Fashion stylist Bertie Bowen channels the clothes and spirit of a fictional character. This week, fortune favours the bold and the beehived as she takes Corrie’s Bet Lynch as leopard-print clad inspiration.
Last week I was on a shoot at the old Coronation Street set (you can visit yourself – but be quick, sadly it’s being demolished in mere months). It was a combination of fascinating and eerie. The dressing rooms were left as if the cast had vanished into thin air, the wardrobe smelt funny and the makeup room was a beige, mirrored cave.
Now, I’ve never been a Corrie fan but even I know a bit about the soap-world’s greatest barmaid: Bet Lynch. The ‘tart with a heart’ famed for her bold, brassy style – and attitude. Can I make Bet Lynch my style inspiration this week? Sounds like a challenge and I cannot resist a challenge.
Let’s start with the blindingly obvious. Because subtle is not a word with which Bet is familiar…
BE AN ANIMAL LOVER: Grrr
Think Bet Lynch, think leopard print. Leopard print is a classic: a leopard-print coat can look chic in the autumn chill and a hint of leopard on a shoe has a cool rocker quality.
I like leopard print. I even purchased a pair of leopard-print leggings recently, alas not for myself but my daughter (you can get away with anything when you’re two). But while studying Bet, I noticed she was fond of many fabrics associated with animals: snakeskin, zebra print, fur, even feathers!
Animal skin and fur has an association with glamour and luxury that Bet seems to be aiming for (even if she is way off the mark). I’ve seen a fair few mock-croc ankle-boots and faux-fur jackets on the high street so those channelling Bet this autumn won’t have to search too hard.
SHAPE: Show it off
As I already mentioned, Bet is far from subtle. She wore her clothes tight and why not? She has body confidence and self-acceptance most of us can only dream of. I admire our Bet; she doesn’t doubt her feminine charm and isn’t one to shy away from attention (even the wrong attention). She is a sexy woman and she knows it. Her attitude is if you’ve got it, flaunt it – and I’m inclined to agree. Find out what your ‘it’ is (your eyes? Your dark wit? Your excellent crossword skills?), then show ‘it’ off! It’s been proven most women are way more modest in general than men so you’d be making the world a more equal place too. BONUS.
A client once told me she likes to wear her hair big because it makes her feel powerful. I have a tendency to agree. I have no control over my hair: it can be limp and meek or large and loud depending on multiple factors I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND #curlygirlproblems, but I do feel more confident if my hair is sizeable.
Bet is associated with the beehive but she didn’t always wear it lacquered to within an inch of its life and high on her head like a hat. She did, however, without fail, always have voluminous locks; they cascade over her shoulders like a luscious, silky, platinum waterfall.
Her hair makes her stand out. Whatever trouble she gets into, Bet is never afraid to stand up for herself; she always has dignity, she never hides away and that hair may help her keep her head held high (a slight tilt to the left and she’d topple over).
EASY DOES IT: Keep it simple
Bet is a straightforward creature: honest, frank and hardworking. What you see is what you get with this woman and I think that’s brave. Her style is upfront and proud, as is her heart. I wouldn’t want to mess with Bet, but if she was my mate I know she’d have my back. And we’d have a bloody good laugh down the pub.4815 Views
Stylist, writer and mother living in East London. A clompy shoed, curly haired, Radio 4 enthusiast. www.mothershoppers.com