I have to say that I loved that watch, because to me it signified a sort of grown-up, elegant lady-ness, the exact sort of thing a capable working woman like my Mom would wear in the 1970s. In reality, it was just another copy of a moderately-priced, decently-made American watch, a ubiquitous timepiece of the era.
When I got my first real job, I bought myself a watch just like it, and quickly realized that it didn’t suit me at all. My mom had thin arms and beautiful olive skin, which made the cheap gold of the Timex seem like a million dollars. I have thick wrists and a fair-freckled-pasty complexion (thanks Dad!), that makes cheap gold and thin wrist straps look ridiculous.
Worse, my mother was a careful woman who took good care of her possessions. I’m always either breaking things (ask me about how I’ve destroyed three cell phone screens in three years) or losing things in public places (like purses, coats, scarves, shoes, boyfriends). I can’t have an expensive watch because I’ll break it or lose it.
So, I need color on my wrist, from a reasonably priced watch with a bigger face. Hence, this men’s watch from Armani Exchange watches at H. Samuels…
Blue is a color that suits my skin-tone, and this watch has it in exactly the tone I require. And because the face is man-sized, it doesn’t make my man-sized wrists seem even bigger than they already are. Plus, I just like the way it looks. What more justification do I need for wearing a man’s watch than that I like it?]]>
Call me old-fashioned, but I can’t say I fully approve of the trend toward piling ever more (and ever smaller) diamonds onto engagement rings. When done wrong, the ring looks crowded and busy, not elegant and dramatic.
Consider, for example, the seven stone diamond bubble ring shown above (image taken from a ring available at Diamonds and Rings site). It’s too much for my taste. I much prefer one, giant, single solitaire diamond on the ring, rather than seven, smaller diamonds jammed together on a single band.
If forced, however, to pick a new engagement ring, I’d go for a three stone setting like this one…
Three princess cut diamonds, arranged simply, in a straight line, is about the best it can get in a multi-stone engagement ring.
Of course, ideally, you’re at the mercy of your future husband. Ideally, he presents you with the ring you will wear for the rest of your life, having picked it out himself without consulting you, which is why you want to make sure your soon-to-be husband is a man of good taste and breeding.
And this is another reason why multistone rings are dangerous, because there’s so much room for errors taste. It much simpler to pick out a ring with a single diamond (albeit a big one), just because it’s so much easier to get it right the first (and what should be only) time.]]>
Right now, at this moment, I’m all about the golden bangles, bracelets, and cuffs. In fact I’m totally digging something I think of as the “high-street gypsy look”, by which I mean, expensive flowy, layered skirts, peasant tops and lots of arm jewelry, all tied up with a saucy, take-no prisoners attitude.
Unfortunately, since I prefer real gold rather than the fake stuff, this means that I can’t afford everything I want, given that at the moment gold costs more than refined plutonium (approximately). If I were a real gypsy, or even better an opera stage gypsy, I’d get my hands on my gold baubles by hook or by crook, preferably by seducing a rich bullfighter, or a foolhardy count. But, those options aren’t exactly open to me, seeing as how I live in a) America, and b) the 21st century, both of which is short on bullfighters and counts.
One less expensive option that does work for me, however, is 18ct gold on sterling silver, like this hellaciously tasty cuff shown above (from the website of Pepper Pink).
This piece combines the shiny goodness of gold, with the heft of sterling silver, but significantly less costly than solid gold. Now that’s what I’m talking about. I have to say that although, eighteen carat gold on sterling silver is not cheap, neither is it a tacky bit of costume jewelry you picked up for nickles at the bargain shop.
So, if you’ll looking for a little gypsy flair, take a look at some gold on silver.]]>
Lucite, not sugar, from Tarina Tarantino.]]>
Still having a Fassbinder moment.]]>
with a twist]]>
plus that pink elephant from last week, obviously.]]>
As all of you doubtlessly know (though equally doubtlessly, weren’t alive to remember) Beatlemania began in earnest on October 13, 1963 so to commemorate everybody’s favorite Liverpudlians –I’m a Ringo girl myself– I thought I’d offer a fun little featurette with four hand-picked items that are Plumcake Approved.
Some of them are goofy, some are serious, but I hope they amuse, delight and occasionally titillate. Not by an elephant teapot though. Freak.
clicky-click for links!]]>
This might be because the dog from the house east of me was serenading the moon into the wee hours, or it could be that the western neighbor’s toddler recently discovered the therapeutic benefits of primal screaming and has dedicated his young life to the perfection of same.
Either way, I need some sparklies to cheer me up, so today’s ring feature comes not a moment too soon.
To conclude our foray into Big Jewelry I’ve picked out ten fun pieces of hand candy, just click on the pictures for linkylinks.
I just love a good cocktail ring –a cocktail ring a large bauble worn to look elegant while one gesticulates, glass in hand, at cocktail parties– and cocktail rings love me.
I mean, it’s pretty much my two favorite things –booze and jewelry– combined in one delicious art form, with the bonus of being easily converted into a weapon in case someone needs to be corrected of wrong-thinking ideas.
There aren’t very many dos and don’ts about how to wear a ring (other than one ring per hand, not counting a wedding band) so I thought I’d just chat a little bit about costume jewelry in general.
There are essentially two schools of thought when it comes to costume jewelry in general and rings in particular: Those folks who want their gems to look like fine jewelry and those who don’t.
I can understand both sides.
Jewelry is a status symbol and while it’s a mark of status to own some serious mined gems, I think it’s infinitely more chic to wear high-end costume jewelry (I’m not talking Claire’s here) either alone or with your fine pieces that almost mocks fine jewelry because you’re secure enough in yourself (and possibly your vaults) to show you don’t care whether “they” believe it’s “real” or not.
Oh, and may I please express my disdain for the phrase “real jewelry”?
As a collector of vintage and antiquarian jewelry, both costume and fine, the line dividing the two is often blurred.
Take, for example, the Napoleonic Cut Steel Tiara, one of the literal crown jewels of Sweden.
Given to Queen Hortense by her mother, Napoleon’s beloved (and then not-so-beloved) Empress Josephine, there are no gems to be found anywhere on the tiara.
It’s made only of brass and steel but are you going to be the one to tell two hundred and fifty years of Swedish royalty it’s not “real jewelry” because there are no diamonds or precious metal?
Nope, me either.
My people have not fared well historically against the vikings and I’m not enthusiastic about my chances to buck the trend.
I’ve been fortunate in that my father was a very well-regarded jeweler who specialized in magnificent baubles, my grandmother’s collection of gems would make Liz Taylor sit up and take notice (though probably not now) and I have personally had the (mis)fortune to date many many men with more money than sense.
I’m pretty well-stocked for fine jewelry, so I spend my time on novel designs, particularly figural rings.
Yesterday while I was poking through HSN.com for the bracelet recommendations I saw Jean Dousset actually had a line for their simulated diamond line Absolute.
Once upon a time, I received a honking big canary diamond ring from Jean Dousset –well techincally it was BY Jean Dousset and FROM someone I later discovered had more wives than I find personally ideal, i.e., one– so I clicked through and saw a ring that was shockingly similar to mine.
The mind reeled.
Frankly I would’ve rather had the $90 ring and gotten the difference in cash.
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend but a woman needs liquidity.
Which brings me to the subject of engagement rings: I kind of think they’re dumb.
Well, I don’t really think they’re dumb, but I’ve seen so many people go into debt to buy the biggest diamond their credit rating will allow and THAT’S dumb. I mean, a big fancy ring is nice but I can’t help but think marrying someone who doesn’t buy stuff they can’t afford is much, much nicer.
Okay enough waxing stentorian about costume jewelry, let’s talk guidelines:
Bracelets with Rings:
Fun if you’re going for Overdone On Purpose, otherwise a risky proposition.
If you want to do Overdone on Purpose, try to consider the bracelet and ring as one look. I’ve often wrapped a rope of pearls halfway up my arm and added an enormous pearl and gold cocktail ring to complete the look.
Brooches as Rings:
Sometimes I inherit brooches that have broken pins not worth repairing and/or are too small to wear in the traditional brooch style or elsewhere on my person, so I’ll glue them on to a ring blank.
Viola, fabulous cocktail ring.
You can do the same thing with broken old earrings.
Look in the mirror, are you Joe Pesci?
If yes, how shocked were you when Marisa Tomei won the Oscar? If no, take off the pinky ring.
Look in the mirror again, are you Anthony Bourdain?
If no, take off the thumb ring. If yes, take off the thumb ring anyway, it looks stupid on you too and you’re too old for that nonsense. If you’re not Lou Reed by now you’re never going to be. Sorry.
Finally, remember there is costume jewelry and then there is costume jewelry.
Don’t buy the wrong kind.
You want to look for prong-set stones, attention to detail and everything else you’d want in a piece of fine jewelry. In fact, in most of the pieces I buy today, the process of making the ring is the same, only the materials are different. You’ll also pay accordingly.
I’ve kept all but one of these rings under $100, a nice cocktail ring can easily set you back a few hundred dollars but the difference in quality will be visible.
Remember, style icons from Coco Chanel to Jackie Kennedy wore costume jewelry as part of their signature looks and looked amazing doing it. You can bet they didn’t get their stuff from Claire’s.
Okay lambkins that’s all I’ve got for jewelry for a while, if you have specific questions I didn’t answer, let me know, otherwise, I hope you enjoyed it!]]>
have I responded to everyone’s questions from the Monday Post? If not, ask again and I’ll do my best to get to it today.
Now back to the second-to-last installation of the statement jewelry series: Bracelets.
As far as jewelry wickets go, bracelets are among the stickiest.
Still, I’ve picked out ten Plumcake-approved baubles from punk to prissy all advertised to fit a larger wrist and pictured here for your delectation and delight.
Just click the photos for shopping links.
First we’ve got to find one that fits, which requires an act of Congress, THEN we’ve got to make sure it doesn’t give us stump-arm, which requires an act of God. You know what I’m talking about when I say stump-arm right?
It’s the way a bad bracelet visually shortens your arms until you look like the star in an all-Tyrannosaurus Rex production of Auntie Mame. Sure, it makes a statement, but “transvestite thunder lizard” probably isn’t the direction we want to go quite yet.
I’ve only started wearing bracelets within the past few months. Historically I’d avoided them because:
a) It was difficult to find arm candy that was big enough to circumnavigate my 7.75″ wrist (not to mention slide over my giant mitts, made only from the finest of Virginia hams)
b) I don’t really like most stretch bracelets and non-stretch ones bothered me while I earned my crust of bread at the newspaper
c) My torso is long so it gives the appearance of having short arms. See stump-arm and drag queen dinosaur reference above
But somehow the stars aligned to make me A few months ago Hot Latin Boy bestowed unto me a custom parure of a necklace, earrings and bracelet he designed and commissioned just for yours truly.
Well I couldn’t NOT wear the bracelet so I slipped it over my wrist and was surprised by how pretty it looked with my white dress and tan (okay, you know what, I can hear you laughing and you all can just quit it right now, I totally had a tan. I was practically bronze, assuming the word bronze means “slightly darker than alabaster”) skin.
A month or so later I came into possession of a ridiculous stack of unadorned silver bangles that fit me perfectly and now I wear them at least once a week.
Six things to keep in mind for wearing bracelets:
Think about movement.
The key to wearing statement bracelets is to make sure they’re not too tight, and have a little movement on the arm.
It’s strange, but one big thick bangle or cuff looks clunkier than that same bangle plus another slightly more delicate piece.
Don’t believe me? Go try it.
Getting a bracelet with dangling ornamentation is a fantastic way to get movement without bulk. I’m a huge fan.
Be careful with cuffs. I’ve got to be honest, I don’t just love big cuffs on big girls.
I love big cuffs in and of themselves, I even have a gorgeous 1970’s Pierre Cardin figural rams head cuff that probably weighs a pound and a half, but it’s very hit and miss as to when and how successfully I can wear it. The downside is, of course, that cuffs are the bracelets more likely to actually FIT a larger wrist.
If you want to do the cuff thing, look for something that tapers, the ones that are uniformly thick can look uniformly clunky. Not a fan.
Charm bracelets, when done right, are fantastic on a big girl.
The key is to keep from being cutesy.
Way back in the misty days of yore, from about the 1930’s to the 1960’s it wasn’t at all unusual for a woman to collect tiny little charms in the shape of shields as souvenirs from the places she’d visited.
They’re usually silver with an enameled crest with the place name and some local flora, fauna or site.
I have a travel bracelet full of little travel shield charms –although admittedly I buy them on eBay or Ruby Lane after I get back– to mark my favorite towns and cities.
I also get antique silver three-dimensional charms of every mode of transportation I’ve used.
Not only is a great piece of jewelry, it’s an heirloom in the making and a conversation piece.
You can point to the little horse and carriage and tell the grandkids about the time you took a surrey ride around Ensenada with a cute Mexican fella (extra bonus points if they’re HIS grandkids too) or the time you went to Wales on a ferry and had to throw yourself on the mercy of a stranger, which is how you spent the night in a place called “The Spider Cottage”.
Bangles: More is (sometimes) more. Up to a point that is, but usually five coordinating bangles are better than one and ten are better than five.
You’re generally safe taking a stack of bracelets 1/3rd of the way up your forearm.
Up to a half is doable with big stacks of chunky bracelets, but anything longer than that is seriously Advanced Fashion, so think it through.
Think about sleeve length. Easy rule of thumb:You want at least as much bare arm as you have bracelet-covered arm. If you are wearing bracelets that climb 5″ up the wrist, your sleeve should end no lower than five inches from the top of your northernmost bracelet.
Think outside the bracelet box. I’ve used bow ties, long necklaces, dog collars with vintage earrings attached, silk scarves, and just bits of ribbon onto which I’ve pinned a large antique brooch or fur clip.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for today. Stay tuned tomorrow for rings and various other ornamentation and if you have something to say, put it in the comments!]]>