The Best Ways To Style Sequin Fashion

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Nowadays, you can buy bedazzling kits on Amazon. But in the 1480s, sparkles were in short supply. According to Smithsonian Magazine, Leonardo Da Vinci designed one of the first-ever sequin-making hole punches. Though the device only existed on paper, it proves a deep-seated human desire for glitz and glamor, which can also be seen in everything from 1970s disco fashion to the remnants of King Tut's wardrobe.

These days, sequins are back and brighter than ever (literally). According to Vogue, they've been incorporated into the fall collections of designers like LaQuan Smith, Gucci, and Prada. In part, this trend is a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Jessica Testa, style reporter for The New York Times, explains to NPR, "People know the world hasn't gone back to normal. However, people are trying to go back to their lives, and when the world around you is still very dark, and you decide to dress to the nines, I think there's something very like the middle finger in the air about that." These days, part of "dressing to the nines" involves loud colors, clashing patterns, and (of course) lots and lots of sequins. Here's how to incorporate the style into your wardrobe.

Start off simple with accessories

If you're a glitter newbie, dip your toe into those sparkling waters with the help of a few accessories. Harper's Bazaar points to a revival of 1920s preferences for costume jewelry, bold, geometric designs, and brooches. As Kate Bellman, lead fashion editor for Nordstrom, explains to NPR "What I think is actually really cool about what we're seeing modern day in terms of the glam and the glitz and the sparkle, is that they really saw it coming in terms of the historical context from the roaring 20s." Ease into the modern day roaring 20s with bedazzled Free People gloves, rhinestone glasses (they're literally rose-tinted), and these Amazon statement earrings for fashionistas on a budget. Finally, go the extra mile with a Nordstrom Rack statement necklace.

Spiff-up the oversized blazer trend

Celebrities like Hailey Bieber and Margot Robbie are rocking the oversized blazer trend, according to Vogue. Put your sparkly spin on the look by investing in a truly-special bedazzled blazer like this starry design from Asos. Best of all, you can easily repurpose it by wearing it solo or as part of a set — pair it with leather trousers, jeans, or your favorite little black dress. Match it with similarly-sequined tailored pants and dress up with heels for a unique going-out look. Alternatively, find a sequined blazer dress like this bright red design from Anthropologie for a stand-alone look. As noted by Elle Australia, the oversized aesthetic has allowed fashion and comfort to merge. Just as loose-fitting, breathable dresses were popular throughout the 1920s, baggy pants and blazers are wardrobe must-haves in the 2020s.

Experiment with fringe

Refinery29 points to the spring 2022 collections of designers like Proenza Schouler, Gabriela Hearst, and Jonathan Simkhai as proof that fringe is trending. As the site explains, now that going out is possible again, going out fashion is in. For starters, check out this mini fringe dress from Nasty Gal and pair it with platform heels for a glamorous night look. Alternatively, put an edgy spin on the aesthetic by matching something like this black and gold fringe jacket with faux leather pants or a micro mini. Or, make a statement with these sequined fringe earrings from Free People.

Sequined mini skirts are versatile

Sparkling fashion isn't just nightwear; it can also be adapted for daytime looks. "I mean, I've seen people in sequin tops at the grocery store. I've seen people in sparkle shoes on public transportation," says Kate Bellman, lead fashion editor for Nordstrom. As she tells NPR, "I think we're just starting to see it be more reflective of how people feel, just wearing it sort of in this versatile way ... " Adapt a sequined mini skirt — like this Urban Outfitters low-rise design – by styling it with a plain tee and leggings for warmth during colder months. Finally, pair it with your favorite platform boots or even sneakers.

Try out disco ball designs

According to New York Post, disco ball designs are loud, proud, and increasingly popular. Reflective sequins are used for everything from planters to drinking glasses, but they can also be seen decorating dresses, shoes, and even fingernails. Check out this chain mail-inspired look from 12th Tribe. Given that it's see-through, you'll want to layer a lingerie set or a bodysuit underneath. Next, take inspiration from "Euphoria's" sparkling fashion and try out the disco ball nail trend. As the show's nail designer, Natalie Minerva, tells Bustle, "I love how these nails are just so visual and eye-catching; they scream 'party time' to me." Whereas some sequined looks draw inspiration from the roaring '20s, disco fashion pulls directly from the 1970s and cultural mainstays like "Saturday Night Fever" (and anything Cher-related).

Stand out in a bedazzled tank

Y2K fashions are making a resurgence, according to Harper's Bazaar. Yes, that means showing off some midriff and maybe even a belly button piercing or a lower back tattoo. Pair a shining tank top with low-rise jeans and an oversized blazer, like this pink Asos design. Alternatively, layer the tank over a white button-down for a pop of color. Going out for the night? Match with statement heels and a micro mini. Finally, further, accentuate your 2000s low-rise bottoms with this deep plunge sequin top from Nasty Gal.

Sheer dresses are in style

Just as bright patterns and bold sparkles emerged as a reaction to COVID-19 lockdowns, sheer looks can be connected to recent politics, specifically regarding the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade (via Marie Claire). As sexologist and psychotherapist Rachel Wright explains to The Zoe Report, "The movement of reclaiming our sexualities is huge and the way we dress is just one way to express that." Whether that means women are ditching their corsets and shortening their skirts in the 1920s or people opting for shiny and sheer fabrics in the 2020s, "dressing sexy" is defined by whatever makes you feel most comfortable and confident. For starters, check out this sparkling see-through Beach Bunny look available on Revolve's virtual shelves.

Underwear can be shiny too

Kim Kardashian's Skims may have started as a size-inclusive shapewear brand, but now it's much, much more (via Vogue Business). For instance, This sequined bra and panty set retails in sizes XXS to 4X. Let these bright pink sparkles shine through underneath a sheer shirt like this SNDYS design, or even layer the triangle bra on top of your favorite wardrobe items. Alternatively, hit the waves (or simply bask in the sun) in a disco-style bikini from Montce.

Find festival-worthy pants

Festival fashion is all about bright statement pieces, bold patterns, and — recently — the '60s and '70s styles. As Stitch Fix stylist Nicole Scudder told InStyle in preparation for 2022's festival season, "We will be seeing soft and flowy bohemian looks from past years, but also expect more psychedelic prints, fringe, and Westernwear additions to this year's style lineup." For instance, these sequined pants from Nasty Gal stick to bold colors and patterns while channeling the bootcut style of the '70s. For comfort, pair with an oversized band tee and a leather jacket, or if you're hoping to show a bit more skin, opt for a bra top. To pay homage to the western aesthetic, check out these star-patterned trousers.

Wear a glitzy button-down to an office party

Business casual dress codes are dominated by blazers, sensible footwear, and (of course) the classic button-down shirt, per Business Insider. However, check out this Anthropologie sparkling design to put your spin on the button-down. Wear a full-coverage cami underneath, and pair it with tailored trousers, pleather pants, or tuck into a high-waisted midi. This look is perfect for a festive office party or a post-work drinks date. Layer a solid-colored oversized blazer on top to keep those sparkles hidden throughout the workday. 

Find your own red carpet gown

Sparkles make an impact whether you're a Hollywood A-lister or not — look to some of the best-dressed stars at 2022's Met Gala for inspiration, or watch Taylor Swift's "Bejeweled" music video. For instance, Blake Lively's most memorable Met looks are all about those sequins (via Vogue). Though her "Heavenly Bodies"-themed Versace gown took over 600 hours to make, according to Insider, you can buy your own bedazzled dress ready-to-order. Channel your inner movie star and check out this Asos embellished maxi.

Let your shoes steal the show

According to British Vogue, cowboy boots (along with platforms) were one of the most popular footwear styles this past year, worn by the likes of Emily Ratajkowski and Dua Lipa. Now, it's your time to shine – literally. Put a "Wizard of Oz"-style spin on the trend by adding sequins. Style these Free People silvery western boots with everything from a dress to vintage jeans or dress-up platform heels with sparkle. For starters, check out these checkered River Island Sandals available on Asos. "Years ago," Elizabeth Semmelhack, the director and senior curator of the BATA Shoe Museum, explains to The Zoe Report, "I made a very off-the-cuff observation that women's footwear designs become more extreme during times of economic and political strife." It makes sense that today's shoes are higher and shinier than ever.

Try out the glam rock aesthetic

Glam rock fashion is trending again – think '70s-era David Bowie, Elton John, and Freddie Mercury (via NSS Magazine). As T. Rex founder Marc Bolan said in a mid-'70s interview with the BBC, and as later reported by The Guardian, "I think [my use of glitter] caused a change ... especially with cosmetics." Ultimately, Glam rock is about breaking down gender barriers with a generous helping of sparkles. In the words of Bolan: "There was some of my wife's glitter and I just spit on me fingers and stuck it under me eyes. I thought it looked cute..." Style this Free People starry moto jacket with "Euphoria"-inspired makeup, or take it up a notch in a David Bowie-worthy flared jumpsuit from Asos.

Bedazzle your hair

Hair gems were largely popularized on social media, according to Elle. However, they've since moved beyond our screens and onto the red carpet, worn by "Abbot Elementary's" Sheryl Lee Ralph at the 2022 Emmy Awards (via InStyle). Try the trendy look out for yourself with these Urban Outfitters face and hair gems – yes, you can also use them to decorate your lids or even your brows. Alternatively, invest in 1920s-style hair jewelry like this Free People barrette or even an intricate Ettika mesh hair tie available on Revolve.