The Prom Wristlet

By Sharon Naylor

March 4, 2011 5 min read

Today's prom wristlets defy explanation. They don't fit into any simple description because there's no size, color or style that rules the trends. The wristlet is 100 percent customized to accent the design, drama and colors of the teen's dream prom dress.

This season's traditional and high-fashion prom dresses present unique opportunities when it comes to prom wristlet design. A busier dress calls for a subtler wristlet so that the girl does not have too much happening in her look. A simpler, solid-colored silk column dress opens the door to an elegant wristlet design, such as a cluster of matching-hued spray roses with a half-dozen stephanotises. Or that simpler column dress could be the ideal balance to a more artistic, dramatic wristlet made with eye-catching orchids and lots of sparkle. The choices are truly up to the girl who will wear it.

In addition to the candy-colored column dress, with or without sparkle in the bodice design, today's prom-goers also are choosing metallic one-shouldered numbers with a thigh-high slit, a style that calls for an icy blue-colored wristlet that has a floral motif, with metallic ribbon and matching metallic stick-ins. Girls wearing flirty cocktail dresses with short tulle skirts love ultra-girlie wristlets with traditional roses or freesia, ribbon and sparkly stick-ins. A new trend this year is the flowing gown with a large floral pattern. The standout floral gowns most often are paired with subtler floral wristlets made from just one color. Girls wearing black-and-white gowns have the choice of wearing subtle wristlets, such as ones with roses and stephanotises, or making statements with their wristlets by choosing vibrant colors, such as this season's hot shade, coral. Last year's top color, turquoise, is still present as a favorite color "pop" in prom wristlets.

*Top Flowers in Today's Prom Wristlets

Floral design experts say that the types of flowers used in a wristlet need to be types that hold up well over the course of hours, unlike hydrangeas, which wilt after just an hour or two for lack of a water source to keep them fresh and full. "Petite spray roses work better than full, big roses," says Casey Cooper, principal of Botanicals Inc. Other flowers to consider for their beauty and budget-friendliness are carnations, which now look far more exotic than their counterparts of yesteryear. With softer ruffled edges and color streaks, today's carnation is a top wristlet pick.

In exotic flowers that add a dazzling touch to a simpler, solid-colored dress, consider dendrobium orchids and alstroemerias, which become focal points of the full prom gown look, an accessory that works very much the same way a large, ornate piece of jewelry does. And it, too, may provide sparkle to your prom look.

For color combinations, the most common design is the darker and lighter hue of the same color as the dress, such as a purple and lilac motif to coordinate with a purple prom gown or several shades of yellow blooms to accent a bright yellow prom dress.

Smaller flowers may be clustered to form a delicate or shaped wristlet. Consider freesias or cornflowers, floral designers' favorite petite blooms for smaller wristlets chosen as delicate, well-paired accents to busier dresses, e.g., patterned or bead- or crystal-encrusted dresses. If the dress makes a "big" effect, the wristlet should be a small one.

*Accents and Add-ins

Using both ready-to-wear fashion and bridal fashion runways for inspiration, today's floral designers are using feminine touches of ribbon and soft tulle, as well as edgier netting and especially the pushpin add-ins of rhinestones or colorful jewel-toned crystals placed subtly or dramatically in the wristlet design. Floral artists are careful not to overdo wristlet accenting with too many dangling ribbons or floral sprays because girls need to dance and reach across candle-covered tables. If architectural accenting is to be used, it usually is done in the form of a winding vine that goes up the arm or a sweep of larger flowers extending halfway between the wrist and the elbow, with colorful tiny flowers used in place of old-fashioned baby's breath.

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