Many, many months ago, I saw an incredibly beautiful jewel-encrusted clutch online. I clicked on it with unbridled glee, as it was a riot of rainbow colored, glittery goodness. As the page was loading, I was thinking: "I cannot wait to tell my xoJane peeps all about this!"
That adorable candy-like confection above is made by French designer Shourouk, and I cued up the world's smallest, saddest trombone when I realized it actually costs over $1,000.00. (Yes, that's in US dollars.) I then got the bright idea that I would just make one myself, using the incredible amount of broken rhinestone jewelry I have lying around my house and share the results with you here, but this is as far as I ever got:
I had put both the clutch and my failed DIY project out of my mind until recently, when I was browsing the web for something to write about and suddenly came across a bag that reminded me of the clutch I was so obsessed with -- for only fifty bucks!
I actually kind of like the $50.00 version better than the original -- because the jewels got lost on the glitter background, if you ask me, but they really pop against the clear green Perspex.
You might think a jewel-encrusted clutch is only meant to be worn at night with something fancy and slinky, but I happen to think the opposite is true. I posted about making your own custom lucite nameplate clutch last year and I've gotten a ton of use out of the one I made for myself using some low-brow stick-on chrome letters from the auto parts store. The place I've carried it the most? To the weekly girls brunch a few friends and I instituted about six months ago.
It's perfect because it also doubles as a piece of jewelry, so I don't bother wearing any when I'm carrying it. I wake up, wash my face, put on a dress and go. Plus my arm gets a break from lugging my giant body bag of a purse around all week. Carrying a fancy, jeweled clutch in the middle of the day is just the type of subversive fashion style that I love. Think you couldn't do it? Think again! The styling possibilities are endless, and you probably have the right thing to wear with it in your closet already.
Look #1:I love the idea of a classic Breton top, pale wash jeans and chunky 90s inspired sandals as a foil for gems and stones. The ultra-casual feel of this outfit is spiced up by the bag, which is a little wearable work of art.
Look #2:Even though this dress is just as busy as the bag, the look is salvaged by the expanse of leg and simple, classic, pointy-toed shoes. It helps that the zaniness of the bag and the loudness of the dress are equal, as it makes them perfect foils for each other.
Look #3:If you find yourself invited to a garden party but have nothing to wear, let this bejeweled bag come to the rescue! It perks up a simple grey tee and scalloped-hem shorts like whoa.
Look #4:A plain peter-pan collared dress and a pair of leopard sneaks would be cute on their own, but the addition of a mini-bag worn crossbody elevates the entire look without having to worry about looking like you're taking yourself too seriously.
If you're missing the glitter element of the original, you could always give it a light dusting of Krylon's super-fine Glitter Blast spray, making sure to follow it up with a coat of clear sealer to keep it from flaking and chipping. I actually just thought of this idea, so I dragged my own purse outside in the dark (with my wallet and makeup still in it) and gave it a good spray down.
My dude then almost immediately arrived home and asked, "Um, why is our backyard sparkly?" I replied, "Because you have the misfortune to live with a costume girl, get over it." He's no dummy -- he just smiled, nodded and avoided all eye contact.
Never mind what the snobs who might give you attitude for carrying something so gauche, so tasteless, so sparkly in the middle of the day have to say. A beautiful item in an unexpected place is part of what makes fashion magical to me -- and I'll be forever in its spell.
I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison.