All image credits: Kristen Lee/Jalopnik

I like to think that my style is pretty understated. I keep my jewelry to a minimum and, despite being from New Jersey, I don’t own anything that’s bedazzled. Overly sparkly crap doesn’t do it for me—that is until I got behind the wheel of the 2019 BMW X7.

Rising wantonly from the center console is a shifter that may or may not be hewed from Swarovski crystals. Every friend and family member who got into the car with me this weekend pointed an accusing finger at it and said, “What is that?”

That, my dears, is my new favorite automotive accessory, purely because of how unashamed it is in its gaucheness. It’s quite impressive, actually. It sparkles when it catches the sun’s rays (which is often) and reflects the unfiltered light of opportunity right back into your eyes.

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Alright, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but the crystal shifter, to me, is like a statement piece. And as far as statement pieces go, you only sport one of them so as not to detract from the overall effect. Which is what BMW has done here. The rest of the X7's interior is pretty muted, save for this shifter. Almost like it is the centerpiece.

I like looking at the shape and it’s cut in such a way that it distorts the logo BMW stuck beneath it. And it just feels nice in the hand—much nicer than the plain, plastic shifters that ordinary BMWs come with. It kind of makes putting the car into reverse feel like grasping at handle of an ornate cane. Maybe one that has a sword hidden in it.

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Anyway, I shouldn’t be too surprised. This kind of gaucheness has struck once before when I was in high school. I unironically tried on and bought a velour, hooded, Ed Hardy vest. It was 2009, I wore that shit to school and I have not gotten rid of it. I keep it at the back of my closet to keep myself honest.

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This shifter is like that vest: Hated by some (see also: most) but a physical manifestation of the fact that sometimes gaudy baubles are there to remind you to find happiness in the little things.