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Secrets of the Arm Party

Posted: Thursday, Apr. 19, 2012

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Rachel Sutherland

Rachel Sutherland has been a professional journalist for 14 years, most recently as the Style Editor for the Charlotte Observer. Her writing and styling work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country. She is often a featured guest on syndicated radio programs The Matt & Ramona Show and The Satisfied Life. Find her at or email her:

I recently scored the most colorful, wonderful arm partyfor $12ish dollars. Really.

I have to share the details because the story of its creation epitomizes high-low dressing and a willingness to see style where ever you are.

While on a shopping road trip to Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem with my friend Kisten (she writes the fab Polish Pauper blog), we hit my favorite spot for super cheap, on-trend accessories: Forever 21. I stumbled across a bowl full of bracelets (similar bangles here) and was stunned to see that even by Forever 21 standards, they were hella inexpensive: $1.80 per set.

I wasted no time putting five sets in my basket. When I got home, I split the sets, giving my daughter the skinny metal bracelets, keeping the colorful wrapped bangles for myself. A few days later, I spied another colorful wrapped bangle in the $1 bin at Michael’s. I snatched it up.

I wore my colorful bangles to a speaking engagement recently, and was peppered with questions about where I purchased the set, even going to so far as to ask if I had picked them up at a specific boutique in Charlotte. While I thought for a sec about just saying yes, I came clean about my secret source of budget-friendly accessories.

The moral of this jewelry story? Don’t judge a store (even a craft store) by it’s cover. Beautiful fashion can be found just about anywhere. Wear your budget-friendly finds proudly — I know I will!

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