…and Bangles in Bojangles fashion…
I somehow acquired the name of Bojangles a few years back as I would insist on clanging about my life with heavy bangles adorning my wrists right up to my elbows! I took the inspiration from J-Lo‘s video Get Right (I am now pausing my funky house playlist to search my I-tunes for the Get Right track). A friend and I would laze around my parents’ front room watching MTV for endless hours, pausing, replaying and admriring the bangles that J-Lo showed off whilst gyrating herself on the bar in this particular video. The day our student loans landed in our accounts we headed to Selfridges costume jewellery department and bought an insurmountable number of bangles, sufficient enough to bangle ourselves up to our armpits total J-Lo style. For years it became my thing to wear bangles and if the blouse in question didn’t reveal my bangle collection creeping up my arms, then I simply wouldn’t wear said blouse! That’s how I acclaimed the name Bojangles!
I just had a quick look up of who or what Bojangles actually is. Aside from it being a famous American Chicken and Biscuits place, Bojangles was also the alias of a deep and dark prisoner who had been arrested in conjunction with a high profile murder case in the sixties. He shared a prison cell with singer Jerry Jeff Walker, who wrote the song Mr Bojangles. The song was isnpired by a moment whilst Walker and Bojangles were sharing the cell with a group of other prisoners, sharing stories and speaking on all kinds of subjects. Finally Bojangles told a story about his dog. The story turned out to be a pretty sinister tale, turning the mood in the cell dark. When asked to change the subject and lighten the mood, Bojangles took it upon himself to perform a little tap dance in the middle of the cell! (I just found this little anecdote so absolutely hilarious I had to share it!)
Indeed, my bangle obsession may have been my own tap dance to divert the attention away from my limited wardrobe fund whilst at uni! Today my approach to costume jewellery adornement more resembles Olivia Palermo as opposed to the ‘pile up as much as I can, wherever I can and make as much noice as possible’ approach. But the aesthetic I am truly seeking to achieve, but am still yet to master, belongs to the fashion set that we see so often photographed by the Sartorialist or Tommy Ton (my absolute favourite street style photographer)…
To create perfect wrist divertissement…
My favourite wrist diverissement below…I just love it!
The Perfect Collaring…
Designers, stylists and fashion enthusiasts have been paying a particular attention to the embellishment of shirt collars for some time now. However, it would appear that the trend has evolved, in typical fashion manner, and the collar has now graduated from being a mere aspect of a garment, that when accessorised appeared fashion savvy, to being an actual accessory in its very own right.
Although the Peter Pan collar has been gracing the high streets with its presence for some time now, the rounded, almost cutesy collar climbed the ladder and reached critical claim amongst the fashion big wigs when Marc Jacobs designed his autumn/winter 2011-12 Louis Vuitton collection that featured a motif of the collar throughout the entire collection. Models walked the Louis Vuitton runway adorned in dresses, coats and blouses that appeared to have been designed with the Peter Pan collar as the leading stimulus.
The collar is absolutely huge this season, literally, and walks hand in hand with yet another trend of the season, the sweater. However you choose to wear your collar and which collar style you opt for is entirely up to you. I have found the collar to be the perfect accessory to revamp simple black dresses and sweaters. I have been slipping printed shirts with classic collars beneath round necked jumper dresses, woollen sleevless dresses and v-neck sweaters. The classic shirt collar and the likes of the long pointed style collar, like Rihanna wore beneath her Alexander McQueen dress on the X Factor UK 2011, can appear serious and buttoned up if not careful. However, Rihanna’s collar worked because of its complete unpredictability and frivolity.
The key to implimenting the new collar trend into an ensemble that leans itself more towards fashion savvy as opposed to formal work wear, is to keep it quirky and unpredictable – particularly when donning the classic shirt collar.
- Rihanna wears Alexander McQueen on X Factor (dandizettecharm.wordpress.com)
Last weekend I watched X Factor whilst tweeting, shoe shopping and searching for that one piece of jewellery that is going to heighten my wardrobe for the christmas period. Florence Welch belted out her wondrous, thick and sweet, powerful and angelic voice adorned in a particularly unique off-white dress. The dress in itself was probably phenonomenal enough to write about, but it wasn’t so much her dress that appealed to my own aesthetic tastes, it was the magnificent Art Deco embellishments that featured in the staging. I have been dying to purchase a pair of wonderful, dangling Art Deco inspired earrings for ages, but the fear that they’d only end up amidst the rest of my precious costume jewellery, that sits on shelves, in trinket boxes and overspilling vanity cases, looking pretty but with nowhere to wear them – I have always opted to save the money.
It’s pretty predictable of me to adore Art Deco design. All the opulence and drama, the glitz and glamour walk hand in hand with my love for the 1920’s, the Jazz Age and of course, the man I try to live up to every time I sit down to write my own novel, the stupefying F Scott Fitzgerald. I am not saying that I am glamorous or glitzy, but I have battled with my inability to be understated for many years. I am not sure I will ever master the art of understated chic, but I think I have finally found a balance. I find myself residing somewhere amongst, formal, classic, occassionally trendy, but always with a hint of glamour.
I express my love for glamour nowadays with my jewellery. My social life consists of dinners, gatherings, cocktails, going into the office or attending meetings. Jewellery is the only way for me to express my luxurious attraction to glamour tastefully and practically. I don’t go clubbing that frequently and unfortunately have never been invited to a red carpet event, therefore my life seldomly requires me to be dressed as glamorous as Kim Kardashian. Having said that, I’d take her jewellery, shoes and fur coat collection any day of the week.
For those who too love the 1920’s, whether it be for the Art Deco design, the feathers and the glitter, the mentality of the Flapper or simply the literature, I can’t think of a better time of the year to be extravagant and express the inner flapper than the next few weeks leading up to Christmas. There are many Christmas parties to be attended, copious amounts of alcohol to be consumed and lots of fun to be had. I am looking forward to Christmas so much this year I am almost combustible. I am looking forward to spending time with my family, I am looking forward to endless days of curling up on the sofa not having to worry about going to work, but what I am most looking forward to – is reverting back to being a child. And by child I mean, twenty one, without responsibilities and lots of opportunities to dress up.
Nothing shows a bit of frivolity like a stunning piece of costume jewellery. It’s all in the name, ‘costume’. It’s fantastical. One powerful piece can define an entire outfit. I am completely excited by the impact a statement necklace can have on a simple shift dress for example. My excitement is not only evoked by the aesthetic of the combination, it’s the actual communication. That necklace combined with that shift dress says, ‘I care just that little bit more than I need to.’ Granted, it doesn’t communicate anything particularly profound on the grand scheme of things, but its enough to tastefully nod towards glamour. Besides, the way we dress and embellish our atire says plenty to the people that we want to communicate with.
That necklace worn against that shift dress could be vintage, that’s kudos from the vintage fiends. It could be Givenchy, that’s kudos from the designer divas. It could have been designed specifically for a Vogue shoot in the 1920’s (undoubtedly the average Jo wouldn’t be able to get their hands on it), that’s kudos from fashion journos, editors and all the fashion big wigs. If you happen to come across a figure who embodies all of the above then all the more powerful a statement that statement necklace makes.
Lisa Salzer of Lulu Frost says, ‘Jewellery is transformative.’ There was a time when my casual wardrobe consisted of little more than skinny jeans, long line vest tops and boyfriend cardigans. I dressed simply just so I could pile on my jewellery. Transformation through accessories has been my number one style tip since my parents stopped buying me designer clothes. My jewellery collection is vast and predominately costume. Unlike when I was younger, my collection now grows at a much slower pace. Having said that, my collection is far more powerful. Instead of buying ten pairs of earrings from Topshop and Accessorize at any one time, and having to replace them once they change colour, I am starting to invest sensibly in beautiful, admittedly more expensive, transformative pieces of jewellery.
I am now in search of one transformative piece of jewellery that I’ll wear proudly over the christmas period. My search has been dominated by chunky necklaces and chains, solid cuffs and bangles, broches and of course the art deco inspired earrings. I thought I’d share with you my findings and show you which designers, shops and jewels I am coveting to glamourize my christmas wardrobe. It is to be noted that I don’t tend to wear many sequined or beaded garments on my upper body, so my jewellery preference is big, bold and strong!
For some serious vintage jewellery at some unfortunately serious prices i will always recommend Portobello market, however if you can’t make it up to Portobello physically or financially, then Miss Selfridge is great for vintage homage.
So, if you’re doing Recessionista Chique for fashion purposes, for savings and sensible spending or just love accessories, here are my ten top tips before i Bling and GO!
1 – Bags
Never under estimate the power of a clutch bag. Evening bags should be saved for the evening, but universal clutches carried during the day can look sexy. Quirky clutches are cool for drinks during the day and add that extra something to an outfit. ASOS is great for high fashion clutches with lots of detail, the last one i bought was £13 and is similar to the D&G envelope clutch. Never forget Accessorize for their trademark sequined embellished clutches – i was given a Union Jack sequined clutch from Accessorize for my birthday this year, it’s the perfect accessory for a white tee, jeans and a blazer.
2 – Jewellery
For those of us too scared to look too classic, but love the tailored smart looks that we’ve seen on Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo ss/09 wear an oversized ring, huge earrings or a statement bangle, this says that you don’t take yourself too seriously. Miss Selfridges is great for statement jewellery.
Gucci Ad Campaign ss 09
3 – How much is too much?
J-Lo and Eva Longoria front row Spring 09 DVF NYC
Don’t be afraid to over do the accessories from time to time. Fashion isn’t about imitating, it’s about innovating. There are rules, if you wear big earrings you can’t wear a big chain or necklace, or you can’t wear two statement rings at one time – forget this! Apply and don’t apply it when it’s appropriate. Sometimes accessories can be the main focal point of an outfit and you can pile them on like you would decorate a christmas tree.
4 – Colour
Louis Vuitton a/w 09/10 RTW
Marc Jacobs a/w 09-10 RTW
You don’t have to wear a ring the same colour as your top or hair band, your shoes do not need to be the same colour as your bag or anything else you’re wearing. Do not stress over colour matching – colours just need to compliment each other.
5 – Nail Varnish
Do not underestimate the power of nail varnish. Nail varnish is the perfect accessory and says loads about your style – pastel colours are more quirky and stylised, darker colours are sophisticated, bright reds and hot pinks are sexy.
7 – Scarves, Earrings & Sunglasses
If you are a true fashionista you will notice the difference between a black tint or brown tint sunglass, i try to match glass tints with my outfits. Brown tints i usually wear boho, black i will wear with black or more sophisticated looks. I never wear black lenses with thick rims as i find them way too harsh for my face. For designer glasses i would always bank on Ray Ban aviators.
Cindy Crawford, Vogue Paris 08
If you love boho and ethnic looks then head scarves and oversized glasses are perfect – especially with a HUGE pair of earrings. Earrings can completely define your whole look and says loads about your personality and style!
Kate Moss for Topshop
8 – Waist Belts
Marc Jacobs a/w 09/10
Very rarely do i wear dresses without a belt to cinch in my waist. You should wear the belt at the smallest point of your torso to pull you in at your slimmest point. My favourite waist cinching belts are embellished with gold buckles and screws. I have one belt in four different colours from Primark – it’s one of my favourites for dresses and seldomly do i wear a dress in the evenings without one of these belts around my waist.
9 – General Belts
I never wear jeans without a belt – unless i am wearing a particularly long top. If you can see the top of my jeans then you will see a belt. The kind of belt you wear can define your outfit, for casual day time belts i tend to stick to chunky manly looking belts or vintage. If i am going for a rocky look i will wear a black belt with silver hardware, for a boho look it’s always brown and i always think gold compliments brown better than silver. For more sophisticated looks patent belts are nice with either a delicate buckle or a statement buckle.
10 – Hair and Make Up
Gwen Stefani Elle USA
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your hair and make up. Buy hair clips and pins, try new hairstyles and do your make up so that it compliments your face shape, your outfit and your hair!
Wearing a jump suit you might be tempted to wear back combed hair, bright eye shadows and dramatic blusher – tranforming the the outfit right back to the eighties! With a strapless dress you might want to elongate your neck by wearing your hair up. If i wear my hair up or off my face i pay particular attention to accentuating my cheeks and eyebrows – this helps to sculpt the face, giving your face more definition. My best buy for face sculpting is the MAC facial sculptor, however all you really need are some darker and lighter blusher shades. The trick is to brush a darker shade of blusher on the area of the face that hollows if you suck your cheeks in, this makes your cheek bones stand out more without having to put loads of red blusher on!
11- Forget the Rules
Apply and discard rules as you please, afteral they were made to be broken! The key is to experiment – if trying it out means getting it wrong – then, GET IT WRONG!
Of course the best accessory in life is the Joie de Vivre – without the Joy of Life nothing else counts!
- Costume Jewellery (dandizettecharm.wordpress.com)