Clothes-minded—November 6, 2007

By Allison Cassing

“Look, something shiny!” It’s a sentence sure to create a distraction. There’s just something about the reflection of light that we can’t seem to get enough of. Who could ever pay attention in spelling class when taking notes in glitter pen? And what better way to spruce up a lackluster outfit than with a bit of glitz? Jewelry isn’t the only thing sparkling this season. Sequins, gems, and metallics are making their presence felt. Designers are adding radiant, bold details to clothes, shoes, and bags. Go ahead and step out in style—diamond-studded stilettos aren’t just for the glitterati anymore.

Jewelry is often number one when you think about infusing some shine into your ensemble. Small diamond studs are elegant, but why not up the glam factor and go for the Skittle-sized stunners? Cocktail and right-hand rings are the perfect way to indulge big-rock desires. Whether going faux or real, a few extra facets (and mill-imeters) never hurt anyone. When sporting an oversized stone, you should play it up for all it’s worth—“I can’t possibly open this door, I’m positively overloaded in carats!” To really highlight the radiance of the accessories, keep the rest of your outfit pretty basic. Nothing quite matches the statement you can make with a T-shirt, jeans, ballet flats, and a golf ball of a diamond.

Pair a glittery dress (think après hours, not prom) with a chunky knit for an über-chic look. The juxtaposition of sparkle and matte strikes the perfect balance between dressy and casual. Play with fabrics by topping sequins with a herringbone, tweed, or bouclé jacket. Many designers have taken to styling their flashy cocktail wear with weekend-y leisure pieces. Nanette Lepore topped a metallic frock with a herringbone coat, and at Rodarte, a nubby gray knit was thrown over a gleaming Oscar statue–gold dress. When something shiny catches your eye in a store, go ahead and try it on. Most of our closets are far below the glitter threshold anyway. If retail uncertainty arises, the answer is to pass on embellished jeans. Oh, life was so simple before the Bedazzler. When looking for things that put a twinkle in your eye, remember to tinsel yourself in moderation!

Put a little bounce in your step by sliding into a pair of shoes that sparkle. Go for some flats or heels decked out in sequins, large colored stones, and metallic threads. Shoes are the perfect way to dazzle if you’re not yet ready to swath yourself in sheets of sheen. A glistening toe peeking out from under a pair of jeans is unobtrusively chic. Punctuate your feet with proper glitz in studded-heel pumps from Miu Miu or Loeffler Randall’s metallic embossed python flats. Feeling more adventurous? Work it out in a pair of exquisitely blinding Swarovski-encrusted heels by Stuart Weitzman.

Everyone needs a stylish carryall and a healthy dose of glitter, so why not combine them? Take that basic black tote to the next level with raven-hued sequins. For evening, the clutch goes Hollywood when grids of crystal beads enter the mix.

From the runway, Burberry Prorsum’s spike-studded clutches and Valentino’s diamond mesh pocketbook are sure to glisten all night. They may be shiny, but steer clear of shaped Swarovski crystal purses. Kermit, log cabins, and soda cans covered in thousands of brilliant gems may seem like the perfect touch of whimsy, but please leave them be until you’re the wife of an oil tycoon. Also, there’s no need to indulge in too much jewelry when you have a statement purse on your arm. The bejeweled bag is like one large bracelet, only better because it can hold wardrobe changes.

Shine isn’t just for nighttime and galas anymore. With a little bit of shimmer, your wardrobe can glow in the winter light even as your tan fades. Upcoming holiday fêtes are the perfect time to try out some gems. If you can’t wait until then, there’s no better occasion than Monday morning to throw on a sequin dress and cardigan. You might even be tricked into thinking it’s Friday for a brief, shining moment.