban, Phillip Lim, Marc Jacobs, Carrera, & Chloe

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I’m having a re-think for Mrs Bossa Does the Do, and would like input from you, my readers.
Click the image below to take a quick survey.

Outfits and Vintage and Shoes – Oh My!

Well, what a month March was, eh? I have to say, I enjoyed doing the Feminist Fashion Blogger posts and getting my teeth into something really juicy. From some of the comments, it looks like you did too – the debate on here was fantastic.

But…I still have shopping needs, my friends, and I still had my wardrobe cull money burning a hole in my pocket. So let’s start the week off with a little look of some of my recent outfits and fashion finds, shall we?

I wrote recently about my little family trip to Blackpool, a bracing and blustery seaside town on the north-west coast of England. Unfortunately the pics of my Carrie-esque white ankle boots disappeared, but I did manage to salvage a couple of one of my favourite vintage skirts:
And lo! Another lightswitch.
Want a gratuitous vintage bag close-up? Course you do:
Glad I painted the old nails…


The vintage bag was my great-grandmother’s; I nabbed it before my brutally-tidy mother donated it to a charity shop. My great-grandmother had good taste, no? I’m quite sentimental about heirlooms, and got a little choked up when I found her old hand mirror inside. I never knew her, but she is one of the ancestors I inherited my red hair from.

Wearing some of my favourites gave me a thirst for a few new threads. I actually went a little wild; not in quantity, but in style – Mr B displayed a tremor of fear when I mentioned the fact I’d bought orange silk trousers… They are pretty fabulous though:
On a more demure note, I bought this vintage silk dress for a few pounds. It doesn’t look much on the hanger, but when I belted and donned my tan heels, I felt great. Like myself. The effect was unfortunately undermined by my attempt to show my sister how high I could kick…when I ripped a hole round the bottom button.
This baby was advertised as a Mad Men-style dress – which is enough to get many a girl drooling. It has all the magic ingredients for me: a pussybow neckline, an unusual print…and just the right balance between ugly and ladylike. Behold, my darlings:
And oh! I almost forgot! Look at these stunning vintage shoes – immaculate condition and in a beautiful combination of cream tan and brown leather. Yummy.
What are your most treasured items of clothing?
Have you found any bargains recently?


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Like this outfit post? Or is there another kind of post you’d like to see more of?
I’m having a re-think for Mrs Bossa Does the Do, and would like input from you, my readers.
Click the image below to take a quick survey.