Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Cutesy Jewelry

Organizing jewelry is a big hassle, and if I was a smart cookie and not a raccoon who sends her acquisitive little claw after every shiny thing, I would pare my baubles down to the classics:

Silver hoops
Brushed gold hoops
Something enormous and blingy for dressing up
Diamond studs
A few necklaces and rings

HA HA HA! I have to laugh until it hurts!

I'm sure that you, like I, have a few more items than those I've listed above, and if you're like me, you buy a string of colorful beads or a pair of crazy earrings with the thought that they will just make an outfit, and in the end you go right back to the old favorites. Eventually, the crazy earrings and the beads get donated to the church fair. And so it goes, until we work that raccoon DNA out of our systems through the slow process of spiritual or genetic evolution.

But 'til then, dears, do keep your accessories organized so that you don't have to dig for them. They can be a wonderful way to make an outfit more memorable and beautiful, but not if that fabulous brooch is buried under your socks and bras.
Get a few hanging organizers here,
and you can see all your lovelies!

PeaceBang organized all her baubles, bangles and beads yesterday, and told herself with great and serious sternness that she is not to buy ONE MORE THING for at least a year. And then she promptly went out to purchase trousers at the mall and bought a pair of brushed gold hoops by Kenneth Cole, who really makes the most terrific, affordable and wildly fashionable stuff.
You can blame SisterBang for this, as if I hadn't seen a pair of earrings that I knew SHE would want, I never would have blithely tossed the second pair for myself onto the check-out counter at the same time.

Yay, though I walk through the jewelry department of Lord & Taylor,
I will fear no impulse purchase
for Thou art with me...

Finally, pooches, do reconsider those image-undercutting jewelry items you've been keeping for sentimental reasons. You know what I mean: the teensy little butterfly earrings that would be more appropriate on a sixth grader, the huge plastic dangly necklace that was in vogue when you had an asymmetrical hairdo, the bolo tie from your days on the prairie that just looks bizarre in your new, urban setting, the big serpentine poison ring from your goth days.
Jewelry speaks volumes. Just make sure that yours is speaking what you want it to say. If that old chipped peace pin has a story behind it, tell the story. If you're wearing a battered old monogram ring with the wrong initials on it, don't keep it a secret that it belonged to your grandmother. If you're wearing your daughter's Wonder Woman barrette as a tie pin, wear it proudly and eccentrically, and make sure the tie is elegant. The trick is to look interesting and intentional, not accidentally silly.


Anonymous jinnis said...

I have a small rant brought on by the mention of asymetrical hair - the 80's have returned, unfortunately. Exaggerated cowl necks, horizontal striped, belted, over leggings ensembles that look OK on the slim fashion-savvy people, and past the expiration date on everyone else. Argh! A recent Cosmo featured page after page of fashions that were most cringe-worthy - including the latest round of floppy bows and way too many ruffles on professional blouses. Not to mention awful colors that could jaudnice the most glowing skin. Any comments, PB? I am tempted to retreat into my classic black pants until it all blows over.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Chalicechick said...

Not the poison ring... no....


11:36 AM  
Anonymous cordeliaknits said...

I need some advice for a seminarian, please! I already have several tattoos, but they are easily hidden (upper arms, back, ankle). I am now considering a tattoo on my forearm-beautiful, not scary or violent--what do you think? would it totally sabotage me in my future ministry career (UCC)? Would it be possible to pull off long sleeves at work year-round? Any advice is appreciated!

3:21 PM  
Blogger Caroline Divine said...

My former boyfriend (of many years ago, and now such a good friend, bless his heart, that I have been known to refer to him as The Best of The Exes) and I have a joke about pearls. He knows that when I wear pearls (best fakes money can buy -- actually, I got some fabulous cheapie but nice-looking ones in a second-hand store; very classy, but fake) I'm going into battle. Job interviews, proper events, classy-but-discreet power dress, jewelry-but-not-shiny events. So he frequently asks, to determine what kind of event I am going to, "Is this a pearls occasion?" And we know just what it means. I keep all my pearl stuff together (the strands of pearls of various lengths, the earrings) and it helps.

Otherwise, I wear silver things (the silver is real) and not too many.

I pass on to you the wisdom of the great Coco (real first name Gabrielle) Chanel. Here's how to be a well-appointed woman: put on your jewelry (whatever you deem suitable for your outfit); then take off one piece of it. Voila. The perfect discreet elegance.

No bling on ministers!

But lovely silver earrings, yes.

Also, I avoid dangly earrings when doing Public Stuff. On evenings out or days off of course, it's another thing. But for preaching, teaching, lecturing, or pastoral visits, no dangling. (Also, if you are cuddling babies, they grab them, bless their hearts. Which must hurt if you have pierced ears. I don't --so I have a big collection of clip-on and screw-on earrings,yes, even hoops-- but it means the little dears can throw them or eat them, and you don't want either to happen. Remember this, because babies love shiny things.)

(Wearing tiny twisted double strand of pearls and button pearl-and-silver earrings -- this qualifies as a "light pearls" day as opposed to a battle-armor pearls day in which one does the single strand of larger pearls. All to the greater glory of God, of course.)

4:34 PM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

For Jen:
I know, I know. Horrific. Whoreanus. HOWEVAH, the trick is to incorporate just a teeny bit of the look without feeling like you have to re-live "Flashdance" days. Take a few of the details,like the cowl, and find a beautiful solid sweater. Wear it with the classics. Bring back a fitted, mannish vest or two, but pair it with something adult and lovely. In other words, do a teensy bit of a trend and leave the whole schmeer to the 20-somethings to discover for the first time. Knickers, however, are just a permanent no. But I see that argyle is back, and I bought a whimsical argyle vest to wear with a tailored white blouse over a smart skirt with pumps.
Caroline, I think I wear a lot of my jewelry pieces as spiritual armor. I'll often choose my signet ring that Dad gave me, or the one Mom gave me, for strength throughout a difficult day. Mom's diamonds are the earrings of choice when I want to feel totally elegant. Etc. And I do dangly earrings on a regular basis because I'm artsy-creative in my look, but not in the pulpit, and not at official events. Probably my favorite look, though, is a big cascading neck of turquoise under a tailored white blouse with black flared trousers and heels.

Cordelia, dear, tats are a very personal thing. I think they look weird scattered randomly all over the body, and am afraid young 'uns may live to regret such sprinklings of ink all over their person. I mean, if you're going for the serious tattooed look, why not ink up the entire arm?
That said, let me share with you my entirely personal opinion: if I saw a tattoo smack dab on the middle of your forearm, I would most likely make assumptions about your maturity level. Fair or not, I'm just being honest.
It's a totally visceral thing and I'm sure many would disagree with me. I look at so many tattooes and I think, "What was so important about that symbol that you felt it was necessary to mark it on your body for LIFE?"

Do you want people to pay attention to you or to your tats? I know of only one minister who has the charisma and enormity of joie de vivre and personality to make the tattooed look work for him as a minister. He is a rock-n-roll badass with a heart of gold, and his tattooes are awesome.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous cordeliaknits said...

PeaceBang, thanks for the honest answer. I actually am going for the 'entire arm inked' eventually, and try to be conscious of placement, symmetry, etc.

I think the maturity question is an interesting one that hadn't occurred to me, as that's not an assumption I make when I see tattooed folks. I'd say a large majority of students at my seminary have tattoos, so I wonder if attitudes will change as it becomes more common.

I'd probably never show my tattoos in any sacramental event or pastoral visit situation...but you've given me some good things to consider, and I'll continue to poll the pastors around me.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Psalmist said...

Caroline!! There IS another woman in this world who does not have pierced ears! Well met! Maybe we should do a "match-up" and see if we can match any lost "halves." I get so frustrated when I lose one. So few stores are carrying a good assortment of clip/screw-back earrings anymore. I snap up any that work for me whenever I find them. I think I may have the same silver+pearl buttons that you do. Love them!

I hope it's OK to weigh in on the tattoo question, Cordelia. I used to find them very distracting. But as I've gotten older and more and more people younger than I have gotten tattoos, I've come to view them as a generational thing. It seems almost the norm now for people under 30 to have one or more tattoos. So I think as long as the design is artistic (not poorly designed or executed, and not a questionable "message" type of thing), it doesn't strike me one way or the other about maturity. It's one of those things, like multiple piercings and brandings (recently learned those were popular for a while--ouch!) that simply aren't for me, while I recognize that they're highly meaningful to others. Perhaps if I didn't live in hotter-than-the-hinges-of-hades Texas, where people show a lot of skin almost year-round and therefore show most of their tattoos, I wouldn't think of them as so common. Still couldn't pay me enough to get one, though. I'm not a fan of pain!

Jinnis, I'm with you on the horror of leggings and floppy bows and the rest. The 80's were bad enough the first time around...and the early part of that decade was when I was a young 20-something trying to find my fashion sense! No wonder I'm so timid now--I had so little to go by when I was young, thin (?), and at my most lovely. (sigh) Your comment about popular colors prompts a request for PB: Do you have any words of wisdom concerning choosing colors that work for oneself? I know the "seasons" school of thought still sort of works, but it's not fool-proof. Is there anything more up-to-date to go by? Many thanks in advance.

10:48 PM  
Blogger jadebluestocking said...


Just another p.o.v. here-- I'm a tattooed and pierced librarian. My current employers were aware of a bit of my decorations when I interviewed because I wanted to be up front.

However, there's a couple of hints I picked up in grad/library school that might be helpful.

1. Professional dress is a wonderful balance for body art. I try to be careful and wear neat, tailored, stylish, professional clothing at all times when I might be perceived as representing my library.

2. Professional attitude goes even further. I try very hard to maintain a professional demeanor, yet still be accessible and friendly. The main point is to show folks that I'm pretty much just like any other librarian.

3. I set personal rules for my art. I don't tattoo above the collar of my shirt or below the cuffs of a 3/4 length sleeve. Those were personal boundaries, and yours may be different (hurray for difference!) I also maintain a theme (Japanese classical art) and try to make sure that anything that shows is tasteful.

4. I try to be really matter of fact about my art. If someone asks me a question, I'll answer it politely and truthfully. Most of the time, folks want to know where I get my art done, if it hurt, and what it means to me.

The end result is that my boss says not one person has said anything negative to her about my art-- and I have a large piece on my calf that shows during the summer. I've met some lovely people in chance grocery store encounters.

Sorry for the lengthy comment PB! I should drop this over on the Bluestocking blog instead!

1:13 AM  
Anonymous Erin said...

PB, thank you. I'm a lutheran seminary chick out on internship, suddenly faced with having to look "office appropriate" everyday. I'm fresh outta college, and all I see are women clergy in jumpers! I'm 23! I don't want to look like a mommy! (ok, someday, I really do...just not quite yet...) Your words are inspiring and funny, and I will pass your blog around for all the other chicks i go to school with.

8:22 AM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Erin, aren't you a dear! Welcome to PeaceBang and thanks for passing along the good news that although we make many sacrifices for ministry, fashion sense doesn't have to be one of them.

10:51 AM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Jade, now I absolutely want to see photos! You sound to me like one of those people I would see and say to myself, "Damn, that's what I call making your life a work of art." And that's *always* intriguing and beautiful.
Your advice is spot on. Thanks for weighing in.

CC, why am I feeling pretty sure that you had a poison ring or two in your day?

10:58 AM  
Blogger jadebluestocking said...


Eek! Pictures?!

Anything for you, my friendly cohort in fashion. Here's a selection of not terribly good photos of me (it's hard to get a good pic of yourself, have you noticed?). Sadly, none of them are in professional garb, but they give a good idea of the evolution of my tattoo art, from Gothy tribal to softening it down to Japanese art.



2:34 PM  
Blogger rebeccascott said...

Hey Peacebang... I just wanted to add that I organized my jewelry in a very big fishing tackle box. It worked perfectly.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Jordan Stratford+ said...

"the big serpentine poison ring from your goth days. "

The more I deal with Bishops, the more I value my big serpentine poison ring. Well not MY Bishop of course (because he probably has the antidote hand and the whole excercise would be fruitless).

Psalmist: "It seems almost the norm now for people under 30 to have one or more tattoos."

Actually I find it's more my fellow GenXers (I'm 40) that is inked, it does seem that the under 30s are passing on that particular form of expression.

I love "psalmist", btw, I keep saying it over and over. Lovely, like "velvet" and "cellar door".

11:21 PM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Thanks, Jadeblue! how lovely art thou pics, and thou!!

Rebecca, I have been looking and looking for those plastic things you put nails in to sort my earrings. I have six of them and I need another. I agree that the utilitarian approach works great.

(Ladies and gentlemen, if you like PeaceBang, you can thank RebeccaScott, since it was her idea that I start a blog.)

1:25 AM  
Blogger Caroline Divine said...

Psalmist, well met indeed! Sorry to have taken so long to reply. Second week of the fall semester in a small liberal arts college. (I'm a ministerial type but my full-time gig is professorial.) I'm about ready to collapse. But someday we must talk non-ear-pierced jewelry. The vintage pieces are especially hard to match.

PB, love the thought of you in cascading turquoise. I've only met you in person once, but I think it must look great on you, and you in it!

Going to collapse (or head for the bathtub)-- but à propos of a totally different topic, I have discovered two more Burt's Bees products I like, and I pass this on fyi. (Support the North Carolina economy. Did you know that's where Burt's Bees was located? I know, it sounds more like a Vermont or California company, but we have some groovy things going down here in the Southland.) First, the Herbal Blemish Stick, which is made of all manner of lovely natural things and has no extra junk in it. Yes, it has some alcohol in it, but otherwise it has calendula, borage, and yarrow oils, parsley and willowbark extracts, and tee tree,juniper, and eucalyptus oils. No petroleum products, no parabens,no weird numbered colors, no sodium lauryl sulfate, no methylparajunkajunkahooha. And it's the size of a lipstick so you can use it at home or stash it in your purse or office, drawer, or both. It feels and smell all tingly, and my nasty blemish from yesterday is shrinking by the minute. Second, a brand new Burt's Bees release which I tried for the first time last night and which smells yummy: Peach and Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub. I wouldn't use it every day, or I'd be careful, though it's not drying, my skin was soft after use; but it *is* an exfoliant, so use based on your skin type and on how you usually use exfoliants. (Any advice, PB?) No junk ingredients in this either (Caroline Divine here is a bit of a health nut) and it smells, well, peachy.

Because it's payday, I replenished my bubble bath supply today, and I am about to try a new one from Kiss My Face (which does have some nasty ingredients in it, but a girl can't be a purist all the time and it has plenty of nice ingredients too) whose "Stress" bath/shower gel I have used in the past for the bubble bath. (Nice stuff, good bubbles, pleasing smell.) Since I have headed back to the gym on a daily basis I'm trying "Active Athletic" (can you tell I'm trying to reward and psych myself?) It has all kinds of herbal extracts that relax muscles and help skin and help bruises heal -- arnica, slippery elm, balm mint, et al. -- and a little ivy and chamomile for the nerves. If it doesn't help the sore muscles, it will at the very least smell good.

Happy weekend, everyone.

Caroline Div. (who has to work Monday...)

5:35 PM  
Blogger April said...

I had a seminary professor who graciously took almost an entire class period to explain to the women in the class that if we wore dangling earrings we would distract from our preaching. We also shouldn't have painted fingernails, nor should we wear bracelets or loose watches. Low necks were a definite no-no and necklaces were to be avoided as they drew attention to "the womanly areas."

He also shared with men that they should keep their hands out of their pockets.

He was indeed very gracious and I think about him nearly every Sunday when I put on my beautiful dangling earrings and necklaces over my wrap dresses and scoop-necked blouses.

Anyway, Peacebang, this is a great site. I've referred all my clergy chicas. Bless you!

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hanging thing is nice but . . . "80 pockets to hold all your earrings, pins, bracelets, and necklances"?! Hahahahahahaha! I'll order 6. Or just get the fishing tackle box (or two).


9:31 AM  
Blogger Psalmist said...

LOL, April! I can't stop giggling over your description of yourself as you remember the prof's words!

Hi, Jordan. Thanks for the correction. One person I was thinking of is a 25-year-old voice student who has several tasteful tattoos. She and many of her age peers are inked and talk about it very matter-of-factly. Ages may vary with the locality. And my age-judgment may be slipping, too. "All those young whippersnappers look so...well, young, to me!" (grins) And thanks re: my online identity. I never thought about how it sounds when spoken!

11:25 AM  

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