Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"Just" Style: An Art Deco Necklace, a Beautiful Day, and the Joys Therein

After all the emotionally heavy and difficult posts I've been writing lately, I offer you (and myself) some metaphorical and literal sunshine. This is just a pretty, sunshiney, style post, period. We all deserve such outfits, such reading, and such days, don't we? (I wrote a heavy post about this skirt back in December, if you're in the mood for that sort of a day and post instead.)

I based this outfit primarily around this necklace, which I love. It's an original, Art Deco, costume piece, from the 1920s or 30s that has survived, mostly intact (it's a bit bent and may once have had a few dangling pearls), all these years. I got it for $10!

I'm really very excited about it and chose everything I wore as a celebratory frame of pretty colours for my humble little necklace.

Shoes: Ecco: Skirt: Modcloth; Shirt: Reitman's; Glasses: dollar store;  Right hand ring: Effy: Sweater, cane, earrings, watch, pinkie rings, necklace, and hair clip: vintage
I could not keep my mind off it.

It's so very pretty and delicate. And it has so much history. I wonder who first bought it. Was it a present to a sweetheart or daughter? Did a woman buy it for herself because it was just that pretty? Did she have to save up for it or was she in a position to be able to easily afford costume jewelry? Was she a young girl still in school, a matronly woman in middle years, or an elderly lady who had earned her right to her fripperies if she wanted them? What did she wear it with? I have some idea of the answer to this last question because I know a bit about fashion history. I hope she wore it with one of the gauzy, fluttery dresses so popular in the 1930s. I hope she wore it with pride. 

I know I did. I'm proud not just of the necklace but of the fact that I recognized its historical value the minute I saw it. Such skill makes me feel like a detective, sleuthing out treasure hidden in thrift stores, attics, or, in this case, a box in someone's basement.

I paired it with these vintage earrings that my step-sons gave me. I think both the necklace and the earrings contain real, fresh-water pearls. Can I tell you a secret? I actually prefer fresh-water pearls to the vastly more expensive pearls you'll find in much more expensive jewelry. I love their delicate iridescence and colouring. They seem a little bit magical, and very feminine -- perhaps a little like me? Or not.  

Check out our blueberry blossoms. Much yummy succulence to come.
Continuing the theme of delicate, old-fashioned, femininity, I wore my wonderful, vintage, Bulova watch from the 1940s (only $30!) and my scroll-work, right-hand ring that I love more and more over time. When I pair the ring with my tiny, diamond pinkie ring, I feel like I'm wearing gold and diamond lace.

The little, vintage, coral pinkie ring was one of the first presents Beau bought for me. He wanted to buy me something very meaningful. Knowing that I have PTSD, he did some research and found that, traditionally, people believed that coral could soothe a worried heart and keep fear at bay. Isn't he a sweetie? Of course, now I have my engagement ring, which serves a similar purpose, reminding me, even in my darkest hours, that I am loved.

I don't think it's even legal to harvest coral for jewelry anymore and that makes this little piece all the more special to me.

I need that something to help me keep my worries at bay because I'm capable of worrying about absolutely anything. I'm told it's a Jewish trait: prepare for the worst so you'll be ready when it comes, and, if it doesn't come, well won't that be a pleasant surprise?

Here's an example: when I sat down to write this post, I had a raft of nice photos, but no topic or thesis to go with them. I found myself at a bit of a loss as to what to write. I worried about that for days. Not exclusively, of course; I worried about many other things as well. I'm a multi-tasker where worrying is concerned.

So I had no thesis, no lesson, no idea for this post. I just wanted to share the beauty of the day, in all its spring glory ...

... and the giddy joy I got from this outfit. That's about it.

What does one say about that, just that?

As much as Sublime Mercies is a style blog ...

... and it really is a style blog, at least in part, I don't think of it as a style blog.

I think of myself primarily as a writer, primarily writing about pretty heavy topics. I don't think of myself as a style blogger, not exactly anyway. Anyone who is a regular reader of my blog (as opposed to a mere viewer of it), will know what I mean. Sublime Mercies is something of a hybrid blog, often using style as a springboard for me to write about things like child abuse, literature, cultural history, and disability.

I wonder, though, if part of why I don't think of myself as a style blogger is because of the negative responses I get from intellectuals and lefties when I tell them I write a style blog. Their eyes glaze over and they stop listening to me, so sure are they that style is somehow beneath them, something only for the shallow, the vain, and the materialistic. Even my own father, who had exhorted me for years to write more publicly, dismissed it my blog as inconsequential, materialistic, and vain. It simply did not occur to him that style has anything in common with the art he so venerates, or that I could be using it to write about really very important cultural issues.

Perhaps I've internalized these prejudices when I tell people, "I write a style blog but it's not just a style blog." Well, sometimes it is "just" a style blog. So what?

Let's get back to the style, shall we?

Check out my new reading glasses. I've only just discovered the fun of those cheap reading glasses you can get at the drug store. At those prices, I can afford to make them a fashion statement, several fashion statements, in fact, depending on my mood that day.

I never thought glasses like these would suit me. I've always been convinced that yellow and my face were a bad combination, but I like the way these look on me. They have a fun, retro quality to them. As I write this post at my local café, a male friend came up and said they give me that "sexy librarian" look. I get that a lot when I wear glasses. It's a kind of sexy I'm more than happy to call to people's minds.

But my reading glasses are not just fashion statements. I'm 44, and I need them, more and more as the years fly by. My theory is that, if you need some sort of ability aid, don't be ashamed of it; decorate it, flaunt it, add it to your style repertoire. Have fun with it! I've heard that Ari Seth Cohen and the lovely ladies over at Advanced Style are now taking that approach to hearing aids. You go, girls!

It's certainly the approach I've learned to take with my canes and "sensible shoes." I need the canes. I need the sensible shoes. So why not make them two more accessories which with to have fun? Do you like my pink cane? I do too.

Sometimes young people become jealous of my canes, and contemplate using them even when they don't need them, just because they think I make them look so cool. I'd call that a disability style victory, wouldn't you?

I also like to dress for the day. I wouldn't be so pompous as to say that the day becomes my own, personal accessory. Rather, I think maybe I become the day's accessory, as if nature and my city decided to wear a sparkly pendant and I get to be that pendant!

I love to harmonize with our spring (and summer and autumn) flowers.

Here I am, kicking up my heels on my scooter to show you that my skirt matches these flowers.

It was a very yellow sort of a day. Yellow is a new style choice for me and I'm having great fun with it.

Who wouldn't?


I even got some yellow pollen on my sleeve. It matched my sweater.

I chose to knot my yellow sweater, thinking it would emphasize my waist.

I'm not sure it was the best idea though as I think it made me look too wide from front to back. I've become insecure about that, about my middle-aged belly, once so flat and cut, and now, well, not.

But whatever. Mostly: yellow!

But not just yellow. Also purple!

Purple sunglasses.

Purple flowers.

And pink!

And more pink.

And guess what? More pink!

And also: pink  in our garden which is, this year, bearing the beautiful results of all the work we put into it last year.

So pink and purple and yellow, and an Art Deco necklace worth celebrating. That's it. That's my style-only post. How'd I do?

(I'm starting to post on a new link up, at Sydney Fashion HunterI'm also sharing this with Style Crone's Hat Attack, and Patti's Visible Mondays.)


  1. You look absolutely wonderful. The necklace is beautiful and I love your photos. Thanks.

  2. Hello my dear Charlotte. Sure your earrings seem "a little bit magical, perhaps like you"...

    Seeing all these nice blossom pictures, I was wondering if you have the help of the fairies to be always surrounded by the most beautiful flowers ?

    They say if you ask help of fairies to grow a heavenly garden, they will help you with a powerful energy.

    With love,


  3. You look like Spring herself in this lovely floral outfit, Charlotte! Your choice of jewelry is exquisite, I just adore the antique necklace and vintage earrings. The fact that you incorporate things like glasses and canes into your style is brilliant!

    I often write without a plan, even when I write fiction. Organic writing, that's me. And my blog - always without a plan. You know the saying - the appetite comes while eating. So is inspiration. Sometimes it comes when I think I already finished the post. :) Then I feel it - the second breath! Then I have to write!

    The beauty of writing a style blog is just in that - no one actually expects you to write about deeper things that you are mostly interested in writing about. So you are free to write whatever you are interested in. Style is only a common platform. What we share is ourselves and our lives. Do not listen to those who bring you down. Listen to those who lift you up!

    Much love xxxxx

    1. It's funny, but I usually do have a plan when I sit down to write. When I taught my students to write outlines for their essays, I meant it, because it works for me. Usually, when I look at photos of an outfit, I get my inspiration for a theme or thesis and then put together an outline, including photos. But this time, no: just pretty stuff!

  4. Dear Charlotte, I invite you to participate in my new link-up that I start this month - please read more here:
    I really hope to see you there! xxx

  5. I am so in the mood for yellow prints but have yet to find an outfit. Love yours!!

    1. If you like this skirt, it's a hot seller on Mod Cloth. That's where I got it. I think yellow is experiencing a revival this season so, if you buy new, you should be able to find something you like.

  6. Wonderful post, Charlotte - the photos of you at that darling kitchen table make my heart feel warm. Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday, xo.

    1. I do love that kitchen. It's so bright and cheery, and yellow, as a good kitchen should be!

  7. Beautiful photos! I love the adornment for your hair and of course, your exquisite witting. Thank you for sharing with Hat Attack!

    1. I think you meant to say "writing," but I quite like "witting" too.

  8. It really makes me happy to read a happy post from you! Your outfit is lovely, the mixed yellow floral prints, the jewelry, excellent!