Weekend Project # 5

My style has always been very casual. Until I finished my PhD, I wore jeans & t-shirts practically exclusively. Being body-conscious and even called ugly to my face, this was the perfect uniform to hide in for years.

However, once I moved to Asia, I understood that I needed to upgrade my style to be taken seriously in my male-dominated profession. While male professors always could and still can get away looking mildly unkempt (“he must be a genius!”), female professors who don’t look the part are a no-go (even in the West, I might add).

In Hong Kong, I splurged on a professional stylist who taught me about colors that suit me best and what looks good given my body shape. And while I still prefer a casual sweater to a frilly shirt, I’ve been trying to dress according to the advice I’ve been given ever since, mostly at least. Only the makeup I haven’t fully embraced, but that one’s on my Project 50 by 50 list and I’m making slow progress on that front.

One of the easiest way for a woman to change her style is with accessories. For me, that means: jewellery, even though I don’t own anything that has true monetary value beyond the sentimental. I especially like necklaces with bold pendants, and they make wonderful souvenirs no matter how short or local the trip. I always try to buy handmade pieces from local artisans, but one of my favourite pieces is still this one:

It’s just some cheap, mass-produced plastic-on-metal necklace that I bought mostly for the color some 20 years ago at Utrecht station in the Netherlands. As you can see, the strings were very much worn out, so I didn’t use it for a long time.

However, I finally found some time and the right parts to replace the strings, and I chose some with a little more pizazz to it. The difficult part was to fit the strings into the end pieces, my tools were too big and not quite up to the task. I’m glad that I’ve cultivated my patience quite a bit since I came to Japan, and while it doesn’t look perfect, I prevailed in the end. On to the next 20 years!

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