One Way or Another…

debbie stageI’m not a natural fashionista.  Left to my own devices, my sartorial inclination would most likely veer towards a frumpy, easy to wear look: Birkenstocks with socks, elastic waist trousers and roomy kaftans.  However, since my teenage years, I’ve tried to follow a fashion mantra that helps me overcome my innate lack of chic and provides me with a vaguely stylish look.  To those of you who know me, this may be a bit of a shock.  But, yes, my wardrobe could actually be worse.

When shopping, having a haircut or attempting a new look, I ask myself WWDD? or What Would Debbie Do?  (Obviously, I’m talking about late 70s/early 80s Debbie Harry panache here, not any fashion misdemeanours that she may have committed in the 90s or later…)

I could never quite pull off the full Blondie look; I wasn’t brave enough to leave the house in just a t-shirt and heels, or hot pants and kneepads.  Some of her looks may have been a tad extreme for Gloucestershire in the 1980s but I loved her edgy, tough attitude and fearless style.  I tried desperately to incorporate just a smidgen of that into my apparel.deb b:w top

So now as I peruse the shops or head for the hairdressers, I wait for Debbie to comment on my proposed purchases and makeovers.

Beige jersey trousers: WWDD‘WTF, lady?  Why the hell are you even shopping in BHS??  Put them back on the shelf and get the hell out.’  (In my head, Debbie speaks with a Jack Daniels drinking, heavy smoking, Christine Cagney growl.  I’ve never actually heard Debbie interviewed so I’ve no idea how true this is, but it provides an authoritarian edge to her instructions that makes me obey as fast as a perp throwing my weapon to the ground and putting my hands behind my back).

Sequined, black slashed top: WWDD‘Yep, Blondie circa 1981. Buy it.’  

Layered, permed hairdo: WWDD?   ‘Jeez, didn’t the old ladies finishing off their purple rinses under the dryers give you a clue?  Screw this, I’m ringing Toni & Guy…’  

Bleached blonde bob with eyebrow skimming fringe:  WWDD‘Hell, yeah.  That’s more like it!’

B&W debbieIt’s not that I’m aiming to emulate Debbie, but rather to hit the stop button on my inherent frumpiness.  All my fashion mistakes have happened when I’ve recklessly disregarded Debbie’s advice.  Shopping alone, I’ve bought such monstrosities as brown lace-up flats, a patchwork velvet jacket and a pastel flowery cagoule.  I’ve come out of the hairdressers with Mumsie haircuts, inadvisable perms and a fringe two inches too short.  But when I’m with Debbie, I have the strength to walk away.

Debs, I know it’s been a hard slog and you’re not 100% happy with the results but you gave it your best shot.  Remember when you stopped me buying that orange, leopard print rah-rah skirt from Chelsea Girl?  Or how you stepped in when I was considering those Bo Derek cornrows?  We make a great team and, for the many years you’ve spent, selflessly attempting to keep me on the fashion straight and narrow, I thank you.


36 thoughts on “One Way or Another…”

    1. Ooh, yes. I love her BIG hair, always a good style – although, having tied myself into knots this afternoon attempting to give myself big curls with my straighteners, yet another look that I’m incapable of rocking!


  1. I was listening to her last night, and admiring her lovely hair and the way she flipped her dress around on you tube. I wafted round the kitchen trying to do the same, but my baggy jumper over leggings just doesn’t cut the mustard…. Got the “ooo-ooo- ooo- ah” down to a T though. I love the idea of a secret fashonista counsellor in your head when choosing clothes. I think she’d pass out with me – I clothes shop in charity shops 🙂


    1. As long as you call them ‘vintage’ or ‘retro’, clothes from charity shops are the ultimate in green shopping! I love a mooch around a charity shop or a car boot but, sadly, charity shops seem to be non existent in Rome and I’ve only seen one car bootio.


      1. I’m a charity shop fan because it means I don’t have to feel bad about ripping my clothes on barbed wire fences when out with my camera, or staining them with bleach the rare times I get the cleaning done 🙂 I can’t imagine life without charity shops. Poor you.


        1. Poor me indeed. Fortunately, HWW seems to have a never-ending supply of old t-shirts that could stock a charity shop on their own. They’re always good for wearing when cleaning (ha ha, good one…) or stomping through the countryside.

          PS is it just me, or do a lot of bloggers seem to have an aversion to housework?? I definitely notice a running theme 😉


  2. Blondie was top of the charts for my teenage fantasies. I always loved her ‘just out of bed’ tousled hair and smudged eye-make up. She can ‘Call Me’ anytime – I’ll be ‘Hanging on the Telephone’…


  3. I feel like it would SO much fun to rummage through your closet! I bet if you hem and belt it (whatever IT might be), and throw on some stilettos, you can turn into Carrie Bradshaw 🙂


    1. Closet rummaging is always fun, but, sadly, I don’t own a pair of stilettos so you’d have to bring them with you and I could probably fit two Carrie Bradshaws into most of my clothes…


  4. I’m good for the stilettos, you can have some of mine! In fact, I could probably give Imelda Marcos a run for her money 🙂 Ah, Debbie Harry, cheekbones to die for! And legs, come to think of it. As a style icon, I’m liking her! My style icon is probably Audrey Hepburn, I love that whole cinched waist, perfect little string of pearls look.
    Jane x


    1. I do love the Audrey Hepburn look as she was just gorgeous, but it’s an impossible aspiration for me – it calls for too much organisation, ironing and being ladylike. I always felt Debbie’s was a more attainable look – clothes could be picked up off the bedroom floor if necessary and unwashed hair perked up with hairspray. Lazy and slutty: what a great combination! 😉


    1. Ooh, yes. Bananarama were awesome and their style was so achievable! You didn’t see them flashing their knickers and prancing around in 6 inch heels!! Why don’t you get pop stars like that anymore??? 😉


  5. Debbie Harry is the perfect fashion muse! Well done. She was just awesome back in The Blondie hey-days – cool, quirky but not crazily sexual, provocative or excessively attention grabbing. She was all about confidence and female empowerment. You could do far, far worse than Debs – and what a great idea BTW to help push yourself out past your conservative bounds without going nuts about it 🙂


  6. Do you have a TV show called “What Not To Wear?” These two personal shoppers take fashion “don’ts” and turn them into fashion “dos” but I’ve never seen them consult Debbie. She would really class up the show, if you ask me.


    1. Yes, we had the same show. I love the idea of Debbie being one of the hosts, maybe paired up with Cyndi Lauper or Toyah Wilcox?! I’d definitely watch that show for some outlandish, funky fashion advice!


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