A little tassel goes a long way

Four bracelets by BraceURself Wednesday May 17, 2019. ( DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer )

Don’t you love how yesteryear’s pomp and circumstance defines this spring’s uptown funk?

The trendlet

The same dangling extra that got its start as a talisman before it moved to the ends of curtains, pillows, lamp shades, and graduation hats is giving our handbags, shoes, and necklaces everything.

This Ulla Johnson tassled shoe is available for $495, at Estate in Doylestown.

Where does it come from? 

Tassels were the knots at the end of garments that ancient Egyptians and Romans used to keep their clothing from coming apart.  When King Tut’s tomb was opened, he was wearing the remnants of tassels.

Tassels adorn the four corners of Jews’ prayer shawls. And during the Byzantine era, Emperor Constantine decreed that Christians should always wear nice clothing (tassels included). So tassels — on the garb of priests, bishops, and cardinals — eventually became the fashion item that many believed kept away evil spirits. It’s why they’re on mortarboards, too. Tassels are all about good luck.

During the 16th century, the French made them fashionable with passementerie, the art of making elaborate trimmings or edging. The finishes became standard fare on home furnishings.

In the 1920s, tassels became fashionable on the hemlines of flapper dresses because of their shimmy appeal. In the 1970s, they reappeared on hippie clothing. And on 2012-13 runways, when all things global and ’70s-inspired were starting their haute ascent, we saw them on collections from Derek Lam to Gucci.

Who is wearing them?

Model Chrissy Teigen favors tassels on earrings.  The Ivanka Trump brand once sold a diamond-encrusted tassel necklace. And the multicolor trimmings on the shoes of reality-TV star Olivia Palermo are, three years later, still the talk of Pinterest.

Would Elizabeth wear them?

On necklaces and bracelets? Yes. On shoes, no. I’m prone to tripping.

Should you wear them?

Of course, they are fun.

Where can you find them?

Tasseled shoe: Ulla Johnson,  $495.  Bracelets: BraceUrSelf, $18 to $55. Tote: Hat Attack,  $108. All items available at Estate, 53 W. State St., Doylestown, 215-348-8250; https://estateboutique.myshopify.com/

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