How To Wear Sequins And Still Look Chic

two women wearing clothing
How To Wear Sequins And Still Look ChicFrancesca Babbi

Welcome to Reality Check: a new regular franchise from the ELLE fashion editors that asks: how well do the season's biggest trends really work in the wild? This week, we take a look at how we're actually wearing sequins in the summer.

The sun might be MIA but the fashion forecast for the summer ahead is looking bright and blingy as sequins emerge as the season's must-have. Once the reserve of December only, pailettes have broken free of party season's clutches to become a year-round option and there's one woman to thank. Taylor Swift, of course.

what taylor swift's eras tour taught me about infertility
Getty Images

As her Eras tour has taken hold of the United Kingdom with dates across the four nations expected this summer, so too has a fresh desire for some razzle dazzle as Swifties (fair weather and life-long devotees alike) pledge their allegiance to the musician by emulating her on-stage predilection for all-things embellished.


But, the Swifties' BNO is not the only reason or occasion to bring out the bling. Maybe you're off to Glastonbury at the end of June or even thinking about how to bring some sparkle to your Med holiday capsule? Sequins aren't just for the nighttime any longer as with some suitable styling that looks to the catwalk for cues you can position them for all-day, everyday.

The trick to taking sequins off the dancefloor is contrast. That's how the fashion set do them, anyways. You take your sequin piece and pair it with something unexpected to make up a juxtaposition that works. Think 16Arlington's catwalk idea of throwing a sweater over a sequin skirt or Dries Van Noten's approach of teaming them with collegiate sportswear.

a woman wearing a dress
Dries Van Noten SS24.Daniele Oberrauch

What's great about this new mood in sparkle dressing is that it gives sequins more opportunity to be worn, which ultimately makes them more of a responsible option than just wearing them for one night only. Sure, the idea of picking up something cheap and cheerful with a one-wear appeal might be what first comes to mind but that's not how we should be consuming sequins. I'd love to encourage you to think about how the pieces that make up your Eras tour wardrobe can be worn time and time again, for all other sorts of occasions, not only because daytime sequins are a personal favourite of mine but because it's a brighter, better way to shop.

Ready for 24/7 sparkle? Read on for the ELLE way to wear:

How To Wear Sequin Tops

a man posing for a picture
Valentina Valdinoci

Don't mess with the classics, right? Jeans and a nice top is a long-trusted formula that still pays off today and choosing sequins for the up-top section maximises the outfit's allure. Today, in 2024, the memo is to hark back to the early Noughties in choosing a top that can sit perfectly in opposition with your bottom half, be it denim or the trending cargo pants that the street-style set have fallen fast for.

amber valletta during maxim magazines annual hot 100 party at 1400 ivar in hollywood, ca, united states photo by jon kopalofffilmmagic
Amber Valletta in 2003.Jon Kopaloff

A sequin top is perhaps the easiest, most non-committal option the 'sparklephobes' can choose when it comes to clothing. You can layer over with knits, a hoody or even a classic button-down, while bottom halves can tell another story with more relaxed pieces. I'd love to see a sequin top fast paired with a pair of Adidas tracksuit bottoms and a kitten heel. Or, take it corporate and allow your sequin top to be the point of interest set against a strong-lined tailored suit.

How To Wear Sequin Dresses

glastonbury festival unveils conscious changes ahead of 2023 festival
Matt Cardy - Getty Images

A sequin dress might read Strictly but a few styling tricks and you're Kate Moss at Glastonbury. A fully embellished dress is a complete outfit that at its most stylish needs little else. Going all-out is fun and fabulous, of course, but it's a look to restraint that the world's most stylish women usually apply when wearing sequins.

If you're in a festival field then the requisite Wellington boots will make this an easy counterbalance for you as they sit opposite to the sequins perfectly, but those walking more obedient terrain should consider a similar approach. Platforms still have legs but what about a loafer and an ankle sock? The unexpected is what will prove great here. If you're going to do a dress and trainers then choose Nike Cortez or Adidas London.

Then consider how you might want to layer a up. Leave anything smarter than a blazer behind this summer and instead choose alternatives like a leather or denim jacket, a chunky knit cardigan or even a bomber jacket. They're practically perfect for taking sequins out for a spin in the daytime.


How To Wear Sequin Skirts

london, england february 17 kai isaiah jamal attends the 16arlington show during london fashion week february 2024 at the curve gallery barbican centre on february 17, 2024 in london, england photo by tristan fewingsgetty images
Tristan Fewings

For me, a sequin skirt is the chicest way to take on sparkle in your outfit. Maybe it's because it's the farthest away from the face (or a favourite of Miuccia Prada), but a sequin skirt has legs to be worn for all sorts of moments. Worn with a cashmere sweater or a crisp white shirt, it becomes a veritable office option (should your workplace allow). But the same skirt, later paired with a simple vest top, becomes a great late-night party option. It's a regular rotation in my wardrobe. A pink sequin skirt bought for party season five or six years ago from H&M is now a weekday favourite, 'dulled' down with a knit twin set or a plain white T-shirt mood depending.

designer miuccia prada attends the metropolitan museum of arts annual costume institute gala in new york city prada wears her own design wwdcondenastnyt syndicate photo by steve eichnerwwdpenske media via getty images
Miuccia Prada: the ultimate lesson in how-to sequin skirts.WWD

When it comes to wearing sequin skirts, I find that shoes matter especially if you're not opting to wear one for a typical sparkle-required occasion. I love to contrast mine against a kitten heel worn with wool socks almost pooling at the ankle for a further play with a difference of textures. I don't wear mini skirts, but if I did I'd consider this summer wearing one to summer concerts with some contrasting knee-high boots; be they riding-style (very Celine) or biker boots (very Miu Miu). It is, again, that play with contrast that brings sequins into a stylish street-style approved territory.

One further piece of advice with sequin skirts is to consider sizing up. You'll find that an embellished skirt worn slightly oversized is not only nicer to look at when it swishes slouchily but also proves more comfortable for day-long festivities. See, we're always thinking practically here.

How To Wear Sequin Accessories

paris, france september 26 a guest wears a grey jumper, grey maxi skirt and red sequins fendi bag, outside victoriatomas, during the womenswear springsummer 2024 as part of paris fashion week on september 26, 2023 in paris, france photo by claudio laveniagetty images
Claudio Lavenia

Perhaps even before sequin tops, an accessory is the easiest, most efficient way to add some sparkle into your wardrobe. Shoes and bags dressed up in sparkle have long been a way to jazz up an ensemble, but today options transcend to encompass hair bands, hair bows and even embellished socks.

As with everything you might have learned by reading this far, it's best to opt for just one of these items for each look. Each piece will shine in its own right then acting as a sartorial spotlight worthy of a closer look.

ELLE Collective is a new community of fashion, beauty and culture lovers. For access to exclusive content, events, inspiring advice from our Editors and industry experts, as well the opportunity to meet designers, thought-leaders and stylists, become a member today HERE.

You Might Also Like