I have a mechanic’s jumper.  Well, it’s not exactly a mechanic’s jumper because it’s a tube and denim, but everything else about it says I will fix your car — right now.  But I never realized it until Stacy Redd pointed  out. that “anyone else would like look a mechanic in that thing.”  That’s when I realized that she was totally right — with no definition in either the bodice or the buttocks, it’s just a baggy jumper.  But, it worked thanks to  the accessories.  The right earrings, bracelets, hats,neck and head scarves, cuffs, are the small things that can keep you from looking like you’re ready to paint a fence or replace a head gasket.

A cool hat to funk up a look

There’s absolutely nothing new about celebrating accessories.  I’m sure cave women made necklaces from animal teeth and bones to jazz up their thatched together skins.  At a 40-year retrospective for the late Yves Saint Laurent at the DeYoung museum last year, gowns and dresses were the main focus.  But the curator was meticulous in details, noting that the looks became complete only if they went from head to toe.   There’s a reason why some Hollywood stars end up on the fashion police’s worst dressed list and other don’t.  It’s not enough to just throw on a YSL gown and call it an Oscar night (unless the accessories are on the actual garment).  There’s also a reason why the Project Runway designers are always encouraged by Tim Gunn to make use of the Bluefly wall.

Laku on Valencia

But even on a non-occasion the accessories can make or break the outfit.  There’s a reason why the David Yurmans, Harry Winstons, Lorraine Schwartzs, and well paid.  They design accessories so unique that people don’t want to live without them.  But the treats you adorn your looks with don’t have to break the bank.  I’ve found great rings and necklaces from Forever 21 that never cost more than $10.  On a recent trip to South Africa I scored a few more necklaces from my favorite vendor in Sandton, Tinashe Shuro.

My Tinashe Shuro necklaces

On my first trip there I bought two necklaces from a collection he was selling, one he says includes hippo bone, echaveraging about $18 in price.  On my second trip I sought him out with the intention of going necklace crazy.  I left with three new pieces and a smile on my face.

NYChameleon by Jennifer Young

Strolling around the Mission, it’s easy to be inspired  by accessories.  Leaf earrings by a designer named JenniferYoung  in New York (NYChameleon) caught my eye from way across Shotwell Street.  Then I spotted a woman with Nautical themed plastic jewelry, which is completely making a comeback along with Lucite, and pearls mixed with chains.

And as I chased down a guy in a snazzy fedora (I didn’t catch him) I stumbled on a store that I always overlooked.  Laku, on Valencia Street. It’s pure whimsy.   The hats and jewelry are innovative and original.  As I played with a $28 floral fabric broach I decided that everything would look better with it.  With yummy accessories for both women and kids, the 17-year-old store  is a destination spot for anyone looking for a mix of accessories, including some Japanese inspired.  The smallest and most intricate details make for unique hats and necklaces in the store.  Whether you go in there for a kimono for your daughter or some new earrings for yourself as soon as you step inside you’ll think one thing—Kawaii.

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  1. Thanks for the shout out Shalwah! Just to be clear, Shalwah looked freaking fabulous in her jumper. I would like Billy Joel in the “Uptown Girl” video.

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  2. I’m currently looking at a tool bag and tool belt (not to be worn together) from Home Depot. Now I can graduate from mechanic to handyman =)

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