Charming Beauty: the Keepsake

If you can’t take it with you then wear it while you can

Ever since I can remember I’ve always loved the idea behind charm bracelets. A charm bracelet is personal and allows you to create beautiful memories. They’re sentimental because they have a story attached.  I’ve never had any that were just randomly chosen.

CHANEL Famous Vintage Gold Plated
Tiffany & Co.

As a child I wore a sterling silver bracelet and collected charms about things and from places that meant something.  Family members would add to it and before you know I had no more room for more.  I remember a little statue of liberty from a trip to New York with my parents, an Eiffel tower, a cat (my preference at the time – how things change) and a rocking chair (yes, I was an old person way back then – always went for the rocking chair or rocking horse). Which reminds me I also had the rocking horse charm. Unfortunately the bracelet was left in Montreal and after my parents passed away I could not find it.  But I kept all the gold charms gifted over the years that replaced the silver ones, and turned the smaller ones into a meaningful bracelet.

For instance, the little gold heart was a gift from my grandfather (on my mothers side) who offered it to her for me when I was born.  It has my name on one side and my birthdate on the other.  I wore it on a necklace when I was a baby but when I got older I found it too small to wear on my neck.  The name plate was something my mom bought me as a bracelet on its own when I was a young teenager because I wanted a signet bracelet so badly.  But I had that transferred onto the charm bracelet.  So I have a little story and it all has value to me personally.  Maybe in time I’ll add a few more but I adore it as is.

The company Pandora has taken a modern switch and turned charms into smaller beads which for many make it easier to wear and less cumbersome.

Keep me hanging

When it comes to charm bracelets I still love the ones that dangle.  When it comes to diamonds, I now go for less visibility where they sit into the ring and not stick out. Makes it easier to clean and not catch on clothing. And less showy.

Vintage or otherwise these charming bracelets are timeless

Kate Middleton

Anyone else into them?  (other than me & Kate)



Beauty/Culture: the Hoop Earring

Every fashionable woman owns at least one pair of hoop earrings.

Photo; Mitchell Sams

At Marc Jacob’s Fall/Winter 2017 show models stomped down the runway with shiny gold hoop earrings.  They ranged from giant three-tiered hoops to a single thin hoop with a diamond encrusted key dangling from it.

From Marc Jacobs show
In the Spring Box  of Style from Zoe Report were these earrings.

The collection, which was also full of oversized fur collared jackets and monochromatic tracksuits, was inspired by the early days of hip-hop.

“It is an acknowledgement and gesture of my respect for the polish and consideration applied to fashion from a generation that will forever be the foundation of youth culture street style,” Jacobs explained in the show notes.

Hoops are one of the most attractive styles of earrings and they come with a story. Anything interesting comes with a story.

Unfortunately, not everyone who borrows from street culture is as eager to acknowledge the contributions of people who created it. The round jewelry has been a favorite accessory for decades from Cher in the 1960s to Madonna in the 1980s, but hoop earrings have a deep-rooted history in communities of color.

This cultural significance of the hoop earring was brought to light recently when three Latina students painted a message to their fellow classmates at Pitzer College in California about their earrings. They scribbled “White girls, take off your hoops” in bright yellow spray paint on a wall outside of a dormitory, after they noticed an influx of their peers wearing oversized hoop earrings.

Photo: Elliot Dordick, The Claremont Independent

Alegria Martinez, one of the students responsible for the graffiti, wrote an email to the student body that stated that they were sick of white women appropriating styles that “belonged to black and brown folks who created the culture.” The controversy came shortly after Elle dubbed the hoop earring a must-have accessory for fall, thanks not only to Marc Jacobs, but others like Fendi and Michael Kors.

Designers, celebrities, and even retailers have been long accused of taking styles from marginalized groups they think are “cool” without any consideration for the context. Last November, people took to social media to call out Urban Outfitters when it attempted to re-brand oversized gold doorknocker earrings. “The same earrings that people find ratchet or ghetto on black women are now $16.00 and sold at hipsters R us. These are literally a dollar at the nearest black hair store. My culture says you’re welcome,” one woman wrote in a Facebook post that has now been shared over 21,000 times.

Hoop earrings have a very long history dating all the way back to the ancient Sumerians from modern-day Iraq in 2600 B.C.  Different variations of the hoop have been adopted by a range of cultures around the world, from the Hmong women of Vietnam to the Gadaba tribe of India, as Vogue points out. But, in America, the style has often been adopted by women of color in an effort to reclaim their culture and celebrate their history.

Hoop earrings became especially popular among African American women during the Black Power movement in the 1960s when many were embracing Afrocentric dress. From activists like Angela Davis to artists like Tina Turner, more women were adopting an African-inspired look that embraced natural hairstyles and hoop earrings.

As Tanisha C. Ford writes in her book, Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul, “In African-inspired clothing and large hoop earrings and sporting Afros and cornrow braids, Americans and Britons of African descent envisioned soul style as a symbolic baptism in freedom’s waters through which they could be reborn, liberated from cultural and social bondage of their slave and colonial past.”

The statement jewelry carried on into the 70s when it was embraced by disco divas like Diana Ross and Donna Summer. When the 80s rolled around, their thin gold hoops were traded for thick gold “door knocker” and bamboo hoop earrings by hip-hop artists like Salt N Pepa and MC Lyte.

By the 1990s, oversized hoop earrings were a fixture of Chola style, which was embraced by working-class Mexican American women in Southern California. The radical look was defined by slicked-down baby hairs, dark lip-liner, and door-knocker hoop earrings.

But, it was about more than just fashion. As Barbara Calderón-Douglass writes in her piece “The Folk Feminist Struggle Behind the Chola Fashion Trend,” “The chola aesthetic is the result of impoverished women making a lot out of the little things their families could afford.”

Martinez, who grew up in Southern California, says she sees the style as a form of resistance. “We are women of color from Los Angeles, Long Beach, and San Bernadino and that is where this cultural style comes from,” explained Martinez. “Whenever we wear our hoops, or when I wear bold eyeliner and red lipstick, I feel really proud to be from that background.”

Fashion has always taken influences from different cultures. The problem with appropriating styles like hoop earrings is that many women of color still can’t wear these “trends” without facing discrimination for looking too “ghetto.” Not to mention, many of those who are eager to slip on a pair of hoop earrings fail to use their platform for any meaningful discussion about race.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, artist Helena Metaferia

Just last season Marc Jacobs faced a fury of appropriation accusations when he sent a predominantly white cast of models down the runway wearing colorful pastel dreadlocks. The designer had attributed the collection to the style of club kids, but failed to mention that the hairstyle has history in African culture. So, when the designer made a point to attribute his fall 2017 aesthetic to the early days of hip-hop and the people of color who created it, many were eager to praise him for finally appreciating the culture rather than merely appropriating it.

Hopefully, more in the industry will take note.

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Holiday Style: Glitter up

The holiday season always gives us good excuse to wear more bling.

No holiday
No festive attire is complete without a bold lip

Nothing like an on trend sparkly neckpiece to perk up your spirits and your LBD or moto jacket.

The necklace I received in my surprise Winter Box of Style is the perfect accessory to pull together a head-turning outfit.  So even though we love Cartier there are other magnificent choices out there for the season.  Here a model shows us how to perk up our outfits with a little bling to take us from day to night.

 Opposites Attract An elegant statement necklace alongside a leather jacket makes for a stylish cool-girl result.
Opposites Attract
An elegant statement necklace alongside a leather jacket makes for a stylish cool-girl result.
Formal Finery Shut it down at the holiday party in an oversize tuxedo blazer, a velvet gown and our exclusive Dylanlex x The Zoe Report crystal collar for menswear-inspired glam.
Formal Finery
Shut it down at the holiday party in an oversize tuxedo blazer, a velvet gown and the exclusive Dylanlex sparkler (The Zoe Report) Retail Value: $200
Shine Surprise Layer the glistening piece under a blouse collar for unexpected sparkle.
Shine Surprise
Layer the glistening piece under a blouse collar for unexpected sparkle.
Dressed-Up Denim Transition your jean jacket to winter by layering it over cashmere. Elevate it with a champagne maxi skirt and our Soia & Kyo knit beanie for date night.
Dressed-Up Denim
Transition your jean jacket to winter by layering it over cashmere.
Off-Duty Cool Master weekend chic with a leather jacket, a soft white tee, boyfriend jeans and all the right accessories.
Off-Duty Cool
Master weekend chic with a leather jacket, a soft white tee, boyfriend jeans and all the right accessories.
Major Monochrome A crystal necklace puts a glamorous finishing touch on an all-white uniform for the office.
Major Monochrome
A crystal necklace puts a glamorous finishing touch on an all-white uniform for the office.

 See?  Once neckpiece, several ways to wear it.


LifeStyle/Luxury – all that Glitters

A Peek Inside the Cartier Fifth Avenue Mansion


As told by an editor at – an American digital media company that elevates the everyday from the everyday…. if you know what I mean.

You know when you’re in a particularly fabulous store and you just kinda moan, “Ugh, I want to live here”?

Well, the new Cartier Fifth Avenue Mansion in the heart of Manhattan garners that same response. Although it’s not new. And it was actually home to a big-name financier back in the 1910s, until he sold it to the Cartier family in exchange for $100 and a double strand of 128 natural pearls (trust us, they were some good pearls). A century later the landmark still stands, and now with a major Manhattan-sized facelift. (Two and a half years, four times the size.) Here’s what made us go weak in the knees during a private tour of the place—or should we say palace?


Vacationing in the South of France is pretty dreamy. Vacationing in the South of France while your husband adorns you with custom Cartier jewels is the stuff of legends. The Elizabeth Taylor Salon in the Cartier Fifth Avenue Mansion is filled with gems as big as the movie star herself. And when you’re done fawning over those creations, you can turn your attention to the triptych of still photographs grabbed from a home movie, shot in August 1957 while Taylor and her husband, film producer Mike Todd, were vacationing in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France. It was there that Todd presented her with a Cartier ruby and diamond necklace—while she was in her bikini, mind you. (The photos on the wall feel like the most glamorous Instagram story, ever.)cartier2


A sensory experience unlike any other, the fourth floor is home to Cartier perfumer Mathilde Laurent’s 11 exclusive fragrances—each housed in a tiny red Cartier box. Simply take your pick, open the box and a video will begin to play, illustrating the scent. For what it’s worth, Number VII smells like a field of peonies.cartier3


All diamonds and engagement rings are located in this oval stunner named the Princess Grace Salon. And, quite honestly, the lighting might be the best in all of Manhattan.cartier4


Speaking of Princess Grace of Monaco, the original Cartier engagement ring (a flawless 10.48-carat emerald-cut jaw-dropper flanked by two baguettes) that she received from Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956 will be on exhibit from now until October 15. Sorry, no try-ons.cartier5


Last but certainly not least are all the little secrets dotting the Cartier Fifth Avenue Mansion’s six floors, such as a camouflaged door that connects this staircase to the private Jeanne Toussaint Salon, named after Cartier’s first artistic director. The mezzanine is strictly for VIPs only. Clients who are looking to commission one-of-a-kind, high-end pieces gain entry under the supervision of a Cartier employee.

On the prowl for Cartier
On the prowl for Cartier 

Show me to the mezzanine please

But don’t forget… ENVY is one of the seven deadly sins!