The OxStu on… Sequins

By Ophelia Stimpson

Sequins. It’s one of those eternally satisfying words in fashion which never really ceases to create an allure. Trends flash up and disappear like wildfire, and yet even when the catwalks find themselves in the dictatorial straits of extreme minimalism if we scourge long and hard enough we can bet on finding the cheeky glint of a sequin. As a word in itself, it has a sort of satisfying, quasi-onomatopoeic quality; just emphasise the ‘sss’ when saying “sequins” and you get all the sass and pizzazz created by the rustle of a dress submerged in thousands of them. Perhaps that’s a bit too poetic, but it’s hard to deny that there is always something slightly hypnotic about even the tiniest glint of a sequin buried amongst one’s ensemble. You need not use an army of them to bedazzle the masses (à la Whitney Houston in her video for Million Dollar Bill) – minimal presence can create maximum impact.

It’s useful to do a bit of self-assessment when working out how strong a sequinned element you will add to an outfit; if your look is more wholesome than whimsical then head-to-toe sparkle could appear more drag-like than ravishing. Equally, if you base your fashion aura upon wafting around in various garments of miscellaneous opulence, then it might well be worth committing to the glitter.

1) The dress. This is for style sisters with an amour for glamour. It need not be covered in sequins- (although we’re not dismissing the option of embracing full-on-flash) – the power often comes from a cleverly placed embellishment bolstered by a well-structured silhouette. There are plenty of flattering options in the shops where sequins gravitate around the sleeves and neckline of a dress to add a bit of magnetism. Sometimes, though, the High Street just doesn’t quite cut it: to really make sequinned glamour your own, find a dress which enhances your shape then sew on your own embellishments (you’d be surprised at the treasures to be found in haberdashery stores). Cheap jewellery from vintage shops can also serve the same purpose, and you can apply this trick to any garment in need of spicing up.

2) The shoes. These make a statement without being too obvious. Like a beloved lipstick used for a mid-outing pick-me-up, or a well-cut blazer for an instant smartening effect, sequinned shoes are transformative. You can be wearing anything, even daytime basics: just slip on a pair of sequinned steppers, (flat or killer, either works), and huzzah! … You get nonchalance with a wink to potential naughtiness. To ease into the look we recommend sequinned Converse for a familiar fit worn in a bold way.

3) The separates. A top or a skirt saturated with sequins is the best option for eclectic sartorial savvies. This works on all shapes and sizes at all manner of occasions: the defining element is to have no fear and realise that you can make it work anywhere. Team a brightly sequinned top with even brighter leggings, wellies and a headband and you’ll create an exotic storm at this summer’s festivals. Pare down a heavily embellished skirt with a soft woollen jumper and you’ll fit in anywhere from watching a rugby match to The Randolph and the Radcliffe Camera. This is our favourite way to wear sequins – all out.