Bangles have long been one of the most favorite ornaments and accessories of women the world over. This popularity is rooted in the fact that bangles are unique in their versatility: they can be traditional and symbolic and they can be ultra modish and avant-garde; they can be subtle and elegant or they can be funky; they look as stunning on a 60 year old woman or a 15 year old young girl! Bangles are the easiest way to amp up the allure of any outfit, just slip on a few in a color that compliments your outfit and your look will be transformed from simple to stylish.
Interestingly enough, even though bangles are worn by women and girls of all ages, especially in South Asian countries like India and Pakistan, they were originally a symbol of one’s marital status in society: a woman wearing bangles was immediately identified as a married woman. The particular type or style or number of bangles differed from state to state and region to region. For instance, the Bengali women wear a white shell and red bangle pair, as well as a gold plated metal bangle to tell the world they are married!
Over time, bangles transcended these symbolic definitions and became accessories adopted by women of all ages and style choices. From translucent dainty glass bangles in single colors to chunky wooden bangles with sequins, prints and different textures, these ornaments have become a major part of every day life for women folk all over the world.
In the West, young girls usually wear bangles by mixing and matching from different sets to create a unique and funky statement on their wrists. In the Asian countries, the norm is usually to purchase and wear a set together. These sets are usually sold by the dozen and are more popular with traditional clothes such as the saree, the salwar kameez and lehengas.
Another interesting change in the conventional bangle has been in the shape. Bangles for the longest time were circular, and without any clasps or openings. Bangles these days come with clasps and fastenings that allow the wearer more ease while putting them on. The shape has changed dramatically too! While the circular bangles continue to be the most popular, unusually shapes such as square bangles, triangular bangles, bangles with a “wrinkly” edge and even star shaped bangles have now hit the markets. These unusual shapes are more popular with the young lot, while women continue to swear by traditional circular bangles.