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To Bead or not to Bead

(Adornment During a Pandemic)

A self-styled routine had been established for ‘decktails’ at each other’s houses every couple of weeks. In the beginning, the dames each wore masks when they arrived. Gradually, they carried their masks, skirting each other carefully, bringing their own beverage, a snack to share, saying “I didn’t open this yet” or “individually wrapped.” After a few times, they brought snacks and shared without explanation. It was good to be with friends, good to share laughter, even with hugging subtracted from the equation.


Late afternoon one Friday, she decided to gussy up a bit; sadly, pandemic life and quarantine had relegated her beads, brooches, earrings, rings, and bracelets to a dusty life on top of the dresser and in jewelry boxes and containers.

She chose the chunky pewter beads first, always a favorite. But no. Too big? Too obvious? How ‘bout the red ones, smaller, fun, but…no. She tried the leaf on a cord, made for her by an artist friend years ago. But, as simple and tasteful as it was, no, it didn’t feel right. Seemed like too much. But why did it all feel and look so wrong? Was it just a matter of having not worn jewelry for so long? Did it hint a little of…why bother? Had the pandemic taken away her sense of style, along with everything else?

She talked with her daughter about it the following week by phone. Jokingly, she’d said that her daughter’s promotion might merit wearing a bigger pair of beads for her next Zoom business meeting. Her daughter shared how she’d felt odd the previous week when she’d gone out to dinner with her guy. “It was only the second time we’d gone out in the past six months since the pandemic, so I got a little dressed up, but then, I don’t know, I put sneakers on, to minimize the whole thing.”


They agreed that they tended to dress ‘up’ when they felt ‘down’, as though by presenting the best of themselves to others, and themselves, they could somehow fool themselves into a better mood.

The pandemic has presented a major detour of ‘dressing up.’ Is the lipstick industry a thing of the past, or just on hold for now? (Lipstick has been particularly hard hit during the pandemic; when the official guidelines are to wear a mask when outside of your home, the need to brighten up one’s mouth, hidden away under cloth, drops down in the priority list.)


But the eye makeup industry is booming! (Eye makeup sales are up 204% year-over-year for the three-month period ending on June 28) Business Insider August 11, 2020

And did you know? Skincare sales are booming as Americans seek out self-care resources and ways to mitigate the rise of "maskne" — a nickname for zits and pimples caused by masks.

According to Vogue Business, at-home beauty tools like facial steamers, as well as serums including Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, have been among the top rising beauty trends during the pandemic.


So much for beauty info during the pandemic. Most importantly, stay safe, be well, and mask up!

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© 2020 

All images ©1998-2020 kathleen suess