En avril ne te découvre pas d'un fil; en mai, fais ce qu'il te plaît. Literally translated, it goes something like this: "In April, don't remove a thread (of clothing); in May, do as you please!" Michèle was the first person to introduce me to this expression back when I was living in Montpellier. Tu vas attraper froid comme ça! It still comes to mind every year at this time. Especially now in Lyon. Leaving the house I'm always cold but then by noon, it's sunny and 20 degrees warmer. Let's just say it's put my layering strategy, or what my dad calls "the system," to the test. In Minnesota, this means a layer of Under Armour + polar fleece vest + wool sweater + a "water resistant shell." Lately, I've adopted a considerably lighter version for spring in Lyon: multiple jackets (i.e. jean + trench) and/or a few interwoven scarves. Maybe throw in a cardigan or two if it's extra chilly. Sometimes the layering gets a bit haphazard and I have to remind myself that there is a fine line between pulling off this look and looking like I don't own a mirror.
Not sure what any of that has to do with pearl earrings except that, unlike some of my more "creative" ensembles, they're classic and go with anything. In the third installment of this Wardrobe Staple series, my friend Celine talks about a pair of black pearl earrings passed down to her from her great grandmother.
This is a pair of black pearl studs my mom gave me when I turned 18. In the Philippines, where I’m from, most girls at that age would have extravagant parties or debutante balls to celebrate this milestone toward womanhood, but in my family, it’s when we receive a pair of earrings from my great grandmother's collection. She wasn’t rich but, while some girls from her generation would spend money on clothes and makeup, she would save up to buy pearls.
After her long 97 years, she managed to collect enough earrings for all seven granddaughters. My own pair is especially important for me because, living 7,000 miles away from home, I am reminded of my roots. I am reminded of those quiet Sunday afternoons when the women of my family would gather together and go through my jeweler aunt’s new collection, while the boys sat on the couch watching a basketball match. I am reminded of the passion my great grandmother has passed on to her daughters, granddaughters, and now great granddaughters.