How-to: Mix and Match Bangles

Tonight I tried to teach myself how to crochet.

It was part of my Labor Day weekend initiative to  change up my rhythm and do something new.

Yesterday, I went antiquing in Milwaukee, and then to a drive-in movie. Today, I cleaned and tried to crochet.

I think we can all agree, I’m an exciting, thrilling person.

While the drive-in theater surprisingly left me with an “all is right in the world” outlook as I leaned my head out the window to stare at the stars, smell the first crisp of fall slowly moving in, and listened to Dory discover her potential as she looked for her parents, crocheting only left me with: “Am I just making fancy knots? Did the inventor of crocheting take knitting and say, ‘let’s make this harder and worse?”‘

And then I put my crochet hook down and decided to write a blog post.

You’re welcome.

I really love clothes. Not in a way that suggests people should dress in a certain fashion and those who don’t are uneducated yokels, but in a way that allows for self-expression and variation and color in what is otherwise a world filled with graphic t-shirts at work and Green Bay Packers jerseys at the grocery store. And let’s face it, those are the only two places I go.

But clothes cost money. And despite the recent email from my student loan provider saying, “We’re like you! We have loans too! Don’t hate us!”* they still expect me to pay them a lot of dollars every month.

And actual, true thing included in an email from my loan provider.

So many dollars, that I suspect they don’t actually have loans, but are, in fact, the actual Devil. That, or I made a really questionable life choice, and I need to reconcile myself with that every month for forever.

I’m pretty fortunate in that I have a job that allows for the occasional shopping spree in the Target clearance section, but sometimes I try and think up tricks to shake up my wardrobe while not actually changing my wardrobe.

Guys, I’m about to do a how-to post.

I don’t really do these. When I picture myself explaining to people how to do something, it is usually how to form a mental map of the public restrooms in the East Village of New York or how to make real chicken and dumplings.

My cooking instructions mostly go, “No. Don’t do it like that. Let me google the real recipe…” And then I forget to Google the recipe, and my friend knowingly remains silent.

But this post is actually pretty handy for anyone who wants to shake up their accessory game without spending too much money.

I recently watched Iris, the documentary about Iris Apfel, business woman known for her unique sense of style. Watching this movie, I was struck by her amazing bracelet collection. Here are some particular winners:

I, on the other hand, have one set of bangles I bought two years ago with the dregs of a birthday gift card. And, sorry fashion friends, accent bangles are a hard sell when you’re looking your budget in the face.

Taking what I had, my four bracelets and a big pile of silk scarves, I decided to go off script and try and create my own. Not revolutionary, but they do the job.


  • Bangles (various sizes are welcome and encouraged!)
  • Silk scarves, old t-shirts, bandanas, any random fabric that you might have around. Either folded or cut into 1.5″ to 2″ strips

Accumulated over many years of birthdays, Christmases, and only being able to afford silk scarves when thrifting.


  1. Start by wrapping the fabric around the bracelet, leaving at least a two inch “tail” of fabric to knot off at the end.
  2. Wrap the fabric some more. I jest, but this is a pretty straightforward trick. The one thing to remember is don’t overlap the fabric too much. The bracelet will feel like it shrinks in size regardless, but if you overlap the wraps too much, you won’t be able to put the bracelet back on.
  3. Knot the fabric. Knot the fabric with whatever “tail” you have left. You can either tuck the excess fabric into the folds, or leave it hanging for some flare.

You can pair different patterns together if you’re feeling crazy, or you can just wrap one as an accent.

I love this trick because if you don’t want to go “full Iris”, a statement bracelet is a pretty good way to shake up the basics.

For those who are saying, “but Meredith, what if I don’t even own one bangle?!” How on Earth do you spend the last five dollars of your birthday gift cards?!

That’s ok. A quick “Wooden bangle” google search produces countless purchasing options of less than five dollars that will do the job. Or, you could even just ditch the bangle, and wrap the scarf around your wrist. Or under your collar. Or in your hair.

Ultimately, I think it really does come back to Iris’ quote: “Wear something that says, ‘here I am today.'” Try something new or something that has been buried in the back of your closet for a few months. Try something that will make your office mate or boss say, “good for you,” but then they privately wonder if they could pull it off.

Or not. You do you. That’s always allowed.


*What? What’s happening? Am I awake?