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A Girl's Guide to Breaking the Law In Style

It's fine to shoplift, deal drugs and prostitute yourself, as long as you look good doing it.

Bashar Al-Assad, Jack Tweedy, your male coworkers, sexual predators; if only women ruled the world. There'd be no hospital bombings, no nukes, no racism and no cancer. Governments would pick up the phone to settle their differences through dialogue, rather than to speed-dial their arms dealers. Crime would drop, spirits would rise, the world wouldn't smell of burning bodies and everyone would stop suffocating the planet with cars and ride hot air balloons to work every day instead. In short, the age of man-made evil would end. A new era of beatific, woman-made harmony would commence. Except it wouldn't, would it? Before you storm the streets topless with your favourite skirt hoisted on a flagpole – like some screaming ASOS Joan of Arc, ushering in a future in which the only thing that sheds blood is your womb – you might wanna take a breath and remind yourself of the existence of people like Rebekah Brooks, Ilse Koch, Myra Hindley, assorted "death nurses", the Cat Bin Lady and these guys. Yeah, they have boobs too. I know, it sucks.


But you don't have to be warhead evil, you can merely be handgun evil. Crime is crime, and the fact that women are just as capable of it as men is empowering. In fact, the only difference is that you're less likely to commit those crimes that tend to be the preserve of slobs who can't dress themselves properly, like rape or child-snatching, so exploit that by following our guide and ensuring that, when you break the law, you do it in style.


Clockwise from top left: mac by Burberry, Faith Ankle boots, Korres lip balm, JW Anderson for Topshop shirt dress, black leather bag by Loewe, jeans by J Brand, Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, zip socks from Amazon, Agent Provocateur thong, Carine Gilson bra, ASOS beanie, Anais Anais perfume by Cacharel.

Let's not kid ourselves. The reason you're shoplifting is not because you are a) oh gawd, just really, really ditzy and forgetful, b) a student, or c) too poor to clothe your starving Kosovan family. It is a combination of the hole your middle-class upbringing blasted in your conscience, the advertising bombs that attack your brain cells daily and your own greed and boredom that's brought you to this point. And now that you're here, there's nothing we can say that will keep you from spending the rest of your life furiously gnawing away at alarm mechanisms in the H&M fitting rooms until you either marry money or choke to death on the security ink. Think I'm exaggerating? Go read some Naomi Klein, moran.


Firstly, I need to state the obvious: The idea here is that you come out of the shop with more stuff than you go in with. So you need room. Go for a man's coat with large side and breast pockets that you can throw sets of earrings into, and proceed to covertly rip them one by one from their little plasticard tag thing (with one hand, if you're pro). All the while, you should be casually chatting to your friend who – ideally – is browsing for lingerie (a security guy will be more wary of following you if you make him feel like a pervert).

Similarly, an oversized cross-body satchel will provide space for that untagged sweater you found lying under the sales rail. Bonus points if the bag is slouching on your hips. Shoplifting is like masturbating, you'll realise God built us to do it when you discover how useful it is to have a chasm situated at the exact height of your hands. That's basically all you need. Cover the rest of your body in muted tones and boring lines so you don't attract attention and forget make-up and accessories were ever invented. Wear your disgraced mother's ankle-boots. The only hat you need is a beanie. Avoid channelling Winona because she shoplifts like an idiot and wear your hair in front of your face. You don't want people to know who you are, unless you feel like spending Saturday night in some horrible high street basement being made to feel morally inferior by a colossal Serb whose last security job was with Arkan.



Clockwise from top left: sunglasses by Cutler and Gross, boots by Urban Outfitters, blouse by ALC, skirt by JW Anderson X Topshop, dress by JW Anderson X Topshop, scarf by Alexander Mcqueen, TIGI Bedhead Foxy Curls spray, Clarins Super Restorative Day Cream, dress by Cos.

Rebekah Brooks didn't have to tap anyone's phone to find out that Italy is the home of both fashion and bribery. And what else do they love in Italy, besides corruption and clothes? That's right – God. So, to pull this off properly, you're gonna need to dress like she does, and rip off the women who are banned from having sex but hate gay marriage. It's time to rip off the nuns.

Brooksy knows it's easier to invoke an air of haunted penitence when your outfit's alluding to the influence of some higher power. Whether it's The Almighty, a globe-conquering media mogul or a Prime Minister, Rebekah's the queen of pulling off a look that says: "I might know where the bodies are buried, but that doesn't mean I did the digging."

Serious law breaking requires seriously serious outfits. And what's more serious than God? A pilgrim’s collar here, a houndstooth jacket there, a knee-length black skirt that hits your leg just the right side of sexy. Whatever you wear, it’s always topped off with a collar – for added innocence – and some sunglasses that give you a permanent bitch-face.

Shoes need to be equal measures spiky and practical, to make your life easier when you’re kicking the truth out of some scumbags, but don’t worry too much about the style, just make sure they’re black so the blood won’t stain. Make-up is restricted to highly expensive invisible secret potions, because you know all too well that in media, even the tiniest smear of lipstick can blow up in the press. Last but not least, you need 300 blackberries, and a PA to carry them all for you. Capisce?



Clockwise from top left: COS sweater, Olympia Le-Tan skirt, Vivienne Westwood Frilly Snake bag, Topshop dress, Olympia Le-Tan skirt, Christy Ivory sunglasses, Christian Dior mascara, Flowerbomb perfume by Victor & Rolf, Vivienne Westwood Olive Chancery Bowling Bag, ASOS collar, Set of Coloured Eye Pencils by Sephora, Tokidoki Perfetto Eyeliner.

Whether you ended up with a few extra grams just before you embarked on your gap year in Goa, or you've finally accepted that your dog nail salon is not going to make you rich any time soon, there are three emotions that you need to manipulate the world into feeling if you want them to shop at your street pharmacy: Safety, fear and endearment. It's a difficult mixture, obviously. At first these three emotions seem like contradictions, but wait a second and let me chew that up and spit it out for you. You'll have competitors that you need to convince you are a psycho, customers who are paranoid and your parents to fool into thinking you're just the same forlorn flower you always were, just with twice as many phones and ten times the disposable income. Maintaining this ruse can be tough on the mind. Developing multiple personalities is common among people who carry children's balloons filled with white powder in their anus, so you'd better construct an outfit that embraces the inner demons that have made their beds in your soul. Luckily for you, people rarely look beyond appearances and you should be able to skip becoming a mess by putting some effort into not looking like one. Or by putting some effort into looking like Zooey Deschanel, it's the same thing.


Browse your wardrobe for the most colourful, outdated and random shit it contains and wear everything on top of each other. Think of yourself as a musty trifle: Every patterned layer signifies a visual distraction from the soul-wrenchingly bad quality of your product and the lives it can destroy. Full, midi skirts in bold hues are key as they are equally terrifying and cute, and so is carefully applied – but over-the-top – neon eye make-up. A sickly sweet perfume might help conceal the skunk odour emanating from your opulent Vivienne Westwood Frilly Snake bag, while a pair of Swedish Hasbeens will convince the grown-ups that you're just another au pair picking the kids up from school/football practice/that huge industrial estate where everyone takes acid on the weekends.

Think about adopting a foreign accent. Never sell to your friends. Call me.


Clockwise from top left: heels by Jimmy Choo, hat by Etro, coat by Thakoon, strap top by Topshop, boots by Reed Krakoff, pink skirt by Topshop, green PVC skirt by Tibi, knickers by Topshop, gloves by Causse Gantier, jeans by Faith Connexion, glitter by Mac, bag by Moschino Cheap and Chic.

Okay, we’re not advocating selling your body at all, but in the words of a man I know who’s had his fair share of dubious sexual experiences, if you’re going to do something wrong, do it right. I feel your pain, girl; you want to make a quick buck, you see all the cool kids in LA stripping for cash while they "find themselves" on Tumblr, and you think yes, I could do that, but I want to do it properly. Welcome to the world of whoring, a place with corners so dark, no amount of UV light will pick up the stains.


Now comes the crucial decision; being boring vs dressing snappy. Think about it this way: this is (hopefully) the only chance you'll get to wear the things that nobody really understands how to put on, like full body G-strings, and femi-doms. If you were ever going to be good at something, why not make it "dressing like a hooker"? I mean jeez, some people have practically made a career out of it (cough, Aubrey O’Day, wheeze, ). To start with, you need to think about incorporating some slutty, ratchet textures into your wardrobe. I’m talking white pleather, green faux-snakeskin, purple marabou, the works. If you get lost, just think Alabama Worley meets Miley Cyrus. (God, I’m so into this.)

The most important thing about your prostitute outfit is that you have an easily accessible pocket that can fit both a condom and a rape alarm in it simultaneously. Don’t worry about a wallet, because you can store cash in your panties. Finally: a magnificent hat. This will do wonders to protect your identity when the cops are cruising past. Also, pimps wear magnificent hats, so why not ape that? This is 2012, don't be so terrified of sexual equality.

Follow Elektra and Bertie on Twitter: @elektrakotsoni / @bertiebrandes

More guides for young ladies:

A Girl's Guide to Looking Like You Live in London

A Girl's Guide to Falling Apart with Dignity

A Girl's Guide to Screwing Older Men

A Ladies' Guide to Buying Drugs