Advice for the upwardly-mobile Miss from Persuasion’s Sir Walter Elliot.
Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
My Dear Vulgarian Miss,
To bling or not to bling? For you this is not a question! Jewelry is an indicator not only of wealth, but also of taste and breeding. If you mean to marry well, you dare not make a misstep here.
I won’t deny that gaudy opulence is tempting, but do you see me dressed like Liberace? Fight the good fight, my dear V.M. Save the bling for a costume ball.
Do work to cultivate a sense of style. For not only must your jewelry be genuine, but it must also be tastefully worn. How quickly aesthetic excess can change a lovely young miss into a mere ‘Miss Thang.’
Here are my guidelines:
• Paste stones you’re passing off as real must be set in gold or silver.
• Avoid very large gems if you’re young. People will assume they are false.
• Go ahead if you’re old, unless the hair is cheaply dyed and the skin tattooed.
• Only one statement piece, unless you wish to look like a Christmas tree.
• Beware of sporting ‘Too Much Look’ with accessories.
• The well-bred wear bracelets only on the right wrist. I do not know why.
• Bracelets that tinkle are annoying. “Less cowbell,” please.
• In my world, an anklet suggests you are ‘available’ for the right price.
• Diamonds are to be worn only in the evening and with a single-color gown.
• If your gown is ornate, your necklace should be simple. And vice-versa.
• Long earrings are for women who have been blessed with an elegant neck.
• One substantial ring per hand, unless you’re selling jewelry. *shudder*
• One woman’s Trashy Chic is not another woman’s treasure. Run!
Jewelry does make a statement. Your job is to ensure that it is the right one!
Cordially yours in the upward climb,
Sir Walter Elliot, Bart
“No gold-digging for me…I take diamonds! We may be off the gold standard someday.”
Mae West (1893-1980)
Copyright (c) Laura Hile, 2011