When Sarah Jessica Parker strutted down the streets of New York as Carrie, aside from what would happen with her latest relationship, I mostly wanted to see which absurdly ridiculous thing they were going to dress her in next. There was of course, the enormous flower pin, which grew bigger and more hideous each episode, the newsboy cap with hot pants and a trench coat, and of course, the nod to 80s ghetto nameplate and leather tops. Ew. She pulled it together in the final season, even if she did look a bit Minnie Mouse. She looked enchanting. Here’s the thing though: women dress for other women.
I have, for example, an Anya Hindmarch snakeskin handbag (shown in this photo from forever ago… oh how I miss parties with Monique at Hermes!), adored by me and coveted by other women. Men, all of them, every single one, hate it. Every man I’ve ever dated has suggested I leave it at home during that whole, “so, how do I look?” moment. They squint and say, “Don’t you have another bag?”
To which I respond, “Yes, several, but men just don’t get snakeskin.” They also don’t understand big jewelry. I like a necklace that makes a statement.
When I graduated high school, my mother gave me a very thin gold necklace with a solitaire diamond floating in the middle. And I loved it, how thin it was, delicate, like it belonged on someone thin. I liked it in mirrors, the way the diamond dropped in between my collarbones. My mother also wore an identical one, which I’d always wanted. When Lea graduated, she also got the matching necklace, so now the three of us have it. If I have girls, they’ll each get one, too. It makes me feel special when I wear it, like I belong to a family, even though we’re spread thin across this fat country.
Now, though, I tend to wear bigger pieces. Dress simply, then pump it up with a chunky statement of a necklace. That’s why I wear the cameo-inspired necklaces I found at my aunt’s store, on Long Island, years ago. Each time I wear them, people ask if they’re estate pieces. They don’t run in the family, and if I knew where to buy them now, I’d buy more for my friends. While on book tour in San Francisco, I was in the mood to shop neighborhoods, but not for clothes. So instead, I bought what would fit: shoes and jewels. Pumas and a peacock plume. I purchased the necklace at Jacqueline Talbot, a Hayes Street store in SF. The designer, I was told, is based in New York. As for the red leather bracelet with gold chain link, it’s one of my favorites, purchased for me by a close girlfriend from Hermes. She was actually in Spain and bought me a bangle, but when I tried it on, it was way too big and didn’t suit me. So with her permission, I exchanged it for the red cuff, which I wear while carrying my red shoulder bag, the one I’d purchased in Venice. I do all my luxury shopping while abroad. I stock up on Hermes scarves and Gucci goods, then I find independent stores and spend some more. I haven’t been abroad in forever, which is a good thing for my finances and in turn, my marriage.
All the men I know hate my big necklaces and always encourage me to stick with something simple instead. I ignore them though. Sometimes a woman just knows. Though I haven’t worn a scarf in way too long (I plan to frame two of them for the nursery) at least there’s large garish jewels still in the family.