Anatomy of a Dress by Juliette Van Der Molen Review (Fly On The Wall Press Blog Tour)

An outfit can speak a thousand words. There’s the mother opting for a food stained, ragged look because she overslept from being up all night with the baby and is now late dropping off her screaming toddler at nursery. The student waiting at the bus stop with their head phones on, desperate for food because they spent their loan on fancy trainers and designer clothes. And finally the 13 going on 30 girls hanging around the local shopping centre playing adult as they text on their phones and giggle profusely. It seems to be the fashion that what you wear defines you as a person, clothes can tell a story to strangers about who you are. And we all judge each other on what we wear don’t we. But are they just pieces of fabric designed to cover the flesh or are they an extension of our personality? Or are they simply just clothes?

Today I am on the blog tour for Anatomy of a Dress (Published December 16th 2009) By Juliette Van Der Molen. A big thank you to the publishers Hedgehog Poetry for my copy to review, always appreciated. And to the wonderful people at Fly On The Wall Press for the invite. They publish breathtaking poetry, go check them out. 


About The Author


Juliette Van Der Molen is an ex-pat poet currently living in the United Kingdom. She is an intersectional feminist and member of the LGBTQIA community. Her work has also appeared in Burning House Press, Memoir Mixtapes, Collective Unrest and several other publications. Her books include: Death Library: The Exquisite Corpse Collection, Mother, May I? and the forthcoming Confess: the untold story of Dorothy Good.


Anatomy of a Dress

AoAD cover- Juliette van der Molen

This poetry speaks about the poet’s own struggle and the difficulties that many other women face when making a decision which most men would consider simple— What should I wear today? Anatomy of A Dress explores messages sent and interpreted regarding how women have historically been encouraged to dress, mainly for the pleasure and subjugation of the patriarchy. Poems for this book were written as the final culmination of thoughts and research that developed over a couple of years.


My Review

Throughout history women have carried the ever growing pressure of how to dress. Society would judge you harshly if you rocked up to a fancy dance in a handmade gown. Women have had it engrained in our brains since birth that what we wear is a big deal. When women are tasked with choosing an outfit to wear, be it for a special occasion or just every day it can quickly turn into a nightmare. Women have a love/hate relationship when it comes to clothing and Molen captures this perfectly in her poetry. The weight and duty to uphold of being a woman throughout history to present day. It’s insightful to read and highly relatable to anyone who has asked themselves “What do I wear today?“.

Molen’s poems show how women have been viewed as objects to be admired by men, nothing else. No voice or opinion were allowed. They are merely placed on display, something pleasing to the male eye. Molen focuses on this dilemma powerfully throughout her poems and its insightful to read.

she is felled,
a tree,
a willow,
into the waiting arms,
of a ballerino flattened to the stage—
standing strong
while she bleeds beauty
into a toe box,
because sometimes
(most times)
it hurts to be a pretty thing.

The imagery is delectable as Molen brings fashion to life. The clothes all have their own personalities, some bearing their sharp teeth to the narrator while others encourage freedom and strength. The striking vision of flesh being forced into corsets and tight clothing all in the name of fashion makes you shudder and feel helpless as there is nothing you can do, it’s how society was back then. You nearly sigh with relief at how times have changed but then think…have they? Women still force themselves into too small clothing and ridiculously high heels that make them bleed and wobble. All in the name of ‘looking good’ and attempting to attract a mate. We still judge each other based on an outfit choice and always worry that we look fat in everything. It’s tedious and exhausting, which Molen has portrayed immaculately throughout these poems.

internal organs
until my heart feels
like it is
lodged at the base
of my throat
and my insides
ache, pulled too
fast, too tight—
you couldn’t wait. 

There is a powerful theme of keeping up appearances in these pomes. Words of wisdom of how to dress for the opposite sex has been passed down from generation to generation. In Painted Legs the grandmother talks about how they had to keep up a façade, paint it on if needs be. It begs the question, has much really changed over the years? It’s fascinating poetry as Molen piques your interest, encouraging you to learn and discover more about our history with clothes.

Rosie may be
a riveter,
but she’s also
got to be riveting.
because those men,
they’re coming back
and they’ll expect
your stockinged legs
and painted smiles
to greet them. 

I give Anatomy of a Dress By Juliette Van Der Molen a Five out of Five paw rating. 

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Truly gripping, inspirational poetry that captures the history and emotion that women have been harshly subjected to. These poems are a wake up call, a revelation of how we have portrayed the way we dress for years and years. We need to focus less on what makes others happy and more on what we find comfortable and cosy. After all, our clothes are like a second skin, be happy and rejoice in your own unique quirky style. And most of all enjoy it, own it, be proud no matter what you wear.

Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below, enjoy!

Anatomy of a Dress Blog Tour.png



Buy a copy

AoAD cover- Juliette van der Molen




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About Bunny's Pause

Hello, I'm a Author/Poet/Reviewer/Bookworm/Gamer/Music Lover/Wife and Mother! I review and recommend books as I LOVE to read! I am always on the lookout for new and upcoming books to expand my ever-growing library. If you have something you wish me to read and review, please contact me. I would be delighted to hear from you. Hop hop wiggle wiggle
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