Kate. Marilyn And Elizabeth And The Allure Of Pearls.

10 years ago next month, Kate Winslet posed for a stunning photograph that appeared on the cover of  V magazine.  A shot of her beautiful face and a string of pearls was all that was needed to create the wonderful image. But the pictures also evoked the movie queens of days past, and speaks volumes about the eternal lure of pearls. I may be biased – pearls are my necklace of choice, my birthstone (for June), but whether it is an elegant gold and pearl necklace with a chain and a pendant, a simple string of pearls, or a vintage style choker, pearls evoke glamour, and elegance, and also a lot of sex appeal.

Looking back at Kate’s cover, The Daily Telegraph said that Winslet was paying some kind of tribute to Elizabeth Taylor, the last of the immortal love goddesses, who had  died earlier that year. A famous still of Taylor from the film Ash Wednesday was used to illustrate the similarity of the pose. But the image of Kate reminded me of those Bert SternLast Sitting‘ poses by Marilyn Monroe, the ones where she was photographed with pearls and rhinestones just a month before her death. These were almost a last hurrah for Marilyn, and ensured she pushed Elizabeth  Taylor from all the world’s front pages. Marilyn had also posed with pearls in the publicity shots for ‘Some like it Hot’ in 1958.

So the picture of Kate celebrates screen goddesses of the past, but it is also as much a celebration of pearls as it is of  the females who wear them. I think pearls are the most mysterious of jewels…what do they actually symbolise? They are often seen as presenting a real lady, sometimes in the form of conservative dressing, the twinset and pearls brigade for instance. Debutantes and Duchesses wear pearls, old ladies wear pearls,  Ladies on the cover of ‘Country Life’ and ‘The Lady’ wore pearls. And yet…

One of the most famous courtesans of the 19th century, Cora Pearl, is said to have appeared before Edward VII wearing a long string of pearls…and nothing else. One of the  most notorious rock paramours of the 1960s, Marianne Faithfull, was photographed wearing a conservative pearl choker at the height of her heroin addiction,  subverting the image of the necklace as something for good girls. And Madonna added pearls to her Boytoy bride look in the 1980s. Large 1980’s style pearls have made a comeback in recent years, with stores like Shein having lots of cool choices, whilst Butler and Wilson also deal with pearls in the form of both costume jewellery and gem set pieces.

 

So, what is the truth about pearls, good girl accessories, or ultimate bad girl attire? Maybe the truth is a little bit of both. Good girls love the prettiness and the glossy sheen or pearls, whilst bad girls like to subvert the jewel that is considered a sign of class, breeding and landed gentry. While all this is true, pearls will be continue to fascinate.

5 Simple Ways to Make a Fashion Statement

 

Most people want to be fashionable by dressing up in daringly bold outfits, but they do not always succeed in making a statement. Some people claim that true fashion stars in making a relaxed approach to styling oneself. Keeping your style simple and relaxed will give you a bit more edge than everyone else, making you stand out, and, if you keep an eye on sites like Black Friday Universe, you will always find the best buys for your money. Below are 5 simple ways to make a fashion statement:

  1. Get the boyfriend look

Men’s style is cool, easy and relaxed. You can choose your style from his wardrobe without spending a dime. Choose your outfits from his tees, jeans, button-down shirts, blazers, chunky gold watch, belt and even sweaters.  Trade those ballet flats with and make a statement in loafers or you could try timberland boots, brogues or oxfords, adding a new and unique glam to your style.  However, do not overdo the boyfriend look. You can always tone down the masculine look by adding some feminine touches with pink accessories, handbags, heels and blouses.

 

  1.    Revisit the past

Make a fashion statement by going vintage. Inspiration from past fashion fads will make a great difference to your wardrobe. The 1950’s, often referred to as ’era of conservatism’, has a good deal of fashion ideas you can borrow. For example, clad in poodle skirts, and add style with the right accessories. Bill Blass designer jeans are worn for a more casual and practical style and accessorized with unique cat-eye glasses and/or a chain.


In the 1960’s, the youth found their own style, and their fashion sense dominated the US. Women began to wear miniskirts and hot pants with go-go boots. You can try this fashion, and modernize it with accessories such as beaded jewels. You can also choose to be unique, and bring back the 1970’s style. The long flowing floral dresses and skirts and the colourful tie-dyed t-shirts will be a good addition to your wardrobe.

The Kimono, another fashion trend that dates back to the 5th century, has made a huge comeback. The satin kimono short robe is very popular and comes in different colours, patterns, and styles. There’s nothing that makes a better fashion statement than donning your satin kimono robe, for your morning routines or night out.

  1.    Add up sunglasses, timeless hats and other accessories

If you feel that you struggle with fashion and trends, then let your accessories do the talking. Classic pieces like the plain white tee, the cigarette pants, the skinny jeans, the beige trench coat, all can be elevated by the accessories you chose – a great watch, a statement necklace, a jaunty silk scarf, a designer bag. You can keep your clothes neutral and still stand out.

  1. Wear confidence and dress in trends that suit your body type

As long as you dress according to your body type, you will pull off any fashion trend and become outstanding. Dressing to your size and shape will extenuate your body figure, highlight your features and boost your confidence. The fit-and-flare dress, for example, is very versatile, charming and flattering on any body size and shape. In fashion, nothing beats having inner confidence. You do not need to follow any rules, but you need to believe in your personal style.

  1.    Colour swapping and blocking

A simple colour swap will undoubtedly make you outstanding. For example, white is a great accent for a deep dark tan, and add sex-appeal to the “colourless”. So, in a sea of little black dresses, stand out by donning your little white dress instead. Swapping the summery pinks to Autumn burgundies, and summer green to emerald will also make a statement. Colours such as navy blue and burgundy blend well with other shades, and they make you stand out.

Colour blocking is fun and can change your wardrobe to a fashion den. You can choose to wear two or more colours that blend. Navy, nude and white can be worn together in an interesting way.

In conclusion, many people find keeping up with fashion trends overwhelming. However, by sticking to the simple ways mentioned above you will always make a fashion statement, yet at the same time feel comfortable and unique.

My Latest Vintage Finds

My husband knows me only too well. At the weekend we visited The Emporium, an antique, retro and vintage store in Brierley Hill, and while we were there, I feel in love with a beautiful 1970s vintage dress. It was purple and gold, with long sleeves and Fortuny style pleats. I knew I couldn’t leave without it, and so hubby got it as a Valentine’s present. It is perfect!

It got me thinking that I hadn’t shared any of my vintage finds for a while. January and February have actually been pretty good months in terms of vintage finds in normal charity shops rather than dedicated vintage shops. The prices are of course cheaper than vintage shops where the pieces have been curated, and although the pieces are harder to find, you can still pick up a bargain if you know where to look.

Consider the evidence

1960s Jane & Jane Dress By Susan Small

Jane and Jane was a British fashion label of the 1960s that was taken over by the Susan Small designer label (I believe Susan Small may have been Australian). This dress is a beautiful evening piece that, to be honest, is a little too tight for me, but was just too lovely to leave behind. The beading and style is very Jackie Kennedy, early 1960s in flavour, and the colour is delicious.

The modern Linea long tuxedo style coat was another find, £4.99 and perfect for an evening cover up.

London Pride Jacket

I can find no information about London Pride, nothing except this image that was on Pinterest which makes me think it was a 1960s label or an offshoot of Viyella. This jacket is more of a early 1980s look, think Princess Diana at Balmoral, but I loved the puffed sleeves and the dogtooth print, which seems to have made yet another comeback. For £4.99, it was a bit of a bargain.

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St Michael Label Terry Towelling suit

Have to admit I didn’t get this, even though it had a much sought after St Michael label. I think at some point it would’ve had a tie belt, but that was now missing. I remember my nan having something like this when I was young, but despite that nostalgia, it was a no from me.

1970s Day Dresses – no label

These two dresses were a pound each, so it was an absolute no brainer that I would take them home. They have no makers labels, but I really like the design of the first dress, which is another black and white print with pretty button detail, whilst the second dress will look great with tan sandals in the Summer.

Peacocks Vintage Style Dress

This dress is vintage style and cut, rather than actual vintage. It is a Peacocks 1960s style shift in a sort of brocade print and was £3 from the Salvation Army shop.

Finally, these two beautiful pieces were from The Emporium. The 1960s style sweater was just wonderful, whilst the bag was a 1930s original in very good condition.