I'M OBSESSED WITH: Crystal Clear Accessories

Now you see it, now you don't!
Publish date:
August 22, 2013
shoppables, acrylic, lucite

I realized when my fellow Texan Annie posted about her recent clear acrylic nail polish rack purchase over on xoVain that I myself have had a secret lust for clear accessories for years. Some of you may equate acrylic and Lucite stuff only with stripper shoes, but you’d be dead wrong.

Lucite accessories were hugely popular in the 1960s and 70s, but it was first in fashion during the 1930s as a furniture material. Lucite was developed by Dupont in 1936, although they stupidly never managed to make any money off of it -- perhaps because another company discovered it at the exact same time and marketed it as Plexiglass?

Lucite has since become a catchall name for any clear, acrylic type material -- much like we call any soda a "Coke" in Texas. "What kind of Coke do you want, Dr. Pepper or Sprite?"

The late, great makeup magnate Helena Rubinstein had a spectacular light-up Lucite bed made in Paris sometime in the 1930s. It was later owned by French photographer-turned-antiques-dealer Roger Prigent. (He kept it in his study.)

CB2 has some really good acrylic/Lucite furniture for not a ton of money. I love Lucite in houses because it doesn’t take up much visual space and instantly un-clutters any area you put it in.

Clear accessories perform the same feat in fashion. I can’t count the number of times I’ve looked at an outfit and thought “This needs a shoe that just totally goes away.” Shoes can sometimes totally weigh down an outfit. Luckily clear accessories are back with a vengeance these days, so you can play peek-a-boo with your look to your heart's content.

(Click any of the photos below for purchasing info.)

Clear Sky by alison-freer featuring clear shoes

I am a total purse slob, so I love the challenge a clear handbag presents. It forces you to curate what you put into it very carefully. Since I always have half sandwiches and empty drink cups in my purse, it's a good editing device. "Oh, of course I only ever have my phone, wallet and lip gloss in my bag at all times! I'm a lady, dontcha know?"

Clearly Perfect by alison-freer featuring Topshop

The pièce de résistance of the current clear accessory trend has GOT to be this pair of heeled Jeffrey Campbell oxfords, available only via pre-order from Karmaloop.com for $168.00.

JC "Clearly" Heel by alison-freer featuring oxford shoes

I can't even begin to plot all the possible sick sock combos you could rock with these puppies. These might actually force me to match my socks for once in my miserable life.

I also think it's quite possible to wear a crazy pair of clear "stripper shoes" with regular, slightly demure clothes for the ultimate fashion mash up. Helen Mirren executed this look perfectly at the premiere of Red 2 just last month.

Helen Mirren Stripper Shoes by alison-freer on Polyvore

I especially love Lucite jewelry when it's done up in acid candy colors. Sometimes I feel like metal jewelry is sort of too heavy, overwhelming and serious -- and the light, airy feeling of see-thru plastic easily takes an outfit down a notch. Fashion could always use more of a sense of humor.

Clear Jewels by alison-freer featuring swarovski crystal jewelry

Of course I saved the creepiest stuff for last:

Lucite Bug Bracelets by alison-freer on Polyvore

Embedding bugs into Lucite bracelets was a big thing in the 60s. I own quite a few vintage ones myself, because I'm a creep but also because they are sort of mysteriously beautiful.

There is a great vendor on Etsy called KolosStudio who appears to be re-making them for 1/4 the price of vintage ones, which have become really collectible in the last 10 years. She's even embedded safety pins in some of her Lucite bangles! Is there nothing Lucite can't do?

I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison