Monday, October 20, 2014

The ABCs of Accessories

Top: J. C. Penney's
Skirt: J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's

Blouse: Target
Sweater: DKNY, Macy's
Skirt: Candie's, Kohl's
Shoes: Unlisted, Marshalls
Bag: Kohl's
Sunglasses: Cloud Nine, Ocean City boardwalk

Dress: Macy's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Journeys
Belt: Marshalls
Sunglasses: Cloud Nine, Ocean City boardwalk
Scarf: Express

Dress: Eric and Lani
Shoes: Venus
Bag: Target
Belt: B Fabulous

I stumbled upon these plastic alphabet beads and couldn't help but get all nostalgic.  If kiddie couture is the heart of kawaii, then letters are Lolita's linchpins.  Or something.  So I thought it would be fun to list accessories' greatest hits, the ABCs of accessories, if you will, acrostic-style, as told by the Tote Trove.

A is for adhesive.  Or, to be more precise, permanent adhesive glue.  I use oodles of it now that I'm doing things right and going the nontoxic route.  The less bad stuff in your glue, the less chance you have of a lasting bond.   Which is, interestingly, the opposite of the way things work in real relationships (hey, they don't call it toxic togetherness syndrome for nothing). 

C is for clothes, a. k. a. accessories' second-fiddle canvas.

C is for cabochons.  Because they're pretty and sound pretty cool.

E is for escape, the kind you make when blissfully beading, not listening to that unfortunate (yet still catchy) Rupert Holmes song.

S is for the sitcoms I watch while I make things.  This weekend it was eight back-to-back episodes of "Garfunkel & Oates."  And right now it's a rerun of "Modern Family" in which Phil, coincidentally, spouts off an acrostic poem about real estate.

S is for supplies, supplies, and more supplies.  And also for snacks.

O is for outlandish.  'Nuff said.

R is for rhinestones . . . and reruns (see S).

I is for island motifs worn in winter.

E is for embellishment, that essential element of style and (sometimes) story-telling.

S is for sequins.  Don't listen to what people say; they make everything better (although not as much as rhinestones).

So, accessories are pretty powerful.  So much so that I found myself maybe kind of wanting to buy a mixed lot of Bakelite jewelry as I read Susan Gloss's debut novel, Vintage.  Partly because you can't get bedbugs from plastic, but also because of the power.  As you know, I regularly commit hipster sacrilege by admitting that I don't really "get" vintage (on account of the "used" factor, not the style factor.  The style is usually tops.  And thankfully is often able to be replicated by your nearest big box store in never-before-worn polyester for less than it costs to fill your gas tank).  So it might seem a little odd that I picked up this book during a toilet paper run at Target.  But I liked the cover, which features a red-accessorized wedding dress, and I've never been one to pass up a tale about retail (as my many Shopaholic series references attest), no matter how gently used.   

Vintage is the story of Violet Turner, a vintage-worshiping, rockabilly style-rocking ex-waitress who flees her one-horse town and hard-drinking husband to fulfill her lifelong dream of opening a vintage boutique.  The cleverly coined Hourglass Vintage presides over a picturesque street in freewheeling Madison, Wisconsin, a city which is, apparently, the Portland-meets-Austin of the Midwest.  Violet is a vixen not to be messed with, and she has the phoenix tattoo to prove it.  So when she unexpectedly gets evicted, she immediately hatches a plan -- even if it means accepting the help of accidental intern and teen mom-to-be April and unhappy housewife and budding designer Amithi. Running away from your problems to start a store is a premise that probably appeals to most women.  It's plucky and gutsy and a little bit crazy, flirting fast and loose with "Why not?"  Still, if its irresistibility is what makes it fantastic, then it's the friendships between the three women that match its style with a little substance (sorry, but that one was bound to rear its well-coiffed head sooner or later).  Which is to say that they aren't instant book club buddies.  Their relationships grow more gradually, involving a good deal of guardedness on each other's part, never really (and I don't believe that I'm about to say this) blossoming even at the end.  April, for example, is incredibly pushy in trying to convince Violet to computerize her inventory instead of scribbling transactions in her beloved notebook.  Pregnant or not, I found her overbearing -- until Gloss explained that her controlling personality is a defense mechanism for dealing with her chaotic life (the unplanned pregnancy, as it turns out, is just one spoke in her wheelhouse of woe).  Violet eventually realizes this too, her soft-hearted nature emerging from beneath her tough outer shell.  

All in all, Vintage is a pretty pillbox hat of a story.  Gloss describes the Hourglass Vintage merchandise with equal parts nostalgia and glamour, charming even this staunch secondhand goods detractor.  Furthermore, she establishes the self-contained Violet as a formerly misunderstood teen queen instead of the usual high school outsider, making her quest for authenticity even more interesting.  

In addition to penning novels, Gloss also runs an Etsy vintage shop and writes a blog, making her a modern-day triple threat, hipster style.  Oh, and she's also a lawyer, a fact that comes across loud and clear in the sections about Violet's legal issues.  

That having been said, I'm off to troll Etsy for Bakelite.

1 comment:

Jewel Divas Style said...

Great jewellery as always Tote!