I’ve been playing with jewellery today folks. That’s something I never do anymore. Most days if I’m heading out somewhere, I just pop on a watch and a pair of earrings. I wear small stud earrings more often than not. Or hoops. I love big hoops. I seem to go in streaks of wanting to wear the same pair of earrings all the time. And if I’m really pushing the boat out, or taking blog photos, I’ll wear a bracelet. Since I retired, the ritual daily rummage through my jewellery for earrings, a bracelet, and a necklace or a vintage brooch has pretty much ceased. But watching an Alyssa Beltempo video on YouTube the other day had me thinking I should rummage around in my jewellery more often. And make more of an effort to wear what I own. Beyond my old jackets, that is.
I’ve never been much of a jewellery person. Other than my engagement ring and a lovely pearl that Hubby bought me in Broome, Australia, I don’t own any “fine” jewellry. I’m wearing my Broome pearl on a small gold chain in the shot above. Broome is famous for its pearls. Mine is called a “champagne” pearl, not exactly silver and not exactly gold in colour. It’s amazing how many colours of pearls there are. That day in the shop in Broome, we were treated to a whole tutorial on south sea pearls, how they get their colour, and even on the history of pearling in Broome. I only wanted the one pearl. Not a strand or even earrings. I like the simplicity of a single pearl. And besides, they were pricey, and we were on a three month trip which was already pricey enough.
The rest of my jewellery is costume stuff. I love the quirky designs of Anne Marie Chagnon, as I’ve mentioned before here on the blog. I have a number of her elasticized bracelets with matching earrings, and even a couple of necklaces. Her pieces have an edgy, almost “industrial” vibe, which I love. Vintage jewellery has long been a passion of mine. When I started shopping at vintage sales, I quickly found out that most of the clothing was way too small for me. My broad shoulders precluded me from wearing the fashion I coveted from the twenties or forties. But the jewellery always fit.
So the other day after listening to Alyssa’s video about curating our jewellery collections and layering necklaces, I had a rummage through my own jewellery. I don’t need any help “curating” or organizing my jewellery, but I thought I would try layering necklaces. Alyssa’s video has lots of good examples and suggestions for doing this.
Of course, layering jewellery is the thing these days, has been for a while, actually. It’s just that I’m not normally a layering jewellery kind of person. I don’t care for “shouty” (I borrowed that adjective from Alyson Walsh) statement jewellery of any kind. Statement necklaces leave me cold, and so does an arm full of big bracelets, so I kind of ignored the layering trend. But I like the way that Alysssa and Emma Hill layer delicate necklaces in a way that doesn’t look shouty at all to me. And I thought I should give this layering thing another chance.
Today I tried wearing an old gold necklace and bracelet which my mum gave to me, and which were given to her by my grandparents when she was young. Both pieces are engraved with her initials. I first tried the necklace with my Broome pearl as you can see in the first shot, above. And the matching gold bracelet with a vintage gold child’s bracelet I’ve had since the eighties. I thought this looked… okay. But I need a better chain for the pearl, or a third necklace, something shorter and delicate maybe to make my two pieces work together better. And since I don’t own a different chain, or a short delicate gold necklace, I abandoned this combination. After all, the idea is to work with what I own.
Then I tried this combination above. Mum’s necklace, combined with a string of pearls that belonged to Hubby’s mum, Milly. Then I swapped out mum’s gold bracelet for my vintage ivory cuff, to mirror the cream of the pearls. I kind of like this a lot. The strand of pearls is weightier and works better with the gold necklace than my single Broome pearl. Not sure if I’d wear my vintage gold child’s bracelet with that ivory cuff, though. The cuff alone might be better.
And not to change the subject, but how about this old camel hair jacket of mine, eh? Looks pretty darned good with my trusty leather pants, I think. The jacket is part of the Adrienne Vittadini suit that I bought in Montreal back in 1991, the purchase of which ushered in my “indulgent years.” Ha. But I’ve told you that story already. This jacket is in fantastic shape. I love its mannish cut. It’s hard to believe it’s almost thirty years old. I can’t imagine why I haven’t been wearing it. Gad. How many times have I said that in the last four months?
So, one thing I learned from playing with my jewellery today is that it’s hard to layer necklaces when one doesn’t own very many necklaces which are suitable for layering. But I’m not finished yet. I still have to try some silver combinations. And I should dig through the two or three bags of old pieces that I tucked away in a drawer because I never, ever wear them. I’m thinking that I’ve had such good luck lately unearthing old jackets I still love… maybe I’ll find some treasures. Shopping vintage in my own closet. Or drawers as the case may be.
Since I’ve been lying around so much this past month, I’ve had lots of time to extend my slow fashion education. I’ve been reading blog posts and articles and listening to YouTube videos about vintage and thrift shop shopping. Justine Leconte has a video on the subject that includes her suggestions for reputable sites to shop vintage on-line. She suggests several sites including The Real Real, Farfetch, and Outnet. All three of these sites have good selections of vintage or pre-owned jewellery.
I’ve been on The Real Real a lot. Much of their stuff, while beautiful, is beyond what I’d be willing to pay even at a bricks and mortar store. But The Outnet has some well-priced items like these simple gold chains. And I found a couple of lovely necklaces on Farfetch. Like this beautiful set of two gold chain necklaces from Susan Caplan Vintage, which make a layering pair all by themselves. And I love this shorter chunky gold chain necklace also from Susan Caplan Vintage. I might even be persuaded to invest in that short chunky chain.
Might be persuaded. Might. I’m not nearly finished playing around with the pieces I already own.
Today was my first social outing since the resurgence of my dratted cold. I had lunch with my friend (and former colleague) Marina. We yakked and yakked. About our families, about travel, and clothes, and our shared teaching memories. It was lovely. I was so excited to be out and about I could have talked the leg off an iron pot, as my grandmother used to say. Just like some of the grade nines I used to teach. I loved the grade nines.
Later, when I was at home finishing this post about jewellery, I was reminded of one particular grade nine kid. Heather sat at the very front of my class one year. She adored clothes and jewellery. And she always commented on what I wore to class. Sometimes in minute detail.
One day I spent some time explaining at length the instructions for a fairly complex assignment the class was about to embark upon. When I had finished, I asked if there were any questions. Heather raised her hand, waving it at me energetically, as some kids always do. “Yes, Heather,” I said. “Ms. Burpee,” she leaned in almost conspiratorially. “Do you realize that your earrings, and your brooch, and the buckle on your belt all match exactly?”
Oh yeah. I loved that kid.
In fact, I’m pretty sure I was that kid. Albeit forty years earlier.
P.S. Many thanks to Laurie for suggesting Alyssa Beltempo’s YouTube channel in her comment a few posts ago. Alyssa is chic and charming, and I’ve been enjoying watching her videos. And she’s local, which is very cool.
P.P.S. The links for clothes and jewellery in this post are affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking on my link, I will earn a commission.