Now and again someone comes along on the big (or small) screen who ticks all your ‘wannabe’ boxes. And no I don’t mean Geri Halliwell! I think about the impact of actresses like Audrey Hepburn, who continues to epitomise grace and elegance to this day. People like the inimitable Lauren Bacall who was strong and seductive. Female characters like Wonder Woman and Angela Chase! They each captured our attention in different ways, they influenced our wardrobes, they were the women we admired and wanted to emulate in look and life.
Lately, I’ve been watching Season 6 of Mad Men. Now finished (and wildly craving the final season), the impact of the captivating character Joan Harris (Holloway) lingers on. There are obvious reasons for my love of this fictional character – her glorious red hair and stunning vintage wardrobe for starters! And yet, this character runs much deeper than mere hair and clothes, fabulous as they are.
Joan is living in a world quite literally full of mad men. Men for whom the times are changing very quickly, shifting their position in the world, yet for women not quickly enough. Joan wears her femininity boldly and her intelligence quietly. She’s fair and fastidious, and at times it’s difficult to watch her negotiate the chauvinistic hurdles of the times. For all her expertise and ability, her charm and guts, she’s consistently treated like the little woman despite the latent and clear understanding of her male counterparts that a Joan-free zone would be a shambles.
There’s something about Joan’s appearance that I’ve always loved because it sums up her character to a tee. Of course, it’s the secretary necklace that twitter friends have heard me rabbit on and on and on about. It’s elegant and operational, feminine yet functional. It represents the dichotomy that Joan presents to us-the girl we can admire for her style as well as her sass and savvy. We love her directness and and despise the reaction she gets. She’s the girl who despite all the knock-backs is always ready and prepared for the next challenge, pencil (although creatively concealed) in hand.
So I scoured eBay, miraculously found a working mechanical pencil and added an old silver chain.
I’ll be honest, it has hardly left my neck, though sadly my assets don’t provide the same awesome platform for display that Joan’s do! It’s a very beautiful item, unique and unusual and I’ve yet to bump into another soul in Belfast who’s wearing one. When I wear it, I feel like I’m channelling a little of that sass and style and I rather like it. If I had half of what Joan has got, I’d be doing well!