I ONCE KNEW a beautiful young woman named Shallah who was born in the Middle East and who had a remarkable sense of style and elegance. I knew her for a long time before she confided in me that not only was she born in Iran (she preferred to say she was “Persian”) but her great grandfather had been the second to last Shah of Iran.
–Naturally, I didn’t believe a word of it.
But then, CBS TV News came along and did an hour-long documentary on her father, who published a dissident political newspaper out of Switzerland, opposed to both the last Shah (who had deposed her grandfather) and the Ayatollah. For that service, he was awarded the Number One spot on the Ayatollah’s Most Wanted List. Basically, America loved him.
Shallah’s father had 10 or more children and was remarkably generous to them all. One Christmas season, the girls all received full-length mink coats. The following year, he gave them all Jaguars. Somewhere along the line, I was just too overwhelmed to question any of this.
An Ethnic Thing
ANYWAY, THE REASON I bring Shallah up is that she had a spectacular signature style that was distinctly individual. Among other things, she wore bracelets. Lots of bracelets. Running from the wrist to the elbow, on both arms. That, mind you, was at a time when no one wore more than one bracelet, on one arm, and nothing on the other.
I figured it was an ethnic thing. But it was also terribly impressive. Not only did the bracelets look fabulous, but each had a history and story all its own. They were all more than jewelry to her; they were prized possessions, worn night and day
Shallah’s bracelets were all bangles of one sort or another, some wider, some thinner, but most in the same size category. They were all metal, some engraved, some tooled. And they all looked spectacular on this real Middle Eastern princess, with her long silky black hair, dark golden skin, and super-skinny body.
IF YOU LIKE EXOTICA, YOU CAN GIVE WESTERN ZIP TO MIDDLE EASTERN ROYALTY WITH THESE STUNNING ITEMS:
- Multiple bangle bracelets with hearts in 2-tone metal design
- Italian style bangle bracelets with surrounding circles of color
The Hot New Bracelet Mix
NOW, ALL OF A SUDDEN, Shallah’s personal style – with all of its mystical Middle Eastern panache — is making news throughout the fashion world. Bracelets are hotter than hot. And if one is big, several dozen are bigger. Pile them on. Wear them with impunity. Twenty bracelets on each arm are not too many. No matter how you wear them, they look great.
ADOPTING THE NEW BRACELET MIX TAKES A BIT OF PERSONAL WILDNESS. But beyond that, it is easy. You see, almost anything you do with bracelets will look good, even though some looks are more “designer-y” than others. Try mixing a big bangle bracelet with a wide cuff for some hot double-duty fashion. Or, put on a tight cuff, some loose bangles, and another tight cuff for a three-way zinger. Terrific!
Couturier Alexander Wang uses bracelets with class. His newest runway look: wide, industrial-styled bracelets in silver, silver pave, and a hematite-like metal, along with half a dozen or so loose dark bangles. Dynamite!
IF YOU’RE PLAYING THE RUNWAY BRACELET LOOK, TRY THIS BEAUTY. IT GOES WITH EVERYTHING:
- A wide basket weave cuff features textured metal openwork in gold or silver plate.
It’s All in the Mix
MIXING BRACELET MATERIALS also makes for an intriguing new bracelet-arm look. For example, two wide silver or gold plate cuffs worn with a fabric bangle. Or, you might want to play with styles, combining a single bangle bracelet with a more ornate cuff.
—Yet another idea: Play the cuff game. Combine several wide cuff bracelets on one arm.
One of the most impressive bracelet arm structures involves color. The mix: plain metal-plate bangles with enameled bracelets in varying colors. On days when you’re feeling less experimental, stay to the colorful mix alone, putting on many of the same bangles, in different colors, yet all together.
HERE ARE SOME HOT SUGGESTIONS FOR A STEAMY SUMMER BRACELET MIX THAT IS COOL, BUT STILL VERY AFFORDABLE:
- Enameled bangle bracelets in bright summer colors with silver tone spacers
- Lucite bangles in bright colors of orange, green and yellow
- Enameled bracelets with geometric pattern