Ribbons Done Right


Have you been to your local fabric store lately? Or the bead and trim store? Let me just tell you: insane. Options for ribbon and trim are magical and so, so cheap. If you are ever feeling early John Galliano or Zana Bayne but don't have the budget, or just want to add a bit of their essence to your look, look no further than the ribbon store. Let the ribbon do all the work; it's that easy and that beautiful. And another thing—women NEVER outgrow ribbons. We have ribbons for blood.

The Safety Pin Hair Ribbon

I got really excited when I saw the spool of chic, doubled faux-leather ribbon bound with a neat row of safety pins. The material is soft but has a nice stiffness, making it easy to work with. It was also the most expensive out of the bunch, coming in at $9 a yard, though the things you can do with it are countless. You can make an instant choker, wrist band, head band, or go Vivienne Westwood with it and sew it all over your clothes. I decided to go the delicate route and used it as a lil' ponytail holder. Make a pony aligned with the lower part of your ears, or a chignon at the nape of your neck. Then trim ribbon to desired length to either wrap around your pony once or a few times. I went ahead and did a three-layer wrap since I have the length of hair to pull it off. I wrapped it around the base of my ponytail, overlapping but exposing the three layers of ribbon, and then secured the layers with one bobby pin underneath.

The Sun Choker

You don't even know: I've been searching for a choker with a golden sun for about a year now, so when I discovered a little golden heap of suns for 25 cents each I almost died—they certainly did not feel like 25 cents! I selected a slender, soft-blush velvet ribbon to compliment my golden sun, I then attached the sun to the ribbon with an earring link and tied on my new choker with a pretty bow in the back of my neck. Oh, and the velvet ribbon? 50 cents a yard. Yup, a beautiful, bad-ass choker for 75 cents.

The Brown Suede Lacy Scarf with Hooks and Eyes

This particular trim is absolutely gorgeous; it instantly reminded me of Dior in the early '00s. I am so in love with this trim that I've been wearing it for the last three days as a choker because it goes beautifully with everything. The trim comes with a 'mate.' "There is a male and female," said the sales girl, and my eyes widened. I was admiring the bottom half not realizing there was another strip that connected to it—oh of course! It has little hooks and it needs its partner with the eyes! Duh. When she connected the two soft faux suede strips with laser cut lace edges, I swooned. "I'll take it!" These mates were $3 a yard. With this substantial trim, I let it do all the work and simply tied it around my neck and included my hair, as my favorite trend with hair at the moment is keeping it tucked into your clothes.

The Black Velvet Ribbon with Heart Charm 

Since Valentine's Day, for whatever reason I've been eyeing the silver open heart pendant hanging from a black silk cord by Elsa Peretti for Tiffany's. It just looks so cool. So I went buck-wild with buying several different silver heart-shaped pendants at a quarter each to make my own version, but fashioning it into a choker, Bianca Jagger style. I bought slender black velvet ribbon that had a little stretch to it, so it would be comfortable tied snug around my neck, and attached my heart to the ribbon with a little earring link so it would hang gracefully. You can find earring links at craft stores, or you can do what I did and take apart some cheap earrings you already own after coming home from buying ribbings and realizing you have nothing to connect the charms with. If I can do it, you can do it—that's how easy it is. My one-and-a-half-year-old son has better motor skills than I have.

The Ribbon Braid

What if you're 37 years-old and want to wear pink ribbon braided into your hair? Question of the century! Well, the answer is yes, yes you can. Here's how to look like a graceful, timeless, angel ballerina: I chose the palest pink ribbon with silver half rings sewn along one side, which give the ribbon a delicate edge, but also a grown-up, slightly naughty look. I simply braided my hair with the ribbon woven in and looped the excess length into the rubber band fastened at the end of braid. I actually wore this pink naughty little braid to Trader Joe's and I felt like the prettiest 37-year-old grocery shoppin' mum.

—Stacey Nishimoto

Photos by Nora Jane.

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  • Veronica

    I've loved the ribbon & sun charm since Natalie Portman in The Professional. Her style in that movie is FLAWLESS.

  • CCYY

    Stacey, happy belated birthday!

  • Alice

    I love this so much.

  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager


    I always love your posts so much. I particularly loved this ribbons have always played a special role in my life. I guess it all started with ballet shoes when I used to dance quite intensely as a young girl. Now I tie one around my neck on most days because it manipulates the proportions of an outfit in an interesting way, and kind of carries an attitude through disparate outfits. The ways in which you use the above ribbons is very inspiring, and as I grow my hair out I will definitely make a point of using them more in my hair again.

    I've also always enjoyed your Marianne Faithfull-esque front bob, and am interested in chopping my hair just so when it gets to the appropriate length. Any particular secrets or tips to executing the look?

    P.S. Your mother's name, Nora, is one of my favorite names. I always wanted my name to be Nora or Maren.

    P.P.S. Gus is an angel.

  • Sabrina Rice

    OH GOOD LORD she's so gorgeous! I hope my skin looks that good at 37. I thought she was in her late 20s!!!