Wednesday, September 15, 2010

the spirit of aloha...with titanium

by frédérik sisa

My wife and I were going to the International City Theatre one Sunday afternoon when we happened across a Hawaiian fest and hula & chant competition called E Hula Mau. We didn’t get to see any hula dancing or hear much by way of Polynesian music other than from bands on a stage in front of the Performing Arts Center, but we did enjoy mulling about the arts and crafts. Little did I know that I would be seduced into getting that Rodney Dangerfield of items, the Hawaiian shirt.

Of course, I don’t mean to invoke Rodney Dangerfield disparagingly – far from it, because he was actually a very funny and likeable guy. But, just as he joked about not getting any respect, the Hawaiian shirt is one of those clichés that suffers from everything clichés tend to suffer from. But, as yet another cliché goes, there’s some truth to be found and it is this: a beautiful Hawaiian is just as wonderful as any other kind of shirt, and how (and when) you wear it makes all the difference. The lesson: a wardrobe can only be improved by having a bit of Aloha in it.

You’ve undoubtedly seen by now guys wearing Hawaiian shirts, so I won’t post any pictures of me in my two new acquisitions. But here’s a closeup of the patterns. The darker one, naturally, fits right into my usual aesthetic. The bright red one is a pure flight of fun fancy, chosen expressly because it seems so out of character for me. Every so often, you just got to let go of gravity.

Both of these shirts are essentially vintage/thrift sold by a nice little outfit called 2 B Loved By U 2, a purveyor of “pre-loved recycled items” including jewelry like this whale bone fossil necklace:

The surprise is that for quality vintage, the prices are eminently reasonable. I paid roughly $30-40 for each shirt. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to sell anything online, but if you’re in Southern California and can make it to any of these fun Hawaiian events, it’s worth stopping by their booths to see what they have in stock.

On an unrelated note, I wanted to slip in a few words– I don’t really have enough to make a full post on the subject – about an experiment in jewelry. After concluding that my daily wear of silver in the form of anklets and a toe ring was rather demanding of the metal – the chains were often in need of polishing thanks to repeated exposure to water, skin, and such – I set out to find an alternative. The silver is just too attractive a metal to subject to insensitive daily wear. So what works as “performance bling?” The answer, it turns out, was obvious and right around my neck: titanium. While my necklace is dark matte aircraft grade titanium, the wrong finish for what I was replacing, the company that made that particular chain, Avant Garde, offers a plethora of chain and ring options. So, I opted for this:

And this:

The results? Great! The polished titanium, though it doesn’t have the brightness of silver, nevertheless has a warm quality to its reflection that is very appealing. And it’s really nice not to have to worry about it tarnishing. The only thing is that if either the ring or chains had been full-price, they would have been inaccessible until a future windfall…

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