One word: sequins.
A sales associate at Bergdorf once offered a tid-bit of advice to me, suggesting that, “Sequins are the new black,” in a tone resonating with so much confidence and certainty that you’d think she discovered the meaning of life while mixing her morning latte. It stands to reason then that she’d want to relay this newly acquired, ultra coveted knowledge to the first unsuspecting, deer in headlights passerby who crossed her path, and that was of course, on cue and entirely true to form — me. And, while I’m fairly convinced that nothing will ever be the new black (Who am I to debate the fundamental tenets of fashion with the ghost of Coco Chanel?!), I will confess that sequins have always held a prominent spot on the skyscraper high shelf in the walk-in closet of my heart (I do, in fact, recognize the ridiculousness of a resort to fashion metaphors within the context of a fashion related blog, but it’s just.so. tempting.right.now). Attribute it to the fact that I was born in Jersey, or, possibly, to my obsession with Old Hollywood glamour — think perfume bottles, 1940’s coiffed curls, red lips — but the idea of a floor length gown comprised entirely of sequins seems tantamount to the very essence of being a woman to me.
In 2009, a good friend of mine, Jennifer Corey, was crowned Miss District of Columbia. Somewhere far, far away, I was smack dab in the middle of law school, a phase in my life categorized with sweats, glasses, and gobs of Cleau de Peau cover-up. From my permanent vantage point at a desk in the stacks of my school library (aka the sometimes psych ward), I recall taking a sneak peak at my laptop and seeing THE most mesmerizing photo of Jen, standing directly in front of the Washington Monument–- 5’10, blonde, draped in head to toe sequins. Come.on, I thought, while staring down at my half eaten bag of vending machine spouted Lays; I must be doing something wrong. Even after a lifetime of scouring fashion magazines and staying up to date on the latest and greatest trends, that was one of the single most beautiful photographs I’d ever seen. It mega-phoned grace, power, allure, elegance, class, mystery, intrigue, strength. The fusion of those qualities in combination with a span of lustrous rose gold sequins produced a truly iconic image.
Aside from the fact that I’m not five foot ten and/or a natural blonde and/or blonde at all (And, yes, the former Miss DC and I sat next to each other in Mrs. Canary’s fifth grade class – she really is that beautiful), I believe that sequins, or even just the idea of an extra special detail — be it darts, pleats, top stitching – what have you, can work wonders for anybody. I, for instance, have a truckload of grey sweaters, shirts, blouses and t-shirts lining the walls of my wardrobe, and yet, the first one I continuously reach for when opening the double doors of my closet (which is really a bizarre armoire-like device – yet another byproduct of the endless joys of city living), is this Marcus Lupifer grey number with the sequin dipped Peter Pan collar. Who would have thought the simple addition of some intricately placed sequins could transport a grey sweater from basic to bold, extending its parameters from the vicinity of school/work piece to dinner wear to date appropriate and beyond?
When shopping, one of the most important things that I seek in a piece is versatility. Sequins, if done correctly, may not be the “new black,” but they’re a close second in the way of go to, feel good pieces that can pack a punch and carry us from day to night, from drab to dashing.