thoughts on a pile of accessories

On July 25, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

These accessories from Monday’s post look so good without me.

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It struck me that this is how I usually see my accessories and clothes (and pretty much everything I own): isolated, out of the context of an ensemble, waiting to be used rather than in use.

The thoughts then meandered like so:

Even or especially when in use, I often can’t see things I’m wearing. Necklaces and earrings, invisible, only noted in the mirror periodically. And clothes…I don’t actually see what I’m wearing once I’m past the initial putting-on. I feel them, I know them, but I don’t really see them (except, in my case, later sometimes, in photos). Rings and watches, bracelets, maybe…but I’m not typically looking at them, or paying attention to them. They, along with everything else, are temporarily assimilated into the body, and I forget about them until they get in my way, somehow, or until someone else comments on them.

Masses* of objects waiting for a purpose, to be put to use. Even in an Iris Apfel mood (here’s a great conversation with her), I can only wear so many things at once. This ties into my interest in displaying the dormant objects. I want to wear them, sure, I want to be the kind of person who would and does wear them, but also I want to see them. And in a way I can only see them when I’m not wearing them. And in a way, the pleasure of wearing them is due in no small part to the appreciation developed over extended not-wearing of them, during which they became familiar in a manner that is entirely distinct from the familiarity established in the wearing (which has its own potentially powerful appeal).

*Of course I have too many objects, despite always culling, always curating.

Thinking about dressing (clothes or accessories, makeup, etc) as an act of decoration, whether careful or careless. Thinking about a closet as a jumble of decor options, as a store might have a box of candles, ribbon, flowers, standing by. Thinking how odd for our culture to elevate (increasingly, it seems) that box alone, without the store or the window display or any application whatsoever. It’s almost preferable, the objects in the absence of any application, in a pure state of being. A shoe without a foot.

[Amassing metaphors is a pleasant activity. Let me know if you have any good ones.]

I get it, though. I often like objects for themselves alone, and don’t even intend to wear them much at the time of purchase. How could I, when there are so many others rotating in, competing for air time. But I rationalize: the wearing is to be stretched out over some decades (’tis a sound bargain!). This is an extremely careful and discerning kind of consumerism, but still a flagrant one. There is something a little monstrous about it.

endless summer

On May 20, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

It’s strange how fully I (and we, as a culture, it seems) fall for the myth and the romance of summer given how, at least here in the Boston area, summer is a horrible, humid stretch of days during which one attempts to stay in the air conditioning as often as possible. I am miserably hot for the better part of summers here, if I think about it, a fact I seem conveniently to forget sometime around January, and fail to remember until June. It’s really only nice for a few days here and there, and usually only part of those days, before and/or after a sudden, unforeseen downpour.

I still feel the consumerist desire to kit myself out for the mystical stretch of the year that is summer, however. I want to be prepared for the impending vacances (I am not scheduled, at the moment, for a single day of vacance, reader), the long, languid soirées (ditto soirées), the sangria and mojito filled late afternoons (I will be working through virtually every one of those afternoons…).

Still I read such articles as ’10 summer must haves’ and ‘5 best lipsticks for summer’*. I want to wear orange lips, too. I really do.

*ALTHOUGH one is always taking in more data than one needs, and carefully over-preparing for hazy impending events. So…not necessarily a waste of time. Not entirely a waste of time/money.

This is to say, I am living in a fantasy wherein it seems I need to prepare for a life that doesn’t quite (at all) coincide with what is realistically (even just based on the statistics from last summer) going to happen. Really it is likely to be like a lot of the rest of the year, just inconveniently hot.

Yes, but! I could go to more parties this year! I might! Be invited to more! And then actually go!

I could.

I might.

I’m considering it.

So I probably need a new dress. A new bikini, clearly. And some lipstick. And, like, special summer moisturizer, and better legs, somehow. Suddenly my legs won’t do at all?  I need which products to mollify the gods of summer?

And somehow all the stuff I did and got for last summer and the summer before that (and the summer before that…) do not quite cut it?

Summer is such a genius cultural myth, capitalism-wise. I will give summer that. Even seeing through it, I genuinely fall prey to some of this marketing. Some of it overlaps with basic optimism about life (it’s optimistic to hope to go out, to plan social events, and to plan for the trappings of those events), and in some cases I just want the kind of stuff I want all the time, and the season provides a fresh context in which to want it. And in some cases it overlaps with common sense, like needing lighter clothes for summer, or sunscreen.

I like the kind of beauty looks that always crop up around summer, sheer, natural looks that tend to focus on looking healthy and fresh-faced. They hark back to the 60s and 70s concept of the American beauty, when the fashion magazine industry had just sprung up to document a world of fashion, and American models were known for their overflowing good health, athleticism, and a preference for natural (or natural looking) faces.

What I’m leading up to is: I bought some summer lipsticks.

And they are excellent.

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Lipstick Queen’s Endless Summer collection has a sheer, emollient formula like that of Jean Queen (the formula I wanted their Saint lipsticks to have, and they don’t quite), which I’ve already mentioned liking so well.  I think this kind of transparent formula, its texture hovering somewhere between a cream and an ointment (shea butter-based), its pigmentation unassailable, is effortless, foolproof. I think it’s on par with Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shine formula, and at a better price (if fewer colors). Want to get someone a gift of lipstick? Get them one of these (especially Jean Queen, which is a dark, I would say universal pink). Or one from Chanel.

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Stoked is a gently orange-toned tomato red, and Perfect Wave is a blue-tinged bubble gum pink. Stoked is the winner for me, but orange reds often are.

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Oh, OK. Here are some swatches.

I like the name, too. Endless Summer. I have summers that live on persistently in memory like this, seeming not to fade or lessen in their significance over time. Ready to be turned to, returned to, at any moment.

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I really like this packaging, too. This metallic orange  is beautiful.

I would wear these all year round.

 

P.S. For the record, I prefer autumn.