Monday 14 September 2009

Sharp shoulders and glass ceilings: new column for Morning Star

This week I've kicked off a new lifestyle column for Morning Star, in which I attempt to be the tiny dirty socialist-feminist Carrie Bradshaw in what I hope is a knowing, ironic postmodernist kinda manner. Erm, yeah. Anyway, these will be coming out every fortnight. Hope you guys enjoy them!


Popular wisdom holds that fashion, sex and shopping exist in a fluffy bubble hermetically sealed off from real-world politics. This is untrue. Consider, if you will, the resurgence from Brick Lane to the Milan catwalks of the statement shoulder pad.

When I heard that the 1980s were back in style, I was heartened to imagine that the bright young ladies of the 21st century would all be joining trade unions, standing on picket lines and forming human chains around cruise missile bases. It seems, however, that '80s trends that have soared to the dizzy heights of retro cool are pulsing keyboard music, synthetic fabrics, poodle perms and jagged silver lightning streaks on everything from cardigans to crisp packets.

And, as with any retro wave, the 1980s have careered most spectacularly into women's fashion, bringing back a trend once thought to be buried at the crossroads with a stake in its heart and a glass ceiling over its head - power dressing.

Myself, I was mostly rocking a gender-neutral red romper suit in the latter half of the '80s, but I've been waiting for statement shoulders and sharp suits to be back in the shops ever since I saw Jamie Lee Curtis pull a gun from her synthetic shirtsleeves in A Fish Called Wanda. Power dressing meant strong lines, strong shapes, gloss, glamour, big hair, big shoulders and big ambition. Its appropriation of masculine tailoring into feminine fashions echoed a new influx of upper-middle-class women into business and politics.... [click here to read the rest at Morning Star Online]


  1. Re your comment about 'escort agencies'... I wasn't sure if this was meant as a joke, but I have noticed a similar thing - when looking for jobs in media on the DirectGov website (or maybe the jobcentre one, it's the same database), I saw an ad for a presenter on audience interactive tv show, requiring topless nudity... I was kind of staggered, but I guess it's perfectly legitimate as far as the rules of the site go.

    Incidentally, if you are writing for the Morning Star, does that mean you are a communist now?

  2. What about the lower-middle-class women?

  3. I am in the fortunate position of knowing that those people who won't take me seriously don't care what I wear. So I'm not trying to impress them any more.

    I once tried to argue about the law with someone claiming to be the Chief Constable of Wiltshire. I was stark naked at the time. I still think I had a good point and that I had not waived my legal rights just by buying a ticket to a festival. There was nothing on the ticket about waiving rights, the police tried to argue that the organisers had waived them behind our backs. One of the organisers disagreed, actually, the pic of him naked should be in the "Red Pepper" archive ...

    Whatever you wear (although hopefully not real fur. Or swastikas), wherever you go, try to stay strong and do the right thing. Hugs.

  4. A dissertation or thesis abstract includes a brief overview of your dissertation that your future readers will read first of all. Do you want to find out where you can buy dissertation abstracts online, here is the thing


Comments are open on this blog, but I reserve the right to delete any abusive or off-topic threads.