Bead it!

Don’t get me wrong, I still love pins. I truly believe that brooches and pins are now relegated to classic status, are here to stay, and will always have a place in a woman’s (or guy’s?) wardrobe. But I must admit they are so overdone, so over used, and have become so clichéd at the moment, that unless you chose a really fabulous, unusual pin, chose to wear them as unorthodox multiples, OR wear them in an unexpected way (NOT, I repeat, NOT on your lapel unless you want to look like –no offense — Madeleine Albright, Barbara Walters, attorney Gloria Alred, or Sarah Jessica Parker in her Gap ads), it’s time to think about moving on to something else.

Funny thing, I was checking out the $200+ assortment of Erickson Beamon pins at Barneys New York (which are quite eye catching), and noticed a sales associate in the shoe department who was wearing an even more outstanding pin. When I asked where she bought hers, she laughingly admitted it was from H&M! Though she didn’t say how much she paid, let’s just assume it was a fraction of the cost of Barneys’. Proving of course, that one need not break the bank to keep up with trends. But you knew that, didn’t you?

In any event, as happens with popular trends, they often play out in such a mass way, that they lose the very charm and appeal that made them look so great when they first hit fashion’s radar. And if you just blindly follow the lead, you can run the risk of looking lazily unimaginative UNLESS you find your own way to re- interpret. So- the question is, is there life after pins? What’s next? Beads!

The December Elle features a Gilles Bensimon cover shot of the very beautiful and talented Natalie Portman looking especially groovy, chic, hip, and breezy, wearing a group of chunky and colorful vintage Missoni beads around her neck. This exemplifies the playful impact and punch that beads provide, offering a welcome a change from the more dressed up and sometimes too serious rhinestone pins that were so popular for fall/winter. Though you may not be able to get your hands on those exact pieces (they came from a vintage shop in Paris), similar (if not identical) versions abound on vintage websites, at vintage shops, flea markets, and on Ebay. And I am sure that you will find beads galore, whether real, wood, plastic, or bakelite if you visit the Triple Piers Vintage Show this weekend and next.

But of course, after all is said and done, in the end, it all goes back to this: if you like pins- go ahead- wear and enjoy them. Speaking of wearing what you like- all I can say- hurray for Helen! The fashionable socialite and former Vogue editor, Helen Lee Schifter, who is usually photographed in different outfits night after night, was the subject of an entire column in www.fashionweekdaily (“Proenza Times 3 for Helen”, Shifter is New York’s latest “outfit repeater”), which sought to get to the bottom of her alleged fashion ‘crime’ (showing up at back to back social events clad in the same Proenza Shouler quilted black bustier- can you imagine that???!!!).

Her response to them, when asked ‘why’, was simple and fabulous,she admitted she simply adores her new Proenzas and wants to wear them all the time. She also pointed out that some of the most stylish women who have inspired her (including former boss Anna Wintour and social/fashion icon Deeda Blair) have been known to ‘repeat outfits’. Didn’t Diana Vreeland elect to wear a simple ‘uniform’ of seemingly plain, non-sensical, black sweaters, pants, or skirts, accessorized with her bold and signature Chanel cuffs and ivory necklace? Many fashion authorities consider having a ‘uniform’ a ‘good thing’ (like the late Geoffrey Beene for example, who long extolled the virtues of creating your own uniform, much the way a man does). The idea that women HAVE to change with the wind, is not only stupid, ridiculous, and damaging, but also impractical. So I salute Ms. Schifter for being honest, doing what pleases her (not the fashion press or paparazzi) and wearing what she likes.

Posted by Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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