’90s Flashback: This Is What Happens When You Wear Claire’s for an Entire Week
There are few things that make a group of grown adults look really excited during a regularly scheduled meeting: free pizza, free donuts, surprise raises or when you dump a box full of Claire’s accessories out on the table with a challenge to wear them for a week and then write about the experience. Here’s an account of what it’s like when your accessories travel back in time to your ‘90s mall rat days and you remain in 2015.
Sean: Associate Editor
Let me set the scene: The Brit + Co editorial team is gathering for our weekly meeting + our editorial director Lisa unleashes an unusually large box filled with Claire’s and Claire’s + Katy Perry accessories on us. Basically, this is what I imagine a 14-year-old girl’s birthday party/Christmas morning must feel like. Or going through the emotions of attending a 1D concert (bye, Zayn) while also Snapchatting every moment of said concert.
While I was skeptical at first about what items to grab — considering I am a Katy fan, but would not consider myself a Katy Cat, nor am I quite in the demo for all these glittery, sparkly, loud, fruit-centric accessories (that basically looked like pop art toys from the most bougey farmers’ market ever) — I narrowed my sights on my favorites of the smorgasbord. After selecting my winnings — a pair of cheeseburger sunglasses (DUH), a tongue-out emoji beanie (obviously) and an LED light up + studded Katy Cat jersey iPhone case (WTF), naturally — I felt confident I could live the teenage dream I was always meant to fulfill for a week (or forever?).
Throughout my week rocking these statement pieces, I got a lot of compliments (“Wow, that phone case is unusual, where’d you find that?”), some odd looks while rocking those cheeseburger glasses — sorry I look good in something other than Ray Bans — and several longing gazes when sporting that emoji beanie, which I obviously interpreted as jealousy and envy. Because, lets be honest, who wouldn’t want that beanie?
My favorite moment throughout my week of living the California gurl fantasy was definitely during a Saturday afternoon at Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco where I was completing with all of my Katy Perry items simultaneously. While enjoying the cool breeze — and a couple of cold beverages — I received so much love from parkgoers for my attire I felt like I was, as Katy might say, walking on air. I wouldn’t have said it at the beginning of the week, but after all the admiration for these Claire’s-essories I’m starting to feel like they’re a part of me (“that you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no” ;)
Alexis: Managing Community Editor
Let me break down my week by accessory — starting with a charm bracelet that puts your Pandora arm candy to shame.
I actually kinda, sorta loved wearing this, and… might actually wear it after this week?!?!? I got lots of compliments on it. Hanging from my wrist was a vegan nightmare of pizza, a hot dog and popcorn. People were especially keen on the bacon and eggs, proving that humans know the instinctual truth — that breakfast is the best meal of the day.
Burger Sunglasses: I attempted to wear these on my walk to work. The burger glasses and I parted ways after a whole two blocks. I can see these fitting in on a drunken, stoned night or at the beach or pool. But on your Wednesday morning commute, they don’t really translate.
Macaron Phone Case: So girly. So ridiculously girly. I ended up picking off all of the little colored rhinestones that were between the macarons, because I do what I want (and I’m neurotic like that). Santiago, my husband, also had things to say about the phone case, noting, “That’s the most horrible shade of pink I’ve ever seen.” It should also be mentioned that I was holding the macaron case up to my ear, talking to my sister WHILE I was wearing the burger sunglasses on my walk to work. Not that I’m blaming the macarons for making me part ways with the shades. I just want you to know the level of crazy I took this experiment to.
Cherry Hair Clips: These clips somehow made me feel monsterly self-conscious. I’m blaming my husband for these feelings. For a man who wears t-shirts and jeans every day, he has a lot of opinions on fashion. Case in point — when I came out of the bedroom with the clips on my head, he told me, “You look like a weird little girl… in elementary school… who eats her boogers.” When I relayed this to my friend, she said, “I can see that.” So yeah, the cherry clips gave me lots of feels.
Cherry Necklace: Cherries hanging around my neck = win. I got compliments. People told me that it really worked with my outfit. And Santiago didn’t say a GD thing to me. SUCCESS! If you’re willing to put in hard work and do a lot of trial and error, wearing Katy Perry Claire’s jewelry as a grown ass woman can be done, people.
Kate: Style Editor
The first things to catch my eye amid the candy-colored accessories were the black ’90s-style chokers: the classic tattoo choker that had already made a solid comeback among moody fashion girls and ASOS models, and a thin banded one outfitted with a yin yang charm. I wore (loved/slept in) versions of these as a tween who dressed exclusively in dELiA*s, so the nostalgia hit hard and I stuffed those along with a set of smiley face stacking rings and daisy barrettes in my purse. I never really grew out of grunge, so these pieces seemed like they’d be the easiest to work into my wardrobe (for ref: I own both of the sweatshirts featured in this 2014 April Fool’s Day post).
“‘Sup, Alex Mack?” my bf quipped as I walked out of the bathroom all Claire’s-ed up in double chokers, double daisy hair clips and every ’90s-feeling ring I could find (including a peace sign mood ring + one that featured a sitting Pharaoh — I reeeeallly wanted an ankh tattoo when I was 15). With my cropped slime green sweater and clunky boots on, I certainly looked like I had just stepped out of a scene from Daria, and it felt really inauthentic. If adult me wanted to resemble anyone young from that era, it was sundress-obsessed outcast Angela Chase or whoever got to kiss Devon Sawa in Now and Then, not a peace, love and alien face cartoon. Style is 90% about confidence, and you just can’t pull off a look when you feel like Brian Krakow. Period.
My final effort to wear Claire’s’ offerings of retro-inspired jewelry was way more successful. I was immediately impressed by a gold-colored body chain from the stash — it was rhinestone-free and had a subtle geometric pendant at the center. After swooning over body chains online when they were the thing to wear on the red carpet, this frills-free piece was the most wearable one I’d seen. I crawled through it in a white Everlane tee and threw on an H&M blazer and it killed at work. The styling seemed to help my co-workers see the edgy piece in a more approachable light (“I never knew you could wear it like that!”) and their reactions when I revealed where it was from were priceless (“Whaaaaaaaaat?”). Next on tap for HR-approved ways to wear a body chain: wear it under a collared shirt like Jenna Lyons.
Cortney: Associate Editor
If I told you I haven’t wore Claire’s jewelry since I graduated middle school, that’d be a lie. If ever I’m in need of some simple studs, I’m willing to bear the hoards of awkward, giggly 13-year-old girls to get them. But last week, I found myself rocking not just little diamond studs from the jewelry chain, but pieces like a pizza necklace, hamburger earrings and even a daisy-covered cat-ear headband – and that’s only the beginning.
Those three pieces were definitely the most dramatic of my bunch, but I also sported emoji earrings, a rainbow crystal headband, a charm bracelet, the most ‘90s hair clips you’ve ever seen and a pink, sparkly clutch covered in junk food illustrations. Obviously, a few of these weren’t really meant for a 23-year-old lady who’s looking to be taken seriously at the forefront of her professional career, but some of these pieces I am totally in love with.
I received endless compliments on my pizza pendant, pizza studs and hamburger earrings (conclusion: people love anything food-related) and while the glittery, illustrated bag is a little over the top, it makes my boring possessions crammed inside of it a whole lot more fun. The silver hair clips and rainbow headband will be passed down to someone a little younger than me, and the daisy-covered cat ears look a little ridiculous outside the realm of Coachella.
Still, the more subtle pieces of my bunch will definitely be making their way into my permanent jewelry collection. Just like the junk food most these pieces resemble, my motto for sporting Claire’s as an adult is to rock everything in moderation.
Lisa: Editorial Director
There was once a man standing outside of a tattoo parlor in Brooklyn during Williamsburg’s second wave of coolness who said to me as I walked past: “Girl, you got some cheeseburgers in your pockets.” I’ll let you figure out what he meant, but no, I was not riding the L train with two quarter pounders con queso tucked away in my True Religions*. Cheeseburgers have since become my mascot, starring in inside jokes between friends or as the occasional accessory (see: these cheeseburger leggings) so this accessory experiment was just a way for me to feed the craving and make my awesome team join in. (*I’ve never owned True Religion jeans, but it seemed like something I would have wished I could have afforded in 2005.)
You can wear anything with a jumpsuit and I know because I do. On one particular Friday date night rocking my favorite navy blue silk #girlboss onesie, I swapped my go-to statement necklace for the sparkly, stacked cheeseburger pendant. It rested perfectly in the jumpsuit’s (and my) décolletage. My date that evening was into it, but it actually went unnoticed outside of that. Maybe you need to pull the burger apart and look closer at each of its rhinestone-encrusted layers to understand how special it REALLY is. (Metaphor for life, anyone?)
I had a lot of sartorial success incorporating Clarie’s stacking rings into my current finger bling lineup as well. Wearing Claire’s as a real-life woman who commutes, has a serious full-time job and a happening love life reminded me of why my friends and I loved it so when we were hitting up the mall regularly on our meager allowance-funded salaries: options and affordability. I don’t take my personal style incredibly seriously, so was kind of thrilled to revert back to the days of cards filled with a rainbow of stud earrings or a group of statement rings. If you think about it, ol’ Claire was encouraging us to stack our rings long before “midi” was part of our vocab, and the cheaper stackers looked fab chilling with my more expensive pieces.
Still, the standout piece from the week, which will live on well past the first seven days is the rhinestone hot dog phone case. To this day, I get compliments on it regularly; in line at TSA, shopping for groceries, on the treadmill at the gym. I’ve spent the last year PHD (pre-hot dog), protecting my iPhone in a Lifeproof case, living my own clumsy life while that precious brick of glass and data suffocated under an inch of plastic. Now, my smartphone, no longer the Cinderella she was once forced to be, gets to join the party too. AND SHE IS LIV-ING. Talk to me in a couple months after the first crack, but ’til then. <3
Angela Velez: Associate Community Editor
Stuntin’ Earrings: These earrings are magic. A few days before, I bought fake bangs on a whim but was too scared to try them on. As soon as I slipped on these earrings, I was like YEAH! I AM STUNTIN’ and put in my clip-on bangs too. I sported this combo at a street festival and a housewarming party, and they were a hit. My lawyer friend insisted that I share these earrings with her.
Glasses: I was really excited to channel some nerd vibes with these glasses, since they were so over the top. I sported these on my commute and at the office, and no one said anything! By lunch time, our in-house makeup maven Misty finally noticed, and she said it was cute that I was wearing my dorky glasses. When I showed my friends, they were similarly unfazed and said they looked like something I would normally wear. Thanks, friends. But then they all kept asking to try them on, so I think they were secretly jealous.
Popcorn Cellphone Case: It’s very hard to subtly check your phone when it’s masquerading as a giant popcorn container, so probably every corporate job should invest in these for their employees. While my date seem unimpressed with the pearls and glitter stripes, the dudes from the bike shop couldn’t stop staring at it, and they asked to hold my phone. Conclusion: This phone case could get you a date with a cyclist, which is why it’s still on my phone.
**To check out the full Katy Perry for Claire’s line, click here.
What’s your favorite piece from this collection? Share with us in the comments!
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com