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One trend I haven’t been able to ignore this Spring is the use of tassels on everything from belts and bags to hemlines and necklines. Once known as a symbol of luxury, tassels were originally used to distinguish rank in both military and religious orders. During the 16th and 17th centuries, tassel making – or passementerie as it was known in France, was a booming business with people clamoring for the luxury accessory which represented both wealth and standing within Parisian society.

Although the process of making tassels in our modern age is decidedly less time consuming, the adornment still holds a certain air of opulence in both decor and fashion. Click through to see some of my favorite uses of tassels this Spring and even a few ways you can add this embellishment to your garment projects.

Tassels are usually an afterthought – an embellishment to, rather than the focal point, of a piece – (the Alberta Ferretti bag in this story is an exception – as are the pieces from fantastic knitwear designer Laura Theiss), so you tend to find them on accessories like belts and hanging off of leather or cloth handbags. This season, tassels played a key role in the Pucci collection where designer Peter Dundas used them as trimming on scarves and dresses, creating one killer cocktail dress that is a luxe bohemian dream. Tassels have also been popping up on footwear – for example at Dior where John Galliano used them in conjunction with rope to make lace up sandals teetering on sky-high heels.

Check out a few other ways tassels are being used on garments, accessories, jewelry and handbags. What do you think about the tassel trend?

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Clockwise from left: Vintage obi belt with tassels, Antik Batik, Gucci – Spring 2011 (2 photos), belt by B Low, Paul & Joe – Spring 2011, Gucci – Spring 2011.

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From left: Elle Macpherson in a tassel scarf, Pucci Spring 2011, scarves from All Saints, a Dries Van Noten scarf on the street, more Pucci Spring 2011.

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Clockwise from left: Gucci, Sonia Rykiel and Pucci – Spring 2011, Wendy Nichol x Vanderhurd, Prada, Alberta Ferretti, Sara Battaglia.

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Clockwise from top left: Shoes from ASOS, bracelets by Krystal Sasso, Vena Cava necklace, Giovanna Battaglia and Natalie Portman both wearing tassel earrings, necklace from Anthropologie, bracelets by Isabel Marant, shoes from Office, shoes on the Dior runway – Spring 2011.

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Clockwise from left: Laura Thiess – Spring 2011 (2 photos), Emilio Pucci cocktail dress and a look from the Spring 2011 collection, blouse from See by Chloe, caftan by Mara Hoffman.

Ready to add tassels to your own projects? Here are a few ideas to get you started…

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Patterns from left: Tunic Blouse with Bat Sleeves, Tie Back Shift Dress and One Shoulder Blouse.

And if you want to make your own, member geneviever has a great tutorial for whipping up an easy leather tassel you can add to belts, handbags and more!

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What are your thoughts on tassels? Do you think this trend oozes luxury or screams of tackiness?

Photos courtesy of Style.com, shopstyle and Laura Theiss

25 Comments

  • Missing

    Jun 1, 2011, 11.43 PMby deanna805

    Love the tassels. Gives an outfit movement.

  • Vatten_large

    Jun 1, 2011, 07.54 AMby ichigogirl

    Hm, looking through this article I actually started to want to use tassels for something! I like the oriental vibe they lend, but I think I’d have to be careful not to feel dressed out if they were too many/too bright/too big. Great inspiration! The white Gucci-top in the second set is goooorgeous! And the tassels not the least bit tacky.

    Also: a big YEY to MissLinds for having included the names of all the designers/brands of featured clothes etc. (increases the reading experience too), and to Burdastyle for making the name of the author visible above the blog post! Big improvements, thank you!

  • Photo_on_2010-06-20_at_17_49_2_large

    May 31, 2011, 08.10 PMby maddiew

    Ultimately I’d have to vote tacky. However the selection of images you’ve chosen are surprisingly attractive, I don’t mind them :)

  • Missing

    May 31, 2011, 10.26 AMby amandaloschiavo

    love the look, but havent used them before… worried that i’ll be tassle over kill LOL

  • Ukk_large

    May 31, 2011, 03.09 AMby isisandra

    i can get into tassels …. i think they can be cute fresh and funky. HOWEVER I CAN NOT GET INTO THE APPROPRIATION OF people of color / other “ethnic” cultures for fashion. Instead of coming up with some moccasins or “indigenous inspired” whatever ……make something NEW! Loved how Gucci played with them and thats why Beyonce bought like 100 of them …… tutorial here

    http://matterofstyle.blogspot.com/2011/05/diy-ideas-for-gucci-tassel-belt.html

    not my fav … but here:

    http://6footsally.blogspot.com/2011/01/diy-gucci-inspired-tassel-belt.html

    Enjoy, Love, Life and Learning <3

  • Missing

    May 30, 2011, 06.21 PMby kelselam

    LOVE THEM!

  • Mee1_large

    May 30, 2011, 12.57 PMby fashionfreek

    Wow love them. Tassles are great!

  • Dsc00110_large

    May 30, 2011, 02.19 AMby mcphoon

    I love them! I have seen them everywhere, I tried looking around for great looking,non curtain-like tassle to no avail. Moretutorial to making tassles pls!

  • Missing

    May 29, 2011, 07.15 AMby ShellyS

    I like them. They’re a fun way to embellish and accessorize. I think they have their place in fashion as long as you don’t go overboard.

  • Missing

    May 29, 2011, 06.46 AMby Seetu Yadav

    It really shows me where to expand my blog. I think that sometime in the future I might try to write a book to go along with my blog, but we will see…Good post with useful tips and ideas

    Carpet Steam Cleaners

  • Jan2014avatar_large

    May 29, 2011, 05.53 AMby lanternwaste33

    I like the way tassels look. Especially the silk-thread kind. The leather kind, I could leave. But overall, I like tassels on clothing, accessories, anything. When executed in moderation, they add an interesting detail.

  • 55139_10150116983919745_813899744_7497939_1500221_o_large

    May 29, 2011, 04.47 AMby cweeks

    I don;t like them at all! I don;t know why but I would not buy / wear anything with a tassel on it! Blah! Sorry ;)

  • 271b6230d7f4cd766994d54d0c1222933059364a_large

    May 28, 2011, 08.35 PMby ghainskom

    A sole tassel makes me think of a curtain. But numerously used (like in the scarf above) or on shoes, they’re okay…

  • Missing

    May 28, 2011, 08.34 PMby rochelle49

    For me, it depends on what material the tassel is made. It has to have body, strength, and a quality of “swingyness”. I mean a good tassel acts like a long skirt and can swing. How the tassel is attached to the garment or accessory will make the tassel appear cheap or rich. They have to appear as integrated to the string or connection. I love the Purse and the leather tassel above!

  • Missing

    May 28, 2011, 07.45 PMby star iraq

    ستايل جميل جدا

  • Ghetto_girl_goes_to_colo__large

    May 28, 2011, 04.07 PMby turtlegirl00

    i think they have there place… sometimes they add an interesting pop of color, etc. but sometimes it does give the vibe of a curtain. I like them on purses attatched to the zipper pull, scarves, and sometimes on the hem of certain items.

  • 5196510037_0646d0f80e_o_large

    May 28, 2011, 03.04 PMby kelepso

    Lovely! I would have never thought to use tassels on a garment. Very cool pieces shown.

  • Missing

    May 28, 2011, 01.10 PMby Tokie Ang

    i love tassels!! it makes the artistic and ethnic result for the dress..for some dress, it could cause the elegance effect^^

  • Sdc11375_large

    May 28, 2011, 10.58 AMby rogue-cellist

    I like tassels on curtain tie-backs. For me they are a furnishing and definitely don’t belong anywhere near my wardrobe… unless they are hanging from the doorknobs.

  • Dodo_large

    May 28, 2011, 05.24 AMby lila-1

    I also like tassels on things like handbags, but on clothes and accessories….it all still looks like someone raided her grandmother’s curtains…

  • Orp_1769_large

    May 27, 2011, 11.24 PMby loyl8

    I love tassels and i think PSIMADETHIS has a cute how to on her site

  • Hallaa_large

    May 27, 2011, 11.18 PMby aleah

    I always feel like pulling tassels when I see one… Not sure why. Childhood memories. I love scarfs with tassels, but not so much on shoes and belts.

  • Pic_manly_large

    May 27, 2011, 10.54 PMby bluebetty

    I like them on accessories, not too sure of my feelings about them being on clothes. Although I do love the suggestions for tassels on tie back dress.

  • Road_trip_010_large

    May 27, 2011, 07.49 PMby cambra

    I LOVE little tassels, as well as tiny pom poms on scarves and I saw a great crop top with tassels along the bottom, very bohemian chic.

  • 20596winter_20fairy_large

    May 27, 2011, 06.55 PMby sewingfan1

    I think they look great on most of the above. Undecided on them being added to clothing though, doesn’t quite work for me yet…. but give it time

    • This is a question
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