maybe…this: baseball cap

I like the simple silhouette of this Madewell Biltmore baseball cap. I think the classic, curved bill can be so flattering, especially paired with something ultra feminine (say, pearls), but have had a hard time finding a hat basic and simple enough (no embellishments, clean lines, good quality fabric), yet in a compelling color.

[Yes, I find all shades of cream and white and ‘stone’ compelling. I also like vanilla bean ice cream best. What.]

I also need it to be adjustable so as to have an escape route for my hair.

I keep hinting at guy friends to give me an old one, so it will be all awesomely broken in and frayed at the edge of the bill (in a manner it would take me so long to achieve myself, authentically), but no hat has been forthcoming.

[WHAA??? WHY??! WHY WON’T YOU GIVE ME YOUR HAT?!]

This might be the one…

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acquisitions: pearls, pearls, pearls

pearls

bonjour mes perles…

About three years ago I thought: pearls. Why don’t I wear those?

I did a lot of research (about two years just browsing and researching) before making any purchases and, after a rather indulgent and permissive winter*, I show definite results.

*with the stunning jewelery in the recent Anna Karenina film perhaps a minor catalyst.

AAA cultured freshwaters, ivory, 7-8mm 18" necklace, 8-9mm studs

AAA cultured freshwaters, ivory, 7-8mm 18″ necklace, 8-9mm studs

Got a few pairs of earrings in different styles (you can see the 8-9mm studs in action here) and a classic 18″ necklace in the holiday sales, an 8-strand bracelet. Investigating longer ropes of 50+ inches (which just 15 years ago were thought suitable only for grandmothers. So old-school they are fresh again), and have determined it makes sense to get a short (acquired!) and a medium length necklace that match (with identical clasps as well) and have the option to wear them linked together.

To get the most for my money, I went with cultured freshwaters. They are almost pure nacre, which means you don’t have to worry about a thin (unless trés $$$) layer of nacre wearing away to expose a dull bead†, and they can come in a lot of funky shapes and colors that I find really modern. Most come from China. Quality and size in any pearl are a matter of the species of bivalve in question, the water quality/temperature/depth of growth/duration of growth, and other stuff that isn’t even fully understood at this point.

† as with nucleated pearls like akoyas and south sea pearls, at which point the pearls become pretty much unwearable. These nucleated pearls have hardcore, loyal followers, however, who believe them to have superior luster and orient (a.k.a. ‘rainbowiness’), in the case of akoyas, and undeniably larger size, in the case of south sea pearls, which are cultivated in a mammoth species of bivalve.

I found that it may be cheaper and more satisfying to buy the pearls wholesale and knot longer necklaces myself. Project! The knots serve to keep the pearls from rubbing against one another, which can chip and dull the delicate nacre (pronounced NAY-ker), and from being irretrievably lost if the string breaks. They are traditionally strung on silk thread suitable for the gauge of the drill holes, though contemporary jewelers often use some more durable synthetic blend. Does everyone know these things? I did not know these things. It is also a useful long-term skill as any strand of pearls requires periodic restringing, which is not so cheap. And then, of course, you can realize your own designs and repurpose old necklaces, etc. Ah. To have proper skills.

I knotted this!

Pearl jargon: little pearls klink, medium sized pearls clank, 10mm+ pearls klonk (and are known as ‘klonkers’).

There is something warm and approachable about pearls (and semi-precious or opaque stones, but especially pearls) that glittering, faceted gems do not have.

[Not that one wants always to be warm and approachable.]

Opulent yet subtle and wearable in contexts high and low. Relatively affordable.

[Especially if they are fake, or of middling quality. Some of the pieces in the first photo are costume jewelery, which have their place. Some are low-quality in the traditional gem-appraisal sense, as in not round or flawless, but in the modern eye this can make them even more appealing.]

I maintain that they go with anything. They are less aloof, yet can meet the rubies and sapphires on their own ground, as proven in the jewelry and gowns of so many medieval and renaissance portraits. [Of course, in great quantity the subtlety goes out the window.]

They warm to the skin, glow with luster and orient, and love to be worn. Properly cared for, they will outlast you.

Also, they make stellar gifts. And, if you talk about them enough, people will give them to you. Inexplicably, some people seem to have pearls they do not want.

pearl resources:

http://www.pearl-guide.com/  extremely helpful forum and lots of useful links. The loudest piece of advice I took away from the forum was, get the best you can afford. I like this approach in general.

http://www.pearlparadise.com/ the vendor I’ve made most of my purchases from, they also sell pearls by the inch and have great customer service (no issues about returning pieces to correct matching or sizing issues, and a 90-day return policy). Great sales sometimes, too.

http://www.stachurawholesalegemstones.com/ this is where I got knotting supplies and the more colorful wholesale pearls. They also sell other precious and semi-precious stones.

Tears of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls interesting book about the pearl industry at every level, from the farm/ocean to the customer. If you are ever mesmerized by pearls –how they are heavier than they look, how they seem to glow from within, how they came straight out of some bivalve just like this (treated pearls aside), a gift of nature– this is for you.

upgrades: new shoelaces (laces are so cheap!)

An inexpensive way to brighten and refresh your shoes? New laces! More to the point, contrasting laces.

For standard, flat, sneaker-style laces I recommend Converse laces, which come in a few lengths and many, many colors. ~$2!

For sturdy, round, boot-style laces, check out Doc Marten’s. ~$3!

[Make sure to get the correct length]

before & after:

before

pumas before

pumas after

pumas after

converse before

converse before

converse after

converse after

docs before

docs before

 

docs after

docs after

and after

and after

and after

and after

and after

and after

IMG_2043

See what I mean?

(Which color would you go for with the doc martens? Tough call, right?)

N.B. New white laces tend to make broken-in shoes look especially tired.

weekend inspiration #1: upcycled neckties

I got the idea for this weekend inspiration series from Garance Doré’s site, the layout and content of which I really admire. It’s basically an excuse to post anything I think beautiful or interesting.

[Which I am supposed to be doing on tumblr, but I only just started it, so I keep forgetting it exists.]

Check out these upcycled necktie accents by buffalo blue designs.

buffalo blue designs

buffalo blue designs

buffalo blue designs

buffalo blue designs

buffalo blue designs

buffalo blue designs

buffalo blue designs

buffalo blue designs

buffalo blue designs

buffalo blue designs

How neat? These strike me as wonderfully versatile in that way statement pieces can sometimes be. They can be as voluminous and colorful as your tie supply allows.

I am absolutely inspired to try to make one of these, and have been collecting ties.

winter chic: faux fur collar

i

i

I have an extremely warm pimp-style coat for winter, with a broad shearling collar and wrist + hem accents but, for the most part, it hasn’t been cold enough to warrant it. My wool coat serves…does this mean I don’t get to have a massive fur collar?

Happily, it does not.

ii

ii

iv

iv (iii didn’t make the cut after all)

v (though it's hard to believe, I actually wasn't posing for this one)

v  (though it’s hard to believe, I actually wasn’t posing for this one)

vi

vi

This one was solidly inexpensive and just what I was looking for. Like the idea of wearing it over a motorcycle jacket, too, but I haven’t found the right one yet.

Added monster pearl drop earrings for a look that is says… Anna Karenina.

Faux fur collar: eBay, pearl dangles: eBay, wool coat: Kenneth Cole, Celtic patterned acrylic scarf: gifted, leggings: Topshop (thrifted), boots: Sorel, legwarmers: who knows, gloves: Bon-Ton, alpaca muff: eBay, on the lips: Korres lip butter glaze in wild rose.

vii

vii

viii

viii

ix

ix

x

x

xi

xi

xii

xii

xiii

xiii

xv

xiv
xv

x

P.S. Thanks to CPL for taking these shots.