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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Last year, I wrote a Huffington Post story called, “Not So Fast There! The Surprisingly Long Life of Fashion Trends,” in which I observed that fashion trends don’t come and go as quickly as we think they do. In fact, trends can take seasons — or even years — to develop, and then linger for as long as a decade.

The earliest adopters of a new style often get citations from the fashion police for experimenting with looks that later dominate the market: Hence my blog motto, “Never Is The Next New Thing™.” For example, in another Huff Post story, I traced the re-emergence of the peplum as a trend over the course of a year. Nicole Kidman landed on multiple worst-dressed lists when she donned a peplum one February. Emma Stone faced similar criticism for her peplum that July. Yet, by December, the peplum was everywhere. That was in 2011, and you can still go to any department store website and find dozens of peplum styles.

Similarly, multiple ear piercings with delicate studs and hoops that go through the cartilage, rather than the lobe, have been growing in popularity for a couple of years now, thanks, in part, to J. Colby Smith, a piercer at New York Adorned. Into the Gloss wrote about Smith, known as Colby, in 2011 and 2012, helping Colby become a favorite of editors and stylists. Last May, the Costume Institute exhibition on punk fashion added fuel to what Leah Chernikoff of Fashionista.com called “the delicate piercing craze New York Adorned’s J. Colby Smith as spawned within the fashion community.” Refinery 29 followed up with an August 2013 interview with Colby in which he said about piercings, “As long as it stays refined, classic, and elegant, there will always be a place for it.”  (In other words, you want a lighter look than what was worn in the aughts by singer Fergie, seen here with her multiply pierced cartilage in 2008, and actress Camryn Manhein of the 1997-2004 hit show The Practice. ) Colby has even figured out a way to do an elegant septum piercing — that’s the “bull-ring”-style nose piercing — and Dana Oliver documented hers for the Huffington Post earlier this month.

Today, the New York Times Thursday Styles section has a story by Marisa Meltzer that is focused on Colby and entitled “Piercing Adopts a Delicate Balance” in the print edition. (The headline for the online version is “Piercings Are Back, Subtle and Sophisticated.”)


Click to enlarge.

Meltzer talked to fashion stylist Sarah Slutsky, who says that when she got her first cartilage piercing in 2011, “I felt like we were pioneers.”  But now, Meltzer writes, “If having a piercing was once an in-your-face roar, the new vogue is a whisper. Dainty piercings in areas once reserved for the bold — through the upper ear or the septum — have taken off with the fashion crowd.” Colby says, “The trick is a couple of nice subtle pieces,” and the Meltzer cites the “new aesthetic, with slim hoops and tiny studs or bars in precious gems.”

Well! I’m thrilled with all of this because I’ve been offering tiny studs to be worn mixed up, rather than in traditional matched pairs, since February 2013.  I started with my “Screw U” and “Heart U” pairs for Valentine’s Day that year. (“Screw U” is more popular than “Heart U” — no surprise there!)


$70 for the pair. Click to purchase.

I now have over 80 stud earring styles in silver and 18K gold, including my famous emoji earrings and the 26 letters of the alphabet in my signature, thorny font. Additional styles are in the works, and, as of this week,  you can get gold-plated versions of my existing styles exclusively at Nylon. If you want to see how good these look with the new, Colby-style piercings, all you have to do is take a gander at my right-hand woman Eryn and her sister Grace. Earlier this week, they visited Colby for tragus piercings (the tragus is the little pointy part in front of the ear canal.) Eryn and Grace recommend making an appointment in advance — like they did — if you want Colby.


Eryn braces herself.

Eryn admitted to being a little squeamish about the process, but it was worth it. Her tiny starter tragus stud looks great with the latest version of my middle finger emoji stud earring — a limited edition, plated in rose gold, which will soon be available on my website — and a single, long Venus earring from my signature collection.


I’ve only made one pair of the rose gold/rose quartz/diamond Venus earrings. Get it or it will be gone forever!

While they were taking ear pictures, Eryn took a photo of Grace wearing a gold-plated punching fist emoji earring in her existing helix (upper ear cartilage) piercing. It’s perfect for that spot!


The hashtag ring is also available on my website and from Nylon. $115 for sterling silver. Click to purchase.

All of my stud earrings are designed to be worn as singles.  I was obsessed with single earrings in the 1980s, and, in a fit of nostalgia, added the single studs to my line in October 2012.


Two of my favorite single earrings from the 1980s. Click for original post.

I recently found this photo of Helen Slater in the 1985 movie The Legend of Billie Jean, which shows off her MAJOR single earring look. I remember being so in love with Billie Jean’s style in this movie.


Click for Pat Benatar’s song “Invincible,” the theme for the Billie Jean movie.

Like the new piercings, the new single earrings have caught the attention of the mainstream media.  Last week, Teen Vogue declared that actress Emma Watson is “the queen of the one-earring craze” (As I pointed out earlier this month, she’s also the queen of the ear-cuff craze). The same day, grown-up Vogue wondered, “How did the Single Earring Trend Get So Big?” In that story, Jamie Johns wrote, “… as I watch fashion devotees fret over whether or not to go solo with the new statement danglers, I can’t help but wonder if they know that punk men have been rocking the off-kilter look for close to 40 years.” Clearly, if you’re as old as I am, you know that! That said, I don’t think today’s young wimmin are really copying the look from boys in Brooklyn. I’d credit the Costume Institute exhibit, celebrities such Emma Watson, runway looks from the likes of Dior, Instagram stars and their own female peers for bringing back the single earring for the ladies.  And, of course, Colby the piercer gets a lot of credit, because many of those delicate piercings he’s doing are for single earrings or odd numbers.  However, the dudes might be more influential in the near future. The Vogue story notes that now that single earrings are everywhere, some guys are moving on to “what used to be the female norm of two earrings” in order to stand out. In fact, twin brothers Wyatt and Fletcher Shears — muses to Hedi Slimane, who did single earrings for Saint Laurent — have replaced their single-earring finds from thrift stores with “two large gold hoops.” Now, that’s a look that will be very noticeable on a man … besides, I already called giant hoops for the next big earring trend early this month.


Click for my post on the next big earring look: huge hoops.

When you get ready to make a statement with big hoops, make sure you go for 2 1/4″ in diameter or larger — anything else will look too conservative. In the meantime, if you want a single statement earring from me to supplement your emoji and screw studs, check out my 4 1/2″ long Cleopatra earring. It comes in silver …


Sterling silver. $225. Click to purchase.

… and 18K gold and diamonds.


18K gold and diamonds. $4,500. Click to purchase.

I hope to have some other interesting new earring styles shortly, inspired by my own experience getting my fourth lobe piercing this spring. Amusingly, I had tweeted for piercing-parlor suggestions and was referred to Adorned by my gorgeous client Mary — who lives in Australia! That’s how far Colby’s fame has spread. But when I turned up at Adorned, it was closed for the week, and I wound up at Addiction NYC on St. Mark’s Place. I had a good experience there, so if you need an alternative to Adorned, don’t be scared by the bongs in Addiction’s front window!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

As I mentioned, the Women’s Jewelry Association Gala took place Monday night at Pier 60 in New York. The WJA describes itself as “a networking organization dedicated to enriching and advancing the professional lives of the women in the jewelry and watch industries.” I call it a great opportunity for me to meet up with members of my #VegasGems jewelry-industry gang.

It’s become a tradition for me to pose between the two most statuesque Gems: Monica Stephenson of the iDazzle blog and Barbara Palumbo of Adornmentality. Here’s the 2013 photo, and here’s this year’s photo:


Shrimp sandwich: From left: Barbara, me, Monica.

I’ve had my vintage Ossie Clark halter dress for at least 10 years. The first photo I can find of it is from February 2004.


Click to enlarge.

On Monday, I wore it with plenty of my own jewelry designs, of course. You can’t overdo the jewelry when you’re going to a WJA event.


What Wendy Wore
Dress: Vintage Ossie Clark (acquired 2004-ish, online)
Shoes: Prada (2010)
Jewelry: My own designs and some gifts, including the bracelet my grandparents gave me when I was 16

I recruited Purrkoy, the new kitteh, for a selfie to show my necklaces. I was wearing my Boleyn “B” necklace, my Skylar Grey double-ax necklace, my Chicken in Egg locket and a random chain.


When I saw the photo, I realized I had nailed a frame of a recent Oatmeal comic on selfies.


Click for source.



I desperately want a poster of this Oatmeal comic.

Unlike the Oatmeal guy, I’m not crying because no one gets tired of cute cat photos. NO ONE!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thanks to the New York Post for including my middle finger emoji earring in yesterday’s “7 politically incorrect fashion statements” online story!


You have three options if you want to flip the bird yourself. There’s the classic silver single stud earring for $35 …


Click to purchase at wendybrandes.com.

… the 18K gold version for $225  …


I wear this one every day. Click to purchase.

… and the brand-new gold-plated silver earring for $50, exclusively available at Nylon.



Monday, July 28, 2014

If you love emojis and gold, I’ve got good news for you. Some of my most popular emoji single stud earrings — including the middle finger — are now being made in gold-plated silver and, for the moment, they’re available exclusively at Nylon Magazine’s online shop. Nylon did this awesome gif with four of the earrings for its newsletter:


Click here to shop!

The emoji earrings are still available on my site in silver for $35 each and in 18K gold for $225 each. The gold-plated earrings, priced at $50 each, are great option for people who love the color gold but want to keep their purchases below $100. And the pieces, still have that touch of luxury that I like because the underlying metal is still silver instead of brass. You can’t go wrong with a precious metal!


Click for #nylonshop homepage.

I’m a longtime fan of Nylon because it takes chances and stays cutting-edge — for instance, it featured my swear rings in 2012.


Click to enlarge.

That makes this collaboration a perfect fit. In addition to the middle finger emoji earring, #nylonshop is offering the gold-plated versions of the pill, okay sign, peace sign, punching fist, raised hand, sign of the horns, thumbs up and Vulcan salute emoji earrings. Also available: a gold-plated version of my “Screw U” earrings and the classic silver hashtag ring. I expect more styles to be available soon. You can follow Nylon on Twitter here and on Instagram here.

Emojis are truly the talk of the town lately. Yesterday’s New York Times Sunday Styles section had a story by Jessica Bennett under a headline declaring: “The Emoji Have Won the Battle of Words.” (Take this New York Times quiz to see how adept you are at translating entire emoji sentences.) And, Thursday, when I attended Katy Perry’s concert at Barclays Center, I was amused to see the smiling-poop and other emojis turned into giant balloons.


An earlier part of Katy’s show was Egyptian-themed — including dancing mummies and a life-size horse puppet in Pharaonic regalia.


Katy on the horse. Click to enlarge.

That got me thinking about Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, which I was fascinated by as a kid. That’s when the light bulb over my head clicked on.


Light bulb emoji.

No wonder I like emojis so much! In one way, they’re completely modern and the opposite of my love of history, which influences my luxury jewelry line. In another way, they’re a continuation of my interest in history: I used to dream of being fluent in hieroglyphs … and now I am!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Look who has joined my flat-faced animal family!


This is Purrkoy, an Exotic Shorthair kitteh from breeder Lynn Cooke of Callyn Cattery. My older kitteh, FitzRoy (aka #thecatinthebowl), who joined us in 2012, has quite a few Instagram cat friends who were from Lynn, so that’s how we found her and Purrkoy.

The name Purrkoy fits in with a theme we have going on here. It started with Henry the dog, a Pekingese rescued from the ASPCA in 2006. I named him after Henry VIII. Like the serially monogamous English king, Henry the dog is stocky, red-haired and possessed of a rather peevish expression.


The similarity is obvious, no?

When we got a ginger-haired cat in 2012, the name “FitzRoy” was the clear choice. FitzRoy (or Fitzroy) is an Anglo-Norman name that means “son of the king.” Several English monarchs gave it as a surname to their illegitimate children. Henry VIII’s only acknowledged  illegitimate child — his son with Bessie Blount — was named Henry FitzRoy.


This photo of FitzRoy in his beloved bowl has nearly 60,000 notes on Tumblr! Click to see.

One of my favorite Tudor anecdotes is about a small dog owned by Anne Boleyn, the second and most famous wife of Henry VIII. The much-loved pooch was named Purkoy, thought to be a variation of the French “pourquoi” or “why?,” appropriate for a breed with an inquiring expression/head tilt. The dog died by falling from a window (he might have been assassinated!) and people were so scared of Anne’s reaction that they went to Henry himself and made him break the bad news to his queen. The idea that the court was more frightened of Anne at that time than of the king, who was rapidly turning into a murderous tyrant, has always amused me, so I’ve kept the name “Purkoy” in the back of my mind for years. When I started looking for a new kitty I realized an extra “R” would make the name cat-appropriate AND it would rhyme with “FitzRoy.” Voila! Now we have Purrkoy.

2014-07-26 15.28.02

Meeting Purrkoy for the first time at Lynn’s house. Photo by Stacy Lomman.

Our Tibetan spaniel, Gigi, rescued in 2003, is the exception to the naming rule. She got her name from her original family. She had no training and recognized no commands, but she knew her name! Therefore, I didn’t change it. After I got her, by the way, I found out that her family had simultaneously re-homed her sister, Candy. Candy and Gigi? Were these dogs strippers in another life?

We are introducing Purrkoy to the household slowly. He’s living in the second bedroom for the moment. Gigi and Henry haven’t met him yet, but, judging by the special enthusiasm with which the increasingly incontinent Henry is creating puddles in new places, I’d say they know something is going on. FitzRoy and Purrkoy have had some supervised playtime, which the latter enjoyed very much. FitzRoy is still thinking it over.  At least Fitz won’t have to share the big orange bowl he likes to lounge in. Animal aunt Stacy Lomman thoughtfully got the kitten a baby-sized gray bowl of his own.


Big bowl and little bowl.

I was planning on having FitzRoy continue to be the Instagram spokesanimal for the whole group, but then I went ahead and made Purrkoy his own Instagram just in case. Here it is. And if you love kittehs, don’t forget to follow Fitz here. Henry and Gigi make guest appearances on that account.

Well, MrB just informed me that the kitty has woken up from his latest nap and is crying for some company. That must mean it’s time for more of this.

I could watch him play with that all day!

Friday, July 25, 2014

While brainstorming new additions to my vast collection of emoji-inspired jewelry designs, I came across the Rejected Emojis Tumblr. If Family Guy‘s Peter Griffin had been put in charge of new emoji, we would definitely have random-ass things like …

Click for source.

Click for source.

… and …

Click for source.

Click for source.

Check out the blog for other highlariously surreal emojis including the lightly salted kale chip and quiet sex.

(Thanks to Distractify for leading me to this blog!)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Last July 29, I attended the Women’s Jewelry Association Gala wearing, appropriately, all gold. I looked up that outfit post while contemplating what to wear to the 2014 WJA event, taking place next Monday. That’s when I realized that I always wore the same gold shoes with the same gold dress. Check it out!

gold dress three

Click to enlarge.

The dress is from my designing friend Stacy Lomman‘s Spring 2011 collection. I also got the Prada shoes that year. In the 2011 photo, I’m standing with my fellow Golden Girls Gang member Tina. In 2012, I wore the shoe/dress combo to a dinner that called for “festive” attire. And the 2013 photo was taken by MrB after WJA. Now that I look at these, I remember that I fretted in 2011 about whether the gold shoes with the gold dress was “too much.” I guess I got over that concern, because now I can’t think of any other shoes that I would wear with that dress.

Here’s another photo from WJA — courtesy jewelry blogger Monica Stephenson of iDazzle — with Monica and our fellow #VegasGem Barbara Palumbo.


Click for source.

None of this helped me decide what to wear on Monday, but I enjoyed making my three-photo collage!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Today is my SEVENTH blogversary!

I started this blog on July 23, 2007, by warning that I wouldn’t be blogging much. Two days later, I discovered Britney Spears had “borrowed” one of my rings without permission. I simply had to share that online, and after that, I was unstoppable.  Since then, I’ve written over 2,600 posts (and I’ve got 269 drafts of posts, which I really should sort through one of these days). I’ve also changed my URL, my company name, my blog motto and I certainly don’t use the MySpace account that I mentioned in my introduction.

Let’s all stand on a subway grate to celebrate!


Photo from 2009. Click for original post.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My designing friend Zang Toi says his lucky number is 13. I am going to adopt that policy, at least for a year, because today marks the 13th wedding anniversary for MrB and me. We’re traveling today, so we celebrated early, with friends, in the town of Fiskado on the Greek island of Kefalonia.


At Tassia Restaurant in Fiskado.

Thanks for putting up with me for all these years, MrB!

Click the wedding-cake photo for a few more pictures from 2001.


Monday, July 21, 2014

When I was hanging out with my designing friend Zang Toi on July 4th, I showed him some old pictures of us together. One of the photos was in this post from 2008 and, as I looked at it, I decided another picture in the same post captured one of my favorite fashion moments evah.

versace in france

Click to enlarge.

In the picture, I’m wearing one of my most-loved Versace dresses — you know I’m a major fan of neon colors. I like how it’s fluttering in the breeze, but the image is still sharp.  You can’t beat the beautiful background, which is St. Tropez, where I was attending a wedding. (Zang designed the bride’s gown.) But the best part, for me, is the giant dog sleeping at my feet and what he did after the photo was taken. I didn’t know this dog at all. He was just hanging out with the guests, and we were never formally introduced. But, after he woke up from his nap, he strolled over to me and calmly ate the cocktail napkin I was holding. He was friendly about it, but determined. I’m generally against dogs eating cocktail napkins, but considering this dog’s size, I decided I wouldn’t argue with him.

Special dress + beautiful scenery + ginormous cocktail-napkin-eating dog = a “what I wore” photo to treasure.

I brought the same dress on vacation this month. I asked my designing friend Stacy Lomman how to transport a chiffon dress without carrying it in the cabin on a hanger like I did for St. Tropez. She advised me to roll it up like a “burrito.” I did, and put it in my carry-on bag and was very pleased with the results. I wore it twice in Greece: in Athens …


and in Kefalonia.


What Wendy Wore
Dress: Versace (I suspect this is from Spring 2003, which had a lot of neon.)
Shoes: Guiseppe Zanotti (2014)
Purse: Diane von Furstenberg (Possibly from 2008)
Jewelry: My own designs

A Jack Russell puppy friend, Irma, found the hem of the dress very compelling. She kept trying to catch it in her teeth.


She wasn’t that interested in taking a proper photo, but I got a good grip on her and made it happen.


Apparently, this dress has a certain animal magnetism. That’s definitely a plus!

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