My nickname is the great foretelling of my mother’s wildest dreams for my life. In her world, a nickname was not a mere term of endearment; it was a prophetic word that would guide my destiny. The fate of her children rested on the snap of her tongue and she chose our names methodically.
Bao Ji, literally translated means “little ball” in Cantonese.
Perhaps there was something lost in translation.
Was it the name of a benevolent empress who ruled some distant uncharted dynasty? No.
Then perhaps the origins of this nickname come from a revered all-knowing Chinese deity? No.
The story is simple. When my mother locked eyes with me in the hospital room, she marveled at the size of my large and perfectly round head and felt compelled to name me after the first thing that came to mind, a little ball.
The name “Little Ball” informed how I conducted myself through much of life. I was a perfectly round brute who barreled through life unapologetically. As a child I towed the gender line as my stocky build and iconic bowl haircut kept the playground guessing. My nickname also did not help to propel my gender identity forward in either direction. The gender ambiguous nickname “Little Ball” helped me to hover between playing hopscotch with the girls on Monday and mischievously flipping up their skirts (for that is the punishment for cooties) and cackling with the boys on a Tuesday. If it is true that a nickname has the power to guide my destiny, “Little Ball” gave me freedom to be one of the girls and one of the boys without consequence.
While I have grown and no longer condone skirt-flipping as a justifiable consequence for being a carrier of cooties, my childhood experience of gender neutrality has informed much of my style sensibilities. I adore pieces that can be simultaneously masculine and feminine. In the world of style, those pieces are few and far between, typically being more eccentric than wearable. Fortunately, with the reintroduction of the modern bomber jacket, ladies and gents have freedom to play with a wildly versatile gender neutral staple that is the perfect blend of the feminine and masculine. Let’s take a look at how this special jacket will take your look from so-so to bomb dot com.
The Bomber Jacket
There is something about the modern-day bomber jacket that conjures feelings of general bad-assery. Though you may see these jackets recently draped across the bony shoulders of grimacing models in crop tops, make no mistake - bombers have been around since the turn of the century. They have been adapted and re-appropriated from former flight/military jackets and reintroduced to the world as a wardrobe essential with a rebellious streak.
The bomber jacket can temper any sexy outfit and is best suited in bringing balance and wearability to a bodycon dress. The pairing of the two is the perfect blend of masculine and feminine style. Bodycon dresses are created for sex appeal and crafted to hang onto every nook and cranny of your body. If you are going for helplessly sexy, a body con will always fit the bill. Unfortunately, there is such a problem as “too sexy” and dresses that fall into this category lack practicality and wearability. The bomber solves this conundrum, as its athletic silhouette comes away from the body, bringing balance to a skin-hugging dress while still offering a feminine and fitted waist. If your outfit of choice for the evening is a little “too hot,” there is nothing that will bring it to a nice, steady simmer like our beloved bomber.
Add Some Flavor
There is nothing that can reinvigorate what often feels like a played-out work uniform like a patterned bomber. You may have reached for colorful blouses in the past to bring color and life back into your work wardrobe, but I promise the modern-day bomber will do it better. When it comes to a professional environment, opt for bombers that have fitted silhouettes and hit at the waist as they offer a tailored look appropriate for a casual office setting. The patterned bomber will offer both structure and visual interest, ushering new life into formerly sterile work attire.
Spice It Up
I have never taken a second glance at nor have I ever pondered the origin story of anyone in a tee shirt and jeans. The magic of the bomber jacket is that it can instantly transform any casual outfit into one that is edgy, leading a passerby to pause and wonder a little more about who you are. Suddenly the tee shirt and jeans that you put on as no more than an afterthought becomes memorable and intentional when you pair it with a modern-day bomber.
I always emphasize having multi-functional pieces with my clients, and the bomber is the perfect example of an item that can be worn on a date, to work, to play, or to lounge. While I’ve found distinct bombers at Target and Adidas, I’ve even found some winners at the Goodwill and on Amazon. The next time you have an outfit that you love but that just needs a little something else, channel your inner “Little Ball” and find a bomber to spice things up!
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