I recently returned from a week-long vacation in Mexico — a trip that was not only gloriously relaxing, but which also installed in me an obsession for my new must-have summer item: the beaded accessory. I fell in love with all of the hand-beaded necklaces, belts and bracelets overflowing in the flea markets of downtown Puerta Vallarta. But, alas, a suitcase can only hold so much, so I retrieved a few special pieces for myself and came back committed to finding my new favorite trend stateside. A little research turned up a plethora of goodies, so I’ve pared it down to a few select beaded treasures that I am coveting hardcore — the perfect final touches for a successful, and stylish, beaded summer.
1. Pencey Caius Beaded Sandal, $320
Lo and behold, the first item that turned up in my search was this gorgeous beaded sandal from Pencey. I love the geometric prints in the delicate, neutral palate and adore the idea of a sexy, beaded sandal to strut about in the summer weather. I’m also obsessed with the double tasseled zipper closure (tassels are another accessory I can’t get enough of). There’s nothing these heels wouldn’t match. Who doesn’t love a shoe with a little individual flare?
2. Lanvin Grosgrain Belt, $1020
I envy you women who can rock a belt, for no matter what size or style I try, a belt does nothing for this rectangular torso except accentuate the fact that I don’t have a waist. A good belt is one of those pieces that can completely transform an outfit, and this little number from Lanvin is a stunner. Also doubling as a headband, its beautiful faux pearls and Swarovski crystals make this a very special (and glittery!) piece. Hippie chic or effortlessly feminine, this piece is a definite testament to the power of the bead.
3. Paul & Joe Perlee Cross-body Bag, $189
I LOVE this bag by Paul & Joe. Its detailing is incredible: woven leather strap, gorgeous camel brown tassels hang from the top, and the bottom sashays with more beaded tassels. (You know how I feel about beads and tassels!) Needless to say, it’s the ultimate example of a fabulous beaded accessory, and why everyone should have a closet filled with them. Its petite shape makes it ideal for on-the-go summer activities, the beading is gorgeous and it’s on sale. It’s perfect. You’ve no excuses.
4. Chan Luu Beaded Bracelet, $345
I see this little guy being included on a very well curated wrist of braceleted goodness, highlighted by some knock-out nails and a great, really weird ring. The colors on this Chan Luu bracelet are beautiful: I love the bright minty green mixed amongst the more subdued hues, and who could say no to the little button closure? Unique closures are ideal. Especially when they’re tassels. But that’s neither here nor there, because this piece is adorable all on its own.
5. Zulu Bangle Bracelet, $28
This bracelet and the next item come from an organization called Beaded Hope, which simultaneously raises money for HIV/AIDs and supports the creative traditions of African hand beading. Each piece is hand-made, and the proceeds support the fight against HIV/AIDs in Africa. My best friend went to South Africa last year and the beaded baubles she brought back are absolutely our favorites from all of our international jewelry hunts — to be able to get the real deal online is a wonderful treat. I love the colors of this Zulu bracelet, and, that it’s a bangle. Often times, beaded bracelets are smaller and good for layering, but this piece stands gloriously alone. And what is better than jewelry that supports a good cause? Not even that beaded, tasseled Paul & Joe bag.
6. Ndebele Necklace, $42
When it comes to beaded jewelry, this beautiful necklace is the ultimate pièce de résistance. The colors are absolutely incredible, and I love its rigid structure. There’s very little I need to say to sell this piece, for it certainly does that all on its own. Its shape is rooted in the tradition of marital faithfulness — a noble meaning for a sensational piece of jewelry. I’ll take 5.
Image Layout: Molly MurphySee the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40
Tags: Beaded Accessories, Beaded Hope Ndebele Necklace, Beaded Hope Zulu Bangle Bracelet, Chan Luu Beaded Bracelet, Lanvin Grosgrain Belt/ Headband, Pencey Caius Beaded Sandal, Puerta Vallarta beaded accessories, Summer 2011 Accessories