Hello beautiful, and welcome to How To Own It, where store-bought fashion meets DIY crafts. Each week I’ll be exploring an aesthetic theme, showing you some of the best ways to wear it and how to make it for yourself.
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When I was a teenager, I wore the same black studded belt every day. It was my favorite, favorite thing and looked cute with everything I wore (or, you know, so I thought at the time). After approximately two years, the studs came loose and the metal arms that were holding them in place began to stab me in the hips. So I got rid of it, just in time for studded belts to become horribly out of style. Deep in my heart of hearts, I’ve missed that belt ever since.
Using metal on clothing has been a thing for a while, but it really became a statement in the late 1970s with the rise of punk music. Studs came to symbolize rebellion, and though this look has since been co-opted by popular fashion designers, the underlying association remains.
Since fashion is cyclical but always comes back a little bit differently (my grandmother taught me that!), studs have returned, sort of. The large silver pyramid studs of my youth have evolved into smaller pyramids and conical spikes, and they are appearing on everything from sexy cut-off shorts to fancy collars. Much to my delight, hardware from the rest of the toolbox is having its heyday as well. Jewelry that looks like someone raided a butch’s workbench with a soldering iron is literally everywhere, and I’m crushing on all of it.
Let’s talk about some ways to wear this look, and then get our hands dirty — there’s a toolbox in my house that I’ve been dying to raid for totally non-practical crafting purposes.
Studs and Spikes Forever
No matter what your personal style, I promise anything you own would look super awesome with some studs on it. How to Put A Stud On It yourself is pretty self-explanatory, so to speak, and you can find studs and spikes at craft stores or at specialized online retailers.
Denim, (p)leather and blazers all look pretty badass with spiky embellishments. For jean jackets, I like the way studs look on the shoulders or the upper back, and for (p)leather and blazers, filling the lapels with studs adds a nice extra touch that says you pay attention to details in the most exciting way possible. If you’re doing this yourself, it’s a good idea to follow the shapes on your clothes naturally created by where the seams are. You can fill those areas or simply use the seams as guidelines. Another good thing to do is embellish the collars of your button up shirts with studs, either filling the full collar or just doing the tips. Also, I’m pretty sure studs are what’s missing from every pair of cutoff high waisted jean shorts in the world (if you are experiencing winter like I am, you should wear these with warm leggings and boots).
However, if you don’t feel like schlepping to the hardware/craft supply store, here are some pre-studded clothes that would look really cute on you:
Jewels of the Trade
Since we’re talking about shiny spiky fashion accents, it would be criminal to only talk about studs and spikes, what with all the other exciting options available right now. Studs and spikes are essentially useless aside from fashion purposes, but other than that, they aren’t all that aesthetically different from accessories that involve items like nails, screws, rivets and other hardware.
The first ever bent nail bracelet, Juste Un Clou (Just a Nail), made by Cartier in 1971, was updated and rereleased this year. It’s totally gorgeous and obscenely expensive (like up to 34k expensive). Luckily, you don’t have to spend that kind of cash to get this look, and jewelry inspired by Juste Un Clou can be just as amazing as the original, if not more so: not bound by the confines of fine jewelry, other hardware inspired accessories are free to be grungier, and, dare I say it, dyke-ier.
DIY Spiky Hardware Statement Necklace
Hopefully by now you’re picturing exactly which of your clothes you’re going to cover with studs as soon as you’re done reading this, which is why I’m going to tackle something different for our DIY portion. I really, really wanted to teach you guys how to bend a nail into something wearable, but honestly, I don’t exactly have the resources for a project like that and I’m guessing that the majority of you don’t either. After staring at the jars of nuts and bolts in my basement, I decided to make a spiky hardware statement necklace, the kind that you can wear under your shirt collar. It turned out to be totally simple and is my new favorite accessory, so I’m really pumped to tell you about how you can do it, too. My color scheme was gold, but silver would have looked good too.
You will need:
Spikes or spiky beads in two different sizes
Gold acrylic paint
A gold chain (doesn’t have to be real gold obvs)
Nuts, washers, rivets and whatever else you dig up
1. I found a handful of all different sized nuts, washers, and rivets amidst piles of old dirty nails in my basement. You can buy these new from the hardware store, of course, but I think it’s more fun to try to work with what you have. I soaked them in hot soapy water for about an hour because they smelled weird. I didn’t have any spikes though, so for those I took a trip to the craft store.
2. All my materials were different colors, so I painted a thin layer of acrylic paint in “iridescent antique gold” over everything. It doesn’t have to be evenly applied, it should just look like they are all vaguely the same color. I actually really like how you can kind of see the metal through the paint; it gives it the industrial look I’m going for here.
3. So it turned out that the bead holes on top of my tiny spikes were too small for the chain I bought. I didn’t want to get a new chain, so I glued a round nut to the top of each spike. If you do this, make sure that the spikes dry standing straight up.
I then glued a teeny tiny hex nut standing on top of the other nut so that I could string the chain through. This actually turned out to be a happy accident because it looks awesome!
4. Now it’s a matter of planning out the pattern of the necklace. I wanted mine to be symmetrical, with alternating big and small spikes, and in between the spikes I wanted nuts that were approximately the same size and shape. You should plan it out mostly because you’ll probably lose your mind if you have to keep re-stringing things (I just learned this from experience).
5. Thread your chain through!
6. Make sure all your glue and paint is dry before putting it on.
I’ve always loved studs, spikes, and skulls and fell in love with these Steve Madden boots with studs on the heels and toe. Finally tried on a pair on Friday and… they looked awful on me. I was so sad because I love how they look but they just plain looked terrible on me.
Maybe my style is too classic and conservative? The spike and stud trend has filled my amazon wishlist to the brim since it’s become much easier to buy what I love. I want spiked smoking flats in black and grey. I want studded rings in rose gold. But most importantly, I want them to work with what’s already in my closet, and apparently that’s not happening.
Maybe I just like the style on other people and not myself.
So insanely relevant to my interests. I love the idea of exploring a fashion statement and then learning to create it. Great article! More please!
One of my fav ways to wear spikes:
I feel like “on a pair of Louboutins” would be my favorite way to wear *anything* if I could afford them.
For sure! For the record, I just meant on tall heels, but I had to post the Louboutins because, while I can’t afford them, I think I’m mentally wearing them all the time.
Those are AMAZING
I am totally with you on that!
you look bizarrely adorable in that necklace. i’m totally making it.
I don’t wear headbands, but I want that headband! Actually, I want all of it. That’s my christmas list this year.
My biggest fear is doing this and then having studs go out of fashion mid-2013. So I’m going to buy a lot of studded clip-on collar chains instead.
Once you make them a part of your personal style, the fear of trends goes out the window. :)
What silverclouds said! Once you take a trend and make it a part of your look and it works for you, why do away with it once the fad wears off? If anything, the wearing off of the fad is better, because then not as many people are into it.
That necklace is awesome, Gabrielle! I’m not usually into studded/spikey fashion things, but I really like that necklace and how much you can play it up or down depending on what else you’re wearing.
I love this article and I’m SO EXCITED there will be more of them! And I’m making this.
i was a rowdy punk rock teenager, so studs will always hold a place in my heart. also! i wore a shirt with a studded collar at a-camp and i have never been so complimented in my life. they’re lady-magnets, i tell you!
I really want that hat. Where can I get that hat? Someone tell me!
You did such an excellent job with your DIY necklace, it’s lovely!
Serious question: Do you think it’s problematic for a light skinned POC to wear something studded/gold plated that relates to hip hop/black urban culture… I don’t want to appropriate I just think it looks hip and pseudo glam goth…
I think I have a new favourite column, I’m all for ways to awesome on a serious budget.
This article reminded me of how much I want to make a studded bra like Lady Gaga in Telephone. Thanks!
yes but can you tell me how to make a studmuffin? I can’t seem to find a recipe anywhere.
Wow. May I just say that you are too cute.
Studs and spikes, hell yes! It was a bit odd seeing it sneaking it’s way into fashion, well, more like booming it’s way there. Suddenly, BOOM! Stores were spiked.
I’ve worn studded belt since I developed a sense of style, and currently own four of ’em. Used to be five, but the oldest I literately wore till it fell apart. I even sewed it at some point, but after what, five years of use, I had to let it go.
Must say though, that necklace looks bad ass! I’ll absolutely try and make one when I got time, thanks for a great article! :)
YES.Loving these articles, keep ’em coming so I can look as boss/cute (…bosute?) as yourself. Studs all over the place chez moi this winter, gives all those wooly jumpers a bit more bite.
I love this!!! <3
don’t forget that nuts and washers are not meant for sensitive skin! i would break out in hives about an hour after putting that necklace on. but you can paint them with clear nail polish (making sure you get every part!) and that will save your skin.