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

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3 Comments

  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?!

    Charlotte
    http://www.girlnextdoorfashion.net

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

    http://www.modcloth.com/store/ModCloth/Womens/Dresses/During+Intermission+Dress

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

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