Privilege Blog

Those Fancy-Pants Clothes And Jewels One Wears To Lavish!

Key takeaway. We Baby Boomers are not so good at this all-photos-all-the-time Facebook culture. Case in point. I confess I picked the best photo. There are others, with the standard closed eyes and twisted mouth, here. Via Smilebooth

I imagine a style blogger attending an industry conference feels a little bit like an astronaut, called upon to demonstrate zero-gravity in a Walmart parking lot. In other words, she hopes all the equipment arrives intact, but assumes that should anything go missing, she can probably run next door and get a replacement. I packed for Lavish! in good spirits.

The first day of the conference, Friday, December 9, I wore this blue Naracamicie shirt, along with 7 for All Mankind ‘Ginger’ jeans, and quilted black Manolo flats. I felt quite at home in Room and Board, dressed fancy-suburban, watching stylists work.

That night at the opening reception I wore this little black dress by Narciso Rodriguez, black Simple 70 Louboutins and some jewelry.

The earrings were on loan from Beladora. Yes those are diamonds. Yes I felt like a movie star. And, oh, by the way, the hanging parts tremble. No kidding. I thought myself Tinkerbelle, perhaps a cocktail version of her flickering light. I was very sad to send them back. That bracelet is my own, the requisite piece of High WASP family jewelry and was made by fusing my grandmother’s brooch to a gold cuff.

To date, the adult life I’ve led involved full-time work, followed by caring for small children, followed by full-time work again. I threw dinner parties in my little house. Lavish! satisfied my secret wish to dress larger than that life. I could discover, dressed in finery, what if my family fortune had not faded? Now I know. Somehow a little hole is filled. Turns out it was the not knowing that caused distress, more than any aching lack. One problem with privilege is that your psychology gets tied up with luxury, in childhood. This can take decades to untangle.

The next day, Saturday, December 11th, with the conference in full force, I wore my Prada dress, Surprise! You might wonder, as did I, was the dress too fancy for day? No, not covered by a cardigan and dressed down with black tights, and black Ferragamo Varinas. Not when paired, for the win, with this mid-century bracelet. Certainly not given the conference was called, after all, Lavish! And if my outfit, let’s say, just a teeny tiny bit over the top? Nobody minded.

I am getting a lot of mileage out of that dress, you know. Every single time I have put it on I feel as though I’m reaching all the High WASP archetypes; Sturdy in fit, Artsy in print, and Grande in lace trim and fabric. All was well, sartorially, except my feet hurt when I had to stand through a very crowded session.  I tweeted as much. Sturdy Gals don’t like painful feet, as we know. You can dress us up but feet are non-negotiable.

That night, to a party given by Rue Magazine and HGTV, I wore what you see at the top of the page. In other words, these pearls and diamonds, also from Beladora.

and a $138 dress from Zappos, by Jessica Simpson. Yes. That Jessica Simpson.

I bought the dress a few days before the conference, determined to prove that one could dress High WASP glamorous, (sort of an oxymoron, but I digress) on a budget. The copper-colored sequins, shape/fit, along with frayed black edges at sleeves and neckline, moved the simple shift into a better place. I wore it with black tights, (why everyone is wearing black tights I don’t know, but I can go along), and the same black Louboutins. The earrings provided more flash than I’m used to. High WASPs are scared of heart-shaped jewelry, except for pavé diamond pendants. But with the short copper dress and black tights? Right balance.

Guess which outfit, of those hitherto described, garnered the most compliments? Jessica? Call me.

And finally, for the parting ceremonies, on Sunday, December 12th, I brought out some cat of prey. We’re going to call it the “Snow Leopard” print. Embrace a trend now and then. Even if only as a collar peeking out from under a black cashmere v-neck. The latest black cashmere sweater in a history of many such.

Vintage mabe pearls from my sister, 20 years ago. Recent 8mm pearl strand,  mine. Snow leopard printed satin shirt, from a hotel store somewhere in Southern California.  Store-label black cashmere v-neck. Wide-legged grey Banana Republic pants. Wide crocodile-embossed belt from Wilkes Bashford. Vintage DKNY ankle boots. Vintage as in I bought them 20 years ago.

The wide belt and leopard made me feel quite Versace. Louche, almost. Sturdy Gals dream of feeling louche. To us it is the most possible wickedness, and we tell Angelina Jolie, “Watch out. I’m coming for you. After I put my Aerosoles back on.” Because we dislike foot pain almost as much as we like Tinkerbelle diamonds. Almost.

Again, thank you Shameeka Ayres. Lavish! reverberates in unforeseen ways for many of us, I imagine.

Note: If your monitor doesn’t show the links highlighted, every time I refer to a piece of clothing I’ve talked about before, I link to the post where you can see the item. And, if you could let me know that you can’t see the links, I will work on darkening or otherwise increasing their visibility. Thank you.

61 Responses

  1. I love your style. I would feel really awkward in a sequined dress (I tend to look for clothes that make me invisible ;) but it looks great on you!
    This sentence: “we tell Angelina Jolie, “Watch out. I’m coming for you. After I put my Aerosoles back on.” had me laughing for quite a while. Brilliant. I can’t tolerate uncomfortable shoes either!

  2. I love your style statement pieces here…
    and further fueling my passion for pearls and diamonds!

    The family bracelet of married brooch and cuff are to die for Lisa….
    as are those tremblers from Belladora.
    Jessica Simpson…who knew? The dress looks like fun…

    You must have been the best of the best at the conference.

  3. Oh my word. That cuff braclet.

    Well, I love it all. And I enjoyed reading. I laughed more than a few times, thank you! I have to say, a couple of years ago I wore a pair of Jessica Simpson shoes to a work related party of my husband’s in Soho. They really worked with my black dress and I figured, why not? No one will know. Then everyone asked about them and I had to sheepishly tell them. Now I feel vidicated! Hey, if it works. It works.:) Love the photo of you. You look fab!


  4. I don’t know where to start! I love it all so much! The cuff is to.die.for – what a fantastic idea. Beladora ~swoon~

    You are rocking that Jessica dress, she would be jealous. The silver one might be calling my name to wear under a velvet blazer, had I anywhere to show it off.

    “Watch out. I’m coming for you. After I put my Aerosoles back on.” hahahahahahaha!

  5. You look gorgeous.

    That cuff bracelet is amazing. I want it. Beladora clearly has fantastic jewelry.

    “Louche” is a spectacular word. I am pretty sure that Louise Fitzhugh used the word “louche” to describe Bunny, the lounge piano player from the bar in Watermill in The Long Secret, the sequel to Harriet the Spy, and one of my top ten favorite books in life.

    Louche. Ah.

  6. What can I say but WOW. You do look sensational in that photo.

    Your cuff bracelet with your grandmother’s diamond brooch is beautiful. I love to see fine vintage jewelry re-purposed and given a new life.

    Finally, on photography, your picture of the pearls is absolutely perfect. Pearls are particularly difficult to photograph, and that photo is Beladora home page worthy. Well done.

  7. The camera loves every square inch of you! If you ever get a notion to change your profile photo, I nominate the one at the head of this post. There are about 4 people around the globe who can wear their hair like that and get away with it, and Michelle Obama is eating her heart out over those toned arms. Merry Christmas, Lisa!

  8. Lisa, truly a delight! I haven’t posted in awhile, and I just want to let you know that I am still following.

    Sending you the very best for a merry holiday season!

  9. You look so glamorous, Lisa!

    My heart skipped a beat when I saw the gorgeous Beladora pearls and diamonds!!!

    Wish all shoes had the comfort of a cushy walking shoe. :-) Truly, when our feet are comfy, all is right with the world!

    Thank you for sharing such an enjoyable experience!

  10. The pearls. Oh my, the pearls. I’m holding my breath at their beauty.

    The links are, indeed, hard to pick out of the text. I know that your over all blog design is white, black and gray, but perhaps a smidge of color on the links would help older eyes like mine. On a post like this, full of gold jewelry, a yellow-gold would work nicely for links. Red always pops. Royal blue is a solid standard.

    Like a Sturdy Gal’s need for comfy shoes, blog design might have to give just a little for readability?

  11. Great post. I’m not an animal print kind of girl, but I love the snow leopard peeking out from under the store-label (thankyouverymuch) cashmere. Now, here’s a question for you (and don’t worry, I can wait until the New Year)–are stockings making a comeback?! I’m still seeing and wearing black tights, but I’ve noticed nude stockings showing up the past couple of weeks. Your thoughts, please.

  12. You look fabulous in that Jessica Simpson dress!

    I feel that I somehow had a role in you buying it because a few months ago, I left an anonymous comment urging people to give Jessica Simpson’s ballet flats a chance because they were awesome and comfortable.

    So clearly, your sartorial triumph was All My Doing. Please do not disabuse me of my delusions of influence.

  13. My dear,
    You look stunning in that Jessica Simpson (?) dress, the color of which suits you to a tee. And, if Reggie were a girl, he would find i difficult to avoid being green with envy and filled with covetousness at that gorgeous cuff bracelet of yours. In fact, he would even consider stealing it, which adds at least one more sin to the two he’s already guilty of as far as it’s concerned. But, then Reggie isn’t a girl (and at his age “girl” is an entirely ludicrous concept) and so he is happy to admire rather than find himself consumed with dark and evil thoughts as far as dear LPC’s possessions are concerned. Whew!
    Merry Christmas, m’dear — Reggie

  14. I KNEW it (but, then again, I told you previously) you are gorgeous! Great clothes, accessories, well, what can a girl say?

    Thank you for everything and most of all your friendship.

    I hope you have a joy filled Christmas and all your wishes come true.


  15. Oh, my – I’m still trying to get over those earrings; I wouldn’t have wanted to send them back, either, and I don’t even wear jewelry.

  16. Oh, and it just occurred to me that’s YOU up there in the pretty gold dress. I thought it was a model. No kidding.

    You’re gorgeous. *sigh*

  17. Love love love the heirloom bracelet/broach and the dangly earrings. I love movement in my earrings. Imagine just one strand of those diamonds, one strand with three and one with four, and you have the earrings that my husband had made for me from the diamonds from the wedding band from his first really bad idea marriage. I have tried taking a photo of those earrings to post for you, but the photos have not worked.

    I also love mabe pearls. In my 20s, I thought a suit, heels and mabe pearls were about as sophisticated as you could get at work. I was right. I still think any kind of pearls rock.

  18. Lisa these are fabulous ladies, links and jewels!! Merci!

    Come and enter my Giveaway from My Sparrow, you will love it!

    Joyeaux Noel!

    Art by Karena

  19. A bit late with my comment again. Thank you for placing nearly a full size lovely picture for us all to see. You and me ( and so many others ), we know how it feels.
    I now feel closer to you, you are more real.
    Thank you so much. Thank you for all your fine posts. Have an enjoyable Christmas and a beautiful New Year!

  20. Mater – Thank you very much. I am by now quite fond of the word Lavish.

    Marcela – Thank you. This year, since even J. Crew is doing head to toe sequins, it felt quite neutral to me. And let us set up the Sisterhood of Comfortable Shoes – even in cocktail attire:).

    Hostess – Thank you! In fact, I sat back and watched all the lovely young women, but felt quite good in my skin.

    Tabitha – Thank you. Saucer-eyed is the perfect word.

    Hill House – Thanks! You know, people came up to me and said, “I love your dress!” and then I said, “Guess what? It’s Jessica Simpson!” And I was proud, because it was a project for this blog. But I swear some people took a step back. I realize I am quite happy to be vindicating Jessica, as I have always been fond of her persona.

  21. Agirl – Wowza back at you fab thing:).

    Patsy – Oh thank you. You know, the silver one under a velvet blazer would look great. Very nice idea.

    Stephanie – Thank you. Beladora is fantastic. And I loved Harriet the Spy and will have to revisit The Long Secret. Is that the one where she gets her period? Am I nuts?

    Belle – Thank you SO MUCH for making this happen. All kinds of significance. Your generosity is much appreciated. I would like to take pictures of jewelry for the rest of my life:).

    Muffy – Thank you!

  22. Deja – Thank you. I am very happy with my luck:).

    Flo – Oh my goodness. That is so nice of you. Want to know something funny? I thought I was really biting the bullet and showing you my imperfections. Thank you very much. In the interest of total transparency, I’ve edited the caption to indicate that the one I posted is the best of the bunch and others, complete with squint, can be found at Smilebooth:).

    Nellie – Thank you! Very good to hear from you. Happy Holidays! Hope you cook up a storm:).

    Candy – Thank you so much. It was so much my pleasure I can only thank you all for reading.

    Louise – Thank you. We are experimenting with link colors. Right now, it’s a little on the bright side. I’m thinking to take it to the same aubergine as the post title color.

  23. ADG – Best. Compliment. EVER! Seriously! Thank you buddy. Thank you very much. Happy Holidays to you and LFG:).

    Patricia – Thank you. Happy Christmas and may all your shoes be comfortable.

    A Farmer’s Wife – So glad to have provided a solution:). Thank you. You take care too.

    Terri – Why thank you so much!

    Sydney Shop Girl – Thank you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family too. I will do my best to continue dredge up any wisdom I can find, and certainly to support your blog.

  24. Town and Country – Oh I know. When I took the sweater off at one point I felt almost scandalous:). I never stopped wearing stockings, so I will have to ruminate. Merry Christmas!

    GBBB – Yes. All Your Doing! In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if some sort of lingering memory did prompt me. Thank you very much.

    Reggie – My dear. Merry Christmas, and any time you want to borrow my bracelet you just let me know.

    mise – Thank you very much. And you are terribly good at picking out the mood behind style. I was untroubled. Having succeeded in my project, to find such a dress and to wear it, having gotten compliments proving that success, I was remarkably unanxious at the event. Wandered around alone, quite happily. Quite a chance from my youth.

    FF – Thank you very much. The earrings were VERY nice:).

  25. Wow–that Jessica Simpson dress is wonderful! I can see why you received so many compliments. Tres parfait choices on everything, and those jewels–divine. ;)

  26. Tish – Thank you:). This girl can say thank you, and for your friendship most of all, and Merry Christmas too.

    Jan – Sparkles and trembling transcend jewelry, I think:). And you are very nice. I felt like I was STILL pulling the wool over all your eyes so I edited the caption to point everyone to the photos with closed eyes and crazy faces. But thank you. I feel better now than I did when I was 19 and empirically quite better-looking. Comfort can never be underestimated. *sigh* Much love to you and yours.

    class – Oh, well, just fly to California and I will take the picture in my little $125 lightbox:). They sound gorgeous, and if taking diamonds from the previous wedding isn’t a testimony toward, ‘No, YOU are the right one,” I don’t know what is.

    Karena – Thank you! I will use my little break upcoming to come visit.

    Mette – Thank you. I agree, we know how it feels. For me it was better than I expected. I hope for all of us.

  27. A baby boomer? If my math serves me correctly, you are quite a bit to young for THAT,* even if you’re too old for Facebook. But a confession, I’m too old for Facebook. It started after I graduated from college and didn’t have an .edu email address, so I didn’t have an account for years.

    So buck up young ‘un. Your smilebooth picture is adorable (Though I expect more head to toe shots of your outfits next time. The imagining of them is taxing my brain.)

    *Editors note: do you know that David and I are technically in different generations? True. I’m in Gen Y, and he’s a millennial, even though really we are neither, though we understand both somewhat. We’re in a generation gap, just like you.

    1. Sigh, David says that you ARE a baby boomer, abet a young one. You’ll have to forgive me. With a parent born nine months after the war ended, you seem a tiny bit on the young side (if not young for Facebook).

  28. Wow Lisa, you look absolutely stunning! Gorgeous. Like a cross between Madonna (before the work) and Lauren Hutton. Love the gold dress.

    Have a wonderful Christmas.

    Best wishes,


  29. You are so beautiful and I love your blog! I can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2011. Warmest wishes to you and your family for a wonderful, safe, and happy holiday.


  30. Lisa, the photo you took of yourself is spectacular and splendid. I am happy to see it and I will take a look at it again and again until you return to the “Privilege” in january.

  31. Lisa, I love your blog. I came to it via Maxminimus. Everyone is right, you ARE stunning and brilliant.

    Also……wanted to thank you for the unintentional “plug” for our shoe business with the Ferragamo link. : )

    Next time you are in the SF store ask for Ken and give him a hug from me. He will Lavish! you with his elegant brand of customer service.

  32. You look beautiful and the cuff is truly stunning! One of the nicer pieces born from repurposing older jewelry. And lavish with wit and style to boot. Well done.

  33. Marnie – Thank you very much.

    Meg – In fact, I read once that in the year I was born, 1956, more kids were born than any other. So yeah, boom boom boom.

    That’s not my age – Oh my goodness! Well evidently I get better with age because I’ve never had that comparison before! Maybe age adds character? Thank you.

    Amanda – You may say indeed:).

    Louise – We are still fiddling with the colors, as you can see. Please keep weighing in.

    Paula – Oh thank you so much. I look forward to returning next week.

  34. Lisa – Thank you very much. We’ve had wonderful holidays so far and are looking forward to the New Year. I hope the same for you.

    Susan – Oh how fun! ADG is supremely talented, no? I love your store, and used to frequent the one in Stanford. Now of course I will make the pilgrimage to SF. Stay tuned BTW, for if I am to discuss loafers I will of course need you all as a reference:).

    Mardel – Thank you very much. I am not sure who actually did the repurposing, the piece came to me as you see it. Hope you are well.

    Christina – Well thank you miss!

    Pink Martini – Love back.

  35. Whoo-HOO! I love that Jessica Simpson dress. Somebody is designing there and will make it big one day. The jewelry is superb and makes my point that the real is worth it. Or worth never parting with.

  36. you look GREAT! and glamorous and chic and fierce! i love the dark gold dress in the first photo…and those family jewels are quite the heirlooms. there must be so many fascinating family history and stories behind your brooch/cuff! :)

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