Style Glossary: Sparkle Your Imagination–And Your Wardrobe

On New Years, your champagne probably won’t be the only think sparkling–your dress likely will be too. But, have you even taken a moment to sit down and say, “Gee, sparkly things on my dress, thanks for making me look so pretty. Let’s talk. I’d like to know you better”? I imagine you haven’t. I mean, they probably wouldn’t answer. (Okay, you’d probably look a bit nuts also, but whatever.)

Well, to celebrate these unsung heroes of accoutrements, this Style Glossary post is here to formally introduce you to seed beads, bugle beads, sequins, and paillettes!
At left: Lotus Gleam On Top, At right: Icicle Dance Dress

The Seed Bead [seed · beed]
As far as modern clothes are concerned, this decoration is that bead that’s teeny-tiny and fairly circular. Technically, though, the term ‘seed bead’ refers to any variety of small bead, cylindrical or circular, made from a drawn-glass tube. The craft of making drawn-glass beads actually dates back to over 2000 years ago in southern India, so you’re welcome to refer to the seed bead as ‘my old friend.’

At left: In Vogue Dress, At right: Beneath the Chandelier Dress

The Bugle Bead [byooguhl · beed]
Here were go again with technicalities: bugle beads are, in reality, a type of seed bead. But why should we make them feel unimportant? Us considerate fashion lovers know that bugle beads are long, thin, cylindrical beads, and that’s the skinny!

At left: Celebration in Tinsel Town Dress, At right: Barely Bashful Dress

The Sequin [see-kwin]
As Merriam-Webster puts it, the sequin is “a small plate of shining metal or plastic used for ornamentation especially on clothing.” Sequins can be be faceted or flat, and the term actually comes from the Arabic word “sikka,” which means coin.
At left: Downtown Countdown Dress, At right: Why, Hello There Top

The Paillette [pahy-yet]
Some define the paillette as a spangle for ornamenting clothing, and others may just call it a sequin. Both parties are right. If you’re out sparkle watching, you’ll recognize paillettes as larger-sized round discs, in plastic or metal, with a hole near the top.

Whats your New Year’s dress look like? Does it have any of the above decorations on it?

About Hannah

Suggested Posts

Galentine’s Day Style + DIY Self-Love Kit
February 05, 2019
This Face Mask Is Like a Bouquet for Your Skin
January 17, 2019
Workplace Besties: A #TeamModCloth Trio Shares the Love
January 10, 2019
How to Style a Party Dress Three Ways
December 20, 2018
The New Black: Styling All-Grey 3 Ways
December 13, 2018
Travel Bug: Saumya Takes Us on a Tour of DC
December 06, 2018
Party Recap: Hello Kitty’s Birthday in LA
November 12, 2018
A Pampering Present: DIY Concentrated Bubble Bath
November 05, 2018
Easy Makeup for Going Out: Featuring Anna Sui Beauty
October 22, 2018
Haunt Now, Haute Later: Three Scary-Stylish Outfits
October 11, 2018


  1. Clara 12/27/2010 at 12:19 pm #

    Great post! I was wondering what those huge sequins (paillette) were called!

  2. charlotte 12/27/2010 at 12:53 pm #

    oooh shiny!!
    if you can’t wear sparkles at Christmas- when can you?!


  3. Joy 12/27/2010 at 9:27 pm #

    thats my sequined dress for new years. By boy bought it (essentially) for me for my birthday even!

Leave a Reply