Recently, in a pew at a Bar Mitzvah, a friend whispered to me: Great pearls. I reached up to touch them and told her my secret. Jackie O. wore these babies. Confused look. Little did she know, I am obsessed with the Kennedys, and I have every reason to be. Where else can you find such triumph, tragedy and glamour in one gene pool? Who wouldn’t want to dress like the infamous Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who knew style like nobody’s business—and practically made it her business? So let’s examine this obsession, shall we?
It all started when I devoured some incredible page-turners to give me the basics, such as The Kennedy Women: The Saga of an American Family by Laurence Leamer. Reading only sparked my hunger. Soon, my trips to Indigo to hang out in the Kennedy section were essential. They were satisfying my Kennedy craving like a hot bowl of clam chowder on a brisk fall night. People were learning not to ask what’s on my night stand because the answer was obvious. I couldn’t get enough. Then I got closer.
Two summers ago, I visited Boston, where I dragged my husband and friends to the Kennedy Library and then to the very famous Hyannis Port where the Kennedys summer (that’s a verb!). I hijacked a kid on a bicycle, threatening him to tell me where the compound was. Everyone thought I was off my rocker, but I didn’t care. I had to see the place so I could see what I read about come alive. After a successful find, I was calmly escorted by a security guard back to the driveway.
But Kennedys never say can’t and neither do I. So I tiptoed to the fences that surround the house and peeked though the cracks where I spotted a bunch of kids playing Capture the Flag. Bingo. Next, it was time bring the Kennedys home. In Hyannis Port, there is a museum that has beautiful knickknacks and coffee table books. I picked up Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years where her fashion choices made history, and my style was forever changed. As I flipped through the pages, I noticed a consistent theme: Elegant simplicity. Translation: It’s actually easy to look real nice.
How, you ask? There is a shop called Diamond Perfections Inc. that has a generous collection of Kennedy-type pieces. It is a known fact—at least to a Kennedy-obsessed gal like me—that Jacqueline hardly ever wore real pearls. Instead, she wore a three-strand faux pearl necklace, with a ‘diamond’ clasp that is best known in the iconic photo of her holding little John Jr.
JACKIE O. STYLE TIP 1: Wear a 3-strand faux pearl necklace and you’ll look like a million bucks, always. Jackie item #1: bought for $100. I wear these pearls over a suit, sweater or a plain white T-shirt and wherever I am, I feel like I can hold a tea party for 50. Next on my obsession list: shoes. I am blessed with nice big feet, just like Jackie who wore a size 10 but you’d never know it.
JACKIE O. STYLE TIP 2: Nothing is more comfortable and classy than a kitten heel and a strap around your ankle. 4-inch heels? Us five foot six ladies don’t need them. What we need is to spend some time on the dance floor burning off that caviar—in shoes that don’t kill us. And oh, the hats. In all my searching, I have yet to find the perfect pill box hat and gloves but rest assured, I am on the hunt. And when I do, I will wear them with pride, but not as much pride as I get after hearing her crucial statement that basically sums it up for all of us: “I am a woman above anything else.”
JACKIE O. STYLE TIP 3: Dress for yourself, not for anyone else. Not trendy. Timeless. Because really, you look good in what looks good on you. And who wants to revamp their entire wardrobe every season? Think about that one.
Who’s your style icon? Care to share?
Sharon Neiss Arbess lives in Toronto and loves to spend time with her husband Gordie and three children, Josh, Adam and Olivia. Sharon is the co-publisher of day ja view – the ultimate family organizer. She loves nothing more than feeling organized and looking polished. Pity that only Olivia can wear pearls.