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How To Wear: Statement Bracelets | Manolo for the Big Girl

How To Wear: Statement Bracelets

Hello my little buttermilk biscuits, how’s every little thing?

have I responded to everyone’s questions from the Monday Post? If not, ask again and I’ll do my best to get to it today.

Now back to the second-to-last installation of the statement jewelry series: Bracelets.

As far as jewelry wickets go, bracelets are among the stickiest.

Still, I’ve picked out ten Plumcake-approved baubles from punk to prissy all advertised to fit a larger wrist and pictured here for your delectation and delight.

Just click the photos for shopping links.

First we’ve got to find one that fits, which requires an act of Congress, THEN we’ve got to make sure it doesn’t give us stump-arm, which requires an act of God. You know what I’m talking about when I say stump-arm right?

It’s the way a bad bracelet visually shortens your arms until you look like the star in an all-Tyrannosaurus Rex production of Auntie Mame. Sure, it makes a statement, but “transvestite thunder lizard” probably isn’t the direction we want to go quite yet.

I’ve only started wearing bracelets within the past few months. Historically I’d avoided them because:

a) It was difficult to find arm candy that was big enough to circumnavigate my 7.75″ wrist (not to mention slide over my giant mitts, made only from the finest of Virginia hams)

b) I don’t really like most stretch bracelets and non-stretch ones bothered me while I earned my crust of bread at the newspaper

c) My torso is long so it gives the appearance of having short arms. See stump-arm and drag queen dinosaur reference above

But somehow the stars aligned to make me A few months ago Hot Latin Boy bestowed unto me a custom parure of  a necklace, earrings and bracelet he designed and commissioned just for yours truly.

Well I couldn’t NOT wear the bracelet so I slipped it over my wrist and was surprised by how pretty it looked with my white dress and tan (okay, you know what, I can hear you laughing and you all can just quit it right now, I totally had a tan. I was practically bronze, assuming the word bronze means “slightly darker than alabaster”) skin.

A month or so later I came into possession of a ridiculous stack of unadorned silver bangles that fit me perfectly and now I wear them at least once a week.

Six things to keep in mind for wearing bracelets:

Think about movement.

The key to wearing statement bracelets is to make sure they’re not too tight, and have a little movement on the arm.

It’s strange, but one big thick bangle or cuff looks clunkier than that same bangle plus another slightly more delicate piece.

Don’t believe me? Go try it.

Getting a bracelet with dangling ornamentation is a fantastic way to get movement without bulk. I’m a huge fan.

Be careful with cuffs. I’ve got to be honest, I don’t just love big cuffs on big girls.

I love big cuffs in and of themselves, I even have a gorgeous 1970’s Pierre Cardin figural rams head cuff that probably weighs a pound and a half, but it’s very hit and miss as to when and how successfully I can wear it. The downside is, of course, that cuffs are the bracelets more likely to actually FIT a larger wrist.

If you want to do the cuff thing, look for something that tapers, the ones that are uniformly thick can look uniformly clunky. Not a fan.

Charm bracelets, when done right, are fantastic on a big girl.

The key is to keep from being cutesy.

Way back in the misty days of yore, from about the 1930’s to the 1960’s it wasn’t at all unusual for a woman to collect tiny little charms in the shape of shields as souvenirs from the places she’d visited.

They’re usually silver with an enameled crest with the place name and some local flora, fauna or site.

I have a travel bracelet full of little travel shield charms –although admittedly I buy them on eBay or Ruby Lane after I get back– to mark my favorite towns and cities.

I also get antique silver three-dimensional charms of every mode of transportation I’ve used.

Not only is a great piece of jewelry, it’s an heirloom in the making and a conversation piece.

You can point to the little horse and carriage and tell the grandkids about the time you took a surrey ride around Ensenada with a cute Mexican fella (extra bonus points if they’re HIS grandkids too) or the time you went to Wales on a ferry and had to throw yourself on the mercy of a stranger, which is how you spent the night in a place called “The Spider Cottage”.

Bangles: More is (sometimes) more. Up to a point that is, but usually five coordinating bangles are better than one and ten are better than five.

You’re generally safe taking a stack of bracelets 1/3rd of the way up your forearm.

Up to a half is doable with big stacks of chunky bracelets, but anything longer than that is seriously Advanced Fashion, so think it through.

Think about sleeve length. Easy rule of thumb:You want at least as much bare arm as you have bracelet-covered arm. If you are wearing bracelets that climb 5″ up the wrist, your sleeve should end no lower than five inches from the top of your northernmost bracelet.

Think outside the bracelet box. I’ve used bow ties, long necklaces, dog collars with vintage earrings attached, silk scarves, and just bits of ribbon onto which I’ve pinned a large antique brooch or fur clip.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for today.  Stay tuned tomorrow for rings and various other ornamentation and if you have something to say, put it in the comments!

14 Responses to “How To Wear: Statement Bracelets”

  1. pamici September 29, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    This series has me so inspired! But … my jewelry storage is no longer adequate. I have been using ziptop baggies in a plastic shoe box, but it keeps everything in matchy-matchy sets and limits creative combinations. Any suggestions for storage/display?

  2. Leah September 30, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    I have my Mom’s charm bracelet, but it is a touch too small. Okay question… I have been looking forever for a PLAIN charm bracelet for bigger wrists. I have some charms already & don’t want to buy a bracelet with charms already attached. Do you know of anyplace with such a thing? Preferably silver, but if I find one, I’ll deal. Thanks Plummie!

  3. Miss Plumcake September 30, 2011 at 2:53 am #

    @Leah: I got a vintage one off eBay. Actually I think it had one charm on it, but I just snipped it off. Overstock.com should have them too.

  4. coffeeaddict September 30, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    @pamici
    as a jewellery designer my stash is huge. So my darling Mr. C went into A DIY store to purchase ply wood (huge rectangle) cut four holes in it. We hot glues some foam on and covered it in lavender (to match the bedroom of course!) fabric.
    I bought a box of sewing pins and all my jewellery is now on the wall.

    Huge fan of bracelets though. And cuffs.

  5. JennaB September 30, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    I love the bangles and the toggle bracelet, and thanks so much for the links, I never realized that HSN did jewelry for larger hands…very good to know! Last year I got obsessed with big chunky bangles and found an etsy seller who was willing to make me a plus size version of her organic-y resin bangles. Here’s the link to her store… http://www.etsy.com/shop/Resign?ref=top_trail. They aren’t cheap, but I have two in a deep purple that I wear constantly.

  6. Liz September 30, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    This is more of a PSA than a fashion statement, but be careful with bangles when you’re working at a computer. Unless you want to be like one of my colleagues, who “bang, bang, bangs” her bangles on her desk as she types, completely oblivious to the filthy looks she gets. Don’t be That Person.

  7. Liz September 30, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    My favourite bracelet is the charm bracelet my mother spent my entire teen years building up for me, before giving it to me on my 21st birthday. I don’t even care that it makes me look chic; I just wear it on my slightly down days to cheer me up.

  8. Miss Plumcake September 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    @Liz: Exactly, that’s why I almost never wore bracelets when I was at the paper.

  9. jojo.k September 30, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    I wish that I had seen Miss Plumcakes advice last Christmas before I asked for a cuff necklace.

  10. jojo.k September 30, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    err, bracelet

  11. Jeni October 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    I LOOOOOVE bangles, they are often the only jewelry I wear. I think I look weird in necklaces and the only earrings I think look ok when my hair is up (which it is 95% of the time) are my small pearl studs. I stack on the bracelets though, in a former life I think I was a Indian woman…

    I have large hands and pretty large wrists but I have had luck with glass bangles from India (look for xl sizes). It can take some finesse (aka lotion/oil and for goodness sake don’t try to put them on one at a time!!) but they are so much fun!

    Oh and if you are looking for a way to store bangles I have 2 options told to me by my Indian ex bf’s sister- look at Indian stores online for bangle stands, you can get a verity most are wood and some are very pretty. If you are cheap/poor/don’t like that option do what she did (and I do) string the bangles onto loops of ribbon and hang. If you have A LOT of bangles like I use to have (the horrible bangle accident of 2009 has diminished my numbers)this is a good option.

  12. lali October 2, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    Regarding bangle storage — at a shop that specializes in storage solutions I got 2 long stick-like “hooks” (they turn up at the end), one end of which you can attach to those grill-like things you stick on the wall. Instead of a grill, I attached them to the side of a shelf next to my vanity so they are parallel to the wall and it is easy to see the bangles. Also a nifty way to see which bracelets work together.

  13. Sarah October 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Just rocked a charm bracelet for a semi-casual wedding. One charm and bracelet that came from my husband, the rest of the charms were given to me by my grandmother (from her charm collection)… including a Norwegian shield charm. I feel so TEXTBOOK!

  14. Gwenda Tirk October 20, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    I really like the Wind chimes, Blue Moon and Stars’