Written by Bertie Bowen

Lifestyle

Dressing Like… Alabama

Fashion stylist Bertie Bowen channels the clothes and spirit of a fictional character. This week, she raises a Snapple to True Romance’s beautiful badass.

Summer spirit: True Romance’s Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette). Photo: Rex Features.

Summer spirit: True Romance’s Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette). Photo: Rex Features.

That wave of warm weather recently got me daydreaming about long summer days to come: bare legs, sunglasses, rooftop cocktails.

In reality there’s only about four of those days per year and if it’s that hot I will probably be dripping with sweat and complaining about my thighs rubbing together as I waddle to the corner shop for another ice lolly, because I am six months pregnant.

Still, I can dream and we can most definitely fill our wardrobes with the outfits we would wear sipping raspberry mojitos (which I am also not allowed *sigh*). Alabama is the epitome of sunshine and colour; the perfect muse for those long balmy days.

PRINT + COLOUR

When Alabama Whitman first bursts onto the scene she is rocking an animal print coat and it is soon obvious she has a penchant for print. She dons a cow print miniskirt, and then later some vivid pink leopard print leggings, and polka dots are sprinkled liberally throughout her repertoire of revealing outfits. She doesn’t shy away from colour either, favouring neon brights and happy hues. When channelling ‘Bama, pull out all the printed rainbow stops.

SHOULDERS: the new erogenous zone

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ll have noticed the current trend for bare shoulders. Off the shoulder blouses and cold shoulder tops were around last summer but are even more popular this year and for good reason – they suit everyone. Every age, size and shape (even us preggers women) can show off a shoulder. Shoulders are sexy in a relaxed and understated way. Alabama puts one on and her coquettish demeanour is ramped up by about 80 per cent. Try it, but be warned: you may find yourself suddenly wanton and rogue, attracting all and sundry – the power of the bare, sun-kissed shoulder is potent.

“‘Bama isn’t particular or sophisticated in her style but that’s what I love about it – it’s impulsive and playful and because of that she’ll always look like the most fun and interesting person at the party.”

RED SIREN

Alabama is never seen without her cherry red lipstick. I have always loved lipstick; it’s the quickest way to add some colour to my often pallid, tired face and I have noticed it gets me more attention than anything else I wear on my body. It is a strange and delightfully powerful signifier of danger, sex, confidence, glamour and thrill (even if inside I am probably thinking about the wet laundry I forgot to hang out before I left the house). But no one needs to know what you’re thinking. ‘Bama wears her heart on her sleeve and her sex appeal on her lips.

ACCESSORIES: cheap and cheerful

Alabama accessorises her outfits with various kitsch, oversized, plastic earrings and cheap, bright sunglasses. I imagine they were all picked up on a whim while perusing the aisles of a dollar store en route to Hollywood. ‘Bama isn’t particular or sophisticated in her style but that’s what I love about it – it’s impulsive and playful and because of that she’ll always look like the most fun and interesting person at the party.

I can relate to Alabama. Even though she’s a call girl and she marries someone she’s just met and she dresses like a wacky teenager from the 50s, I feel a bond with and empathy and respect for her. She has probably made many mistakes in life, but she knows how to be spontaneous and instinctual. She truly lives in the moment and when summer is so fleeting in the UK, we ought to be more ‘Bama and make the most of every single second.

Pick up more of Bertie’s Dressing Like… tips here.

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Written by Bertie Bowen

Stylist, writer and mother living in East London. A clompy shoed, curly haired, Radio 4 enthusiast. www.mothershoppers.com