Attack of the Killer Accessory

Newsprint pants

I often tell a story about a member of my family (ok, it was my dad) who once strode jauntily through the airport, holding a copy of the New York Times. Nothing remarkable there except that I couldn’t help observing that each stride brought the newspaper in contact with the leg of his heretofore pristine white pants. Later, as he noticed the fresh ink stains, I couldn’t resist adding insult to injury. Why hadn’t I told Houston we had a problem? My inexcusable excuse: someone twice my age (54 to my 27), should surely have been aware of the dangers of newsprint.

Since that fateful day I have had numerous regrets which, although I’m sure my father has long forgotten this relative non-event, I regard as “payback.” Admittedly, this is a first world problem yet I always think there is some sort of karmic retribution at work in the universe when it happens to me, especially when, rather than through the fault of a newspaper, it is some of my favorite accessories which are responsible for ruining some of my equally favorite articles of clothing.

Figue Tuk Tuk Evil Eye bag

Exhibit A — One Figue Tuk Tuk Evil Eye bag, a courtesy replacement generously offered from Figue for a previously purchased “eye-less” bag which had quickly lost its irreplaceable beads. I wore the mirrored and bugle beaded evil eye bag intermittently this past winter sans incident, always receiving numerous compliments from strangers — it is a true conversation starter. Fast forward to the first warm day of this spring/summer when I fatefully paired it with a colorful print silk dress. Bag over the shoulder, off I went about my appointed morning rounds. By the time I stopped for lunch it became clear that the “eye” had been extremely “evil” ripping the side of my dress to shreds and giving new meaning to the word “eye-catching. I considered throwing the offending bag on a sacrificial bonfire to appease the revenge of bad juju from the fashion gods. Instead I kept it in rotation — I “eye” it warily, taking great pains to keep it at arm’s length if I’m wearing anything more delicate than a suit of armor.

John Hardy Cobra Multiple Coil Bracelet

So, what happens when your husband comes home with a fabulous piece of jewelry from your favorite jewelry designer? After marveling over how well I had trained him — the John Hardy wrap-around coil cobra bracelet was truly “me”– I soon realized that this bauble provided a little more than I bargained for. Unfortunately, no one had bothered to train the sterling reptile — his fangs are a menace and a constant source of ripped garments. So far Mr. Hungry Sneaky Snake has “bitten” the loose weave on a knit suit jacket (unworn with tags). The garment was attacked as it lay resting innocently in the closet, a victim of circumstances, as my bejeweled wrist reached for the coat just to its left. I know my fanged frenemy has been up to no good with other garments as well but I’m trying not to let it “poison” our relationship. It’s an uneasy truce. As long as I keep him from temptation, he holds his venom.

Pant leg stuck in shoe

Footwear is another source of constant fashion emergencies, if not actual trip ups. I remember well my first post-college job interview when, already in an anxious state, my heels sabotaged me further by forming an undeniable attraction to my wide trouser legs. As I walked I felt my pants legs being seized and tugged under the heel portion of the foot bed of my mules. (Don’t judge — it was the ’80s!). Since then I have occasionally relived that experience always bringing back PTSD. While “Never let them see you sweat,” was the advertising tagline of the day, I was clearly sweating it out as I tried to get my ridiculously shod foot in the door as a junior copywriter.

Marni slide minus stones

If there’s anything that out rankles me even more than the embellished handbag it’s embellished footwear. Shoes with tassels, stones or any other applied ornamentation are things I love in theory but hate in practice. There’s nothing like losing a stone (or several) from a pair of barely worn shoes and being unable to replace it.  Case in point — a pair of Marni slides, worn exactly twice, purchased from TheOutnet but still setting me back more than a pair of plastic slides should.  At the Marni boutique I was hoping I could obtain a few extra gemstones for what will obviously be a recurrent problem. Instead I was met with utter disdain from the snooty saleswoman. “Those are old –maybe you need a new pair,” said the HBIC. Another “helpful” recommended I go hunting for stones in the trimmings stores.

A few other accessory items which don’t play well together include Velcro and knits, silver necklaces with light colored tops, delicate legwear and boot zippers, rings with missing or protruding prongs and silky duvet covers. That last one was actually a blessing in disguise. Who knew that the simple chore of making the bed would alert me to the fact that a prong on my engagement ring had worn away and I was in peril of losing the diamond?

– Laurel Marcus

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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