Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bangle bracelets are again commanding attention

You can't really say that bangle bracelets are back since they never completely went away, but this season they're a full-fledged fashion trend. The way to wear them is in stacks, so get used to hearing that jingle-jangle or clickety-clack they make as a cluster shimmies up and down the arm.

The sound they make depends on the materials they're made of, and right now anything goes, says Kim Renk, co-founder and co-designer of jewelry company Sequin. "There's something sexy about the jingle. It's like the bell of a woman calling your attention," Renk said.

There are bangles to be found in all price ranges, from Candie's kelly green ribbon bangle for $16 at Kohl's to the $625 Frank Gehry Tube bangle made of sterling silver and ebony wood for Tiffany & Co.

Bangles made their biggest splash in the 1960s as the kitschy complement to mod miniskirts and then resurfaced in the '80s -- like today, another period that borrows from the '60s.

What makes a bracelet a bangle is that it's circular, stiff and without links, says Silvio Hidalgo, president and designer of Florida-based jeweler Hidalgo, which claims enamel and diamond jewelry as its specialty.

A clasp is optional, he explains, but bracelets without clasps will move a lot more on the arm. A bangle with a clasp can be narrower and tends to have a more oval shape. Bangles with a clasp also tend to be more expensive, he adds.

The trend right now is to wear a mix of widths at the same time, though Hidalgo says he personally likes the look of a single bracelet type in a variety of colors.

Renk, wearing a slew of thin turquoise-and-silver bangles with a turquoise-and-silver python-print dress, says you can never wear too many bracelets.

But her sister and business partner says that if you go past the elbow, you've gone too far.

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