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Thursday, June 27, 2013

British Women and Fancy Hats: Outdated Fashion or Fun Tradition?

The royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton is one of the most recent events where we saw upper-class British women flocking from their homes in their extravagant, fancy hats.  This is a very common societal habit in England among royalty and the well-to-do, and is less commonly seen in the middle to lower class.  But why all the fuss about women's hats?  Why are they so important?  Why was the Prime Minister's wife, Samantha Cameron, criticized for not wearing a hat?

Theoretically, it dates back to the Anglican religious tradition ruling that women should keep their heads, hair, and hands covered, especially while in church.  It was meant to represent and promote modesty among women; a verse in the book of Corinthians states that women's hair is considered their "glory" and must be covered out of respect for God and men.

Obviously, this is a tradition for long ago, and is no longer true of most churches today.  However, the idea of the fancy hat being a finishing touch of and a vital part of an outfit still remains.  It is meant to be seen as the completion to an outfit, and a woman wearing an outfit to a formal occasion, such as a wedding, without her hat appears to have her outfit "unfinished".

It seems that a fancy, formal hat has become a sign of respectability and class that goes hand in hand with the ideas of fashionability in Britain.  The Queen herself is well-known for her extensive collection of fancy formal hats – each outfit has a matching hat, usually crafted in a bright and bold color to provide some pop in big crowds.  Hats have become synonymous with status and with genteelness among the wealthy upper class, especially among royalty, and it seems that even whimsical and ostentatious fancy formal hats are worn for the purpose of statement and display of class status.

The Brits' attraction to women's hats is easily summed up by placards in the hat department of a British department store: "It's a British thing!"

Friday, June 21, 2013

Be Yourself in Your Bracelets and Charms

One of the best things about New Dreamz charms is that they are compatible with all Chamilia, Troll, Biagi, and Pandora charms and bracelets.  Currently, expressing your own personal style through DIY and mixing and matching is the most popular way to stay in fashion.  Consider things like your birthstone, your initials, your favorite animals and favorite colors, and the textures and styles that represent your current mood.  Mix these charms in with your Pandora charms you might already own to change your style daily.  Express what you are thinking and feeling every morning when you wake up with your jewelry – not just your outfit. 

My personal choices would be a blue topaz for my birth month (of December), a “V” and an “I” for my initials, the Lovely Paw silver charm for my dog, Mimi, and purple beads, crystals, and charms for my favorite color.  I want a bracelet that represents me – one that I can show off, point to each and every charm and bead, and tell a person something about who I am and what my style and beliefs are.

You can do the same with your charms on your bracelet, making it unique and one-of-a-kind, just like you are.  Make your own story, or make themed bracelets.  If you love your dog, you can tell his or her life story with your bracelet, adding charms and beads that represent him or her most to you, making it one of your most treasured possessions.  Or describe your family in a bracelet to keep them close to your heart.  Your bracelet can show so many different sides of you and of your life.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Top Summer Jewelry Trends – and Some DIY Ideas!


This summer, jewelry trends primarily focus on the statement necklace, which has been in circulation for a few seasons now.  However, this season we are taking a different spin on the statement necklace, including heavy chains, mixed media, and plastic as materials.

The heavy chain necklace adds edge to any summer outfit, balancing out the light-weight, sheer styles that are currently helping us fight off the heat. This silver necklace by Giles & Brother is the perfect example, and my first pick for summer.  Its sleek style restrains the heaviness from being overbearing, and offers a sense of mixed elegance and edge to any sundress.
Cortina silver-plated necklace by Giles & Brother
Available at The Outnet

I found another cheaper style to the Giles & Brother Cortina silver-plated necklace at ShopLately that could be considered very similar except for its large triangular crystals that definitely pack a statement punch.
Callia Crystal Triangle Necklace
Available through Lily Wang at ShopLately

This swooping, swirly heavy chain necklace available at ModCloth adds a different element.  Instead of being a standard thick necklace chain, this one adds a bit of an art deco air to any outfit.
Tip the Scales Necklace
Available at ModCloth

The big plastic necklace and the mixed media necklace can easily be combined.  Essentially, when you look for a mixed media necklace, you want to look for something bold that makes a statement with different materials other than metal and gems.  Some ideal materials that are especially popular include rope, wood, acrylic, and lucite.

This necklace by Noir is my personal favorite.  It incorporates rope, a popular summer jewelry staple, with mixed metals.
Gold-plated, crystal and rope necklace by Noir
Available at The Outnet

This beautiful necklace, available for purchase at ModCloth, incorporates both the heavy chain necklace trend with the mixed media trend.  This is a simple, large chain necklace made entirely out of wood, excluding the lobster clasp.
Buoy Your Style Necklace
Available at ModCloth

Lucite is absolutely stunning in a large necklace style.  Again, this particular necklace also incorporates the heavy chain element that is so popular right now.
Clear Lucite Link Necklace by Kenneth Jay Lane
Available at Neiman Marcus

And now for my absolute FAVORITE jewelry item this season – the ear cuff!  There are plenty of gorgeous examples I can share with you (check out my Pinterest for more!), but I’m going to share my three favorites with you.

Again, I love-love-love Etsy for its pretty and unique styles.  LoreleiDesigns makes plenty of beautiful ear cuffs; my favorite is this silver filigree cuff with blue charms.
Brilliant Light Sapphire Earcuff by Lorelei Designs
Available at Etsy

Noir makes a beautiful two-piece set that actually is on sale right now for $45.00.  The style of a statement earring in the form of an ear cuff… what more could you want?
Multi-Colored Cluster Ear Cuff by Noir
Available at Saks Fifth Avenue

And last but not least is this piece from Modcloth – I’m a huge Legend of Zelda fan, and this ear cuff makes me feel like the princess of Hyrule.

A Nice Wing to It Earring Set
Available at ModCloth


With all these examples (and the many, many more you’ll find on my Pinterest), your summer jewels are set! Enjoy and have fun – and get creative!  Try some DIYs.  Mixed media jewelry is fun and easy to make.  Check out my Crafts Board for some ideas!