October 28, 2008

Hanging up the Cs for good.

I haven't found many remarkable new fashions or accessories to note here lately, and that gave me a thought.
In my shopping days of the past two years or so, my tastes have definitely changed. While in college and high school, and my early twenties, I loved a good logo-emblazoned Coach bag. I got a little kick from watching the logo pattern fly as I threw the bags onto my shoulder, and felt more stepped-up when I carried them. Even when the purses were on the arms of every prepubescent and living-beyond-their-means Bridgeport beauties, I guess the power of association with expense still made me feel a little special for having one. For a couple of years, very few non-Coach purses interested me.

Another point: Tiffany & Co. Their jewelry is exquisite, their china superb, and I will always have at least two Tiffany-style glass lamps in my dwelling. But after tallying four Tiffany necklaces, one bracelet and a pair of earrings between 2001-2004 (excluding the Return to Tiffany heart pendant on the long ball-chain - that I received for my Sweet 16 and I have had it for just about 10 years!), I have perused tiffany.com a few times over the last year, eager to find a substantial piece of jewelry, and have left the website disappointed. Honestly, how many permutations of circles, squares, locks, Roman numerals, dog tag-style pendants and balls can you work into a piece of silver before they all start to look the same? And with prices for a simple silver necklace rising almost $100 in the past five years, how do you justify it?
My label-whore days are definitely behind me. I've suspected this for a while, and I will still pay more money for great construction and quality. But I haven't seen a single item on the websites of luxury I once loved in a loooong time that I felt more than lukewarm about. Why go for a $250 1" square silver pendant on a chain, with a single T engraved on it, when I can get a unique sterling pendant at an antique store for $50, which no one else has? Why drop $398 for a leather purse emblazoned with Cs and hideous patchwork when you can grab a slouchy, classic leather two-tone hobo in Paris for EU160, which no one else has, and which is made of the most supple leather you've ever felt? Sure, the plane ticket cost $600, but the point is this: I'd much rather be complimented on personal style than on burning my plastic to carry the latest flash-in-the-pan Vuitton bag.
So below is a list of low-key items in my dresser and closet that I love, and which I feel exemplify my personal style better than any label could.
  • Chinatown turquoise cocktail ring ($18 haggled down from $28). I adore turquoise in the summer, and the heaviness and size of this ring makes me want to move my fingers just to watch it. It's like the hippie-esque Lucky Brand rings you can buy at Macy's for $48. Just much better, and cheaper.
  • Black/white and red/white houndstooth plaid summer scarves from Paris (2 for EU10). Not just because I bought them in Paris, and I was disappointed to find them in the States when I returned. But these scarves have a smooth, lightweight texture and are the perfect size and shape to be knotted in different ways. It sounds corny, but wearing them reminds me of wandering St. Germain and shopping for purses in Au Printemps.
  • L.L. Bean Black Wool Polo Coat (approx. $200 (gift)). The long, lean shape of a polo coat is flattering on everyone, and the higher collar was a warm change from my peacoat of college. Plus, everything from Bean lasts forever. You get what you pay for there, except their $29 sweaters which are still glorious.
  • Multicolored glass bead necklaces from a head shop in Key West ($6 each). My newest addition, these necklaces are bright, textured, and look like they could come from Spain or Mexico. They have a slight hippie vibe, but work with a blazer or a sweater, too.
  • L.L. Bean Galway Jacket in Camel ($99). Flattering cut, high stance, three buttons, indestructible wool and a classic cut that goes with dresses, jeans and trousers.
  • Paris purse (see above).
  • Murano glass necklaces (approx. EU12 each (gifts)). One squarish and in green, the other blue/white marbled oval beads. They are both stunning with any neutral top or dress, were inexpensive souvenirs from family members, and for all my jewelry-hunting, I've never found anything like them at any price.
  • Chinatown gold-tone aviators ($10). I love the sarcastic, yet chic look of aviators. When you buy them in gold-tone in the right size and shape for your face, they look lightweight, laid-back and polished. These particular glasses have survived two drunken bachelorette parties and a couple of summer barbeques. They even flew off a boat, and I managed to catch them. They must be magic.

What are your favorite low-key items?



~Mrs. Guru~ said...

There are certain things I will pay for however, I love cheap jewelry. Don't get me wrong I have expensive stuff too. I tend to play with y necklaces when I am bored and always end up breaking them. So I would much rather buy cheap jewelry which sometimes last longer then my expensive stuff.

With Love from New Orleans said...

I hear ya! I don't know what I was thinking.. but collecting the tiffany's signature gaudy dog-tag necklaces/bracelets must have been a teen craze because now they are hidden in the back of my jewelry box collecting dust never to see the light of day again.

I must say there are some classic bags/shoes/belts I have picked up at Target which have received many compliments--none costing over $20.00.

Buffalo Exchange is one of my secrets to buying designer clothes for a fraction of the price.

I really love cheap sunglasses-- I feel like they are the one item I am always altering-- right now I am digging my rayban look-a-likes from UAL--$7.00