“Love of beauty is Taste. The creation of beauty is Art.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
A few years back I had a photo client with daughters who showed up for their session with very large, awkward but obviously handmade bows. They called them hair pretties, and it was a struggle to make said pretties pretty.
There’s something to be said about women and accessories. I’m not the girliest of girls, yet a great belt or headband or pair of boots or hat (especially!) makes me feel a bit more put together if not beautiful. I don’t know why that is. Rob Bell tells a story of women in Auschwitz (I think) being given lipstick in what should have been a box of medical supplies. They were on the verge of death and utterly dehumanized. But they clung to the capsules and painted their lips red. They took back some piece of their dignity, and the impracticality of lipstick for the dying yielded a sliver of redemption: they were very much alive. They still cared.
It’s a mystery, but I get it, and I don’t even wear lipstick most days. We color our eyelids, tie a scarf, pin a brooch and fasten our boots. And to the secure identity, those accessories costume and celebrate what’s internal externally, hair pretties and all.