Fashion notes: Why wood has become the ‘it’ accessory

Where wood was once a niche element for accessories, it has transcended its traditional stereo­types, becoming an on-trend option for accessories.

One of the street-style looks from this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in Sydney that would be good canvases for wooden accessories. Caroline McCredie / Getty Images
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We’re currently in the final stretch of ­Ramadan, and have about a week left to take advantage of the various suhoor tents around the UAE. When deciding on what clothes to wear for these evenings out, I implore you to think beyond the typical Dubai definition of glamour. Ditch make-up-caked faces, stilettos and sparkly Swarovski embellishments. Instead, embrace a look that’s more natural, but still every bit as alluring.

Where wood was once a niche element for accessories, it has transcended its traditional stereo­types, becoming an on-trend option for accessories. From thin blocks bound together with gold hardware to a chunky collar necklace combining wooden pieces with colourful ropes, wood can make a great statement necklace, and a welcome alternative to flashy, crystal-laden designs.

It creates an overall look that’s sophisticated and polished, despite the material’s somewhat hippy-ish connotations. Opting for wooden bangles and cuffs, or even rings, is another way to elevate your style without going down a gaudy route. Get your accessories game on point by mixing jewellery that features wood, minimalist gold, subtle gemstones and marble textures.

Coming up with clothing to go with wood can sometimes be tricky. The best outfit is a classic pair of blue jeans or black leggings and a crisp, white, boyfriend-fit blouse. But an outfit comprising jeans and wooden accessories may take you out of your comfort zone, especially if you’re looking to dress up for a more formal affair.

You don’t need to abandon all of your feminine looks for frayed jeans. Pleated metallic skirts, cool culottes, cold shoulders and bell-sleeved blouses are still on the table. It’s just the whole style of pairing sparkle on top of more sparkle and sheen that starts to look a bit too Christmas tree for me.

You will notice there’s been a tendency among prominent fashion folk to ditch typical glittery looks for more simplistic accessories. Thin velvet chokers, devoid of tacky rhinestones, are worn around their necks, while their feet are in simple suede mules or lace-up espadrilles, neither Manolo Blahnik or ­Jimmy Choo-like in nature. While colourful stones and spikes combined to make trendy ear-wear a few seasons ago, now earrings come in the form of simple hoops, adorned with tassels or geometric shapes.

During fashion weeks, ­London, Paris and New York always make headlines, and street-style photographs from these cities do the rounds on social media. Yet with the exception of a few standout looks, there’s something slightly monotonous about American and European street-style trends. My favourite city to stalk for street style is Sydney. Mercedes-Benz ­Fashion Week Australia took place in May, but I’m still anything but bored by the street-style photos, and often find myself flipping through them.

A lot of these outfit ideas can be easily paired (if they aren’t already) with wooden add-ons. For instance, if you’re playing it safe with all-black, throw in a bit of texture – such as mesh or lace – then put on a long wooden pendant for a hint of earthy appeal. Or if your hues are deep and warm to begin with, such as oxblood or brown, a pair of bold earrings, perhaps that mix wooden elements with bright beads and tassels, can give a nice finishing touch.

If you’re going down the eclectic street-style path, with mixed prints and contrasting styles, then all you need is a chunky cuff or clutch to give that sharp wooden touch. Complete the look with a fresh face and bold, burgundy lip, and you will be set to go.