Daisy Kook Necklace
Tank: So, Kohl's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Well, two trees grow in Brigantine (at least the two I'm talking about). Yep, it's the twin palms I blogged about back in April, finally captured on camera in these last days of August. As mentioned, they bookend the Brigantine welcome sign, which I love from its retro seashell-crested top to its old-fashioned latticework-laced bottom. But my favorite part is the sweet and jaunty motto "an island you'll love for life" scrawled in dark blue italics. Now, the husband has recently reported that a new saying, namely, "over the bridge" has begun to take root on local bumper stickers. No matter. This hunk of rock's calling card will always be "an island you'll love for life" to me. And not just because of the alliteration.
Brooklyn has its own fetchingly literal and metaphorical foliage. At least according to Colm Toibin's novel Brooklyn and the later movie of the same name. A tender yet unsentimental coming-of-age story set in the 1950s, Brooklyn centers on Aisling (Saoirse Ronan), a young woman who leaves her Irish village to make a better life in the States. With the help of a kindly priest, she finds board and work in Brooklyn, the former with a group of high-spirited (if catty) girls overseen by a fussy spinster, the latter behind a counter in an upscale department store. But what Aisling really wants is to become an accountant. For most of us, this is a dubious dream, but Aisling's pursuit of it in the face of prejudice, pettiness, and crushing homesickness is endearingly admirable, giving it the cachet of a more glam vocation. Indeed, with each challenge, Aisling gains a sense of sophistication and ease with the world, an evolution symbolized by her increasingly glamorous outfits. When we first meet her, she's clad in drab dresses and stringy hair. So, it's all the more satisfying when she emerges in well-cut, vibrant frocks, her fair tresses becomingly coiffed as she navigates the city streets. Style and spreadsheets aside, the most exciting thing to happen to Aisling is Tony. An intense Italian plumber (no Super Mario jokes, please) with a boisterous family and a passion for baseball, he quietly but earnestly makes a bid for Aisling's heart. But just as Aisling is sorting her feelings, a family crisis pulls her back to Ireland.
Although Aisling left her village in obscurity, she returns with an elegance that elevates her social status. Before long she catches the attention of the local accounting office as well as the eye of the most eligible bachelor. A cookie-cutter future is hers if she wants it, and she's suddenly forced to ask herself if it's possible to go home again. Brooklyn is no candy box romance (despite my having maybe made it sound like one). Actually, I wouldn't consider it a romance at all, because 1) it's written by a man, and 2) that label, however unfairly, is more often than not disparaging. No, Brooklyn is not genre fiction; it casts a much wider and more ambitious net made all the more powerful by its economical prose. Although usually a fan of lush language, I found Toibin's spare writing style to be perfectly suited to his simple story. Not that this tale is easy. On the contrary, slice of life stories are the hardest to tell because they can't hide behind fancy phrases. Toibin succeeds in capturing every nuance and tension, painting a more realistic portrait of female social interactions and all that goes left unsaid more masterfully than any writer I've read in years. It's as if he went to summer camp or joined a book club or went undercover wherever women weave their little worlds, granting and denying admittance with the skill and subtlety of long-reigning monarchs (translation: on Wednesdays, we wear pink: just further proof that all roads lead to Mean Girls.)
As for me, I like to weave neckwear, the weirder the better. And this week I've kept the flame burning with Flash Charms. Because despite the feminine flair of the fabulous 1950s, my closet belongs to the 1980s.
That said, these macaw-print culottes could hold their own on Coney Island.