9 May 2011 – Fireworks

May 9th, 2011 § 33 comments

Fireworks front pockets


  • Ruffled Shell: Banana Republic
  • Sweater: August Silk via Filene’s Basement
  • Skirt: French Connection
  • Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti via Filene’s Basement
  • Necklace: South Moon Under

Happy Monday everyone! And now for a brief foray into pop culture courtesy of Katy Perry:

Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on show ‘em what you’re worth
Make ‘em go “Oh, oh, oh!”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby you’re a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make ‘em go “Oh, oh, oh!”
You’re gunna leave ‘em fallin’ down-own-own

While I’m not a huge fan of her music (I’m uneasy about the sexual message of “Teenage Dream” and the veiled homophobia of “I Kissed a Girl”), I do enjoy the positive tone of these particular lyrics, and yes, I will admit to blasting it while driving around doing errands this weekend. Sometimes a catchy tune is just a catchy tune.

Fireworks detail

I happily refer to this skirt as “fireworks” because of the bursting blue and neon pink of the pattern. I’ve worn it with this top before, but not on the blog. That time I paired it with my cropped navy blazer, but I’m liking the line of the cardigan tucked in. I thought about wearing my navy blue shoes, but decided that would be matchy-matchy overkill. You all know that my policy on footwear is “when in doubt, wear metallic” so I put on these gold sparklers (get it?).

Fireworks side pocket

I feel very put together in this “firework” outfit and love the burst of ruffle from the shirt and the bursts of color and pattern in the skirt. What is inspiring your outfit today?

Also, what do you think about Katy Perry or other pop artists? I’d really like to hear what others have to say about the influence that pop music has and what messages are carried within it – especially for young women. I know we have very thoughtful readers and commentors, but since this can be an incendiary topic, I request that you respect me and each other in the comments section as we are all entitled to our own opinion. Thanks!


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§ 33 Responses to 9 May 2011 – Fireworks"

  1. NotaBene says:

    This outfit looks great on you!

  2. Allison says:

    Cute! Ruffles with a print intimidate me sometimes but you’ve pulled it all together nicely.

    Actually, I love the sexual message of “Teenage Dream.” The faux-virginity images of Britney, Christina, and the other late 90s/early 00s pop stars, combined with abstinence-only sex ed in school and some frankly misogynistic garbage at church, left me with sexual insecurities I’ve spent the past decade trying to overcome. I wish my teenage self could have heard more people (or any people at all!) telling her it was possible and normal and good to have sex with “no regrets” — obviously this doesn’t describe all sexual encounters ever, but it’s something I needed to hear then. (Hey, it’s something I still need to hear now.) I don’t think Katy Perry’s the best spokesperson for this, considering the homophobia of “I Kissed A Girl” and the rape overtones of “E.T.,” but I’m glad it’s at least being said.

  3. shil says:

    Love this outfit! It’s professional but still very fun, and I love the tucked in cardigan.

    Perhaps this is naive of me but I don’t see the homophobia in “I Kissed A Girl”. Isn’t it just about being young and experimenting?

    • admin says:

      Hi Shil –

      The lyrics that I’m talking about are:

      “No, I don’t even know your name, it doesn’t matter.
      You’re my experimental game, just human nature.
      It’s not what good girls do, not how they should behave.”

      Yes, ostensibly this is just about youthful experimentation, but the lyrics imply that kissing girls when you’re not drunk is not normal or “good”. I realize this is a subtle point, but because of my background I picked up on these lines immediately.

      Allison also brings up a good point about “Teenage Dream” that maybe in contrast to the “faux virginal” images of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera this kind of open sexuality isn’t a bad message for teenagers or young adults. I think part of my objections are linked to how very young girls are picking up these sexual messages as well. I realize that others will disagree with me – What do others think?


      • shil says:

        I think I agree with Erin’s interpretation here – surely she’s just suggesting that “society” doesn’t think that kissing girls is something good girls do, not that she agrees with that judgment herself. The thrill of doing things that society frowns upon when you’re a teenager/young adult is undeniably realistic. I actually think this song is talking about something relatively positive: exploring your sexuality is healthy/normal, and kissing one girl (and liking it) doesn’t magically “make you gay”.

  4. Loren says:

    1.) Your skirt is cute.

    2.) I’m not a big fan of Katie Perry or many of her songs. After ‘Teenage Dream’ & ‘Ur So Gay’ I just can’t get into her music, the messages just seem so mixed. But I do understand ‘Ur So Gay’ was supposed to be a parody.

    3.) I still can’t judge to harshly because I am a big fan of both Fergie & Ke$ha. Who I think are both rather skilled lyricists and are willing to admit they are just having fun not trying to expand horizons with their music. I know they don’t write meaningful thought provoking songs but pop music for me is about having fun. And they are a lot of fun to sing & dance to which is all I’m really asking for from my pop music. I think they are both strong independent ladies who hold their own in their genre’s (and who don’t have a ‘faux virginal’ image).

    Also I heard Ke$ha use the word vagina in an interview. Anyone who is willing to say the word vagina when you know it will be recorded and shown to the world is considered a feminist in my book. I know women who won’t say that word in front of anyone (even a Gyno), but will throw penis euphemisms around like they are candy… (Sorry if that seems crass or out of place but I think it’s very important that female role models not be scared of their sexuality.)

  5. Erin says:

    Although I know the words to “I Kissed a Girl” by heart, I never really “heard” them and didn’t realize it had any homophobic message at all (although reading it now, is it possible that “good girls” don’t get drunk at a party and kiss anyone when they have a boyfriend?). I like her music because, as Loren said, I listen to pop music for entertainment and because I like to dance. I do not think, however, that young girls should be listening to much of what comes out these days. I do not have my own children, but I often wonder how much of my life would be devoted to censoring what my child listened to, and then explaining anything that slipped by. While I think Katy Perry seems like a nice person (based on really nothing other than reading about her in tabloids while at the hair salon), and I admire her free-spiritedness when it comes to her fashion choices, I don’t think sequined hot pants-wearing pop singers should be role models for young girls. Because of the lack of decent role models, I think it’s increasingly more important for parents to be positive role models, and to expose their children to others who serve that same purpose (preferably people who are role models based on their academic and business-related success, charity work, kindness, etc. rather than singing abilities).

    • Loren says:

      Yeah, I guess when I read ‘young women’ I was mostly thinking of teens and the college aged club-goers 18-25, rather than actual children. Because that is closer to my age group and, I think, the target audience of this type of pop music. I have a number of female friends that do not have positive views of their sexuality, which is something I consider to be an important part of feminism.

      Also ‘role model’ isn’t really the word I was looking for, I really just meant ‘females with a strong presence in main-stream media’. Even if you don’t want to actually emulate them I think these ladies have more effect on us than we’d like to admit.

      • Eleanorjane says:

        Hmm… not sure about the target audience for Katy Perry, but I think there’s a section of the 11ish – 14 year old girls. KP gets featured in magazines aimed at young teenagers as well as ‘tween’ mags.

        • Lauren says:

          My 7-year-old niece and her friends love Katy Perry (along with Miley Cyrus, KE$HA, and Rihanna), though I can’t be certain how representative that is of the larger population of adolescents in the U.S..

          I’ve never been sure how to feel about “I Kissed a Girl.” I agree with the commenters who suspect that when Perry (or, I suppose, the song’s speaker) says that kissing a girl “is not what good girls do” that she’s alluding to a social norm rather than expressing her own opinion. And I agree that it’s possible that she intends the song as a challenge to that limited view. But as Rose suggests about her own misgivings below, I’m not nearly as confident that 7-year-olds are getting the subtlety there.

          What I do know for sure is that I’m personally uncomfortable with any ideology that dictates what can and can’t be said in any arena. Though I cringe when I see the media or even the arts perpetuate a stereotype, I’d rather have a meaningful conversation about it (like the kind this blog so often fosters!) than condemn the party responsible for the perpetuating.

  6. Erin says:

    Cute outfit! Not overly thematic but I can still definitely see the inspiration.

    My 22 month old daughter LOVES “Firework.” She asks to listen to it all the time. (She calls it “Ah Ah Ah”) I don’t have a problem w/ her listening to it at all. While I most likely wouldn’t let her listen to all of Katy Perry’s songs I do let her listen to “California Girls” and “Teenage Dream.” I would let her listen to “I Kissed a Girl” and not have any problems with it either.

    I personally don’t see anything homophobic in the lyrics of “I Kissed a Girl.” I see it more as a reflection of Katy rebelling against her extremely religious upraising and what other people might think about it but not her own homophobia (I think Katy is very supportive of the LGBT community if I am remembering my facts correctly). I agree w/ poster Erin where she commented that generally speaking good girls don’t get drunk and kiss anyone especially when they are in a relationship. I also agree that most girls (people) shouldn’t listen to half the pop music that comes out anyway; a) most of it is just bad and b) the content of the lyrics.

    I know that if she were older there would be no “Hannah Montana” or any shows like that in my daughter’s viewing schedule (“Hannah Montana” is rude and disrespectful to her dad; Miley Cyrus is a whole other issue). I prefer her to watch cartoons w/ no violence in them/more educational in nature and I ask my husband not to listen to Eminem when he drives around w/ her in the car. However, there is no way I can totally censor everything my daughter might encounter. Nor would I want to. I hope to raise her w/ enough sense to know that it is just a song and that the person singing it is a performer putting on an act. I also hope to raise her to conduct herself in a way that she always respects herself and others regardless of media messages.

  7. Kaylyn says:

    I love this outfit. I adore the pattern and colors of the skirt and I always love a good ruffle. Great combo!
    As for pop music…I’m usually ok with anything that has a good beat beacuse I really just want to dance and feel good. I’ve never really liked Katy Perry, though her firework song does have some good lyrics and, I think, a pretty good message. I do find that I prefer songs that have meaning in the lyrics and I get irritated knowing that people can become pop stars without having any real talent. I definitely have more thoughts but my monday brain seems to be fighting itself, and I can’t form my thoughts into words. So for now I’ll say I wish the people in the spotlight could all be good role models teaching good values to all, but they’re often not. But it’s up to us as individuals to live right. So while I may not always like pop stars or their music, I always have the choice to change the station.

  8. Oh Katy Perry. Her songs are so catchy and upbeat. I love “Hot and Cold,” “California Gurls,” and “Fireworks,” but a lot of her other lyrics are troubling, especially when you realize that young children as well adults can sing every word. Most people in their twenties know their self-worth doesn’t come from feeling someone up in “skin tight jeans” and sexual experimentation at parties, but does a 13 year old have that maturity? Also, her whole hyper-sexual yet juvenile neon candy aesthetic sends a lot of mixed messages. Provocatively dressed pop stars are nothing new (see: Britney and Christina), though. I’ll just add Katy Perry to the list of music I would introduce to my future children judiciously. I think her songs are best as a dessert, in moderation, not as one’s main musical sustenance.

  9. I love this outfit. So fun yet put together. You always find some awesome pieces at Filene’s.

  10. Libby says:

    I love the ruffles! Do you havean ironing secret? I have a ruffled blouse and it’s such a pain to maintain!

    Katy Perry has single-handedly driven me away from most pop radio stations. I’m grateful to her. If it weren’t for her trashy lyrics, I would probably be listening to those stations and would have completely missed other formats.
    I have two gorgeous, whip-smart girls, ages 10 and 12, and I feel that the message Katy sends girls and boys their age and even younger (wtf was up with her trying to get herself and her clevage onto Sesame Street??) is that sex is the only thing that matters.
    I pity Katy Perry. She thinks all she has to give to the world is t & a, when she has a gorgous voice and could have used it for something better.

    • admin says:

      Hi Libby – I have no ironing secret other than dry cleaning! I actually haven’t washed this blouse yet since I wear it so infrequently (is that gross?). I did spot cleaning using diluted Woolite to get the big water marks off of it when I first bought it. I write about that here. Sorry i don’t have any better advice!


  11. Kelly says:

    There will always be lyrics you don’t agree with. I listen to less pop and more rock, but no matter the genre, there will always be lyrics you hate and lyrics you love. And there will be songs that have lyrics of pure poetry that you don’t particularly care to listen to, and others that curse and degrade women or homosexuals or whatever that have the catchiest tunes in the world. You just have to pick where you stand. Most times, I just let it go. If I don’t agree with the lyrics, I don’t play the song when others are around, but if I enjoy the song, I’ll still listen to it. I still have a line that I draw. No matter the lyrics, if they degrade women in a certain way (it’s hard to explain, and it’s determined on a case-by-case basis), I will not listen to the song.
    But, most of the time, music is music. You listen to it to enjoy it. Most of the times I don’t even listen to the words, and I don’t worry about.

  12. Karen says:

    “An incendiary topic”? Is that another firework pun? ;) Great outfit.

    And I love that you ladies start these “incendiary” conversations in a style blog. What a great example of real women who are beautiful *and* smart to balance out a) the body-centered images of women in popular media and songs like “Teenage Dream” and b) the stigma of smart girls as awkward and unfashionable nerds. I appreciate what you do here.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Karen! and yes, “incendiary” was another pun… I’m and English teacher, and I can’t help it! :)


  13. Angeline says:

    Beautiful outfit! I definitely see why you thought of fireworks. I love how you paired it with the ruffles.

  14. Eleanorjane says:

    Great topic! As an ex-English teacher, I’m prone to analyse any media I come into contact with. There are songs I won’t listen to on the radio ‘cos of their disturbing message. For example, I really didn’t like the vengeful tone of “Gives you hell” by the All American Rejects.

    I think the whole arena of popular music is very hard on woman. Rock musicians pretty much can’t be female (there is the odd exception). Pop singers must be THIN, somewhere from good looking to gorgeous and incredibly soft-porny in how they dress and move. Those who aren’t a) are very rare and b) given a very hard time i.e. Adele. Ditto rap/ RnB – some of the worst offenders here…

    It’s a bit disturbing seeing elementary school children singing explicit lyrics and micking the provocative dance moves they see. But as a parent/ teacher/ authority figure… what to do? My answer was to work on training their critical thinking skills, teach the good stuff and be a role model while realising their tastes will mature. Also, I think parents should be aware of and censor if necessary, the media younger kids are accessing.

    Just my two cents…

    PS great skirt!

  15. Camille says:

    Love it! So fun, so professional!

  16. Pristine says:

    No belt? How very un-academichic of you!

    Ah I jest. I do love this look–the colour combinations and the ruffles! Still, I can’t help but wonder how the outfit would look with a chunky belt. Would it restrict–I guess–the free flowing ruffles and colour explosion of the skirt?

  17. Mistie Watkins says:

    I feel like “I Kissed A Girl” completely undermines the idea that there are lesbian women out there struggling with their sexuality. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the degrading statement that “she’s just experimenting” or even worse “she hasn’t had the right man yet.” I think it’s fine to experiment, and no, kissing a girl does not make you a lesbian, but Katy Perry takes the heterosexual man’s wet-dream version of lesbianism and mass-markets it for young people who are forming their own sexuality and opinions about others’ sexuality.

    • Rose says:

      This is pretty much how I feel about it. No, there is absolutely nothing wrong with experimenting, but it is wrong to assume that experimentation is the norm and it’s abnormal if the girl in question is NOT just in a phase. That sentiment, sadly, is what I feel is implicit in the lyrics, and why I cannot get behind it.

      Also, I have never considered “Ur So Gay” from the viewpoint of satire, and never seen an interview where she states that’s what it is (although it may very exist, I really do not follow her). But I don’t think it’s an example of satire that works, especially in the pop music arena it’s being done in and with the audience Perry has. Poorly done satire usually ends up being more hurtful than helpful – which is where this song has fallen for me.

    • admin says:

      Mistie – Thank you for writing what I was thinking but could not articulate. It is precisely the “undermining” and objectification of lesbianism that I was objecting to in “I Kissed a Girl”. “Homophobia” was the wrong word.

      Another bit of pop culture that spurred similar concerns and conversations for me was the movie “The Kids are Alright”. I appreciated it for the great, loving, long-lasting lesbian relationship it portrayed in a big, mainstream Hollywood movie, but did not like it for the affair one of them has with a man. What did other people think of this movie?


  18. Ruth says:

    I’m not particularly troubled by the way that ‘I Kissed a Girl’ objectifies lesbians. (It maybe be helpful to know that I’m a lesbian–and very, very used to/confused by all of that ‘lesbians are so hot’ silliness. It makes no sense to me, but it’s just one of the fun things that comes from being a queer lady in our weird culture.) Katy Perry’s song is, so far as I can tell, one of the latest pieces participating in a long tradition of poetry, music, and art that objectifies two women together… and, even though John Donne’s poem ‘Sappho to Philaenis’ is also deeply objectifying, it meant a lot to me when I was figuring things out. Maybe ‘I Kissed a Girl’ will do similar things for young women now?

    Still… I DO really dislike/object to the line that says ‘It felt so wrong.” Erm, what?

  19. Cora says:

    I love the oufit! The ruffles are a perfect compliment to the print of the skirt.
    I’ve been a long time reader of this blog, but don’t think I’ve commented. I always enjoy the conversations, but generally feel my views are expressed somewhere in the comments already posted. However, I just had to weigh in here, for one main reason.
    Female pop and music icons are not new. Katy, Brittany, Mylie, etc are following in the footsteps of many. Before them came Cyndi Lauper, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, Janet Jackson, Donna Summers, Olivia Newton John, and Pat Benatar. I was a pre-teen in the Madonna generation. I listened to Material Girl, Like a Virgin, Black Cat, I Think We’re Alone Now (the original of which goes back even further), and a whole host of others, which are all pretty horrid songs if you actually listen and comprehend the lyrics. And we won’t even get into Prince’s Raspberry Beret or Little Red Corvette. Or tv shows like Three’s Company that came on during the after school hour. However most pre-teens are not listening to music that deeply and I think we tend to over estimate the long standing influence this music has on most teens. We listen to it with an adult analytical point of reference and forget that even we as tweens and teens knew all the lyrics to many fairly hideous songs that I’m sure made my parents cringe. Most of us had our Katys, Christinas, and Madonnas and turned out to be decent responsible adults.
    And please don’t think I’m discounting the influence that mass media has on women in general and young girls in particular. I just think how your parents and the adults you admire approach things is what really matters, way more than the actual media whatever it might be. I am far more a product of my parents, good and bad, than I am of Madonna, even with my pre-teen all consuming adoration of her. I think its very important to remember how we as adults deal with and respond to all kinds of media regardless of our own personal hang ups, when we are working with our own and other children. Using the media in all its forms as a learning tool to promote critical thinking is more important than banning, censoring or filtering what young people are exposed to. Going along, in many ways, with the adage that what we make forbidden and secret will always carry more sway over that which is allowed and understood.

  20. Jennifer says:

    One of your best outfits! Love it. :)

  21. [...] a new interest in style meant that I was ready to shed some old clothes and get some new duds (like my fireworks skirt). I admit that I did purchase a lot of new items for myself – and obviously feel guilty [...]

  22. Renita Stockfisch says:

    Katty Perry has received numerous awards and nominations. She has also been nominated for nine Grammy Awards and was named by Billboard as 2012′s Woman of the Year.She has sold 11 million albums and 75 million digital tracks worldwide.”:’.

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