Friendship Bracelets for Grown-Ups

The record-breaking heat this summer begs for casual styles,
and one of the most carefree looks in jewelry incorporates into the mix a fashion
version of friendship bracelets, a style favored by children and teens
since the 1970s.

As originally conceived, friendship bracelets are handmade
adornments in what is a form of macramé and are given from one person to
another as a symbol of friendship. Wikipedia elaborates on the symbolism: “The
knotcraft and hand weaving used to create traditional patterns stems from Native American handcrafts,
particularly from Central American tradition. According to indigenous
tradition, the recipient of a friendship bracelet must wear it until the cords
wear out and fall off naturally. The idea is that the friend paid for it with
the hard work and love that made it, and the recipient repays the friend by
honoring the work. Removing the bracelet before it naturally falls off is a
sign that the friendship has gone sour. Another variation of this tradition is that
the recipient of a bracelet is entitled to a wish. After the bracelet wears out
and falls off naturally, the wish will come true.”

While an inexpensive bracelet purchased for one’s own use
isn’t loaded with the symbolism of a traditional friendship bracelet, it does
add a bit of flair to a fashion styling, and high-end retailers and designers are
in on the trend. Thus, Henri Bendel ran this ad in the April 2011 issue of Lucky magazine, featuring an assortment
of friendship bracelets from Henri Bendel’s own house line, plus one style from
Frieda & Nellie. Notice that the bracelets incorporate all manner of
materials, including crystals, faux pearls and dangling charms.

Here’s actress Vanessa Hudgens pictured in the May 2, 2011,
issue of People attending the
Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and wearing a variety of friendship
bracelets.

The May 2011 issue of InStyle
presents a polished weekend look of shorts and a blazer accessorized with a
silk thread and gold plate bracelet from Aurélie Bidermann. The statement
necklace is from Fenton.

The May 2011 issue of Marie
Claire
also chose to feature a friendship bracelet, this one embellished
with charms, from Aurélie Bidermann.

A casual look goes from basic to edgy with the addition of a
substantial amount of jewelry in this photo from the March 2011 issue of Marie Claire. The model’s earrings are
from Yewn, paper pansy necklace is from Unk Kraus, diamond skulls necklace is
from Loree Rodkin, barbed-wire necklace is from Tom Binns Design, vintage hand
pendant is from Aldo Cipullo, and white gold chain and opal pendant are from
Sally Sohn. On the model’s right arm and
hand, she wears fabric bracelets from Vanities, cord bracelets from Pandora,
barbed-wire bracelets from Tom Binns Design, a crystal ring from Stephen Dweck
and a bird ring from Rue. On her left arm and hand she wears a bird’s head
bracelet and a dinosaur bracelet from BoyNYC, a green bangle from Megan Odabash,
plus more fabric bracelets from Vanities and cord bracelets from Pandora, and a
ring from Pamela Love.

The April 2011 issue of InStyle
styles a lace tunic as a swimsuit cover-up and suggests: “Layer bracelets
of different types and textures for an armful of added flash.” The bracelets
are from Stella & Dot, Julie Collection, and Banana Republic.

The May 2011 issue of Lucky
accessorizes a string bikini from Inca with a friendship bracelet from Cost
Plus World Market along with a stretch bracelet from Rabbit Dance and a pair of
bangles from Kora. The earrings are from kendrascott.com.

Also from the May 2011 issue of Lucky comes this preppy styling of summer essentials, including
silk and cotton bracelets from Shashi: “Palm Springs colors enliven these
glitzy friendship bracelets.”

The June 2011 issue of Lucky
comments: “An armful of punchy bracelets looks playfully boho.” The leather
cord wrap bracelets and bungee cord bracelets are all from armaniexchange.com.
The petite
pendant necklace
shown on the page
is from jessicawinzelberg.com. About all the Baja-themed looks on the page, Lucky adds: “Washed-out and artfully disheveled, these
beachy pieces convey instant cool.”

Instant cool sounds mighty good right about now.