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The Arm Candy Conundrum: Over or Not, and How to Upgrade

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Love, Frank has returned as a weekly style advice column. He tackles all the hard-hitting issues and addresses a different fashion glitch each week. Submit your own query here.

Some candy-laden wrists via Everything Etcetera.

Dear Frank,

I love piling jewelry on my wrists, but someone recently suggested that doing so was "so summer 2012." In a post-friendship-bracelet world when the whole arm candy thing is yesterday's news, what should one wear on one's wrists?

Embraced the Bracelet

Dear Embraced,

While your friend—who seems maybe a little nasty, mind you—has a bit of a point, I don't think the bracelet-piling is something you feel you ought to stop.

Certainly the last two springs and summers saw all that wrist candy reach a critical mass in street style photos and on the Man Repeller and on beaches from the Far Rockaways to the Hamptons—but for the rest of us it's still cresting.

Case in point: I was recently helping a friend who doesn't live in New York or Los Angeles pick out a really lovely Michael Kors watch. The salesgirls—not so much blatantly up-selling as making friendly conversation (they loved my bag)—pointed out that the brand now makes bangles and cuffs and other bracelets to specifically match their seriously popular watches. Why? Because people are really into having all kinds of cute shit on their wrists.

So here's what I think: Maybe take it down a notch? Maybe leave the inches and inches of random mismatched bracelets to the pros and the eccentrics and the gays on Fire Island.

But there's no reason to stop—and you definitely don't need to retire the friendship bracelets or the rope bracelets or the cheapos. That said, the cheapos look a lot cuter when you mix them with something a little less cheap. One of those bent stakes from Giles and Brother; a watchless watchband by Margiela; some lucite or enamel by Alexis Bittar; some leather and rose gold from Miansai.

Of course, just about every retailer has overflowing fishbowls of bracelets on hand these days—customers practically demand it. If you're going for something a little more SXSW check out Urban Outfitters; but the cutest I've seen this summer are at C. Wonder and Kate Spade.

I'd also recommend flea markets, thrift stores, garage sales, and antique shops. You can find some seriously quirky, jealousy-inducing wares in a bin on someone's driveway. And, hey, you can't get bedbugs from silver or turquoise.

That statement watch (and a lot of great street style) via Shame Full

Finally, you can't go wrong with a statement watch. Until you have that Rolex or Cartier (or the Hermès one that wraps around your wrist twice—swoon), pick up an outsized menswear-inspired metal timepiece from Michael Kors or Marc by Marc Jacobs.

As for me, I usually keep it to one or two, maybe three—left wrist only. Always a watch, from Swatch. And usually my silver ball chain from Tiffany. It's the longest one they make and I wrap it around five or six times. I also have a collection of various friendship bracelets my nieces and nephews have made—and they are still on heavy rotation.

So, yeah—have some fun! Tell your friend to loosen up! Unless you're working on the line somewhere and can't have loose bits dangling from your wrists, you should definitely go for it.

Got a style question for Frank? Leave it in the comments or email one in here. Then buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, because it's going to be ? Something.
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