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Trends: South West Style

Oct 2, 2007

by NaughtySecretaryClub handmade and vintage goods

Jennifer Perkins resides in Austin, TX where she runs her jewelry company Naughty Secretary Club out of a room in her house. Not just any jewelry mind you, kitschy revamped jewelry made with a wink and a smile. She recently came to the realization she had more jewelry supplies than she did space and that is where her line of Crafty Curios on Etsy came about. Jennifer also co-produces a fashion show and craft bazaar called Stitch with a few of her fellow Austin Craft Mafia friends. Oh and if you want to see her in crafty action tune in week days to DIY Network and catch an episode of Craft Lab.

Last year when my younger sister Hope Perkins of Hot Pink Pistol (hotpinkpistol) fame started painting her infamous series of Dead Rappers in Native American Headdresses I thought she had officially inhaled too much glitter and fabric paint.


Fast forward a few months and I am out jewelry shopping for myself and find myself picking up huge beaded necklaces in the turquoise and red color combination.


Next thing I know fellow Austin Craft Mafia member Karly Hand (and next door neighbor to Hope) comes home from a trip to Vegas with shoulder dusting suede leather and feather earrings and it dawns on me: we are on to something here.  Before I know it I am commissioning Horses in Headdresses to be painted on my jumpers and pining away for a pair of brown fringed moccasins.

Every where I looked all I could see was the South West coming back.  For years I had mocked fashion involving dream catchers and coyotes howling at the moon, and suddenly I loved it.  Just this weekend I went to a wedding where a Choctaw blessing was bestowed upon the bride and groom.  It was clearly a sign.

Like any fashion trend, I am not saying it is wise to rawk this look from head to toe.  No style or trend looks good when overdone; you end up looking themed or in costume.  I have found that incorporating bits and pieces of my new love of the South West into everyday wear works best.  Trends are best when finessed with subtlety.  Here are a few suggestions from Etsy and beyond…

Let me start by saying that I LOVE big earrings.  The bigger the better.  When they are big enough to also double as a Christmas ornament and shaped like a Native American Headdress, this makes me extra happy.  Not only are these earrings made by a dude (BeadedArt) but look closely the Headdresses are made with bead covered safety pins.  I want them so bad it hurts and they sell necklaces too!

So you say you don’t have pierced ears?  Well first of all, that is hard for me to wrap my brain around, but don’t you worry your pretty little head, because you should be sporting ear cuffs instead.  Cuffs?  Who? What? You heard me right.  I can’t believe I am saying it out loud even, but I think ear cuffs have come full circle and are officially ok to wear again.  When they are in rainbow colors with mismatched feathers like the ones made by dystructiondesigns they are even better!  I think I am going to wear mine some gold chains, ala Mr. T style!  Um please also note the cute model’s turquoise Native American flair necklace.


Moving on in the jewelry department let us not forget our necks.  As mentioned earlier I started dabbling in the big necklaces earlier this year.  Well who are we kidding — I’ve always worn big necklaces. Let me rephrase that: I started dabbling in big necklaces with a South West feel to them.  Here is a picture of a friend and I from this past spring at SXSW where I was feeling the big beaded necklaces.  Please also note my handpainted horse in a headdress jumper.


Somehow I dream of even bigger necklaces.  I want my jewelry super-sized at all times.  Bear with me on this next one … I just know that a breastplate by tandscreations would look awesome on top of a white men’s tank top with a jean skirt and boots. Sure it’s not Peta approved, being made of 68 coyote foot bones, but I suppose if you were crafty you could whip yourself up your own vegan version.  I love the fringe on the sides, they would match my moccasin booties perfectly!

If the breastplates are a little too much for you, maybe you should look into the designs of pipertree.  Her large chunky necklaces still have the feel of a breastplate without being quite so obvious about the effect you are going for.  Notice the subtle feather charms on the first example.  pipertree also reminds me of another hot trend I am seeing more and more of and wanting for myself: the color gray.

Another look I love is clothing that appears to have jewelry on it.  Several of my friends and fellow Stitch producers here in Austin have been going crazy for an Etsy designer named Avalove.  They are smitten on her silk-screened T-shirts and dresses which have feathers on them. The Southwest flair of these tops is understated and obvious at the same time.  Again notice the gray, but also take a peeksie at both models’ belts, not just any belts but variations on the traditional Concho Belt!

Here are a handful of more obvious nods to the look by Etsy sellers crostini, Ahpeele, begonia44.

Other trends I am hot for right now include…

I must have a yellow purse, the larger the better and preferably in more of a mustard shade.  I am also smitten on purses that have straps that go across your chest like a messenger bag or satchel.  Royal Blue Crocheted tights — I can’t wait until Austin gets cool enough for me to wear my pair.  What I am really keeping my trendspotting-eye on is the fact that my sister has now started painting past presidents like JFK and George Washington onto clothing.  All I know is the Abe Lincoln jewelry on Naughty Secretary Club sells like hot cakes and she was right about this Southwest thing so I am stocking up on anything that bares a resemblance to our founding fathers.  The presidential look is going to be hot in 2008.  Trust me.

FLIGHTY feather ear cuff no-pierce unique Native American exotic earring 4 strand PURPLE
FLIGHTY feather ear cuff no-pierce unique Native American exotic earring 4 strand PURPLE
gauzy poofy sleeve peacock feather collar with standing bird on back
gauzy poofy sleeve peacock feather collar with standing bird on back


  • daughterofthesun

    daughterofthesun said 11 years ago

    Dont forget about these native inspired designers!! and

  • TeenAngster

    TeenAngster said 11 years ago

    I lovelovelovelove this article. Great job! Native American stuff is TOTALLY my steez right now. Just bought a beaded sweater!

  • BeadedArt

    BeadedArt said 11 years ago

    Wonderful article. Thank you for including my headdress and I hope southwest lives on forever. Maybe I'll even talk my wife into making some items to list in her embroidery shop.

  • DoorNumberFour

    DoorNumberFour said 11 years ago

    Jen (of Naughty Secretary Club) is truly a visionary. I sold her jewelry at my Atlanta boutique Lily Moon for years before I closed it to resume designing. Hi, Jen!

  • hmgrace

    hmgrace said 8 years ago

    Don't forget Feather hair extensions. Very native

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