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Wednesday 14 November 2012

Join The Travelling Yellow Skirt Freak Show

The Freakish Yellow Skirt is now retired. Thanks everyone, for joining! She is home, but she is not finished yet. Stay tuned. 

Yes - the FREAKISH yellow skirt (FYS) is flying around the world AGAIN! - and it wants YOU to style her as part of a I-surrender-to-positivity celebration. The globe-trekking, which kicked off in 2012, was Sarah's idea (from Misfits Vintage), and I think it's too much fun. Plus it's much easier than mailing a gnome - or myself considering how gnomish I look below.


Send me an email, act like a diva (no spaces) AT g mail dot com. Include your full mailing address and I will tell the current skirt holder where the skirt should go next. I will notify you that the skirt is on its way. 

The list will be made in priority sequence, not according to geography. She is a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-skirt kind of skirt. Plus, MANY THANKS TO SHELLEY of Forest City Fashionista, for generously coordinating so much of the skirt's journey until now. 

If you like, attach something to the skirt or alter it with paint, sewing, markers or other means. Please do not shorten the skirt because the length is part of its charm, and please maintain the skirt's flexible sizing. 

Post a photo of yourself in the skirt and let me know. I shall then put a notice on this blog and post a photo in the FYS Gallery.

Please try not to not keep the skirt for more than two weeks. She is a rambling gal and likes to be on the move.

If you like, you can put the logo below (or in my sidebar) in your blog. The cartoon woman is modelled after Sarah.

(The gallery was on this post originally, but with 25+ women who have participated so far, a separate gallery was required.)

The skirt is a slippery silky parachute-type fabric with an elastic and drawstring waist capable of accommodating many sizes. My addition to the skirt is below: acrylic paint, Vancouver badge, lovely squiggy sewing.

My journal sketches of the skirt: Jul. 16 and Aug. 5, 2012 ("atsui" means hot in Japanese). The animals hiding under the skirt are, importantly: a dog, a cat hanging by its claws, and a penguin.

I hope you will join this circus. 

I bought this big lemon skirt on sale in July 2012. I wore it for the first time here. I wore it a couple more times in the summer and then did another post of it here as a purely inspirational piece.

What makes this skirt special is not only its vibrant colour but a particular comment about it which was very critical, excerpt: "you're looking unbelievably ugly in those clothes." I have to say that of all comments on Bag and a Beret, this one – which incidentally was written by a male friend (TT) - has had the most impact on me to date. In the midst of so many laudatory comments, here was one that directly questioned my style.

Until this criticism I admit that it was surreal writing and receiving so many superlatives and compliments on blog posts. Also, while I know that all the comments I receive (and write) are genuine (and seductive in their positivity), the absence of criticism was an elephant in the room. I couldn't help but wonder – isn't there more to it?

I believe that criticism can be useful, but this remark really made me think. And think... At first I was relieved and amused by it - but then hurt, angry, STOIC, so much drama! What I finally concluded is criticism IS meaningful - there must always be room for differing opinions - but in the context of my blog, where I am sharing my life/style adventures, I need safety for experimentation, which helps me grow stylistically through supportive remarks, enthusiasm, and gentle suggestions, and also grow new friendships. Much darkness breathes in the city around me, and I reason that surely, finally, I can afford to surrender fully to this online positivity that I have miraculously stumbled into. Private email still leaves plenty of room for critical engagement.

Would I publish this kind of criticism again? I really don't know, but TT shook me into an awakening, which was a good thing. It affirmed my style convictions, my blog intentions, and my respect for the blogging community, but it was also a reminder that I must continue to stretch and question myself, which I believe is part of what he was getting at. Also, the comment was definitely a case of "be careful what you wish for"! I regret that other comments on the post were derided by the remark, and I was very moved by fellow bloggers' swift and sure defence of me and their own opinions.

The travelling yellow skirt freak show represents the positivity and solidarity I discovered through what happened. Apparently Helga of Helga von Trollop had done a similar thing in the past with a quilted bag (which took an unknown detour), so this is not an original concept, but I do hope you embrace this skirt and what it means. Sarah was a genius to apply the idea to this skirt. I will feel incredibly happy knowing that the big bright yellow sail of a skirt is flying and flapping wildly around the world with its message:

Let's enjoy life!! 
Let's enjoy dressing up!!
It's just frickin' fabric!! (a really good piece though)
We surrender to the positivity!
Let's dance, baby!!

I look forward to seeing this skirt on any of my existing friends, and new friends, who want to join in!!!! (More gratuitous exclamations!!!) Aaaaagh!!!!! IS THAT ENOUGH POSITIVITY FOR YA?!


  1. What a gorgeous skirt and a wonderful idea. I'll watch from the sidelines on this one, but look forward to seeing where the journey takes our yellow friend!

  2. I adore the idea, and I am IN! The freaky fabulous yellow skirt is the perfect item for this adventure - joyful and expansive and vibrant and free and delicious!
    You made it into art, Sarah rocked it in her pics, I can't wait to see Helga's version.
    I hadn't seen the TT comments on your original post, and the subsequent responses, having commented early and not gone back to the post. I'm surprised that a friend would do that to you, on your blog, whether it was in the name of genuine feedback or not. Telling someone they look "unbelievably ugly" is neither kind, not constructive, nor friendly. Those who comment on a blog won't necessarily like everything a blogger wears, but social norms of politeness still apply. If you see nothing you like, this probably isn't the blog for you anyway.
    Anyway, I don't want my irritation at your friend's public exhibition of his mean-spiritedness to distract me from how much I appreciate what you and Sarah have set in motion. THIS is what the blogging community is all about, and this is why I love being part of it. xxxxx

  3. That skirt makes me so happy every time I see it, how you've created art about it and with it, and now are sharing it. Like Curtise, I didn't see the negative comment at the time I commented on the re-style post either. I guess everyone's entitled to an opinion and we do put ourselves out there to receive it when we share pics of ourselves on the Internet, but I always find you stunningly beautiful and original, so I guess that anyone else didn't puzzles me.

    I'm too literal for that skirt I know, so I'm going to look forward to it's beams of sunshine brightening up other bloggers. Although I am not averse to swiping the badge...

  4. Oooooo. I love this idea. So happy Curtise has signed cuz she is, like you, da bomb! I'm working on getting my back all better but if the skirt is still flying around when I'm back up to speed then Sign Me UP.

  5. Oh Yeah. About the negative comments...I am part of an online community for my job. There are a lot of men in it. They don't tend to be as positive as women. More competitive? I don't know. Anyway, one man left me the most negative, critical comment. It was so mean. I so upset that I could hardly sleep! I worked long and hard on a response that explained my position and so many people came to my defense in the comment section that he APOLOGIZED! Wow. Unfortunately I rarely leave comments any more. Bah. Such is life.

  6. I love the way you melanie-ized the skirt, and can't wait to see the travels. Negative comments always bother me -- even though I'm in my 50's and a *shrink*, fer cryin' out loud! But you're right, we put ourselves out here into the electronic viewing world without filter, and we get some criticism back. I still think it's a good deal.

  7. What a cock sucker that dude was being!!! Sorry but that really pisses me off!!! There is no room for comments like that in our little community of supportive wonderful women. I loved the lil gnome of you in that yellow skirt and Sarah on the beach with it blowing in the wind is gorgeous! Sisterhood of the traveling skirt! I will take a pass but look forward to seeing where it ends up next.

  8. WOW WOW WOW!!! Melanie, how absolutely inspired - I want in SO BAD! I will be following The Travelling Yellow Skirt Freak Show adventures with edge-of-my-seat nail-biting intensity in the meantime!

    Thank you for your thoughtful articulation of the role and impact of criticism, and the importance of safety, encouragement, and positive space. This is amazing.

  9. I so want to be in on this too! I love the vibrant yellow and would be honoured to be a part of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Gnome Skirt.

    The first time I got a negative comment, I was so defensive! I couldn't believe someone would say such a thing to me (said I looked old-ladyish in a dress) when all I ever got was positivity. I haven't had a neg comment in so long, but I'm sure there are lots of people who don't dig my style. Eh. They wish!

    Melanie, I hope you continue to push the barriers of beauty! You are the most awesome woman.

    PS - I am filled with glee at the cat hanging onto the inside of the skirt.

  10. Oh boy! I'm going to enjoy this show!!!

  11. I'm absolutely on board with this particular "challenge", especially since I don't have to post a badge (challenging my techno skills). I'd love to try styling it and I already have a few ideas. It's interesting that your male friend made that comment. Criticism is a good thing, as in a "critique". An assessment, a "looking at" with a discerning eye. But I question the motivation based on the language.

    Maybe many guys don't get it when they see something that doesn't enhance/advertise our sexual availability for their roving imagination. Is that the litmus test for what is "ugly" or "attractive"? I suspect that's true for them, subconsciously. It may be hardwired into their brains, no judgement there. The question is then, how do we react to the reaction? That's up to us, and ultimately that's where our power resides. Give a damn or not, we can chose at any time. Knowledge is power.

    Whew. Now I'm dizzy. Just bring on the yellow skirt. I know I love it!!!!

  12. 'UGLY' is NOT OK.

    No. It is not constructive - just plain RUDE and worse, MEAN SPIRITED. Here's why:

    If I cannot think of a single nice thing to comment on in a post, I apply a lesson learned very early on in life, and shut the fuck up. Be nice or go away. Easy. I don't love everything that everybody posts, but I try to find something that I do like, and concentrate on that thing in my comment.

    However, if someone has asked for honest criticism, then I find a way to give my opinion in a way that IS actually constructive... for example: "I'd like to see you in a different silhouette", or "I think a shorter length might be more flattering" but ONLY give this sort of feedback if I am specifically requested to do so, because who am I? NOBODY! It's just my silly opinion and if someone feels fabulous in what they are wearing, then cares what I think and how dare I ruin that for them?

    I thought you handled that situation with grace and humour... I would have punched him in the mouth.

    You're a SUPERSTAR and I am SO happy to be part of this!

    Lerve, Sarah xxx

    1. My fave response :)) Love the whole traveling skirt thing happening. I like seeing it worn and styled in completely different ways and I love how you both added personal touches to it.

  13. Brilliant idea! I would love to jump on board, but two things happened: I suddenly got what-would-I-wear-it-with anxiety (ridiculous as most of my shoes don't go with anything and therefore go with everything) and, it's already scooted off the mainland (Australia) and so I would be reversing it's flow. May just have to watch how this one precedes!

  14. I tried something similar with a dress, however it went awol pretty quickly.

    I love your idea and very much look forward to seeing where it goes. I think your outfits are always works of art, whether creative daily wear or pure vision. I think sometimes people take so much on themselves when it comes to clothing. People become offended, inspired, or otherwise moved to extreme emotion when it comes to dressing bodies. It can lead to a lot of positivity - something we strive for here in the blog world, but I do feel very sad when someone pops that bubble and brings negativity into this scene.

    I hope this project turns that skirt into a positive ray of sunshine that it truly is.

  15. Saying someone looks ugly is not constructive or helpful it's just plain negative and is only someone's point of view anyway. I recall being fairly pissed off by the original comment!
    I am in on this one. Why the heck not? It's a wonderful idea and it's such a sunny colour who could not be happy at the sight of the Travelling Skirt. I shall be waiting when it arrives in the UK.

  16. I'M IN!!This project is wonderful! I'm waiting forward to join the international yellow skirt conspiracy,I hope it or she will fly soon to Europe to dance in it!I love both yours and Sarah's personal interpretations!
    Love xxxx

  17. I agree with Sarah, if a blogger should invite suggestions and criticism, then it's reasonable to politely point out another way, another style, whatever! Blogging is a marvellous way to explore one's style and identity, that's why it feels like such a wonderful community and why I absolutely treasure the fact I have discovered you my lovely! I'm in like Flynn with the skirt funnage!! xoxo

  18. What a brilliant idea, Melanie.
    Helga and I tried the round the world project before with a gorgeous bag that she made. Every new owner posted the bag, plus added some crafty detail to it, but in the end the bag desappeared and nobody knows who got it and stop the wheel running.
    I would love to join you.

  19. Me too, me too! Do you think it'll ever get to the States? ooo, I'm giddy with the joy of it all!

  20. I'm in, too!
    The only time I'm ever negative is when a troll-like tosser posts a shitty comment like the one you got, it's not big, it's not clever and it's fucking pathetic. xxx

  21. I'm definitely "in" with the sisterhood of the travelling skirt. I will wait until it has had some fun across the ocean and then when it heads back over this way to North America, Amber and I can have a go at it.

    I'm 100% with Sarah on the "ugly" comment. I too subscribe to the "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all". This isn't about censoring, or curtailing free speech, it's about basic civility and respect for other's feelings. Since I started my blog I have been asked by a number of people for style advice, and I make every attempt to make my comments positive and constructive, and not blurting out "you look like crap in that" even though that thought might be in my head. There is already so much negativity out there in the world, I make it a personal mission to combat it rather than add to it.

    Can't wait to see the adventures of the Big Yellow Skirt!

  22. I've just discovered your blog, it's so fabulous! Fantastic idea to send the yellow skirt globe trotting. I will watch it on its way and perhaps request it when I feel brave enough!

    I agree with you too about how important experimentation is to our style and sense of our identity. No growth can be made if we stays 'safe' and doesn't take risks or encounter the odd critical comment. For the record I think you looked wonderful and crazy in your skirt, and both are great compliments!

    I've recently started my own blog, do pop by sometime if you fancy joining me in Le Marais, and bring your best hat!


  23. count me IN with the traveling skirt!! It can stop by for a visit here on the east coast of the USA!!

  24. "Let's enjoy Life. Let's enjoy dressing up...Let's dance" - oh yes, definitely! Love the idea of a skirt being easier to post than a gnome. Looking forward to seeing all its incarnations. I'll definitely keep an eye out for when it heads to the UK as I rather fancy taking it flying in the hills.
    Can't help but watch in admiration at how you have decided to respond to negative commentary.

  25. There's nothing wrong with criticism as long as it's done in a positive way. "You suck" or "your ugly" is uncalled for. That's just mean. I always wonder about the person who posted nasty things about others. What's wrong in their life that they have too run someone else down to feel good about themselves?

    Yellow's not my favorite color, it makes we look jaundiced. I would not wear it, but I love the way you and Sarah look in your photos. I'd love to join in, fun is fun. I don't know how to but those logo things on my blog( always learning)

  26. What a fab idea Melanie! Already you and Sarah have styled the skirt completely differently. I'm looking forward to following the adventures of the Travelling Yellow Skirt.

  27. Me too, me too. I want to watch and think about what to do with it when it comes back closer to home. It is really a gorgeous color.

  28. You know, obviously I agree with Sarah. and you, you should be able to experiment with out - 70's feminism cliche - being judged on your sexiness. Plus we love you and always go on about how we want to meet up with you.
    Anyway, the skirt is amazing, I might request it, but fear it won't fit. Would I ever scale your haute couture throne, not sure. Keep looking fabulous! xxx

  29. "It's just frickin' fabric!!" Love this. ha
    And why dampen someone's joy in whatever tiny thing brings them happiness at the moment? It is unnecessary.
    I'm glad this skirt is being taken on a traveling adventure where it can spread it's sunshine to others who are appreciative of it's brilliance.

  30. This is an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING idea!! I love it! What a cool way to share ideas and perspectives of fashion! Im def. in!!

  31. A beautiful idea Melanie, and I will be watching the party as the yellow skirt travels the planet, floating through this amazing and supportive community. Sarah's interpretation is worthy of applause.

    Using the word 'ugly' to describe another human being is abusive, in my opinion. This terminology is inappropriate, hurtful and damaging. The old power and control dynamic. You have handled the comment with grace and honesty, and I admire you.

    To be a part of this community is an honor.

  32. I would like to be in too please! And if it doesn't fit 'round my ample girth I shall wear it on my head. Or on my ankle. Or on my baby. Lol

    I have not experienced such a comment in blogging so far. But my mum used to say if you've nothing nice to say, say nothing. Simple.

    And as a teacher (in a previous life!) I used to tell my kids that you only blow someone else's candle out to make your own glow more brightly.

    I feel inspiration coming on!!! Yellow, candle.... Gold!!

    Happy to join your blogworld.

  33. I am so totally in support of many of the other comments here, that if you do not have anything nice to say, then say nothing. I agree with Misfits, Ugly is not okay. I have been amazed and delighted with all the wonderful comments I have received while blogging. I think this is a fabulous idea and I would love to participate.

  34. Hi Mélanie -

    People who say nasty comments via blogs have a problem, trust me!
    Any sane, intelligent person would not have written such a negative comment - If it happens again, don't worry and feck them!
    Different tastes, different people and definitively lots of weirdos out there!

    I love your yellow skirt, i think you look wonderful no matter what you are wearing !

    Ariane xxx

  35. I almost never wear yellow and this skirt is way too much yellow for me, but I'll be following your project with interest -- fun to see the community it builds and signals (loudly and clearly!) and it moves around.
    I have to say that I went back to read the comment you signalled as being hurtful, and I can say why it would be. "Ugly" is obviously a strong word. But I read some real thoughtfulness in that response as well, and an honest attempt to sort out a gut reaction to the outfit. There's a clear effort to soften the appraisal with a separation of the outfit from the person, isn't there? I don't see someone who deserves to have epithets like "cocksucker" lobbed at them (and I hate that word's homophobic implications anyway).
    I'm surprised someone would spend enough time disliking an outfit in writing, of course. That's too much negative energy for me, but still, I don't see this writer as being malicious. Am I just naive? Hmmmm. . . .

    1. Whoops, the typos! should be "as it moves around" and "I can see why it would be" . . .

  36. What a brilliant idea! I look forward in watching the traveling (and stylish) circus!

  37. I'm surprised that you would be offended by that comment. Genuinely.

    He didn't say you WERE ugly, he said you LOOKED ugly in the clothes. I learned to relish being celebrated for being loud and abrasive from you. Personal style blogs are not just about reinforcing stereotypes of women as striving to be acceptable to society.

    Damn right the photos of me wearing hats are unrelatable to so many people. I get a steady stream of comments from well-meaning people who "couldn't pull off" wearing hats. These comments would stop if I switched to wearing skinny jeans, boots, a chunky sweater and a knit hat w/ matching scarf - but that's not my personal style.

    I would think that the only insult to your style would be if someone told you that you looked boring.

  38. Please count me in! I'm not entirely sure how this is supposed to work--will all the stops be documented in this post?--but I imagine it will all be clear by the time it's my turn. Anyway I like the badge. As to the criticism, it would indeed be unbelievable to find you looking ugly in any clothes, and I don't believe it.

  39. I would like to participate. I was one of the recipients of Helga's bag and had wondered whatever became of it.

  40. Ooooo, I'm a bit behind here!
    I can tell you that, after me, it goes to Tami, then Amber, then Curtise.........Sarah is going to send it on shortly!

  41. I would so love to wear this yellow skirt and be part of the journey, I hope it comes to my neighborhood, i will show it a real good time! *wink* *wink*

  42. You wouldn’t be MEL, if you hadn’t an empathic idea to turn things into gorgeous Art and refreshing Happenings. - Just the way you did here with your "ugly" yellow skirt, which now turned out to visably change into a complete different one. Send it over, I'll be wearing it :-))

    Energy flows in the right direction, once you give it THE kick. That makes you special, and that's why you're successful. If I’m the bad guy, who unintended forced you to rethink in the way you described above, I’ve purposely done, what a friend should ever do and be to a friend.

    Have a nice, yellow sunshiny November day, my Life-Time-Friend.
    Proud of you ! - Best regards from Europe

  43. What a wonderful idea! I'd spin and spin and spin! So cool!

  44. I'm in but haven't heard on the whereabouts of said skirt ... are you going to highlight each skirt wearer? I hope so.

    Lemme know ~

    In the meantime, come join me on my Countdown to Kitschmas

  45. Can I still sign up for this? I'd love to participate!!!!


  46. Am I too late?? I am sitting here in a fair amount of pain after a weird allergic reaction has caused me to feel like I have chemical burns over most of my body. I stumbled across your website and have to say it's the first time I've laughed in a few days. You are amazing!! I'd love to introduce your sunny skirt to the cold dark Yukon winter.

  47. LOVE the yellow skirt-idea. I have over the years been told that: I look like a transvestite, like a witch, a ghost, etc. I'm so lucky that the blog gives so much positive feedback and that I am aware that transvestites has an impeccable taste. By the way - you are a beautiful mix of Audrey Hepburn (petit), Twiggy (60:s) and Iris Apfel (artistic).

  48. I'm in too, what a marvelous idea. as tom petty says, oh hell yes, put on that party dress!

  49. Though i'm not sure who is in possession of the skirt, Oh melanie, i'd love to wear it and start off my return to the blog-o-sphere in style with friends!!!
    big hugs

  50. I am definitely in for the yellow skirt, ahhhhhhhhhhhh
    Plesea, please, Melanie coint me in.

  51. I love this! I want to be in too!!! M x

  52. sent a message to join the yellow skirt gang...or is it back with you xxxxxxxx

  53. Oh pish! I have a hankering to see this fellow friend of yours in the yellow skirt!!!! It is marvelous, as you are too, my dear.'Ugly' is not even a word in my vocabulary. I would like to see the use of it disappear. is not a word that should be used to describe YOU!!!!! Oh pish!

  54. I adore the idea, but am afraid that the skirt might eat me alive! I think I'll just watch for now...

  55. Love. This. Skirt!!!! You women rock!


  56. It's good to catch up on all the background - I only just caught a little of this when I was sliding down the blog rabbit hole, before I ate the magic cake. I think you should make time to send the skirt to TT so he can style it. He mentions it in his comment, and it would be interesting to see what a man does with it.

  57. I love your project, the story behind it, and the beautiful ladies who showed their unique style and individuality!

  58. I admire the venture although I will not participate. It's a most adventurous idea, and fascinating how each women interprets it differently. Great idea, cannot wait to see how it develops!

  59. What a fabulous idea! I have done art journals like this, but not fashion. So inspiring to see everyone's interpretation.

  60. If the game still goes on, and I believe it does, I would LOVE to participate! What should I do? :)

  61. The post is written in very a good manner and it contains many useful information for me. community for travelers


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