Sunday, November 3, 2013

Brooch Brigade

 Dragonfly Charming Chain Necklace

Blouse: Candie's, Kohl's
Crop top: Delia's
Skirt: J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Betsey Johnson, Ross
Scarf: A. C. Moore
Belt: Wet Seal

Sparkling Scorpion Necklace

Camisole: Kohl's
Cardigan: Kohl's
Skirt: J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Candie's, Kohl's
Belt: Wet Seal

Elephant Charming Chain Necklace

Top: Target
Skirt: Denizen by Levi's, Target
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Betsey Johnson, Ross
Jacket: Wilsons Leather
Scarf: Express

Sure, the alliteration is there in the buzzy repetition of the bold letter "b".  But it seems incongruous to pair a frivolous adornment with a no-nonsense military group.  Or does it?  Both have shiny metal things, both provide light (well, at least, the Tennyson brand of brigade does), and both make a much-needed contribution to our modern world (i.e., sparkliness [in the case of the brooches] and protection [in the case of the brigade]).  

But enough about puns and poets.  All of this hoopla was hatched when I ordered this stunning necklace from Fred Flare:  

Now, as a rule, I try not to buy too many necklaces.  My collection is already huge, a thriving, colorful hybrid of handmade and store-bought strands that threaten to strangle each other in the crowded quiet of their quaint hatbox homes.  But this one was too eclectic and edgy and cheap ($9.99 down from $39.99) to resist.  Also, it will dwell within the sterile and strangle-free confines of a plastic baggie.  (Which will then, of course, be deposited within one of the aforesaid hatboxes.)  Once it arrived, I wore it immediately, an experience so lovely that it only heightened my hankering for hardware-harnessed pieces.  There was nothing for it but to make my own!  So I forsook my signature soft stuff (i.e., felt) and delved into my brooch collection for inspiration in the form of ornate and unusual accents.  I'd bought most of them about ten or so years ago when brooches were having a moment, and I wore them a lot, either singly or in messy clusters.  I still loved the designs - the patterns, the flowers, the elephants! - if not the wardrobe-warping pins, so giving them new life as necklaces killed two birds with one (rhine)stone.  In some ways these projects were easier and less tedious than my felt or collage necklaces - no cutting or gluing required! - but in other ways they were harder because they were more exacting, and being exacting is not exactly my strong suit.  Working exclusively with chains and jump rings was uncharted territory for me.  Those materials required balance, as did the cumbersome (and often stubborn!) brooches, so that everything would lie just so.  Physics, you were always my foe. 

It was a fun experiment, but at the end of the day, I liked the Fred Flare version better than any of my own (that combination of neon pink gem cluster and rhinestone-encrusted horse is, I'm certain, unparalleled in all of the costume jewelry kingdom).  Which was just as well, because I get more of a kick out of making felt, collage, and even simply beaded necklaces.  There are more opportunities for kitsch there, I think, and for me, kitsch will always be king.  Or maybe queen.

So I suppose I've lost this bauble battle, brigades notwithstanding.  But that doesn't mean that I can't be a contender in the wardrobe war.

Snarky sweaters, I've got my eye on you.           

1 comment:

Jewel Divas Style said...

OH MY GOD!!!!!

I want the bags and the necklaces!!!