The terms “anklets”, “ankle chains”, “ankle bracelets”, “ankle strings” or whatever else you may come across in fashion catalogues, jewelry stores and even in historical fragments, ring a bell sonorously enough, taking me back somewhere to my green days when the impetuous ‘90s were giving a rise to spanking new crazy cultures, trends and movements. Today, ankle chains are shaping one of the main accessory trends spotted at the spring/summer 2016 runway shows. But are anklets to be deemed just as a piece of fashionable accessory?
I obviously have a hunch about them to be more than just a fashionable fad and that ambiguity is whetting my appetite to explore the meanings of anklets and rules of wearing ankle bracelets. So let us jointly make an entertaining tour through the anklet zone.
The Origins of Anklets and Their Meanings
The latest runway shows brought forth a series of anklet designs and a couple of versions on how to style them best. Chloe came up with tiny golden anklets matched with beach-ready iridescent flip-flops, while Marc Jacobs was an active proponent of elegant two-layered anklets to be paired with timelessly classic black pumps.
But these are not the only anklet types happening in the fashion world. Anklets can be of different designs, made out of various materials (gold, silver, leather, plastic, nylon, beads, and shells) and in a focal point of mixing and matching procedures.
This may build a misleading guess that anklets are just go-go pieces, without any history behind them and without any symbolism hidden within them. Anklets do have history worth exploring and delving into.
While the Western culture could enjoy anklets only starting from the 20th century, the history of anklets in the Eastern culture traces back to the archaic times. The first samples of ankle chains were discovered while excavating Sumerian tombs and if you have a good command of history, you are sure to know that Sumerians were considered to be the “cradle of civilization” living in the southernmost region of Mesopotamia over 4500 years ago.
The archeological digs could explore and identify a series of ankle bracelets made out of different metals and stones whether precious or common.
In Ancient Egypt bracelets worn around the female ankles could tell a lot about her fortune and social status. A woman wearing a golden or silver bracelet decorated with precious stones on her ankle was obviously stating about her being a wife of a wealthy man, while the slaves or plebeians were usually wearing leather or metallic anklets or else anklets out of shells and in most cases they served as just amulets and talismans.
But it was in Ancient India that anklets were in broader circulation than in any other region. They might indicate the marital status of a woman or might be just an ornament. The flexible ankle chains called paayal were widely spread in India among dancers.
The metallic chains could be complemented with some sonorous trinkets or charms to jingle and tinkle gently while dancing. Such anklets are extensively in use even now and mostly among Arabian belly dancers.
Precious and intricate anklets are now an integral part of Indian bridal ensembles along with traditional saree and a plethora of other precious jewelry.
There was also another usage of ankle bracelets in the Middle East and South East Asia. In the old times the “feminine” short tripping step was considered as something ultra-sensual and wearing bracelets on both anklets joined by a chain was to restrict their steps thereby creating that so-graceful gait.
The anklets invading into America in the ‘70s became the favorite pieces of free-spirited ladies searching for freedom everywhere and in everything, thus making these pieces as effective components of the bohemian style.
Right or Left? Which Ankle to Wear Bracelet on?
Now in this crazy period of eclecticism when all the boundaries are blurred and scarcely anything can petrify us, all those stereotypes and even traditions are coming to naught. That is why whether you are wearing the bracelet on your right or left ankle, in the grand scheme of things is of no importance.
But some of the most inquisitive fashionistas among you might be extremely interested in the right or left anklet-wearing etiquette.
Much as the wedding ring is usually worn on the left ring finger that way expressing its owner’s marital status, the anklets were also once gifted to the bride by the groom as a symbol of love and the wish to become her official husband. The women wearing anklets on their right ankles were being referred as call girls.
However, in Christianity it is the left side that is considered to be the symbol of Devil and everything connected with evil forces in general. There is also another version that the bracelet worn on the right ankle is telling about its wearer’s being of non-traditional sexual orientation.
Anklet Types and the Rules of Wearing Them
Jewelry stores now abound with anklets worked out of different materials and designed in different ways, the prices of which differ abruptly depending on the materials they are made out of. Acquiring an anklet is a piece of cake, in fact, but wearing it is no picnic, really.
Here are some anklet types and rules of how to wear them for your mind-blowing look.
• Golden Anklets: Needless to say that golden ankle bracelets are number one luxury indicators, especially when they are decorated with precious stones, like diamonds or rubies. Golden anklets commonly happen designed as a single thin chain or a two-layered one.
It is advisable that golden anklets be worn by mature women rather than by ladies and of course at more special occasions. Hanging out with friends somewhere in a summer café or walking along the beach is in no way the right venue to sport your luxurious anklets, while a luxurious soiree will be just the case to show off your ankle bracelets paired with classic black pumps.
• Silver Anklets: Silver anklets are more casual, with some touches of bohemian spirit to them and are exactly for young ladies. They might make an ideal harmonious pair with summer sandals, whether high-heeled or flat, and are perfect pieces to hotfoot it around the city in a breezy summer evening.
• Beaded Anklets: You may run into both monochromatic and iridescently beaded ankle chains that are the things for every bohemian girl or ethnic-style-estimator lady. Beaded chains can be matched with either sandals or beach-worthy flip-flops. Head to a beach now!
• Barefoot Anklets: These are very popular items among Indian women. Barefoot anklets consist of a bracelet fastened on the ankle then stretching along the foot bridge and finishing with a toe ring, thus imitating a barefoot sandal only without a sole.
They are ideal versions for those who are in a craze to walk along the beach barefoot. Oh, and those lacy anklets look so dazzling on a bride enjoying her own marriage on a beach!
• Anklets with Charms: These versions have become popular recently especially when Pandora charms started their frantic invasion. Whether you give your preference to a charm of name initials, or a heart charm or maybe a star one, your charm anklet will become that very stroke to emphasize your individuality.
Some Extra Rules of Wearing Anklets
• Before gaining an ankle chain the first and foremost thing to consider is your own style. A business lady? – Does not function. A sporty girl? – Again no function.
Anklets are best synced up with bohemian-style-hunters or with any girl who has at least one free-spirited ensemble in her wardrobe.
• Anklets should be worn with a mini skirt or mini dress, with casual shorts, or leggings or else with cuffed jeans – in a nutshell, with anything casual that bares the ankle zone of your foot.
• To go with this daring anklet-style it is just a mandatory requirement to have perfectly groomed feet, without any calluses on them and with ideal pedicure, preferably in any vibrant shade.
• Heading to work with a bracelet on your ankle may be considered as a serious violation of etiquette rules, especially if you work in a large financial company.
Why not demonstrate your amazing golden anklet at that long-awaited corporate party marked with red on your calendar?
• Some eccentric women prefer wearing anklets over their stockings or socks. However, try to eschew this option and wear anklets only on bare ankles for more effective results.
• If your feet are thin and tender, opt for thin metallic anklets or even thin plastic ones but if they are not so thin and you are aspiring to make them visually slimmer and more slender, then anklets with some medium-sized trinkets hanging from them will fill the bill, for sure.
Celebrities Do Love Anklets!
• During the after-party of the Golden Globe Awards, in Beverly Hills, the audacious Jennifer Lopez appeared decked into an all-white cutout dress with a sky-high side slit all baring her leg, while those matching white pointed-toe pumps looked twofold elegant with a diamond thin anklet decorating Jennifer’s one ankle.
• Ashley Olsen was spotted at a Santa Monica art gallery wearing a camel coat over a black turtleneck and leather leggings, with a beige scarf thrown over nonchalantly, while the sling-back pointed-toe black pumps looked entirely harmonious with golden anklets on both of her ankles.
• Pop diva RiRi once shared a photo on her Instagram account showing off her ankle embellished with a Chanel vintage diamond anklet worn over her ankle tattoo titling the post as follows “Late birthday gift, vintage Chanel anklet #CCcertified”.
Also don’t miss your chance to shop stylish women’s anklets online browsing through the slideshow below and checking our selection!
Photos courtesy of Negin Mirsalehi, Song of Style, Gary Pepper Girl