Alison: Sparkle and Shine

It may surprise you, dear reader, to hear I have an oft-ignored craving to wear things with certain light-reflecting qualities as often as possible. My dear friend Emma describes these things as “shiny”, and she means it in the most literal sense. Metallics, sequins, just about any bedazzled embellishment: nothing escapes my intrigue, fascination, or desire.

 I never had any real wish– or requisite capacity – to be a pageant princess, Vegas show girl, drag queen, or generally tacky person, but maybe this is my cry for attention. Maybe I need to tell the world that just because I don’t consider all the world a stage for my pending reality show doesn’t mean I don’t want a ray of the harsh spotlight every now and then.

My attention-seeking, magpie tendencies, however, are generally beaten into submission in the name of taste and decency – or to avoid appearing as if I have taken a sip of the Rita Wilson Kool-Aid.  So what’s a girl to do when she wants to shine without sacrificing taste?

Here I offer five tasteful ideas to light up the night… in descending order of shininess.

Alice+Olivia Gabby Blouson mini dress (Net-a-porter, $595)

One step down from true allover sparkles, this beaded dress is fun and sexy without being one-note. Plus I love the reference to 1920s flappers, because it’s cool to be a strong, intelligent, independent woman, but it’s even cooler to look amazing while you do it. Of course, with this sort of embellishment you need to basically forget accessories.

Crystal Parade Necklace (J. Crew, $150)

Here’s one way to make a truly shiny statement. While it doesn’t require the commitment of a beaded dress or top, it will command immediate attention, and look incredibly pretty doing so. The clear crystals let this necklace work with a whole host of background colors and textures, so it’s versatile, and the layers make it a little less old lady, a little more PYT.

Anya Hindmarch Marano mirrored-leather clutch (Net-a-porter, $530)

I have a beautiful clutch in a similar pale silvery-gold that’s been passed down from my great-grandmother to me, and I don’t think I’ve found an ensemble yet that doesn’t accomodate it. Metallics are big this fall, and one like this is surprisingly neutral. Putting the “shiny” in your accessories brings a bit of excitement to what might otherwise be a pretty blah outfit.

Rock & Republic Nikki Platform Pumps with Crystals (Shopbop, $325)

Business in the front, party in the back? You’ll catch the eyes of those checking out the dancefloor or walking up a flight of stairs behind you, but that’s about it. Like a shiny secret on your feet.

Diamonds and Pearls (Deborah Lippmann, $16)

Nails, to me, are the great trend testing ground. You can try out just about any look with minimal effort, investment, or remorse, and not look entirely stupid if it just doesn’t fit. This polish is sheer, so layer it until you find the right hint of sparkle.


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  1. Dale Little says:

    Gorgeous items! Thanks for sharing (especially the source information).

    September 1, 2010/Reply
  2. J Bird says:

    MAGNIFIQUE – Love the idea of cascading from serious sequin to slight shimmer! Plus, shifting the trend through from dress to jewelry, shoe to clutch, and finally a simple polish is SO inspired, as your gave even the shyest Sally a shot at giving this trend a try. You've got it now, Allison!

    September 1, 2010/Reply