A friend once gave me a postcard that had a picture of a very well dressed woman from the 1950s, her outfit completed with a string of pearls, with the line: “Every day I thank God for my ability to accessorise”. And that, I am afraid to admit, is absolutely true of me. Each morning as I peruse my tray of earrings, my stack of bangles, my heap of rings and my drawers full of necklaces (all cheap and worthless, so potential burglars, stop reading now), I get a kick out of finding what I consider to be the perfect accessories.
Of course I get it wrong, I am no style guru, I can see the sniggers sometimes, and my kids and husband rolling their eyes. But the point is, accessories are fun and they can completely distract other people from noticing the rest of my outfit, which is probably a good thing.
So it is no surprise that one of my favourite places in the world is the Victoria and Albert jewellery wing. I am not interested in the enormous diamonds, but I am thrilled by the extravagance of design, colour and most of all, how much everything sparkles.
Mostly these are items to be worn by women, although not all cultures save their most extravagant decorations for females, and if I had my way, men in our society would adorn themselves just as much as women do. It would make them so much more interesting to look at. That’s one great thing about summer festivals, is that you get a chance to see everyone – be they men, women or gender-neutral – adorned with extravagant scarves, bags, beads and make up, and I am all for equality.
Mad Men nails it
Accessories highlight the importance of focusing on details, not just the big picture, as it is the little touches that can make something look stylish, or rubbish. For example, my favourite box set of all time, Mad Men, shows how getting the look completely right, with beautiful period clothes, styling and accessories, draws the viewer in.
It is the same with ads, a perfectly formed ad as the one featured at the end of the series of Mad Men, ‘The Real Thing’ for Coca-Cola, captures the spirit of the time brilliantly with everyone dressed in cool clothes, singing the right song, in the right place. The only thing I would add?
A few more bead necklaces!