Remember anklets? The late fashion powerhouse Isabella Blow wore her heart on her ankle — a broken heart pendant — when the ‘90s accessory trend was on its way out in 2004. “People think that an ankle bracelet is something tacky,” she told journalist Daisy Garnett in a New York Times interview, “but in fact it is elegant because it draws attention to the ankle. It’s very sexy, a delicate ankle. Don’t you think?”
First came the chokers. And then it was the mini sunglasses. Fashion misses the ‘90s so bad. Nostalgia revived the mules, leaving the ankles bare.
The anklet is my favorite comeback. Now that I’m mostly home, barefoot, doing my own pedicures, and ditching bracelets and rings to make way for constant hand-washing and sanitizing, I am in need of fun and sparkle, and the anklet is just the understated accessory that I can keep on and it won’t get in the way.
The anklet revival had been brewing slowly, surely, as early as 2016. Finally, the Fall 2020 runways dressed them up for lower temperatures. At Simone Rocha, a faux pearl anklet was the touch of rebellion, worn over white socks with a Communion dress. At JW Anderson, a crystal anklet doubled as straps, secured by a loop on ballerina flats. On the front row, stylist Carine Roitfeld wore her black pumps with gold Venyx anklets on both feet, serving a whole new level of chic for the Parisienne icon.
But they’re right at home with sheltering in place, too. Model Rosie Huntington-Whitely layered two Laura Lombari chains with her sweats while painting her toenails. While lounging, jewelry designer Eugenie Niarchos wore Venyx anklets — it’s her brand, after all — with bejeweled slippers by Aquazurra x Creatives for Lebanon.
I confess to wearing the seed bead and puka shell variety, bought from the roving manongs by the shore in my teens. I had a lot of fun in them! The 2020 iterations of the ankle bracelet are more elegant, versatile, and sleek — no trace of the chunky playfulness of its predecessors.
Eternal sun-seekers will find fashion solace in new-gen anklets by Filipino-led brands that bring the beach back to the anklet. Limnia’s fine jewelry take on it exudes the free-spiritedness associated with the accessory in 14K yellow gold. Named Helia, it’s a set of two that has gold sun rays in one, and discs in mother of pearl and black mother of pearl and 2mm freshwater pearls on the other.
As one of the top names in modular fine jewelry, there’s more than one way to wear Limnia’s Helia. Click the central pendants together and it becomes a solar eclipse pendant as well as a double chain anklet. You can wear one on each ankle like ankle straps. Each 10” long, it’s my favorite length because the anklet falls below the bone. Put them together and it’s a 20” necklace. It’s a clever take on an on-trend piece, but it’s also meant for keeps.
Halohalo brings the tropical beach to city dwellers with its signature recycled banig, and recently, with fashion jewelry. The Coconut anklet is a delicate 8” piece made of silver dipped in 24K gold with a dangling tiny golden coconut pendant. It’s the length that’s perfect with strappy sandals like the Fettuccine platform by Josanna, the pendant adding an interesting dimension to the overlapping of straps and gold chain.
The freshwater pearl varieties at Luisa call to mind the style’s seaside versions, while remaining elegant. There are even styles where the pearls are mixed with colored seed beads — even good old puka shells! Ah, I feel years younger just by looking at them. At accessible price points, it’s also perfect for those experimenting with the trend, or those coming across anklets for the first time around.