Locating the Sass


If you read my manifesto style video at the start of the year you will know that I want to embrace my body and sensuality a bit more this year, and dare I say it, even attempt to feel sexy! I’m not quite sure how exactly I’m going to become this more obviously alluring human, (not that I wish to attract anyone with the allure of course), but I’m pretty sure it will involve a fair bit of fake-it-till-you-make-it. I guess I’m just a bit fed up of thinking of my body in terms of it’s functions, or more accurately how it doesn’t function. That said, I’m a firm believer we should constantly remind ourselves that this skin covered form is simply a vessel for all the importance soulful stuff, and that we should be careful not to put too much emphasis on our looks. But at the same time, it’s gotta be nice to feel strong, confident, and existing in a mindset where you allow yourself to be happy in, and embrace, the body you have.

As you know last week I did a quick shoot with my pal Fraser. I was wearing a sequinned top that I joked 90’s JLO may have worn in one of her videos, probably in her slicked back with baby hair era. As soon as I put it on I felt different, a feeling of transformation in part due to the fact that the last few months have been spent cuddled by oversized snuggly jumpers.

In winter I’d never usually wear a top that skimmed the belly button. The voice of my mum saying that it’s a hazard for my kidneys ringing out so loudly, I’d probably put it back in the drawer, if it even got that far. These thoughts would have probably just lead to me taking it back out of the changing room after a brief fling with the idea of making purchase. After Looking into the mirror and pretending to be a member of All Saints on a TOTP Christmas special for a few minutes, I’d be putting it back on the rail. Although I’m sure she used my health as a cover for the actual reason for trying to get me to change – she probably just didn’t want her little baby showing her bare waist to any old Tom Dick or Harry in the street.

But it’s not just the cropped nature of it that makes it an usual (if not foolish) top for me to wear this winter. I’ve had sequinned dresses, and cardigans and jumpers, with small bits of sparkling embellishment. But they’ve been elegant, parent-friendly, or fairly subtle in a dark colour. This has sequins….all over….in bright SILVER!! Sure it’s long sleeve and high necked, but that just means that’s a hell of a lot of surface area covered in light reflecting material!

I teamed with my new ASOS jeans with busted knees, as I thought anything super glam or out-there on the bottom may make me look like a dancer who had fled from from Britney’s Vegas show – which could be fabulous, but wasn’t quite the look I was ready to rock. I need to ease into this new era guys. As I said in the previous post about this shoot, we wanted to take pictures in a dark locations with coloured lights that could reflect off the little sequin discs.

I wanted to feel like an old-school diva, one who’s just performed in a slightly grimy, but incredibly cool club. The type of woman that high fives the doorman, gets served at the bar straight away, and walks like a panther, making sure every step drew attention to the hips.

I promised myself my poses would reflect the ‘new me’ and I was hoping to create with help from this outfit. Less of the anxious face, worrying what people walking by would think of me, and less slouching in an effort to hide my actual lady-shapes. The freezing cold climate of Soho definitely helped me speed up the process of going from awkward to girlboss. But what lead to all this desire to exude sass?

I’ve noticed in recent times lots of the girls on my feeds idolise, are impressed by, or wish to emulate, a certain type woman, and unfortunately for my ego, it generally isn’t someone like me. More often than not, they are sassy and have those really obvious bad-ass qualities.

You know when you are forced to describe yourself in three words, in an app bio, or when playing those get-to know-you style games, well sassy wouldn’t be a description that would ever enter my brain (or others forced to describe me). I’m not being an overly self-deprecating Brit here. I’m not saying I couldn’t come up with some positive adjectives to capture who I am in a nutshell, but I just don’t think I’m that iconic kinda girl. I can’t imagine any empowering gifs being made of my public movements, or my image being used as a symbol of feminine power.

In the last few years sass and sassy-ness has been EVERYWHERE. It’s been rammed down our throats daily with force via memes, heavily retweeted reactions to current affairs (Natalie Portman at the Golden Globes most recently) and via prominent TV personalities , it’s made me feel like I’m a lesser female for not feeling that I have it.
But am I right in thinking I’m sass-less?

I had a quick google. The more old fashioned use of the word implies that a person with Sass is perhaps rude or disrespectful. So I’m glad I’m not that…well I hope I’m not. The second use of the world claims that it’s used to describe something as lively, spirited, jaunty. Let’s face it I’m lacking a bit on the lively front… in body at least, but maybe not always in mind. I’d like to think I have my spirited moments, I’m pretty sure resilience is a good sign of having spirit, and you have to be resilient when you’re unwell. Jaunty? Well I definitely wear a lot of jaunty hats, and some days I’m quite cheery and smiley (even if my social media indicates I’m the complete opposite most of the time). So maybe I do have a bit more sass than I thought…..

But we all know it’s the Urban Dictionary you need to refer to when it comes to these terms and phrases we try and understand, as more and more weird words are added to must-know vocab. I regularly head to the site just so I can keep up with all the younger people I follow, who use abbreviations and new terms that make their updates seem like unfathomable rambles of an alien species to an old fart like me.

‘Possessing the attitude of someone endowed with an ungodly amount of cool”

Haha, cool is never a word aligned with me, but I do like to think that each and every person can define for themselves what ‘cool’ actually means. To someone out there my willingness to be my true clumsy and uncoordinated self might make me cool. Maybe? Guys?

‘Someone that is just the coolest person ever, and uses sarcasm in the coolest and funniest of ways. Most sassy people are very lovable.’

Again you don’t instantly think of that emoji with the sunglasses when you think of me, and you can’t imagine that people like Rihanna would be itching to hang with me. In my safe spaces, like my house or when I’m around my closest girls, I’m happy to use sarcasm for effective and humorous ‘bants’ (is that word over yet??), but I’ve never been that blogger to reply to a troll with a witty and catty reply, as tempting as it can be.

‘Someone who is full of themselves but in a good way. They’re cheeky, lively, smart, saucy, slightly impudent, mouthy, cocky, energetic, loud and extremely talkative.’

I can’t help but think of some of the more likeable reality stars when I see this definition. Although you watch from behind a pillow at times, you kind of admire their balls for saying some of the stuff they do (at the volume level they do it) AND on tv.

I think for me the accumulation of images and text online, and my constant replaying of episodes of Drag Race and Sex and The City, has meant that when I think of Sass, I imagine someone strutting down a stage, street or catwalk. Someone swishing their hair with a fierce look in their eye. Someone replying to negativity with a confident and somewhat acerbic reply. That person that doesn’t let someone firing or dumping them stand in their way of bossing life, and making them regret it.

But in the same way I think we can take ownership of the concept of ‘being cool’ we can make sass work for us and our unique personalities too.

Okay, so I do want to be able to do a Beyonce style of sass every now and again. Glide in a room in a way that makes people take notice, and sashay away once I’ve got my sick business done. I want to really wear my outfits, rather than let them wear me. I want to deliver those snappy one-liners without a pause or stutter, and do some slow-mo worthy hair flips. Or at least I want to become a woman comfortable enough in her skin to be able to do these things if she wants to.

But I also want to find my own kind of Sass. Can I make Introverted Sass a thing? Can us shy or more muted humans have hidden Sass levels perhaps? Undercover Sass. I don’t know which is the best term yet, but I want to ensure that us more inward girls/boys can still feel like we are deliver our own formula of this desirable stuff they call Sass.

Realistically I think finding my sass will mean me sticking up for myself a bit more (in frequency and potency). I think it will be me daring to say that cheeky funny stuff to acquaintances and loose friends, that I’ve always only ever felt happy to say to my close circle of friends or lovers till now. I think it will it come from wearing outfits I want to wear, rather than outfits I think would cause less drama when reviewed from my mum at the bottom of the stairs. Then gradually getting used to wearing them, and feeling good (even hot) while doing so. It will come from feeling productive and proactive with my career, a new confidence will come as I start to feel prouder of what I’m creating and doing. It will come from being more aware of the world and what’s happening. Knowledge is power they say, and I feel being more in tune with what’s going on will enrich my life, and give me tools to live it even better. For you guys it could come from facing your battles in a new way, or choosing to battle at all. It could come from making the decision to cut certain people from your life and feeling bolstered by it.

I guess what I’m saying is we don’t have to be loud or cocky to be sassy, or a person than can inspire in some way or another. There’s a lot to be said about quiet confidence. Also consider this. If us more understated Sass queens decide to push some of that more obvious and stereotypical type of sass out every so often it it will pop a bit more because it contrasts from our norm. We can choose to bust out the Queen with Attitude alter ego when we really need to.

So hopefully you’ll see me strutting, holding my proud head high, wearing flesh baring outfit that look like I might be about to film my own music video. But also be assured that their will be some ongoing sass- building taking place, under that exposed goose pimpled skin too.

What are your views on Sass? Who are your sass idols?

P.S There’s so many images in this blog because Fraser aka @Initsrightplace smashed it and I wanted you to see his fab photos.

Photos: Fraser Taylor

Photo Edit: Sophie Eggleton

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