Byline: Jessica Kerwin

NEW YORK — They’re tough enough all right, but fashion’s Bad Girls are a world away from Butch Chic. Think no-nonsense rockers like Debbie Harry, an Eighties-era Apollonia 6 or Joan Jett and the Courtney Love of old. Their sexy look borrows from the boys — with a little leather here and a few metal studs there — but its flair is purely feminine. Whether backless, strapless, fringed, shredded or slit-down-to-there, the daring, baring clothes the Bad Girl wears tell a story of debauchery, hard knocks and steamy living.
Of course the Bad Girl’s larger-than-life operatics and pin-up looks translate all too easily to the big screen. We’ve been scandalized and emboldened by a kitten-heeled Mamie Van Doren, a breathy Jayne Mansfield and their pulp-fiction sisters, Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie, the cult heroines from Russ Meyer’s trashy films like “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” and even Erin Brockovich, a real-life live wire.
Their regalia runs from short and tight to more so and may even turn a little witchy at times. But then, the Bad Girl has never, ever, dressed for day. Her wardrobe is the stuff of fantasy, and even superheros like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena, Batgirl or Halle Barry’s Storm know how to use a little sex appeal to their advantage. Whether fantastical, merely fictional or flesh-and-blood, the one thing that sets a Bad Girl apart from the rest is the hard-edged audacity of her timeless appeal.

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