This year, my dad presented me, my mother and my brother’s girlfriend (already practically a sister) with a very special present. Over the years, powerful American women have stepped out wearing a beautiful brooch designed by Washington DC legend, Ann Hand. This pin, an eagle with a ruby eye and a pearl between its talons, has said to be an omen of power and strength for women. It has been seen on Madeleine Albright, Hilary Clinton, Pamela Harriman, Barbara Bush and many other leading ladies in the USA since the early 1990s. My father presented this pin with the hopes that I might wear it and find strength at times when I need it most. Granted, it is not the most fashionable piece in the world but any woman of style can easily find a way to make it work without having to look like Hilary Clinton or Madeleine Albright.
I wore my Ann Hand brooch for the first time last week when I was asked to make a presentation to a Fortune 500 company. I don’t believe I have ever been more nervous in my life than the morning of that presentation. As I went to leave the house I looked at my bedside and saw the brooch sitting on the table. I keep it here to remind me of how lucky I am to have such an amazing father. I grabbed the golden eagle, slammed the door behind me, jumped into the cab and asked the driver to floor it. As the car pulled away and I relaxed into the back seat I pulled the pin from my pocket and placed it on my lap. I didn’t think about what Hilary Clinton or Madeleine Albright would be doing in preparation for a big presentation. Instead, I was thinking about what my father would be doing. What he would be saying to me to calm my nerves. So while my dad may have given me a gift that was worn by all the great American female leaders in order to inspire me to be brave, it was actually his bravery that gave me strength at that moment.
Why mention this? I think sometimes people think we are all just wearing things to make some sort of statement or to feel stylish. While that is true 90% of the time, I do believe that 10% of the things we wear or carry have a special meaning to us. It could be a special gift, a first big purchase someone ever made or an object that you’ve had since you were young. Next time you see me out wearing this pin, you’ll know exactly why it’s on my sweater and maybe you’ll smile a bit when you see it…
And also, remember that strength can be found in the smallest of things. I have at least five things that I put on everyday that are from loved ones or are good luck charms that I never leave home without. Find pieces that mean the world to you and allow them to be a part of your daily style.