Tuesday, December 1, 2009

cameo attack

For someone who writes a blog about neo-Victorian stuff, including fashion, I believe I am actually out of the loop with the fashion world.  After giving this idea some thought, this is not that shocking. Last week I realized that the last time I had actually been to a mall, shopping for fun clothes, was back in August when I picked up some much-needed items for my fall school wardrobe (that one time in October running around Macy's and The Limited, looking for a business suit while cringing at a $200 price tag, does not count. Blowing $167 in one go on two pieces of clothing is not a poor college student's idea of a good time.)  I can even remember the last time I went shopping before that- during spring break, at Tanger Outlets with my mother and three sisters. That was back in March.

Why the long gaps between shopping trips?  Well, for most of the summer I conducted academic research on civil religion in Nazi Germany and modern Israel and wrote a research paper on it.  This research was funded by the Brackenridge Fellowship program through the University Honors College at Pitt, which paid enough to keep me from having to work over the summer.  Unfortunately, the scholarship funds were not given to myself and the other Brackenridge Fellows until July.  At that point it seemed pointless to buy clothes when my birthday and fall fashions would come out within weeks.

And of course, from August until now, I have been occupied with my 18-credit course load, applying for jobs, trying to have a social life and writing.  A lot of writing.

So last Wednesday, as Leigh and I were heading back home from Pittsburgh to spend Thanksgiving with the family, we stopped at Monroeville Mall to do some Christmas shopping.  For family members? Friends? Well, maybe, if I hadn't already bought most of that stuff.

For the past several years my parents have given me and my sisters a wad of cash to use towards buying my own Christmas outfits.  Why?  Because when I was younger, my idea of good fashion and my mom's idea of good fashion more often clashed than not, and I'd end up taking most of the stuff she bought me back.  That, and I have long legs for a relatively thin frame, so buying pants for me is best done when I am actually there to try them on.  Otherwise the seat of the pants are hanging off my butt, or the length is so short that I have to be physically helped out of the pants.  Sure, buying gifts for myself takes away the surprise of Christmas morning, but it also lessens the stress of my mom's own X-mas shopping and prevents me from having to run out the day after Christmas returning stuff that doesn't fit or stuff I just don't like.

The funny thing is, I've gotten more adventurous in my clothing tastes since high school, and my fashion sense is, ironically, on par with my mother's now.  But she has pretty much stopped picking out outfits for me by the time I can truly appreciate her ability to put a stylish outfit together.  I must have done a number on her as a teen.

The GQ article I cited yesterday made me think of the stunning reality I faced when actually shopping for myself for the first time in months: the Victorian world exploded in the fashion scene.

Let's just take a look at just one of the many items I saw: cameo jewelry.  Forever 21 had more cameo-inspired pieces than anyone could ever want.



And even a bracelet:

Macy's had a similar pearl bracelet with a cameo pendant on it for about $30+ more than Forever 21's, as well as some nice cameo necklaces. Macy's also had a pair of cameo clip-on earrings, but they didn't look very comfortable, and who wants clip-ons anyway? Rue 21 had these god-awful gaudy cameo earrings the size of a rock. I could not find pictures of any of these items online, unfortunately.

Although I didn't see this brand on my shopping excursion, I do know that 1928 sells a lot of cameo-style jewelry.  The downside is they're much more expensive than Forever 21.  The only cameo necklace I own comes from them, but that was only after it had been marked down about 5 times.  It had originally been $28, and I managed to snag it for $6.

Here's their search results for "cameo" in case you're interested in checking them out.  The earrings are nice and not too bad of a price.


  1. Hm, I had no idea cameos were Victorian style. I also had no idea they were back in style. No longer limited to grandma's jewelry box, I see.

    I'm with you in being out of touch with fasion. I was trying to figure out recently the last time I went shopping. Honestly, I think the last time I bought an article of clothing was a hand screen-printed Seeds of Peace t-shirt at a protest over 2 months ago. As for being in an actual store? My god. Goodwill maybe 3 months ago? As for a non-thrift store...well, that's just beyond the stretches of my memory haha. Instead, all my money goes towards food. Hah which is probably why I have a food blog :-P

    Anyways, this is a good post and I like that you add a personal touch to it. Maybe you could change the links to the forever 21 products to the photos themselves, so we don't have to copy paste them? Also, maybe include a photo of a Victorian woman wearing a cameo to see how they wore them. For example: http://www.morninggloryjewelry.com/images/copied/imagesJC/PhotoLadies/vjt4.jpg

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  3. I know, those links looked awful. I actually wasn't totally sure how to copy them from Forever 21's website (I usually use links from Google image searches, and then weren't showing up.) But then I realized that you can right click with the cursor and use 'Copy Image Location.'

    But it was your comment that spurred me to look into that! The blogosphere works for improving work! :)