No relic of our youth drips with nostalgia the way a friendship bracelet does. Because sure, we once cherished smocked tops, and hair barrettes, and low-rise jeans, and lettuce-hem tees adorned with butterflies—but we didn’t craft them from our own two hands. We didn’t don them at all times—even when we swam, even when we hopped in the shower, even when we went to bed each night. And we didn’t imbue them with the same relational significance; friendship bracelets are as emotional as they are aesthetic. They’re physical representations of who we are to each other, and what we hold dear—the sartorial equivalent of MySpace’s “Top Friends” list, only half as petty.
These days, friendship bracelets come not from arts and crafts camp, but from our favorite retailers. We sport them as traditional accessories—layering them on as we see fit, taking them off when the day’s events are through. And perhaps more revolutionarily, we shop them without a companion; we’re now invited to be our own best friends, if we want (or to rack up a serious online shopping bill—coordination doesn’t come cheap).
The friendship bracelets of today are a far cry, emotionally, from the talismans we cherished in middle school. But aesthetically, they’re more refined takes on our DIY favorites. 2001 is the new 2019, and camp is the new black.
1. Venessa Arizaga Rainbow Shell Bracelet, $55 at Shopbop
Our collective obsession with shell jewelry is at its best—and campiest—in friendship bracelet form.
2. Shashi Romy and Michelle Bracelets, $58 at Shopbop
The friendship bracelet, in an elevated-yet-classic iteration.
3. Marc Jacobs Sporty Hook Bracelet, $45 at Shopbop
The options for styling this one aren’t quite endless—but they’re pretty damn close.
4. Cowrie Shell Bracelet Set, $9.90 at Forever 21
A friendship bracelet set that doesn’t taking the whole matching thing too seriously.
5. Shashi The Gang Bracelet (Set of 5), $17.40 at Shopbop
Five for the price of one? Hook your crew up.
6. Shashi Good Juju Bracelet, $36 at Shopbop
When in doubt, spell it out.
7. Shashi The Gang Bracelet (Set of 3), $46 at Shopbop
Designed with your girl gang in mind.
8. Seashell Charm Bracelet Set, $9.90 at Forever 21
Variations for the minimalist and maximalist, alike.
9. Venessa Arizaga Starlight Bracelet, $95 at Shopbop
The kind of thing you dreamt of making in arts and crafts class.
10. Signature Slider Bracelet, $14.95 at Free People
Similar enough to look cohesive. Different enough to keep things interesting.
11. Madewell Rainbow Beaded Slider Bracelet, $28 at Shopbop
For the shopper who’s into the whole friendship bracelet thing, but not, like, that into it.
12. Venessa Arizaga Love Heart Bracelet, $55 at Shopbop
Forget wearing your heart on your sleeve—wear it on your wrist, instead.
13. Talia Bracelet Set, $78 at Anthropologie
Sleeker than your average DIY.
14. Shashi Delicate 2 Row Bracelet, $55 at Shopbop
Rhinestones, braids and fringe? A veritable trifecta of kitsch.
15. Shashi SeaLu Bracelet, $45 at Shopbop
Part friendship bracelet, part charm bracelet—all cute.
16. Shashi Saki Bracelet, $38 at Shopbop
A little string can go a long way.
17. Say Anything Anklet, $32 at Free People
Friendship anklets are on the sartorial menu, too.
18. Colors for Good Friendship Bracelet, $7 at Urban Outfitters
At just $7, this bracelet is fodder for crew adornment.
19. Shashi June Bracelet, $55 at Shopbop
Give one to your bestie—or be the layered jewelry fiend you wish to see in the world.
20. Easy Going Eye Charm Bracelet, $98 at Free People
Charm-adorned without feeling charm-covered.
21. Shashi Lilu Seed Bracelet, $27 at Shopbop
Any campy accessory is only made better by the addition of colorful tassels.
22. Neon Beaded Bracelet Set, $4.99 at Forever 21
Sure to stand out in even the most maximalist jewelry selection.
23. Estella Bartlett Gold Plated Stars So Bright Friendship Bracelet, $24 at ASOS
24. Shashi Sam Chain Slide Bracelet, $32 at Shopbop
A beaded bracelet that feels vaguely tie-dye—or at least, ombre.
25. Shashi It’s Love Bracelet, $46 at Shopbop
Keep your values in plain view at all times.
26. Shashi Maya Bracelet, $58 at Shopbop
A friendship bracelet that feels maximalist without skewing over the top.
27. Maison Irem Pino Colored Shell Macrame Bracelet, $64 at Shopbop
So campy. So nostalgic. So damn wonderful.
28. Venessa Arizaga Across the Universe Bracelet, $175 at Shopbop
Stars and rainbow beads make for a seriously stellar combination.
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