Archive for October, 2011

Tattooed Barbie deemed ‘inappropriate’ (but I still want her outfit)

Posted in Fashion News with tags , , , on October 31, 2011 by DbyDC

Check out Tokidoki Barbie, isn’t she awesome? I mean, I don’t want one or anything, I’m a grown woman for Chrissakes. But come on, what’s not to love? Pink bob – check. Leopard print – check. Plastic bangles – check. Dog wearing a cactus… er, check. She’s rocking her trashy-chic roots with aplomb. DbyDC thoroughly approves.

Naturally the Mail et al have been whinging about the terrible message this sends out to children (regarding the tattoos, that is, the rest of the outfit is obviously fine. In fact, if you happen to be looking for some leopard-print leggings for your six-year-old, Debenhams do a very classy pair. The PVC skirt I can’t help you with). But much good may it do them as she’s sold out everywhere, much to the delight of her Japanese anime-inspired designers who, it is worth pointing out, never intended the doll for children anyway but for adult collectors.

Hmm… let’s gloss over that one.

Mattel have defended Tokidoki Barbie’s soft-punk style by pointing out that “Barbie has sported an endless array of styles,” just as they did for Totally Stylin’ Barbie, released in 2009 with removable sticker tats. “The doll gives girls a chance to express themselves and be creative,” they insisted. Hurrah to that.

Except… um, actually Barbie is generally pretty awful isn’t she? Yes, she has sported an endless array of styles but were any of them the kind of thing you’d want your kids to wear? The point the tattoo-haters seem to have missed is that Barbie has never been a style icon, let alone a female role model.

She might have a kitsch appeal now that we’ve outgrown her (at least most of us have…) but in the end she’s a tacky bimbo with an absurd set of vital stats (36-18-33) and a BMI that puts her firmly in the anorexic camp and makes it unlikely she has ever menstruated in all her 52 years. She also wears too much make-up and dyes her hair a brassy shade of peroxide. I might be going out on a limb here but in terms of sending a message out to children, I’d say tattoos are the least of her worries.

Still kind of love this outfit though.


Dear DbyDC: Does my Halloween costume make me look like a novelty stripper?

Posted in Dear DbyDC... with tags , , , , on October 30, 2011 by DbyDC

Dear Death by Dress Code,

I ordered this pirate costume online for a Halloween party but now it’s arrived I realise it is not actually suitable for a public outing. I was going for ‘racy’ but have ended up somewhere between ‘I think I can see your pants’ and ‘Are you in fact a prostitute?’

I still think I can make it work, what do you reckon? No?

Ok, no.


Dear Pirate-slut,

What was your first clue? The fact that it comes with fishnet stockings or the fact that it lists panties as an ‘optional extra’? Jesus, woman, any fool can see this is a sex-outfit. Next time bypass the fancy dress shop and just go straight to Ann Summers.

But actually I think you can rescue this. Now, if it was me… well, let’s be honest, if it was me this would never have happened in the first place. My feelings on ‘sexy fancy dress’ have been well documented. But if it was me, I would be sorely tempted to rip up the skirt (into piratey rags – duh) and wear it as a kind of scruffy tunic over breeches (jeans) tucked into boots. This way you get the racy corset aspect but without any of the (optional) pantie flashing.

Failing that you could always wear leggings. Authenticity was never going to be your strong point here so you might as well be comfy.

Happy Halloween, DbyDC xx


DbyDC is now an agony aunt. Tweet me your dilemmas or drop me a line.

WARNING: May contain light mocking.

Halloween: surely the one time of year you DON’T want to look ‘nice’

Posted in Trends with tags , , , on October 24, 2011 by DbyDC

With Halloween fast approaching, DbyDC has been dusting off the black velvet waistcoat, polishing the rosary beads and rooting through my underwear drawer to find those black knee-high socks… yes friends, I am going 90s goth this weekend. Think 1996’s The Craft. But with a smart phone.

But that’s not for a party. That’s just what I’m going to wear on Saturday. You know, to go out for lunch and things. Maybe to the Natural History Museum. No, if I was going to party it’d be a totally different story.

It will perhaps not suprise you to learn that DbyDC is fundamentally opposed to ‘sexy fancy dress’. Of course some fancy dress is sexy by nature. If the theme is 1930s jazz, then naturally some people are going to look sexy. Not me, mind. A drop waist makes me look like an art deco munchkin but that’s not the point. The point is, you should look like the thing you’re dressed as. If that happens to be a guitar or… er, a remote control (yes, this exists as a fancy dress costume) then needless to say it shouldn’t be sexy.

Or should it? Check out’s piece on the most absurdly sexed up fancy dress costumes and see what you think.

Meanwhile, all this talk of Halloween reminds me of a piece I wrote many years ago for a student publication…


“I think I’m going to ban sexy witches this year,” my flatmate says, glancing at me over her laptop. The two of us are sitting at the kitchen table planning our Halloween party. Or rather, I am compiling a Halloween shopping list (so far consisting of vodka and red food colouring) while she browses Google for the perfect Jack-O’-Lantern image to add to our Facebook event. “You do realise that if you ban sexy witches, half our friends won’t come,” I reply.

Practicalities aside, I’m actually totally with her on this and I tell her so. Halloween has become so boring. Year after year the girls turn up in black skirts and bustiers, claiming it to be a costume. It drives me mad. Ladies, listen well: back-combed hair and an excess of black eyeliner do not a witch make. And then there are the fishnets. What is it about fishnet tights that makes them a costume party staple? Christmas theme? Dig out the fishnets. 70s night – obviously you need fishnets. Throw a toga party, I guarantee you someone will turn up in fishnets. They are ubiquitous enough at the best of times but at Halloween they seem nigh on indispensable. Now don’t get me wrong, fishnet tights can be pretty terrifying (not least on me) but they do not constitute fancy dress.

The boys are just as bad. Time was they at least needed a slick of gel and a turned up collar to be a vampire. Nowadays they just ruffle their hair and wear a jumper (bloody Twilight). But I know their game. Guys, you might think you’re too cool for fancy fress but the truth is, you’re too scared.

And it’s is a shame really because dressing up like a twat can actually be incredibly liberating. It’s also very satisfying. For me, fancy dress is about style, it’s about creating a look, it’s about coming up with something other people haven’t thought of or doing it differently. In that respect I suppose you could say that it’s no different to getting dressed for any other evening out. Except the stakes are reversed.

On Halloween the words “you look revolting” are as precious to me as the words “you look nice” would be at any other time of year. A couple of years ago I went to a party as an asylum escapee which not only meant I got to swan about in pyjamas (a hell of a lot more comfortable than fishnets, I can tell you) but it also meant a brilliant hair and makeup opportunity. People looked at my bloodshot eyes and deathly pallor with the kind of amazement I normally reserve for girls I see applying liquid eyeliner on public transport.

In the end though, fancy dress is just good old-fashioned fun and a refusal to enter into the spirit of it is just a bit miserable, frankly. It’s one night of looking silly, you’ve got the rest of the year to look cool.

“I’ll put that on the Facebook invite, shall I?” says my flatmate once I’ve finished ranting.

A few days later I find myself discussing party costumes with another friend.

“I’m thinking of painting myself green,” he tells me, nochalantly, taking a sip of lager.

“Brilliant,” I say. “Anything that involves being an entirely different colour sounds promising to me.”

“Well I haven’t decided yet,” he says, “but I thought that if I painted myself green, whacked on some fishnet tights and a load of black eyeliner, I could come as a sexy witch.”

Now that’s the kind of creative thinking I can get on board with…

The things we (try to) do for a bargain

Posted in My Dress Code with tags , on October 24, 2011 by DbyDC



Topshop made the mistake of reducing these to £10. Then I made the mistake of trying to put them on. They’re a size 28. I’m not even sure what this means but it definitely doesn’t fit me despite much tugging and wriggling.

Sigh. If there’s one thing DbyDC knows better than anyone it’s when to admit defeat. So. Now I just have to get them off again…

Dear DbyDC: Should I shave my head?

Posted in Dear DbyDC... with tags , , , on October 19, 2011 by DbyDC

Dear Death by Dress Code,

I’m a white man with what can best be described as a ‘mop’ of very thick, unmanageable black hair. My girlfriend insists that the mop stays, but I long for the days when I could just ask the barber for a number 3 all over and walk out 30mins later, only £8 poorer and about a kilo lighter.

Sadly, she insists that the close cut look isn’t for her and so far I’ve obeyed her demands. Can you come up with a viable compromise, or do I just have to do what she says until one of us dies?



Dear Mop-Top,

First of all, are you Jason Statham’s twin brother? If the answer is anything other than “ohmygod, I literally get that ALL the time” then the chances of you looking good with a shaved head are very slim indeed. Let’s face it, even Becks looked a bit of an arse.

In terms of doing what she says, well normally I’m of the ‘fuck the haters, man, you make your own style rules’ persuasion but on this occasion it does sound suspiciously like she might know best. However, there’s bound to be a compromise. Have you considered going the other way and growing it so it’s actually longer than hers? That’d freak her out. Or what about straightening it? Again, I’m feeling shock and awe tactics are the way forward here.

Failing that you could always just get a trim every three to six months like everyone else.

Ta ra, DbyDC xx


DbyDC is now an agony aunt. Tweet me your dilemmas or drop me a line.

WARNING: May contain light mocking.

Dear DbyDC: Help, I got dressed in my sleep…

Posted in Dear DbyDC... with tags , , on October 19, 2011 by DbyDC

Dear Death by Dress Code,

I got dressed while still half asleep this morning, put on black skinny jeans and an oversize shirt (an outfit I’ve previously sported with success) but then added over-the-knee suede boots and so much jewellery I can barely move. I’m now stuck at work hating my outfit but not being able to do anything about it.

Please help!


Dear Half-Asleep,

First off, there IS something you can do about it. Take off some of the jewellery. Put it in your handbag. Does that feel a bit better? Ok, good.

This is a classic problem. What you’ve done in your bleary-eyed state is whacked on your nearest fail-safe ensemble. This was a sensible move, well done. But then you’ve panicked that it was too easy and tried to overcompensate with the boots and jewellery. Don’t fret, it happens. Yes, you look like some sort of domanatrix Egyptian goddess but who says that’s necessarily a bad thing?

Now that you’ve taken off the jewellery you should be some way towards feeling normal again. Unfortunately when it comes to the boots, there’s not much you can do, short of an emergency ballet pump purchase. If this is in any way a viable option I’d say go for it. You probably need a new pair of ballet pumps anyway. You could even think about leaving them at work as back-up in case you fuck up again which, let’s be honest, seems fairly likely.

In the meantime I’d suggest getting back to work. You sit at a desk all day, it’s not like anyone actually cares what you’re wearing.

Hugs, DbyDC xx


DbyDC is now an agony aunt. Tweet me your dilemmas or drop me a line.

WARNING: May contain light mocking.

Topshop make truly vile dress (and fashion mags fall for it)

Posted in Trends with tags , , , on October 17, 2011 by DbyDC

You don’t need DbyDC to tell you this dress is horrible. Just look at it. It’s described as the Wallpaper Ombre dress which means… well, fuck all really, it’s just a name. But it does have the word ‘wallpaper’ in it which ought to be a clue.

So what else do you need to know about it? It’s £80, it’s from Topshop and it’s 100% polyester. And according to Look magazine, it is the answer to “all our fashion prayers.” Yep, all of ’em.

It will look “just as good in the office as it would on a Saturday night,” they claim, absurdly. And “whatever look you’re going for, this is one dress that’s guaranteed to make a serious style statement without being OTT.”

Um, really?

Let’s see, it’s a faux vintage cut combined with granny-chic florals in 70s shades, dip-dyed and topped off with acid yellow. Yep, OTT is pretty much EXACTLY the expression that comes to mind. And that’s without the sky high heels and oversized clutch that Look suggest I glam it up with…

For more silly things Topshop has done, click here.