The Top Jewelry Trend of 2012: Stacking Bracelets

Back in January,  I noticed that stacking bangles was an important trend throughout 2011 and continuing into this year. As 2012 comes to a close, the trend shows no sign of waning. The wrist continues to be a favorite place for embellishment, whatever the whims of fashion. There’s plenty of contradictory advice on how to wear multiple bracelets, as you’ll see as you read on. If you’re contemplating a last-minute holiday gift, you cannot go wrong with a stunning bracelet to add to the collection of any fashion-savvy woman.

“Stack ‘Em Up” suggests the November 2012 issue of InStyle: “Cuffs, bangles, bracelets—here’s how to pile them on like a pro.” Pictured are three collections. For a rock ’n’ roll look: “Go for different beats: Combine metals and wear pieces that differ in size.” Pictured are a silver plate and leather double band bracelet from Ben-Amun; a gold plate cuff from Alisa Michelle; a cuff of oxidized silver with 14k gold accents from Melissa Joy Manning; a brass bracelet from Jennifer Fish; a brass snake bracelet from Boy NYC; and a brass and silver plate with pewter bracelet from NC Bis by Nancy Caten.

For a black tie look: “Unify an eye-catching variety of details, such as pearls, chunky crystals, and filigree, with a narrow palette of neutral tones.” Pictured are an acrylic and metal bangle from BaubleBar; a pave diamond, ruby 14k gold and rhodium bracelet from J/Hadley; a glass pearl and crystal bracelet from Laruen Ralph Lauren; a chunky glass and metal bracelet from Coldwater Creek; a crystal and rhodium plate bracelet from Sequin; and a Swarovski crystal and oxidized rhodium wide bracelet from Auden.

For a Bohemian look: “Mix unexpected textures—leather, stone, fabric—in a range of hues for a well-rounded yet quirky collection.” Pictured are three bracelets combining Swarovski crystal, hematite and cotton cord from Shashi; a braided bracelet of leather with brass from Alexandra Beth Designs; a bangle of amethyst, quartz, opal, turquoise, agate, and gold vermeil from Aurélie Bidermann; a leather and gold plate bangle from the Stones Jewelry; a bracelet of agate and gold plate from Kelly Wearstler; and a bracelet of Tagua bead, nylon, and cotton from Sequence.

The October 2012 issue of More calls “serious stacking” a “new bracelet trend,” urging readers: “Try a mix of textures and sizes. Vary the styles and use a defined color palette to unify the look.” Further bits of advice: “Center the piece that’s most dazzling”; “add unexpected texture”; and “links create light and shadow and add movement.” The bracelets pictured are a crystal and glass bracelet from Sequin; a calf-half cuff from Ann Taylor; a Kenneth Jay Lane gunmetal and argent bracelet; a horn and leather bangle from Kora; and a metal bracelet from Loft.

The October 2012 issue of Redbook includes this piece of advice in its “8 Rules for Younger Style”: “Make a jewelry statement: A single, dramatic dose of glitz is chic in a confident, dowager-countess kind of way. Just keep the rest of your jewelry minimal, or absent.” That last piece of advice is certainly not being followed in the fashion world. The silver bangle pictured is from BaubleBar; the two cuffs pictured are from Ann Taylor. The model’s sweater is from Eileen Fisher.

The question is posed in the November 2012 issue of Lucky: “What’s a more grown-up way to wear the multiple bracelets/’arm party’ trend?” Lucky‘s response: “‘Get rid of friendship bracelets altogether, and concentrate on gold and silver,’ pronounced accessories director Julia Kalachnikoff. ‘No strings, no other colors, no rubber—it ends up looking junky. Add a watch, too, in gold or silver.’ She thought for a moment and softened her stance, however minutely. ‘I don’t mind a little leather in the watch or for some of the bracelets. But leather and metal. That’s it. Keep it simple.'” Pictured are gold-plated bangles from Karen London; a leather wrap bracelet from; and a crystal-encrusted bangle from Alexis Bittar.

In a fashion spread focusing on gilded accessories in the November 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar appears a collection of statement cuffs from Robert Lee Morris (top left), Lynn Ban (bottom left), and Aurélie Bidermann (top and bottom right). Taking a more-is-more approach, the model also wears Tom Ford earrings and a Robert Lee Morris ring. Her swimsuit is from Eres.

The November 2012 issue of O, the Oprah Magazine features a lavish collection of silver jewelry. The stacked bracelets featured are: a silver bangle with pavé rhodolite stones from Coomi; a silver bracelet with “Deco details and a geometric design” from Judith Ripka; a woven cuff from Roberto Coin; a lightweight classic bangle of silver-plated brass from Robert Lee Morris; and a hammered silver bracelet also from Robert Lee Morris. The pebbled texture beaded necklace is from Coomi. The grape motif ring is from Georg Jensen; the intricate white sapphire-detailed ring is from Judith Ripka.

The October 2012 issue of InStyle features actress Blake Lively’s bracelets, quoting their designer: “As jeweler Lorraine Schwartz sees it, a beautiful woman has no right to bare arms. She must fortify herself with as many white and brown diamond, turquoise, and wood bangles as she can!” Lively also wears huge turquoise dangling earrings.

One reason to “load on the wrist candy,” according to the InStyle Makeover 2012 issue, is to camouflage upper arms: “Bring attention down to your slim wrists and hands with stacked bangles (thick or thin both work, or a mix) or a chunky cocktail ring.” Pictured are a python and gold plate necklace from Kara by Kara Ross; a studded brass and nickel bracelet from Anndra Neen; and a gold plate bangle from Kenneth Jay Lane.

The December 2012 issue of Vogue features a more-is-more runway spring 2013 runway look from Meadham Kirchhoff and (second from top, right), one of that design house’s hinged or “clamper” style bracelets created in collaboration with the Czech Republic company Lilien Czech, in designs inspired by Elizabeth Taylor. The hinged bracelets top and bottom are from Elizabeth Cole Jewelry; the bracelet second from bottom is from Erickson Beamon.

Ultimately, the reason for the continuing interest in bracelets may be that postured by Sarah Mower, writing in the text accompanying the December 2012 Vogue feature above: Bracelets are taking the place of shoes as the preeminent object of fashion lust. Mower writes: “Not so long ago, it was our feet that riveted all eyes.… But that was three years ago, when every woman wasn’t yet obsessively communicating on her iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android on a second-by-second basis. That, at least, is the sociotechnological explanation of why hand adornment has suddenly leaped into fashion focus. With every raising of phone to ear, every spate of tablet interaction, every e-mail-and-text-as-you-walk performance in the street, it’s our twenty-first-century digital gestures that are causing a fashion revolution.”

The revolution continues. Stacked bracelets are here to stay.

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