Am I too old to wear an anklet and what will people think?
A silver stone fallen from my dream, becomes the anklet of your feet – Ayush Rajpoot
I’ve always loved an anklet. I have quite a few thrown in my jewellery drawer, which really isn’t a jewellery drawer at all but I don’t know what else to call it. You know the one I mean – it’s the drawer that holds random items like bangle, your child’s first tooth, foot cream, lavender pillow spray that’s never been used, a few crystals and the standard opened packs of ibuprofen and paracetamol for when the Margarita hangover kicks in.
I spied my very first anklet when I was 10 years old. The year was 1975. Fashion was at its best, and I say that with my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek. It was summer and we were holidaying down the Coast. Aussies really only ever holiday two ways – up the Coast, or down the Coast. For us it was up the North Coast at the gorgeous beach town of Kiama We’ve all been to those towns back in the day. The ones surrounded by glorious beaches, with a token RSL or Bowling Club, a single Chinese Restaurant and a few souvenir shops also doubling as either a Chemist or Newsagency.
It was here that I was mesmerised by this dainty little silver chain with a shell on the side sitting next to a snow cone with a dolphin inside it. I had seen some of the older girls wearing them down at the beach or in the Milk Bar, whilst getting a vanilla milkshake and cup of hot chips with vinegar. I thought it was divine. My Mother on the other hand was not a fan. To her the anklet symbolised a ‘cheap girl’ if I remember the phrase correctly, not something her daughter was going to be seen wearing, especially at 10 years of age! I was mortified. Cheap? What did she mean?
I never did get my anklet until years later when I was living the dream, wild and free travelling Europe in my early 20’s. We found ourselves on the fabulous Greek island of Mykonos where anything goes! White cobbled laneways, filled with random boutique and bespoke little shops, selling all matter of things from Greek worry beads to handmade leather sandals. Jewellery appeared to be the main tourist draw card though and just as popular as those fridge magnets made to look like a windmill jutting out across the Med. There amongst the Evil Eye Mati’s were some fabulous anklets that caught my attention. I picked up 3 for 100 Drachma’s or whatever the currency was back then. I felt like a rebellious 10 year old again and couldn’t wait to pop it on my ankle as soon as I left the shop.
I still have that anklet and it’s stood the test of time. Made from deep blue thick cotton string that was adjustable for different size ankles, it has little blue and white beads threaded on it, reminiscent of the Aegean Sea. I’m bordering on 46 years young ahem, and I still wear that anklet especially in summer. It’s rotated with a few more I have collected over the years and I wear them depending on my mood, outfit and occasion.
I’m sure my Mother is still secretly mortified when she sees one on me, even though the meaning of wearing an anklet has considerably changed over the years. And praise the Lord that this is the case! During my research for this Blog I was mortified to discover the old meaning of wearing an anklet. You may be surprised to know my good ole Mum had good reason to tsk tsk my anklet obsession right outta my little 10 year old’s head. You see, back in the day wearing an anklet on your right ankle symbolised a woman married or in a committed relationship who should NOT be approached. In a nutshell – they were not interested in any advances from any potential suitors. However, if you wore it on your left it signified you were in an open relationship, and perhaps even tempted to ‘swing’. How very scandalous! I even came across one article that proclaimed that teenage girls also wore them on their left ankle to show the boys they were no longer virgins. How times have changed...
So how does the world view anklets these days? Luckily for us favourably and in recent times they are making a well-deserved comeback. If you go into any fashion or jewellery store these days you will find an anklet. Gold, silver, shell, cotton, leather, beaded, feathers, chains ….the list goes on. But where did anklets first come from? I’m so glad you asked. Let me take you on a little history lesson, going back 8000 years... Anklets were worn by Ancient Egyptians as an everyday ornament or as an amulet. In fact they have been found during archaeological digs and inside tombs. Queen Nefertiti no doubt was a fashionista back then. ‘Yaaaaas Queeeeen’ never sounded so relevant! Nowadays in Egypt they are not as common and are perceived as immodest, due to increased Islamic conservatism. Other cultures will wear them though for dance performances, paying homage to their heritage, like India or Sri Lanka. Occasionally though in South East Asia an anklet worn on both ankles and joined by a chain to limit the step of females is still practiced, but rarely seen in public. Some people are going down the permanent route and tattooing an anklet on their ankles and let’s not fail to mention the Prison Monitor Anklet…that one I’d prefer never to have in my collection.
Are there rules for wearing an anklet? Not really. I’d like to think we are fashionably more liberal these days to be bound by such antiquated rules. Personally I wouldn’t wear a bell chimed anklet or one that jiggles musically to a funeral though – to be met by death stares, if you pardon the pun is not my ideal situation. Neither is being frowned up by a cranky Librarian, so common sense prevails when it comes to social situations.
For the most part though we can dress an anklet up or down, depending on the occasion. My favourite look is Beach Boho – whether or I do this successfully remains to be seen. Countless YouTube videos on how to achieve beach curls with torn bits of fabric and homemade sea salt spray has still eluded me however I can pull off wearing a shell anklet to a casual BBQ on the beach, pub dinner or girls lunch. Sometimes I go through what I call my bohemian hippy phase where I think I’m a Spiritual Divine Being because I did a random yoga session once in pants that had elephants on them. This is where my silver ‘Tree of Life’ or feather anklet makes an appearance. Then there is my #fitmum #greenjuice #newbody #whodis stage...where I like hashtag the heck out of my Insta with me in active wear and my colourful anklet that sits nicely above my Nikes. Oh and if I’m dolled up for date night with the husband, look out. Not only does the old rouge (do they still call it rouge?) and the GDH make an appearance, but so does my sparkly anklet. It makes me feel like a sex goddess for a night, and not a mum who’s spent the last week looking up minced meat recipes on Pinterest whilst watching Bridgerton.
It’s all about feeing empowered though right? And wearing what makes you feel good and what makes you feel like a sex goddess
Or a boho beach babe style with our Sunshine Beach Anklet
Or a Jennifer Lopez -esque Galamazon style
Or a Fit Mum (don’t forget to hashtag!)
An anklet can just switch things up and change your mood. It can serve a multitude of purposes. Not only can it be a bespoke jewellery piece but it can flatter your ankle by making them appear slimmer and more streamlined.
Regardless, wear them anyway you like and at any age – single, doubled, stacked or layered, your choices are endless. Gone are the days where we felt the need to label our marital status or if we secretly desired an extra partner. Now we just get online for that! So let’s liberate those old, archaic ideals and wear our anklets with pride! Gosh that reminds me. Mother’s Day is coming up and I think it’s high time my 73 year old Mum had one of her very own…
Have a look at Desiderates anklets below