Once upon a time I would never have described myself as a lover of Bling. Well I’m still not, not in the accepted sense of wearing lots of cheap glittery jewellery and tiny sparkly tops, anyway. But I do like a few sparkles: the odd one of my home-made bracelets, (that I wear in multiple bands on each wrist – a kind of signature feature which I make in many colours to match my ‘colour style’ of ‘summer’ plus some neutral ones in Autumn colours and, of course, black) made of Swarovski crystal beads, sparkly eye make-up courtesy of Barry M and, especially, sparkly nails. It often bemuses even me that I feel able to paint my nails so brightly, whilst the rest of me is still struggling to rise, phoenix-like out of the ashes of expectation, and blossom into the dramatic and creative persona hiding inside.
But thinking back over the years there has always been one particular aspect of my dress/style that I let stand out – to speak out for my inner extrovert – ha ha! In the 70s and 80s it was large drippy earrings. In the 90s it was drapy scarves. Since the 2000s it’s been my bracelets. Now – it’s gorgeous, brilliant, rainbow coloured nails (oh yes … and tattoos, I forget). (I don’t remember much about the 60s – we were too busy breaking down all conventions from miniskirts and hairstyles to music and the sexual revolution).
It seems that, ‘that hidden me’ has to peep out of the cracks somewhere; and those single decade-specific items are slowly adding up increasingly to more of the inner me being exposed – minus the drippy earrings. They died a death when the sheer weight of them left rather large jagged holes in my ears that will now only take a complete hoop earring, otherwise they just fall out. It doesn’t stop me hanging charms from one of them though – latterly a tiny goddess figure with a moonstone belly, now – wait for it (mad Stardancing Grandmother rises again) a tiny silver sonic screwdriver. Well, what else would a lifelong Doctor Who fan wear in this, the programmes 50th year? Anyway, it matches the silver Tardis on a chain around my neck, and the Gallifrey and Stardancer tattoos. Torn ears didn’t stop me getting second piercings either, that now have rainbow-coloured sparkly stars in them, and occasionally, a long drippy earring as well (yes two in the same hole)to counterbalance the charms dangling from the opposite silver hoop. Told you – mad grandmother rises again!
Going back to my bracelets; making my own from coloured glass beads and silver charms means that when I’m fed up with them I can un-make them and transform them into something else. Or when I have a new outfit I can make something that exactly matches the style or colour, and then re-use when that outfit has been discarded. Making them is also incredibly relaxing. I sort of go into a meditational state and time passes without noticing it. So double benefits.
Later: I attended my eldest daughter’s and son-in-law’s joint 40th party recently, wearing a fab new Italian vintage looking dress in anthracite and amethyst silk and lace, with sparkly violet nails and my hair curled into ringlets (that lasted all of 5 minutes due to the fact that it was raining – of course it was!) What struck me most at the party were two things – firstly the lack of colour with almost all the women being in some version of the ‘little black dress’ although, thankfully, my children have learnt from their mother who taught them about wearing colour when they were children insisting on them wearing colour-coordinated Clothkits (anyone out there remember them). The second thing, oh dear, was that all of the guests (other than my grandchildren) were middle aged. Er this was so wrong, wasn’t it – it looked and felt more like a party for my generation till I realised that I was part of the older generation, not the middle-aged one! Bump and down to earth I came. My generation was represented by myself, my son-in-law’s mum and dad, and a soon to retire colleague of my daughter’s … just four of us. Still I had fun catching up with some of my daughter’s friends that I knew from the 80’s when I ran the local youth club. Apparently I haven’t changed. That’s funny because they have … they look older!