Garbage jewelry — trashy or très chic?

You might think it’s impossible to make recycled jewelry look hi-class. It ain’t easy, that’s for sure. Why, if you take a necklace made of embroidered disks cut out of a milk jug...
milk jug embroidery Collage…and photoshop it onto this high-fashion model (Elle magazine, Nov 2012)…


…she looks positively ridiculous! What a glaring blot on her ensemble. You can be sure Marc Jacobs won’t want his… is that a golf umbrella? … appearing adjacent to such a monstrosity.

And what more absurd sight could you imagine than an upcycled crumpled-coffee-bag brooch paired with the haute couture pictured here?…


My God, she’s a walking joke! That is, a sitting joke. Or a perched-on-the-edge-of-a-dinghy joke. That’s a dinghy, right?

On the other hand, maybe the fault isn’t with the jewelry. Maybe it’s today’s second-rate models, stylists and photogs. To see upcycled jewelry like it deserves to be seen, let’s imagine it worn by an unimpeachable icon of beauty and style: Elizabeth Taylor.

“You’re going to make me look like an idiot, aren’t you?”

Here’s Liz adorned by (and ADORNING, amirite?) the famous Taj Mahal necklace, a 40th birthday present from Richard Burton. I’ve replaced the pendant with one made from an old air filter.


The tiny plastic seed pearl accent in the center takes it upscale, don’t you agree? Certainly Liz’s knowing gaze and roguish grin suggest she thinks so.

Here’s Liz in her original Cleopatra regalia…

elizabeth-taylor-top-tenz-cleopatra-2And here the same effect is created with some plastic spoons, a soda-can-tab necklace and a necklace made from punctured balloons (worn as a cuff). Oh, I put a plastic-spoon flower on her head, too. Feed me, Seymour!

liztrashed5Here’s Liz decked out in some big ole hunk of ice or whatever…

elizabeth_taylor_joya2And here she hits a similar note in a necklace made from plastic bottles.

liznecklace2To die. Yes, there’s only one Elizabeth Taylor. Was there any better proof of that than Lindsay Lohan’s critically panned turn in last fall’s “Liz and Dick?” Below, Lindsay (as Liz) can’t even manage to pull off a bottle-cap necklace and earrings made of eco-felt.

Should have stayed home from the club last night, sweetie!


8 responses to “Garbage jewelry — trashy or très chic?

  1. Oh, you are kinda trampling all over my territory here! 1) Who on Earth is responsible for that Elle shoot? My 4-year-old is a better stylist. 2) the problem with most of these pieces is bad design – particularly the terrible blue and yellow “flower” necklace (although the blue and silver pop-tab necklace is pretty cool. I’d wear it. But then I find it perfectly acceptable to wear dead birds on my head). 3) You should make this a recurring theme. I found more examples for you here – – Maybe on Grace Kelly next time?

    • Trample, trample! I gotta disagree with you about the pop-tab necklace, but those examples you found are awesome! Thanks.

      Grace Kelly is a good idea. I’ve never read anything much about her.

      I love Liz’s 70s hair.

      • You’re so disagreeable. I bet you’d disagree about the merits of wearing dead birds, too. I’m not talking about feathers… I mean taxidermied wings… Or more.

        I think eventually you could have a whole series where you get to place garbage on famous icons. I look forward to recycled tampon chic modelled by Marilyn Monroe, cat hair balls on Jean Shrimpton, and (yes oh please) animal carcasses on Vivien Leigh. Oh, the possibilities!

      • Vivien Leigh, *sigh*…we’re such gay men. Because we love divas, you know.

        I’m not anti-taxidermy. A lot of people criticized the green bird Carrie wore on her head in the SATC movie wedding outfit, but I liked it.

      • HA! I loved the green bird in SATC – best part of the wedding outfit, if you ask me! I have often said that I was either a gay man in another life, or I’m a drag queen trapped in the body of a woman.

      • Yeah, we need a new category.

        I liked the whole outfit but I thought the boob part was waaaay too big.

        Also the bridesmaid dresses/evening gowns the other 3 wore were just great!

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