accessories, Accessories, ACCESSORIES!
My mother had style even though she was born in a Russian shtetl and only had a 6th grade education . But she somehow had that flair. Just look at those shoes, the hat and those multiple necklaces.
We were not wealthy. I’m not even sure we were middle class. But, when my parents bought their first home in Los Angeles, she decorated it in her own unique vision of what she thought was stylish.
Two of the walls in our white kitchen had a hand-painted arbor of pink roses climbing up to the ceiling. The dining room had a very East Coast, elegant, old-money-rich landscape painted above the wainscoting.
She insisted on being surrounded by beauty. The living room couch was a deep forest-teal green velvet and the love seat was the most gorgeous shade of dark lavender.
After my mother passed away, I was rummaging through her closets and found this fabulous hat. I don’t know what I was thinking, but instead of keeping it, I sent it off to one of my aunts in New Jersey. I’m still kicking myself.
You get the picture. Thanks to my mother, I think I have an eye for beauty and a sense of style. It started early. Here I am at about 7 or 8 years old. Look at those shoes. I’d wear them today.
After I married, I remember saving up money to buy a pair of stylish Margaret Jerrold shoes. Here are the same shoes I bought in the early 1960’s.. I can’t believe I actually found this exact pair today on eBay!
Accessories? I didn’t know I was collecting them. I simply loved anything beautiful and well-designed. Most of my accessories have been found on trips. In fact, that’s when I discovered ArtWear. It was a new, very cool contemporary jewelry store in Soho. The jewelry designers who started it so many years ago are still stars in the jewelry design firmament, like Ted Muehling, Robert Lee Morris and Patricia Von Muslin. That was the old, fun Soho before it became the mall it is today. I fell in love with Ted Muehling’s earrings and still wear them 20 years later. Now I can buy them closer to home at August on 3rd street. You must go there for some of the most creative artistic jewelry plus a lot of Ted Muehlings’ pieces. Take a look at Gabriella Kiss’s jewelry and watch this short documentary on her process. I was mesmerized.
One day at Atkinson’s Market in Ketchum, Idaho a young woman came up to me to tell me how much she admired my Ted Muehling earrings. We Ted Muehling collectors always acknowledge each other’s excellent taste. I think we should have secret head nod.
Some years ago, I bought two bangles in the gift shop at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and wore them constantly. I accidentally broke one and couldn’t figure out where to find others. Then, I remembered that these were made of resin. I did a search for resin bracelets on eBay and voila, there they were – Sobral jewelry made in Brazil. I wear one or six of the bracelets almost everyday.
I was having lunch at Neiman Marcus ( great place to park in Beverly Hills) with an old friend whose artistic sense I admired. When she found out I was going to Florence, Italy she insisted that I visit the Italian shop of costume jewelry designer, Angela Caputi. It was a coups de foudre. I adored her jewelry and bought as much as i could. I’m still wearing those pieces today and they are as fresh as they were 15 years ago. I wear them constantly and I’m always on the lookout for more. It’s one of my addictions.
For decades, we lived part of the year in Sun Valley, Idaho. You’d think this ski town would only be filled with ski shops. But no, there were a few local women who had such great style that they opened jewel-like shops in the next door town of Ketchum.
I bought this purse there. When ever I wear it, people stop me and want to touch the purse, talk about the purse, talk about the cats, or they want to buy the purse. I simply smile and say, “Sorry, it’s not for sale.”
These one of a kind necklaces are also from downtown Ketchum. I bought them simply because they knocked me out. I’d never seen anything like them. I sure couldn’t wear them skiing or hiking but, I didn’t care. They were beautiful and I had to have them.
While visiting our grandchildren in Northern California, I was strolling around Palo Alto and spied this purse in the window. I had to have it no matter what the cost. Impulsive? You bet!
Yves Saint Laurent had a boutique at i. Magnins in Beverly Hills, La Rive Gauche. This scarf was part of Yves’s Russian collection and my Russian genes said, “ Buy it!” That divine boutique and department store are both long gone, but I still have this scarf.
Would you believe I have only worn it once? I always thought a large, square scarf over my shoulders would make me look like a tea-swilling bubbie from Russia. I still haven’t figured out how to wear it. Any ideas?
I know that Chanel said before you go out the door, you should remove one thing. Well, that’s fine for some people but not for others. And wouldn’t the world be a bore if we all did the same thing. Do you see Iris Apfel removing 1 thing? No, she would pile on 10 more. Yet, look at Audrey Hepburn and maybe she’d have a single accessory. So, bottom line, you have to find what works best for you. I don’t have rules and I don’t listen to any rules. I look in the mirror and decide if it works or not. Your full length mirror could be your new best friend.
How about Le Grande Dame, Iris Apfel? She flies in the face of less is more. Too much is never enough. She sells some of her designs on Home Shopping Network. Her line is called Rara Avis. Truly a rare bird.
And now, we have La Contessa. She’s the reincarnation of Auntie Mame fabulousness. If she has a dog she needs a cat, if she has a cat, she needs a chicken, if she has a chicken she needs a piggy. The truth is that she has all of them! And that speaks for everything in her life except for her dear husband whom she calls, The Italian. Check out her blog The Vintage Contessa and be dazzled.
You want a sparkly look? Check out these Swarovski crystal earrings. I have them in white, grey and yellow. They are fabulous looking and dress up blue jeans like nobody’s business. My favorite sare the grey ones. I’m always asked, “What are they?”
Make sure you go to museum shops where every you are in the world. I’ve found unique collectible pieces all over the world in those shops. I bought this necklace during my last visit to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Shoes? After schlepping around to almost every store in Los Angeles, to find the perfect most comfortable pair for a trip to Israel. I found them at Zappos. I first ordered 10 pairs, tried them on and then returned 8. I wore those shoes every day in Israel and all summer last year. They were more comfortable than any shoe I tried on in Los Angeles. The brand is Naot. I also bought glorious silver shoes from Zappos for my son’s wedding. Total time shopping 15 minutes. Done!
How about you? Do you have favorite accessories?
Do you collect stuff?
Do you support Chanel and take off one thing before leaving the house or pile it on?
I’d love to read your comments.
But Wait The fun has just begun. My two blogging buddies have joined me in this adventure into accessories. There’s more to read, learn and ogle. So sit down with your tea, coffee or alternative refreshment and read:
Cindy Hattersley blog about
“How To Style One Dress in Five Ways” https://cindyhattersleydesign.com/blog/
La Contessa’s blog https://thevintagecontessa.net, she writes about “A Year of Accessories”
Just click on the colored links.
They are always so enjoyable and fun to read. I know they’d appreciate comments also.