Shout Out to Sequins

Show-stopping Ways to Sparkle


January 2019 Issue
by Sharon Mosley

From all-over shimmering cocktail frocks to glittering skirts and jackets—even glittering leggings and twinkling toes—there are show-stopping ways to sparkle in sequins. But before you leave a trail of shiny discs behind you, here are a few things to keep in mind when buying sequined clothing.

Check the care labels.
Many of you may not have taken a shine to sequins for this very reason: They can be intimidating to clean. After years of owning all kinds of “embellished” clothing, I heartily recommend hand-washing with baby shampoo. While many pieces can be laundered on the gentle cycle in the washing machine, just as you would delicate lingerie, it can be tricky. Just make sure you turn the garment inside out and place it in a mesh bag. Never place in a dryer, but rather drip-dry over a towel and then lay flat.

When in doubt ... dry clean.

When a sequin piece is stained or smells like someone at the New Year’s Eve party got a little too excited and spilled champagne all over you, then you may need professional help. If a stain doesn’t come off easily with a damp paper towel, then don’t hesitate to take it to the cleaners. (I have heard that a spritz of vodka may get rid of odors, too ... but I haven’t had any desire to try it out! The vodka on the bar in my house has better things to do. Pomegranate martinis, anyone?)

Beat the heat.

Never use an iron on sequins ... duh! Of course heat can damage (i.e., melt) plastic sequins. At one time, “sequins” were coins and morphed into metal discs to decorate clothing. King Tut was covered in gold ones when his tomb was uncovered in 1922. But as the history of the “sequin” evolved, they were made from a less-expensive plastic, courtesy of Herbert Lieberman at Eastman Kodak. He was inspired by the “film” his company produced in the 1930s. So, if you must get wrinkles out of a sequined garment, try hanging it in a steamy bathroom for a few minutes or carefully using a steamer on it.

Quality matters.

When buying sequined clothing, it pays to pay for quality. Sequins that are sewn on can easily be repaired; sequins that are glued on may come off in cleaning. Buying garments that are lined is also important. Sequins and beads are infamous snaggers ... and you don’t want to get hung up in your underwear. Ouch! Lining also helps maintain the shape of piece.

Store sequins carefully.

Special sequined apparel pieces may need to be wrapped in acid-free tissue and stored separately in your closet. If you do hang a piece, make sure it’s on a sturdy plastic hanger and hung by itself so it doesn’t snag other clothes.

Don’t be afraid to bling it out at your favorite charity ball and wear sequins head-to-toe. If there’s one time of year to feel like a million bucks, this is it. Shine on!

Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.

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