Bluths, bullying and backlash: what the Jessica Walter interview shows us about how our culture deals with abusive behaviour.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the recent backlash that’s hit regarding an interview of the Arrested Development cast.  In the interview, Jessica Walter (who plays Lucille Bluth in the cult comedy) talks about how cast-mate Jeffrey Tambor verbally abused her on set. Despite the fact that Jessica is obviously distressed, many of the cast members present at the interview awkwardly addressed the issue, saying things like “all families have arguments” and “Difficult people are all part of the business”.  This interview struck a chord with me, and it’s only right now that I’ve been able to put my finger on the reason why.


Whenever people ask why individuals who are abused, bullied or harassed don’t speak up about the way that they’re being treated, I’m going to refer them to this interview.  Because this interview perfectly illustrates one of the main reasons: because people who are being bullied or abused are afraid that those around them won’t take them seriously.  They’re fearful of being told that they’re overreacting or that their experiences will be swept aside.  When you listen to the audio of the interview, you can hear Jessica Walter’s voice has a tremor.  You can hear her crying.  It’s evident that she is hurt and distressed.  And still, her co-workers gloss over her experience and tell her that it’s all part of the job.

I’ve sat in that spot many times.  On numerous occasions I’ve worked with people who were physically and verbally aggressive.  And many times when I’ve raised my concerns about their behaviour and the fact that it made me uncomfortable or fearful, I was told “Well, that’s just their personality.  It’s not about you so just don’t take it to heart” or “Well, this job is stressful and that’s just how they react to stress”.  It’s so upsetting to work up that courage to speak up about the way you’re being treated only to be told to “get over it and don’t take it personally”.

Now, I think it’s really important to note a few facts about Jessica Walter’s background.  She is a seasoned, experienced actress in her seventies.  She’s articulate and intelligent.  And still, when she speaks up about her upsetting experience, her co-workers don’t take her seriously.  When a woman who has credibility and is able to express herself clearly says she’s been abused, and doesn’t garner any respect or kindness from her male co-workers, what message does that send to someone younger, less experienced, less able to advocate for themselves?  It says to them that if they speak up, they probably won’t be believed or treated with dignity or respect either.  Because hell, if a woman with sixty years experience in her job and a sharp mind and tongue isn’t taken seriously, well why would someone younger and greener be?

For a person who is being abused or bullied to call out the behaviour of their attacker takes huge strength and courage.  It’s an immensely frightening thing to say those words, even to someone you trust.  And when that effort is rewarded with the reaction that “we all have to deal with this” or “It’s just how that person is with everyone”, it makes the person speaking up feel even more isolated and helpless.


I feel like there’s a huge problem in our culture when it comes to dealing with abuse and harassment.  Often, much of the burden of dealing with bullying is placed on the victim, and a lot of blame is tossed their way if they don’t speak up.  And yet, when someone does call out unacceptable behaviour in a very public manner, they aren’t taken seriously or treated with care.  This interview is a snapshot of that dynamic playing out in real time, and it highlights how badly we need to examine how we treat people who vocalise their experiences with abuse and bullying.  We need to stop asking people to speak up and then turning them away when they do.  If people are going to report abuse and harassment, they need to be assured that their efforts will be met with respect and care, not blaming and shrugs.


In the style of: American Horror Story Murder House

Each series of American Horror Story has it’s own distinct style, embodied by each of the larger than life characters.  Murder House is probably the season that has the least outrageous and most wearable costumes of all the seasons that have been released so far.  I wanted to take some time out to take a look at each of my favourite characters from this season and dissect their personal style for you.

Violet Harmon

Violet’s wardrobe puts me in mind of a teenager who spends all her time rummaging in thrift stores for treasures to take home.  It’s a mish-mash of eras: the 70’s wide brimmed hats, the 80’s floral dresses and the 90’s knobbly knits and chunky shoes all worn together.  Most of Violet’s clothes are oversized and baggy, all the better to laze on the floor of your room with a book and the neighbour boy.  Shades of mustard, khaki and black are plentiful in Violet’s wardrobe, with the odd splash of deep red.  Accessories are worn sparingly, but this is a girl who loves her hats and rocks fedoras, beannies and fur caps.

Tate Langdon


Tate’s style is firmly rooted in the 90’s grunge era.  Take your inspiration from Kurt Cobain and let rips and tears adorn your gear.  Tate prefers his clothes baggy, loose and fraying, preferably in dark shades.  Carry all your belongings in a school satchel and don’t forget your sneakers…perfect for running away from your enemies at school or sneaking around with your favourite girl.



Constance is a total Southern Belle.  A lady wrapped in silk sheath dresses and flawless diamonds.  A goddess in spiked heels and perfectly-coiffed hair.  However, underneath that perfect exterior is a heart as bitter as sour milk.  This flawless appearance is merely a trap to draw people close until she can figure out how best to use them to her advantage.  As such, every detail must be sublimely shimmering in order to create the illusion that she is a true lady of impeccable morals…although she is anything but.

Nora Montgomery

Nora is a very picture of elegance and glamour, tarnished by the stench of death.  Her grief has transformed this once vital woman into a mere shadow of the sophisticated creature she once was.  Her outfits are heavily inspired by 1920’s styles, with drop waist dresses, beaded details and cloche hats on perfectly curled hair. Black is the main colour of choice, with of course, some blue accents to match her eyes.  Art deco jewels and a mourning brooch are the perfect finishing touch to this sombre ensemble.



To get Moira’s look, you have to master the art of duality.  Moira is a woman of stark contrast and deep secrets.  Black and white create a sharp silhouette, and the lines of her outfit look outwardly prim and proper.  The crisp collar, the mid-length sleeves and the polished shoes all speak of someone respectable and modest.  But her corset belt, skyscraper heels and suspender stockings whisper hints that this tightly-laced woman is not all that she seems, and in the right light might just be a tiger waiting to pounce.
Which Murder House character is your favourite? Which one has the most enviable wardrobe, in your opinion?


In the Style of: American Horror Story Freak Show

Freak Show was one of my favourite seasons of AHS.  Although I enjoyed the story and the characters, the thing that drew me in and held me tight was the costumes.  It was the first time that a season of AHS was set entirely within one time period.  The early fifties are the setting for this instalment of the titillating television show.  It was an era that mixed Hollywood glamour with rugged rock and roll and gave us some of the most enviable fashion of all time.  And Freak Show gives us a wealth of gorgeous characters with distinctly different looks to dazzle our senses.  So pull up a seat, grab your popcorn, and feast your eyes on the style of American Horror Story: Freak Show.

Dandy Mott

Spoiled and polished, this dastardly villain’s style is pure preppy.  Tailored lines, pinstripes and razor sharp accessories make Dandy’s look devilishly handsome.  Choose high collars, brogues and ascot ties to copy this look at home.  And don’t forget to add a clown tie pin, a homage to Dandy’s secret desire to run away and join the circus.

Amazon Eve

Eve’s look is down-to-earth but never sloppy.  She evokes the image of the sweet girl-next-door with her shorts and bright red sneakers.  But Eve is anything but rough and tumble.  With her off-the-shoulder blouses and gold earrings, she’s got a sexy side too.  Although she’s the one who has to hang all the lights and banners, her headscarf keeps every hair perfectly in place, so this amazon always looks sinfully gorgeous.

Elsa Mars

If there’s one word that sums up Elsa’s style, it’s “Drama”.  Elsa incorporates rich colours, luxurious fabrics and luscious textures.  This is a woman who dresses to be seen, and she wants to make sure that even the folks in the cheap seats can’t miss her.  Feathers, sequins, splits and prints all make their appearance in Elsa’s wardrobe.  Although ultra-femme with her heels and silk stockings, Elsa manages to incorporate several androgynous elements like fedoras and neckties to take power dressing to it’s glamorous pinnacle.

Desiree Dupree

Desiree is pure, unadulterated sex on a pair of teetering heels.  Her clothes are intended to entice and allure, but never give away too much of the game.  Sheer fabrics and deep plunges are common, but flouncing layers and thick furs make sure that plenty is left to the imagination.  Desiree loves dark shades and leopard print, and is never without a pair of dramatic earrings.  Gorgeous lingerie is a must for this diva, to make sure that the final flourish is as dazzling as possible when she finally disrobes.

Bette and Dot Tattler

Bette and Dot’s style is a study in duality.  There’s a definite push and pull here, and this is the style of a woman who is still very much a little girl at heart.  Sheltered and timid, yet eager to experience the delights of the big world beyond their backyard, Bette and Dot mix mature and innocent elements to create outfits that are pretty but still a tiny bit cheeky.  Soft colours, sweetheart necklines and their ever-present hairbows mix with heels, handbags and silky fabrics.  And of course, the twins are never without their journal to record every day of their adventures.




Jimmy Darling

Jimmy’s look is reminiscent of so many Hollywood bad-boys of the era.  Jimmy takes inspiration from Elvis Presley, James Dean and Marlon Brando for a look that is casual, rough and super masculine.  Jeans, fitted tee shirts and open button-downs are the staples of Jimmy’s wardrobes.  His outfits are unfussy and simple, and the colours are earthy.  The one hint of adornment is the gold chain Jimmy wears on occasion, although this lobster charm is a cheeky addition I made to his outfit.
Which character’s style do you most covet?


Style icon: Daenerys Targaryen

To celebrate the fact that Game of Thrones season 4 begins today, I wanted to talk a bit about one of my favourite characters from the series: Daenerys Targaryan.  Not only is Dany a fierce competitor for the Iron Throne, and a super-duper female role model (in my opinion) but she has some rocking personal style.  I adore every single thing that Daenerys wears, and I love the way that her style has evolved with each season.  Today, I’m going to take a look at each of the different styles that Dany has worn, and show you how you can interpret them in a modern, real-life way.

When we first meet Daenerys, she is a shy young girl on the verge of womanhood.  She has spent her early life sheltered and protected.  Her clothes are usually soft, flowing and somewhat transparent.  The colour palette of her dresses is very pale, running from soft pink to light blush tones.  Her silvery hair is usually left flowing in gentle waves down her back and her skin is very pale from so many years in hiding.  To copy Dany’s early look, choose a flowing, diaphanous maxi dress in a pretty shade of cream or blush.  Slide your feet into some delicate sandals and add a delicate bracelet, pushed all the way to the top of your arm.

After Daenerys marries the Dothraki king, Khal Drogo, her look undergoes a dramatic transformation.  She begins to dress more like her Dothraki people as she takes on her role as their Khaleesi, or Queen.  The Dothraki are a nomadic people who ride their horses from place-to-place.  Their clothing is very functional and practical, and uses a lot of natural fibres.  Dany’s Dothraki outfits have a rough, earthy look to them.  They incorporate heavy leather bodices and long riding trousers.  Boots are a necessity.  Some of her outfits during this period have a hand-woven look to them.  All of Daenerys’s Dothraki clothes look well lived-in and worn.  The common addition to each of her outfits during this period is her wedding ring, a knotted leather ring worn on her left index finger.  In the Dothraki tradition, her hair is woven into a series of complicated braids and her skin has become more tanned from riding in the sun.

The story then follows Daenerys to Qarth, an opulent desert city.  During her time in Qarth, Dany’s outfits gain a softer, more flowing quality.  Her colour palette brightens at this stage, incorporating shades of bright blue, turquoise and pink.  During this period, her jewelry becomes more elaborate, and Daenerys is often seen sporting in intricately-wrought gold belts, bodices and neck-pieces.  Although Dany continues to incorporate intricate braided arrangements into her hairstyles, her hair is usually left quite soft and flowing, with the braiding confined to the back and sides of her head.  Channel this look with bright blue dresses and tunics that feature gold braiding or beading.  Gold sandals and a beautiful dragon ear cuff are the perfect tribute to the Mother of Dragons.

At the end of season 3, we left Daenerys in Astapor, a slave port, where she was attempting to raise an army.  Her outfits during her visit to Astapor seem to combine many of the elements of her previous styles.  She continues to wear the blue dresses and tunics from Qarth, although the colour has deepened to a richer navy and the silhouettes are more structured and less flowing.  Once again, we see Dany wearing boots and pants underneath her dresses.  When the weather becomes cold, she slips a blue cape over her shoulders.  As with her Dothraki clothing, the clothes Daenerys wears in Astapor have a rough, undone quality to them.
In contrast to the rough, more severe outfits she wears, Dany’s hair becomes looser and more undone during this period of the show.
To emulate this look, choose a deep blue dress with strong lines and structured shoulders.  Slip it on over a pair of neutral-coloured trousers and flat boots.  The addition of a simple choker and a chunky cape in a rough fabric like denim complete the look.
I’m eager to see what Daenery’s is wearing in season 4.  Her style is one of the most changeable of all the Game of Thrones characters, so it’s hard to predict what she might be wearing during the next season.
Are you a Game of Thrones fan?  Who’s your favourite character?  Which of Dany’s style incarnations is your favourite?

Things I Love Thursday 3/10/2013

I can barely believe that it’s October already.  The year is three-quarters of the way over and it feels like it just begun.  What the what?!

Oh well, never mind the fact that time is whipping by like Speed Racer, it’s Things I Love Thursday.

This Thursday, I love:

– Getting into the Halloween spirit by gathering up all my horror flicks and spooky movies to watch throughout the month.

DSCF8894-Finishing this cute crocheted scarf.  It was supposed to be for my etsy store, but when I tried it on to take some pictures, I decided that I just couldn’t part with it.  It’s made with a glittery red yarn and it’s very lightweight and super warm.  If you like it, I still have enough of this yarn to make one more.  Let me know if you’d like to order one!

– This article I read earlier in the week that gives 10 signs that your cat actually loves you.  Between my two cats, I’ve seen all of these signs.  Jelly has done all but one and Ringo has shown me most of these signs as well.  It’s a really interesting read.

– Going through my C.D collection and listening to music that I haven’t heard in years.  It’s amazing how a song can transport you back in time.

– Taking myself out for a cheeky glass of wine on a week night.

– Cleaning out my flat.  I did a huge clear-out before I moved, but I still have a lot of clutter. I really want to make a fresh start, and the first step is getting rid of the things that are worn out, broken or which no longer reflect my personality or lifestyle.  I’ve got several big bags all ready to go to the op-shop to repay the op-shop fairy for her kindness these past few weeks.

– My brother’s burritos.  Mick came over one night last week and he cooked burritos for us for dinner.  They were utterly incredible.  I’ve never tasted anything quite like it before.

– Miranda.  I started watching this show last week and I’d ripped through two seasons before I knew it.  Like most British shows, there are only a couple of episodes, but it doesn’t matter because I love it.  She’s hilarious.

– This quote from Hello Dolly:

“Money is like manure.  It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around, encouraging young things to grow”.

– Dance classes.  I’ve signed up for old-time dance classes and I begin this week.  I’m very excited about it.

What do you love this week?