Thursday, November 7

Charm(ing) Trend: Alex and Ani Bangles

Jewelry is a timeless and very necessary accessory that adds interest, character and glitz to any outfit.  One jewelry trend that has been around for quite a few seasons, and is definitely here for the long haul, is best known as arm candy.  We’ve all swooned over the colorful and glittering collections of bracelets, bangles, watches, and cuffs that adorn pretty little wrists in Pinterest photos that highlight this trend. In fact, many of these photos lead to some of our favorite jewelry vendors: Bauble Bar, Chloe + Isabel, and Stella & Dot, to name a few.  However, Alex and Ani, my latest obsession, is taking arm candy to the next level with unique, personalized pieces that will leave you wanting everything in their collection.
Alex and Ani sells all types of jewelry including necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets, but what I absolutely cannot resist is their charm bangles. These unique pieces come in two finishes: Russian Gold and Russian Silver, and most importantly, contain a sliding mechanism that replaces traditional clasps and one-size-fits-all models, allowing for a perfect fit for all.  The charms feature a variety of symbols from initials and birthstones to Greek gods and goddesses, places of interest, and even Major League Baseball logos, allowing each person to assemble a collection that truly represents their interests and individuality. Additionally, Alex and Ani detail the symbolism behind each of their pieces. Each bangle has a meaning behind it, and you pick the bangle based on what is meaningful to you.  For instance, according to their website, the cupcake charm bangle symbolizes the importance of celebrating life’s little moments and the joys of all things decadent.  The description of this piece says, “Adorn yourself with the Cupcake Charm to embrace an optimistic outlook that leads to a peaceful existence.”  Here I was coveting this particular bangle simply because I thought it was cute and admittedly have a weakness for cupcakes, but I will certainly look at it in a new light after reading the symbolism behind it.
In addition to the design and symbolism, I really love many of the founding principles of the Alex and Ani brand.  The company was founded in Rhode Island in 2004 by creator and designer Carolyn Rafaelian, who strives to create products that according to the website, “adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit.”  What is most unique about this company is the fact that they infuse their products with beneficial positive energy referred to by scientists as “vital force,” also known as chi, etheric energy, life force, or zero point energy.  Additionally, Alex and Ani is an eco-friendly company, purchasing metals from local mills and creating their jewelry from recycled materials.  They make all of their products in the United States, and work closely with many nonprofit organizations, creating designs that embody the message of each charitable organization and donating part of the corresponding proceeds to the charity.  Seriously, what's not to love?
Alex and Ani is revolutionizing the “arm candy” industry by creating pieces that are not only beautiful and unique, but are truly symbolic and representative of the individual who wears them. So far in my collection I have my initial, a heart and key, the path of life infinity symbol, a butterfly, fleur de lis and a pendant that reads "Everything happens for a reason." For my mom, I bought a series of nautical themed charms, including a seashell, sailboat, starfish, and lighthouse.  I particularly love the fact that I can build my own personalized collection, but also add interesting pieces such as beaded bangles, and pair my charm bangles with other bangle sets that allow me to accessorize any outfit.

I recommend stacking your bangles.  I believe that stacking your bracelets can never be overdone… but maybe you should stop at 12.   I started with one bracelet, then moved to five, but thought my wrist still had room for more so went up to 7! You can stack as many bracelets as you want, whatever is comfortable for you. I believe in the saying “the more the merrier.” I also love to mix metals and pair the gold with the silver.  The possibilities and combinations are endless!

Be sure to check out the Alex and Ani website to start building your collection or find a store near you. It's absolutely addicting; don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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