- Purple Cardigan – Gap Outlet
- Black Wrap Dress – Banana Republic
- Stripped Tank – J Crew
- Black Tights – Target
- Pattern Tights – gift from S.
- Boots – Steve Madden Intyce
- Bracelet – Hawaii
- Pin – purchased from activist speaker
- Earrings – wedding gift from A2
As S. and many readers mentioned, jewelery often functions as a sign — a sign of gender, ethnicity, class, but also sexuality, marital status, age, and many other things (clothing of course also often functions in this way, as we have many times discussed here). I thought about that as I put this outfit together for an awards ceremony at which I was presented with an honor for LGBT leadership and service. I immediately thought of the casual outfit I wore on national coming out day and wanted to recreate it in a dressier and more winter-appropriate version. The main elements remained the same – my purple cardigan, multi-colored bead bracelet (not exactly a rainbow), and my “queer kids rule” pin.
Choosing these accessories was a no-brainier knowing that I would be surrounded by other queers and allys there to recognize me for my commitment to the LGBT community. It was meaningful and fun to show some overt queer pride through my jewelry (and color choice of “lavender”). But it got me thinking about the other jewelry I was sporting – my small silver earnings (since I didn’t want too many statement pieces at once) and, even more so, my wedding ring.
When A2 and I got married last summer we exchanged very simple white-gold bands. We talked a lot about how we wanted to handle the whole ring issue and both agreed we had no need for engagement rings since the decision to get married was one we made together over many years. We choose to exchange wedding bands because we like the sentiment behind, we wanted a symbol of our commitment, and because we were looking to up-grade the cheap matching silver bands we had been wearing for years. But, something about it still made me a bit uncomfortable – its sign value. I am not a married straight woman and in fact in most of the country, including the state in which I reside, I do not enjoy marital status. I was uncomfortable wearing something that signaled otherwise. I didn’t want to pass. So, I wear my wedding band on my right hand instead of my left. I don’t know what assumptions most people make based on this right-hand ring, but over the last 7 months a few people have asked me about it. For the most part, these questions have led to some incredible conversations about marriage and about symbols.
So, today I suppose I am aware of the power of jewelry as sign but am celebrating the power of jewelry as conversation stater! Has any of your jewelry ever led to a great discussion? Do you consciously wear jewelry as sign?