How To Wear Fringe

How To Wear Fringe

Without looking like you’re perpetually Coachella-bound.

If you work in or around fashion, you’re no stranger to the double take.

You’ve seen everything from the innocent (grandma subtly slipping on sunglasses when you wore your sequined mini to her garden party) to the moderately mortifying (walking into a dad-convention of a meeting in an ill-advised Muppet coat and pom-pom Diors).

But in our years of breakthroughs and missteps, we’ve come to embrace the fact that some of the best trends come with a slew of side effects—may cause parental disorientation, confusion about whether you’re in costume, or a strict talking-to from Fran Lebowitz if said trend is platform shoes.

Case in point—fringe. Since the longtime festival favorite permeated our day-to-day wardrobes in the form of shredded suede and tassels dangling off kimono sleeves, we’ve been fiending for fringe in less-expected places: think decorating jean seams, cascading in thick tiers down a maxi skirt, or wrapped around ankle-strap heels (subway grate tangle fiascos notwithstanding). But there’s a fine line between fringe benefits and full-on Annie Oakley.

“Don’t overdo it by piling one fringe piece on top of another,” says Elyse Walker, owner of the eponymous Palisades boutique. “If you have a great fringe bootie, rock it—but then skip the fringe bag and fringe jacket for another day.”

Here’s how to tastefully tackle the fringe trend without going overboard.




(But Not)

The suede fringe jacket—a look mastered by the likes of Elle Macpherson and Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What—is one of those things that can go very, very wrong. Like Times Square character wrong. The main problem being the sheer volume a 3D accent like fringe adds to an outfit. But when paired with pared-down basics like indigo flares, a white tee and box bag, or balanced out with a silk jumpsuit and sky-high mesh heels, you can rein in the cowboy look (pun intended).



Glam '70s Disco

(But Not)

We were whisked back to Studio 54 last season with midriff-skimming tassels, larger-than-life toppers and frocks just begging to be shimmied. But while disco ain’t dead, you should probably save the disco-ball look for the next Gatsby party. Instead of costume-trunk beaded fringe, we’re opting for dip-dyed sheaths à la Matthew Williamson or thick, dread-like braids of the Lanvin variety (just Google “Komondor dog” and you’ll get the picture). And the Emilio Pucci leather-fringe dress that’s been on our mood board since Fall 2014.



(But Not)

Admit it—you cringe a little whenever a slice-n-diced festival crop-top DIY pops up on your YouTube feed. If only they didn’t look so frosh week. While there are some Sunday-afternoon crafts that have seeped into our closets—namely tie-dyed t-shirt dresses, upcycled Levis and the occasional last-minute strapless bra—we’ve yet to pull the scissors on anything we actually deem wearable as-is. But more and more, we’ve been spotting coulda-made-it-myself pieces sashaying down runways in the form of fringe-trimmed tees and skirts sliced into ribbons of thick fabric. Some things are just better left to the pros, right?

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