Collector of Beautiful Things
Once when I was younger, I debated the purchase of a piece of vintage jewelry from a small antique store in San Clemente. It was a somewhat tarnished heart-shaped rhinestone pendant, from the 1920s. Being a teenager, and not having much pocket money at the time, I had to weigh whether or not the necklace was a necessity. The woman who was my guardian for the weekend offered some words to guide me in my decision. She said, “You’re a lot like me. You’re a collector of beautiful things.” She proceeded to tell me how she now had a house full of beautiful objects that she did not need, for the simple fact that she could not stop herself from buying them. Then she asked if I really needed the necklace. I looked down at the heart in my hand, and back at the older gentleman behind the counter, who was patiently awaiting my answer. I snapped back to reality and immediately pulled out my wallet. The man was kind enough to give me a discount and I walked away with my purchase and my new title: Collector of Beautiful Things.
I’ve always been drawn to clothing, shoes and accessories that are a little more on the extra side of the spectrum. A house full of specimens chosen for their form rather than functionality. This impartiality goes hand in hand with a distaste and often disdain for the more commonplace items a normal person may house in their closet. For instance, I’ve never purchased a denim jacket. I can remember the one and only pair of khaki pants I’ve ever worn, and the uncomfortable feeling of not ever wanting those pants on my body again. I don’t own flip flops—and I don’t think you should either. The only t-shirt I wear on a regular basis contains an explicit message screen printed across the entire front, vulgar to most, but beautiful to me.
The things I do own, while cohesive in an overarching sense, do not necessarily play and pair well with each other. They’re like siblings competing for their parents’ love and attention. Each piece just a bit more over-the-top than the last. In essence, I have a closet full of statement pieces and nothing to wear. Instead of black leggings, I have flat black, flocked leopard print leggings. The only white button up shirt I own has rhinestones and ruching because, of course it does. Most of my little black dresses have capes or wings, and the rest of my dresses are actually gowns or require crinolines for full effect.
I’m not the greatest at choosing functional clothing, though I do still have some staple pieces, as a result of a former life. If I need a camisole in any one of Fenty’s foundation formulations, I’m covered. At $2.99 a piece, there was no reason not to own every shade of tank top made that season. The other staple I have aplenty are jeans. I wear bootcut or flares, and very rarely, a slim cut. I’m still not sure how the high waisted skinny jean trend has lived this long, but I am more than ready to see it go on the endangered species list. I’ve been hearing whispers of a low rider resurgence since last winter. At this point, I’ll believe it when I see it. Hopefully I won’t have to see it bending over because I’m not ready for plumber crack to make a comeback. I think we can all agree to take a hard pass on butt cleavage. It’s 2019. Let’s not. But I digress...
As a beautiful thing collector, I find it takes one to know one. Luckily, I encounter these hobbyists on a regular basis. While most collectors will rejoice at the opportunity to share tales of their treasure collecting endeavors and resulting booty, there are some who instead feel shame. There’s nothing worse than feeling a negative emotion toward something that initially sparked so much joy. Call it ‘buyer’s remorse’ if you like, but I would prefer to call it an opportunity.
We often find ourselves saving our beautiful coats, shoes, whatever, for a special occasion that never seems to come. We feel like no event is ever special enough to warrant an unboxing or removal of a plastic garment bag. I call B.S. In reality, any occasion may be the perfect occasion to wear your cobalt blue suede heels, or your giant fluorescent scarf, you just have to believe. You also have to believe that it won’t rain or turn out to be 80 degrees outside that day, but aside from those reality-based impositions, you are the only one placing boundaries on yourself and your stylistic decisions. My advice would be to get out there and wear that beautiful thing, if not for me, then do it for the ‘gram.