the constant companions

On May 15, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

You know those fashion and beauty pieces you always wear hand in hand? Never one without the other? Always this liner with this lipstick, this skirt with those shoes, this jacket with that bag. The category of the fail-safe combo is one I find interesting for reasons I can’t quite pinpoint, like the way I love to watch people putting on lipstick. I’ve seen so many clips—hundreds and hundreds— of people putting on lipstick, and still I am interested to see how each individual approaches the task. It’s not like there is a great range of techniques going on…there are only so many ways to get color on your lips (I distinguish rather a lot of ways, actually, but still there are only so many), but something about the act, the ceremony of it, doesn’t get old for me.

Right. What was I saying?

I like to hear what others are combining, especially when they find the combination more interesting than either element. Perhaps it is the allure of a sum that is greater than its parts? Perhaps it has to do, too, with the concept of personalizing your style. In the commercial environment that makes thousands or millions of units of any item available, the item alone can only say so much about you – much as the brand would like to maintain the illusion that this ubiquitous product is your path to your unique you. It is the personal tweaks that customize the item and make it yours, what you wear it with, how you play it. For me this issue (let’s call it the cookie cutter issue) is directly related to the appeal of vintage, handmade, and antique pieces. I think I am getting off track again.

I love that moment when the pair first meet. For me it usually an instant aha moment, where each item knows it will never be alone again. A number of these inseparable pairs have jumped out at me recently, in particular a new one, my had-to-have-it scarab pendant and my custom Tahitian pendant.

The scarab I have on a long, delicate chain and I often pair it with some shorter pendant, the formula of a short pendant with a long one is not new. The Tahitian pendant is as simple as can be, a stunning teardrop with a simple loop finding on a box chain. It seems like this would be easy to come by but I had the hardest time finding a design as simple as I envisioned. In the end I asked the team at Pearls of Joy if they could show me some of their best drops in the size I wanted (10ish mm) and mount one for me. You may remember them from the gorgeous cherry Tahitian floating pearl pendant featured a good while back.

pearls of joy tahitian pendant theseventhsphinx

I was delighted with the result and wore the pendant alone for weeks when I first got it. The look is so clean and plain, structurally, but then the pearl, if you are near enough to speak to me, is dazzling, with beautiful peacock overtones, green in some lights, violet in others.

One day I had the idea to add the scarab…

tahitian pearl pendant and scarab theseventhsphinx

The two have be constant companions ever since.

Just wait ’til they meet the Tahitian studs I splashed out for in the Mother’s Day sale…

x

 

rough & tumble

On November 25, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Rough & Tumble is an independent company in Maine making artisan totes and handbags (they sell some other things, too). Their concept is ‘rugged & understated luxury’, and I think they do it well. The understated luxury part resonates deeply with me, and the branding is clear and focused. They work mainly with waxed canvas and leather, creating durable bags with clean architecture and classic style.

rough and tumble hobo pack

I can’t quite remember how I stumbled across them now. Instagram, I think. Simple, beautiful leather goods consistently catch my eye, and I determined that their perfectly slouchy hobo pack needed to come into my life one way or another.

I got the medium size of the hobo pack, which I’m wearing in the previous post, for scale. I’m so pleased with the quality and style of this bag. I often lament how hard it is to find a handbag that isn’t woefully encrusted with studs and logos and general frippery. Seeing a bag like this, so wonderfully clean, is like a breath of fresh air. This style comes in a number of other tempting colors, like the pale oat color I wanted very much. It was definitely the practical part of me that decided on black, encouraged by the fact that nearly every other bag I have is some shade of brown.

I love brown.

rough and tumble hobo buckle detail

This is a thin lambskin with saddle details. The buckles here serve a genuine purpose, which I applaud, and the leather is luxuriously supple and soft. I treated it with a stain protector and it’s had no problems in the rain or getting splashed with mud on the back of my bike. I need a bag that can survive my life. Seeing how well it handles weather, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose one of the lighter colors they offer.

The pricing seems fair and I’m all around impressed with this brand. Lately I’ve been browsing their small pieces section (I will always check the subcategory ‘small leather goods’, and I will pretty much always find something I like. Ex. this tassel thing from Cuyana). Surely I could find a use for one of these little cross body bags or pouches?

Surely.

x

rock on

On October 23, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Rocks are so lovely. I really like rocks. I hang-out-in-the-natural-history-museum like rocks. I like trees and plants and other things that fall under the umbrella of nature as well…but especially rocks. Rocks, crystals, other kinds of mineral deposits that harden into rock-like structures…

After all, you can wear rocks.

While I do like stones that have been formed into beads, faceted, manhandled, I have a visceral appreciation for the raw beauty of a more organic presentation.

semi precious stone necklaces

Really craving this kind of large, raw-edged, stone jewelry for the last few years. Such stones feel somehow naked and true. Anchoring.

amethyst necklace

Here is a gorgeous piece of amethyst and citrine crystals, unabashedly bulky and heavy. While potentially [ideally] imposing, I find such jewelry capable of being casual where a more ornate (“fine”) piece would feel overdressed and out of place. It’s simultaneously overstated and understated. Eye-catching and bold yet approachable, relatively inexpensive, versatile.

turquoise necklace

Turquoise I love any day of the week, in all forms. There are a number of stones available in this format of bulky puddle-stone style necklaces and I find myself drawn to them. In wearing such stones I seem to be saying, what more processing do they need to serve as worthy embellishment? None. Pull them from the ground, clean them up, drill some holes, et voilà. Fit for a queen.

There is something stately about them, too. Solemn, even. Something not at all frivolous, unlike those ubiquitous faux-stone bib necklaces, for example. Not that I can’t appreciate those but they have little stylistic weight, if that makes any sense. Even when well-played they are still merely trendy. Trendy can go far, very far indeed in our culture, but do we not want to go beyond that?

I think the word I’m looking for is fierce.

amber necklace

Love the warmth and luminosity of amber. One does feel rather like some goddess of the earth when wearing a rustic band of jagged amber, bedecked with the fruits of the underground (one’s shadowy domain? I like where this is going). I recommend it. I happen to have picked these pieces up on eBay. Others like them aren’t hard to find, and beautiful semi-precious stones abound.

x

new gold

On August 20, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Remember my gold python print spirit bikini?

gold python print bikini

I just found it some sneaker soul mates. Cream, white and gold, basically all of my favorite things.

new balance gold salt sneakers jcrew

These are New Balance 620s in gold salt, a style created for J Crew. Love them?

Gotta love birthday sneakers.

x

 

of a feather

On August 1, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

First of all, everything is unified, everything is linked together, everything is explained by something else and in turn explains another thing. There is nothing separate, that is, nothing that can be named or described separately. In order to describe the first impressions, the first sensations, it is necessary to describe all at once. The new world with which one comes into contact has no sides, so that it is impossible to describe first one side and then the other. All of it is visible at every point.

                                                                                   — P.D. Ouspensky

feather clutch

I was smitten with this little feather-embellished clutch the moment I saw it. The soft cream leather, the abundance of glossy copper and teal turkey feathers. These are colors I never can resist, anyway. These are my colors. 

Picked up this little gem at NYX Studio in Cambridge, one half of the duo known as Observatory Boutique (a shared space with a talented florist).  This is a wonderful shop with a distinctive, personal-feeling collection of jewelry, antiques, and charmingly potted succulents. One delights in finding such indie spots, where you can speak directly with the designer and have that sensation of genuinely patronizing the business that is lost once a company reaches a certain size.

turkey feathers

It’s always refreshing to me to find a beautiful object. One needs the nourishment of beauty. One needn’t buy it, of course…but it’s not surprising that I would often want to possess beautiful discoveries. I have clearly been influenced by our materialistic, capitalist culture. Not that I buy every little thing I like, but I sense a desire to possess that is often, on reflection, immature-feeling, or hollow-feeling. I’ve been trying to discern subtler nuances in the urge to possess things, such that it is only best of the best that actually comes home, though I still have a ways to go, and sometimes realize that some lackluster item has gotten through the filters.

The ‘best’ things being, here, the most personally harmonious things. Those things which, if left behind, might haunt me.  In the ideal scenario there is a rightness to these things, a mine-ness. They seem, effortlessly, as if they are meant to be mine, without question or doubt or debate. As if they are a natural piece of the intricate machine of me. Not critical, exactly, but part of the whole just the same. Part of a translation, maybe. One small word or phrase contributing to the translation of me, and in some cases a brief encapsulation of me. Who am I? Well, this about sums it up.

On some level I think it really does.

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