Monday, November 7, 2016

Puff Piece: Pompom Wonderful

 Big Pink Pompom Bow Barrette

Top: Kohl's
Skirt (a dress!): Modcloth
Shoes: Guess, DSW
Bag: Marshalls
Belt: B Fabulous
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's

Top: Macy's
Pants: Xhilaration, Target
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Marshalls
Bag: B Fabulous
Sunglasses: Michaels

Petal Pink Pompom Bow Barrette

Top: Kohl's
Skirt: Eric and Lani, Macy's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bags: Charming Charlie
Belt: B Fabulous
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's

Maroon top: Kohl's
Pink top: Macy's
Skirt: Forever 21
Shoes: Charles Albert, Alloy
Bag: Nine West, Marshalls
Belt: B Fabulous

Pompoms are big this season.  Pop into any department store, boutique, or craft supply mecca, and you'll see them exploding from keychains, purse charms, and hair accessories.  Most are in fall or spring colors.  Think tans, maroons, creams, pinks, lilacs, and mints -- basically anything that reminds you of a chocolate with a gooey soft center (and not, incidentally, the healthy fruit juice for which this post is named).  Also, they're usually oversized, guaranteeing that their big, plush selves are the first things you notice when their wearers walk into the room.

I, of course, love the trend, although I've yet to purchase any pompoms of my own.  So in the meantime, I embellished these bows.  Fanciful and fun, they're reminiscent of other fluffy stuff, like clouds and cheeseballs and most of Louisa Clark's outfits in Me Before You.  Okay, so maybe that wasn't the most subtle of segues.  But in the world of pompoms, subtlety gets you sidelined.  

Although I've blogged about Me Before You before, I'll do a quick recap.  Funky fashionista Louisa lands a much-needed job as the caretaker of Will Traynor, a once unstoppable captain of industry who suffers an accident that leaves him wheelchair-bound.  Will's family owns a castle (this being England), setting the stage for the whole royalty-servant thing that inevitably unravels.  After the proverbial rocky start, Louisa and Will become friends, each teaching the other to come out of his/her shell.  Friendship ripens into love, turning things around for both -- until Will decides to end his life, leaving Louisa bereft and heartbroken.  Last summer, the movie version hit theaters.  I was unexpectedly surprised to find that Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin looked and acted almost exactly like the characters in the novel.  I don't have to tell you how rare this is.  How many times have you read a great book only to see the movie and think, "That's not how he/she sounds/looks/acts/balances a cheesecake on his/her head."  The movie plot also does the novel justice, as it's nearly identical save for a sliver of Louisa's backstory that was cut out, I can only imagine, in the interest of time.

So, when I learned that author JoJo Moyes had written a sequel, After You, I was filled with anticipation and dread.  On the one hand, I wanted to accompany Lou on more adventures.  On the other, I was concerned that her inevitable acceptance of Will's death would only annoy me, cheapening the bond that was so beautifully illustrated between them in Me Before You.  After all, that book seemed like one of those Wuthering Heights/Bridges of Madison County type love stories that should burn on in memory but never, ever be revisited.  (I'd include Love Story in this list if it weren't for the blasphemous Oliver's Story, which I have not, to this day, been able to read).  As it turns out, I needn't have worried.  As Moyes herself hints in the Reader's Discussion at the back of the book, After You isn't really a romance.  It's a story of growth and self discovery.  In other words, the very things that many consider to be the antithesis of the white knight genre.

After You begins with Louisa in a very dark place.  I won't give away too much (feeling a modicum of responsibility to the anti-spoiler alert gods).  I'll just say that she meets a hunky yet sensitive EMT and that they have a real "Gift of the Magi" thing going, only with much more at stake than hair and pocket watches.  Louisa muddles through the minefield of this new relationship as well as Clark family drama, the indignities of her job as an Irish barmaid, and a surprise from Will's past.  It's enough to make anyone run to a support group (which Louisa does, albeit reluctantly).  I've read a lot of novels penned on the other side of the pond and have come to this conclusion: Brits are equal parts charming and dreary.  It's a mix that's strangely compelling, an elixir of introspection and snark tied up in pretty ribbons that always speaks to me.  Ensconced at the crossroads of throwback and modern, this one isn't just a cozy yet class-driven drama; it's an account of one woman's attempt to find her place in the world.    

There's bound to be a follow-up installment (JoJo hints so herself!), rounding out this beloved duo into a trilogy.  I hope that Louisa finally gets to work in fashion, a long-deferred dream that appears as a strong yet unexplored undercurrent coursing below the more dramatic plot lines in the first two stories.  I think there's a chance that she might, especially because After You ends with her shifting her focus from taking care of others to taking care of herself.  Never mind that her (and I'm breaking my spoiler alert rule here, so all persnickety and/or fainthearted readers, please avert your eyes) opportunity of a lifetime comes in the form of yet another caretaker job with an affluent family.  In a way, though, I think this is a fitting setup for a finale, a kind of bookend, throw-your-beret-into-the-air sendoff into Louisa's future.  That said, at the end of After You, Lou's relationship with Sam seems uncertain.  But it's a good, romantic un-romance novel kind of uncertain.  For, as Entertainment Weekly sagely tells us, "After You may not be the sequel you expect, but it is the sequel you needed." 

I think that deserves a pair of pompom-adorned socks, don't you? 

1 comment:

Jewel Divas Style said...

I haven't seen the movie or read the books. I'd probably bawl my eyes out and it's bad enough I've been doing that with the new set of novels I'm writing, lol.