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Friday, November 27, 2015

Are you running around like crazy doing your Black Friday shopping today?

I don’t think I’ve ever done Black Friday. I don’t enjoy shopping in crowds.  If I can shop at off hours, I do. When I worked at the Wall Street Journal — which was in the World Financial Center, across from the World Trade Center and very close to the Century 21 discount store — I was ecstatic to get a 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift. That meant I could go to Century 21 at 9 a.m., when other people had to be in the office, and have the place to myself. I used to lurk in the European Designer section. There was a pair of Galliano pants that I fondled for weeks. I’m not sure I ever tried them on. I had to be practical and save my money for Ann Taylor suits. I used to visit the Ann Taylor store in the World Financial Center practically every day to monitor the sale rack. I was a clothes stalker. The sales associates must have been thinking, “Here’s that girl again, stroking the sleeves of the suits.”

If you’re like me and want to avoid crowds, you can shop the Cyber Monday sale on my website on November 30. (I might start the sale a little early, so you’re going to want to follow me on Twitter in order to be tipped off!) The biggest discounts will be on the high-end pieces, and the prices will be amazing. Bookmark this link now.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving to my U.S. readers!

If you’re not into watching football, you can spend game time dressing up your dog or cat as a turkey. Note: If you decide to do a cat-turkey, don’t forget to have disinfectant and Band-Aids nearby. Enjoy!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanks to Barbara Palumbo of Adornmentality for including my Screw You earrings in her highlarious holiday gift guide, “From Lovers to Your Landlord: Holiday Gifts For Every Man in Your Life.” (Last year’s guide was “From Mom to the Mistress: Christmas Jewels for Every Woman in Your Life.”)

And Alyson Walsh of That’s Not My Age has the official photographs from her recent book party up on her blog. Don’t forget to hit Amazon and get Aly’s book, Style Forever.

Click to purchase.

Click to purchase.

And now for something totally different: Angelina Jolie told Elle, “I actually love being in menopause …” Okay, bitch. If you love it so much, give me your address so I can send you my menopause, because I don’t want it. I mentioned this on Facebook and the comments (so far) include:

  • How fucking annoying also what a load of bullshit.
  • She can have mine too, sent with much love.
  • Is she freaking nuts?
  • LOL.. or mine.. it’s freaking hell unless you’re on HRT.”
  • Indeed she can have mine too!
  • She can suck it. I’m not there yet but some women suffer incredibly and this is just cruelly insensitive. She’s turning into Goop.
  • She has been ridiculous for quite some time.

Oh, and when I send Angie Jo Pitt my menopause, I’m also going to send her a pair of those Screw You earrings


$70. Click to purchase.

She deserves those as much as Barbara’s landlord!


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Yesterday, I said getting catalogs in the mail isn’t as fun as getting a letter.  I realized how wrong I was when I got this catalog from Bits and Pieces. Who wouldn’t want these sneaker socks?!


Special delivery for FitzRoy!

Bits and Pieces says, “These novelty sneaker socks are printed to resemble popular hi-tops that cool kids have been wearing since the 1920s.” They’re normally $12.99, but they’re on sale for $9.99, and they come in black too.

What I really want, however, are the slippers. “You’ll get a kick out of these super cool sneaker slippers!” says Bits and Pieces with enthusiasm. Yes, Bits and Pieces! Yes, I’m getting a kick out of them!


I can’t help but wonder what Converse thinks of this kind of thing. Maybe I should grab the slippers for the special value price of $19.99 before Bits and Pieces gets busted!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Before my parents moved out of my childhood home in 2013, I retrieved some of my old things from their basement and various closets.  I found a lot of letters. During high school, I had pen pals in England, and I was always running to the mailbox to look for a blue airmail envelope.

Edward the dog doesn't want you to see my old address.

Edward the dog doesn’t want you to see my old address.

Who gets letters nowadays? You get a birthday card if you’re lucky. Other than that it’s holiday cards with pictures of people’s families; bills; and catalogs. Speaking of catalogs, why does J. Jill think I’m a potential customer? Every time I get their catalog, I’m like, “Why the hell am I getting this catalog? This isn’t my style.” But my motto is “Never Is the Next New Thing™,” so I suppose I can’t rule anything out. Keep trying, J. Jill! Maybe I’ll break down.

Anyway, I recently got something better than a bill. It was a promotion from the American Gem Trade Association for the 2016 Tucson Gem Show. On it was a photo of my very own Pink Elephant and Tipsy Writer Maneater ring, which won honorable mention in the 2015 AGTA Spectrum Awards design contest.


How cool is that? Also, the earrings to the right of my ring are by designer Deirdre Featherstone, who I hung with earlier this month. Those won first place in the bridal category, so I am in great company.

The Spectrum contest calls for designs that make extensive use of colored gems. My entry for 2016 was my new Dragon and Knight Maneater ring, which didn’t win. Alas! But I got great feedback from the journalists who saw it in person, so that was a bit of consolation. I’m already thinking of what I’m going to enter for the 2017 contest, of course.

Friday, November 20, 2015

I always appreciate it when people write about my work. Thank you to Cindy Edelstein for including my peace sign emoji earring in her thoughtful Peace and Love TrendTracker report for National Jeweler. Cindy wrote:

We’ll take ours with a heaping dose of love, with fine jewelry symbols of our collective hope.”


Going from the sublime to the ridiculous …

I’m a recognized swearing champion; the designer of the much-copied swear rings; and a fan of the Strong Language blog, which describes itself as a “sweary blog about swearing.”

Swear rings ($380 for all four in silver) seen on gorgeous blogger Beautifully Invisible. Click to purchase.

Swear rings ($380 for all four in silver) seen on gorgeous blogger Beautifully Invisible. Click to purchase.

Therefore, I was damn happy when Strong Language’s Nancy Friedman recently suggested my silver GTFOH necklace as a sweary holiday gift.


$300. Click to purchase.

I laughed out loud at the description:

“Don’t want to be bothered? This delicate necklace conveys your ‘get the fuck outta here’ message. Created by Wendy Brandes (based in New York, where the fuck else?). Also in gold.”

Another suggestion on the list are these sweary pencils from the Curious Pancake.


Click to purchase.

I don’t even know how I’ve gotten through life without a pencil that says “Cunt-a-Saurus Rex.”  I must rectify this situation immediately.

In addition, Nancy’s list of interesting links let me know that an arts magazine called Fuck You was published from 1962 to 1965. It ran work by Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, and Michael McClure. Strong Language is really educational! Check it out here if you love cussing. And click here to read about my best-ever sighting of that t-shirt that reads, “Fuck You You Fucking Fuck.”


Thursday, November 19, 2015

I feel like I wore my gold, one-sleeved, vintage dress recently but, according to photo evidence, “recently” was seven years ago.  Here I am in 2008 with my friend Melissa at the Committee to Protect Journalists awards dinner.

Click for original post.

Click for original post.

I got this dress at Allan & Suzi’s vintage/consignment store in 2004.  I wore it to the Vanity Fair Oscar party that year. We weren’t too adept at taking outfit photos in those pre-blogging days.


Wearing the dress and a faux-ny tail in 2004.

I then wore it to an event in New York in 2005.

No faux-ny tail here!

No faux-ny tail here!

The dress has no label in it … nor does it have a lining. Allan was like, “Wear it as is!” AS IF! I’ve always worn a beige slip underneath it. I think it’s better to be photographed by Bill Cunningham of the New York Times without ones bits and pieces showing. Call me old-fashioned!

EDITED TO ADD: Two other outfits have had the seven-year itch to be taken out of my closet and worn again. A purple Versace dress and a pink Versace suit. Seven is a magic number for unworn clothes!


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Adele has a new song out off her soon-to-be released album 25. The song is called “We Are Young.”

Adele named her 2008 debut album 19, to reflect the age she was when she was writing it. Her 2011 album, 21, followed suit, title-wise. It was a monster hit: It topped the Billboard charts for two years in a row; has sold 31 million copies; and won six Grammys.

I suppose by now you’ve figured out that the new album is named after the age at which she started working on it (Adele turned 27 this year). She says 25 is going to be her last age-related album. But I can see her changing her mind in 20 years or so — when she’s my age — especially after I read this interview (emphasis mine):

“I’m sure I’m wrong with this, but I feel like there’s been a massive change in me in the last couple of years. Having become a parent, and me and all my friends suddenly living grown-up lives and having responsibilities we haven’t had before. […] I feel like how I feel about myself is how I’m going to feel about myself forever,” Adele said. “I feel like the idea of naming albums after my age is always to show a photograph of what’s going on in my life [at that time]. I feel like not that much is going to change profoundly in me from now on, in terms of how important years of my life are to myself.”

Well, that is just adorable, even though I initially had a “You know nothing, John Snow,” reaction.

The one thing Adele got right was, “I’m sure I’m wrong with this.” I’m quite confident that she’s not going to feel like she does now forever, and that she WILL change profoundly. A lot of women — including me — feel they change more in their 40s than they have since adolescence. Have you ever read those interviews with female celebrities who say they’re more confident in their own skin after a certain age? Well, 25 or 27 is not that age. There’s so much to come. For instance, Adele’s son Angelo is three now. In 20 years, he’ll be grown and (hopefully) living independently. That’s a life-altering experience right there. Anyway, she’ll find out in her own time. For now, I have to thank her for the laugh I got out of her remarks.

The album 25 is due out on Friday, though there are rumors of it already leaking online. If I were an artist, I would want to hunt down and cut the bitch who leaked my album. That’s valuable intellectual property people are messing with! Back in 2013, I was surprised that people were surprised that Beyonce put out a surprise album on iTunes. For a big enough star with a built-in audience, that always seemed to me like the obvious thing to do to thwart the leaking. Put it on iTunes and Vevo and anywhere else where you can protect it till the last minute, and put out a CD later. Who needs to have a random Target employee getting hold of a hard copy and sharing it with the world? Annoying!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My gorgeous British friend Alyson Walsh came to New York to celebrate the U.S. publication of her book Style Forever.

Click to purchase.

Click to purchase.

We toasted her with Moet & Chandon Champagne at the Michele Varian shop in Soho.

The subtitle of Aly’s book is “The Grown-Up Guide to Looking Fabulous,” and the guests lived up to it! I loved Carol Markel’s colorful outfit from the top of her red hat to the pointy, purple tip of her toe.


Carol, an artist and a milliner, blogs at Femme et Fleur.

I was also enthralled with the dotted headpiece worn by Valerie, one of the bloggers at Idiosyncratic Fashionistas.


The motto on her oversize business card reads: “Setting a bad, bad example for older women everywhere.”

I wore my JC de Castelbajac dress with the razors/safety pin/brass knuckles/you-name-it embroidery.


What Wendy Wore
Dress: Castelbajac (2014)
Shoes: Vivienne Westwood animal-toe shoes (2011)
Purse: Prada (2007)

Aly and I were both wearing silver shoes. The footwear didn’t make it into this photo of us together …


… so our shoes get their own picture!


Ha! I like the way this photo combo makes us look really long.

Style Forever will be a great holiday gift for the the 40s-and-up fashionistas in your life. Order now!

Monday, November 16, 2015

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen the seventh ring in my Maneater series: the Dragon and Knight. If you don’t follow me, first of all: follow me! Secondly, enjoy this little video of the piece, which is November’s Jewel of the Month.

I feel like I’ve been working up to the Dragon and Knight ring for a long time. The whole Maneater collection was inspired by bad-ass historical women, including Empress Wu, who already inspired three dragon-themed designs. I explained my thought process last year:

“The rings are inspired by my lifelong interest in powerful women. My signature Wendy Brandes jewelry line started with pieces that were named after real-life bad-ass women, including the warrior queen Xenobia and the 12th-century Empress Matilda. A lot of these strong women have been called “dragon lady” or “man eater” in pejorative ways. A tough man is just a guy doing his job, but there always has to be some kind of mean-sounding name for a tough woman, right? I got to thinking that some of these wimmins might have relished being called these names. I’m sure 7th-century Empress Wu would have been like, “Ha ha ha! Dragon lady! YOU’RE RIGHT!” before she executed the guy who spoke those words. Accordingly, each Maneater ring has a triumphant animal on top and a man tucked away inside the band.”

Also last year, I told JCK Magazine editor Jennifer Heebner about another inspiration for the collection and this ring in particular. As she wrote:

“Who would’ve thought that a $10 trinket from a New York City street vendor could influence an artist for decades? Certainly not Wendy Brandes. Back in the 1980s, the jewelry designer bought a dragon-themed brass bell because the seller told her it ‘had a really good knight.’ When she turned the piece over, she discovered a tiny knight-shape bell clapper sitting inside.”

Because of that, the Dragon and Knight is an especially meaningful Maneater design and I made sure it was perfect. I started with the lost-wax casting process, which I described in 2010 for people who are interested in custom designs. The Dragon and Knight ring required nine miniature wax models: the dragon body, the tail, two separate wings, the knight in the dragon’s stomach, the sword in the dragon’s mouth, the skull at her feet and two parts of her treasure chest. This photo shows six wax carvings.


The different color waxes all have different qualities. Green is the hardest.

When my wax carver finished all the pieces, I carefully put them together and tried the model on in order to approve the overall size of the piece.


In the finished version of the ring, the dragon’s body is made of 18K yellow gold and covered with 400 tsavorites — green garnets — totaling 4.5 carats.


The 18K yellow gold wings are set with some of the 52 brown diamonds used in the piece, which total 35 points (there are 100 points in a carat). The dragon also has white diamond eyes.


The 18K rose gold treasure chest opens up to reveal pearls, rubies, diamonds and tsavorite.


The helmet-wearing knight in the dragon’s stomach — hidden inside the band of the ring — is 18K white gold.


The skull with diamond eyes and the sword in the dragon’s mouth are both made of platinum, and the sword has a little ruby set in its hilt.

The total weight of the gold in the piece is nearly 30 grams — nearly a full troy ounce of gold. The platinum weighs an additional 2.79 grams.

Jewelry expert Cheryl Kremkow recently took a great close-up of the ring on her finger.

Photo by Cheryl Kremkow.

Photo by Cheryl Kremkow.

Last week, I showed you how it looked when combined with a fabulous nail-ring design by Deirdre Featherstone.

I'm also wearing a platinum engagement ring, platinum thumb ring, and gold pinky ring.

I’m also wearing a platinum engagement ring, platinum thumb ring, and gold pinky ring.

And thanks to Becky Stone of Diamonds in the Library for taking this set of photos.


I like to think that both the real Empress Wu and the fictional Khaleesi would enjoy wearing this one!

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