Sparkle in Style: How to Wear Sequins Successfully

As the fall fashion season approaches with its different textures and fabrics, so does one of womankind's favorite embellishments: sequins. Eagle-eyed fashionistas (like me) have probably already spotted fall's green sequined sheath from Dolce & Gabbana, and there's sure to be more sparkly, sequined designer goodness to come.

Bottom line: whether matte or shiny, sequins can add an elegance and sparkle factor to any ensemble - but only if they're worn with style (you don't want to look like you arrived fresh from Dancing with the Stars). Here are a few tips on how to wear sequins and sparkle successfully:

  • Beware "It's shiny - I want it!" syndrome. It is possible for something to be too shiny and sparkly. So when it comes to wearing sequins with style, it's better to stick with the motto "less is more." For example, a tunic with a swath of sequins is stylish; a tunic made entirely of sequins is probably not. There is always an exception (the aforementioned Dolce & Gabbana sheath, for example), but generally, you don't want too much of a good thing.
  • Scared of sequin overwhelm? Try an accessory. If you're not ready to dive headlong into sparkle city, there are plenty of accessories that will help you get your sequin sea legs. And I'm not just talking about grabbing a sequined handbag; for something subtle, try a sequin-adorned headband or cuff. Or, for the next step up, try a sequined heel (note: sequins are very delicate and easy to damage, so tread carefully).
  • If you're looking for something off the beaten path, go with a matte sequin. While the ideas "matte" and "sequin" may seem to work at cross-purposes, when put into practice together, matte sequins can be quite sparkly in their own way. And when mixed with regular sequins, matte sequins tone down the overall effect, preventing the dazzle-meter from going through the roof. Plus, their subtle shine adds a unique and elegant texture to any ensemble.
  • While wearing sequins, go embellishment-lite. This means don't crowd your sequins with oversized cloth flowers, pins, scarves with intricate weaves or patterns, bows, ties, chains, or any other embellishments. Sequins are quite a force on their own, and while you can contrast them with different fabrics (say, tweed for an elegantly eccentric look), pairing them with other embellishments will look overcrowded and overwhelming. Less is more.
  • Go easy on the exposed skin. And I don't mean because sequins have a tendency to chafe (which they do, so watch out for this). Unless you're trying to look like a ballroom dancer in the middle of a performance, avoid showing a lot of skin with sequins. No backless stuff, no fringe, no super-short skirts, and no fishnets. Go for tasteful, elegant, and understated instead.

Just follow these simple tips on wearing sequins, and you'll be well on your way to sparkling in style.

Published by Sara Marsh

A writer and actress, Sara Marsh has been published by many organizations and has written content for many companies. Marsh also serves as Artistic Director of Twin Cities-based Dark & Stormy Productions, an...  View profile