Bracelets Vs. Bangles: The Differences Between The Wrist Adornments

Pop quiz: What's the difference between a bangle and a bracelet? If you're not really sure, you aren't alone. Judging by the photos tagged with each term on Instagram, the vast majority of the jewelry-wearing world might be pretty confused between the two wrist adornments. As it turns out, the answer is quite simple. A bangle is a rigid cuff worn around the wrist. Some bangles are solid cylinders, while others have cutouts that make them split cylinders.

A bracelet, on the other hand (or wrist), is a band or chain worn around the wrist. Unlike a bangle, a bracelet is flexible. Some bracelets — such as chain varieties — are very flexible while others only offer a slight bit of flex or stretch. As long as the piece isn't completely rigid, it remains a bracelet rather than a bangle. Whichever style you choose, your signature look is for you to decide. In the meantime, here are some of the best ways to wear both bangles and bracelets. 

Classic bangle stack

If you're looking to turn heads, a classic stack of bangles just can't be beat. These loud, chunky wrist hoops scream "look at me" from across any room. Up the wow factor by mixing in bright colors and patterns or make your regal presence known by flaunting copious quantities of gold; your call. 

Layered bracelets

For those who love the boldness of a stacked look but feel like chunky bangles are a little on the overstated side, layered bracelets offer a similar vibe without feeling quite so commanding of attention. Pick out your favorite three bracelets and layer them into one cohesive adornment. Stick with silver for an understated look, go royal with gold, or get edgy by mixing metals. 

Statement bangle

Bangles can be such bold, eye-catching pieces that you don't necessarily even need a whole stack to steal the show. One carefully selected bangle, with or without attachments like charms or gemstones, can make your entire look. It may not even be necessary to choose any addition pieces of jewelry. Just let your bangle shine and see where it leads you.

Lone bracelet

Not one to be shown up, a single bracelet can also be enough to take your breath away. Fasten a classic diamond tennis bracelet around your wrist, for instance, and watch the spring appear in your step. It's hard not to feel classy, timeless, and sophisticated with such a dainty piece of fine jewelry on display. 

Mixed stack: The best of both worlds

Still can't decide between the structured look of bangles and the softer silhouette of bracelets? Why not embrace both? Alternate them based on the goal of your outfit each day or create a mixed stack. Coordinate your favorite bangles with your best bracelets and wear them all at the same time. The best thing about fashion is that the rules are made to be broken to create your own unique aesthetic.