7 Unexpected Ways to Wear a Shoelace

styling man repeller diy

Back in May, I wrote a story about unconventional belts, one of which was a shoe lace. Such a seemingly mundane object, the shoe lace. It’s just a piece of string designed to be woven through the grommets of a shoe—it was never intended to be the main event. But, like a baby who chooses to play with a cardboard box instead of the toy that came inside it, I have become transfixed by them. And what I’ve discovered is that shoe laces actually have so much styling potential, well beyond serving as a belt. Below, I’ll show you seven! new! ways! to make very good use of them.

1. DIY Wrap Shirt

Exhibited here with my co-model, photo editor Sabrina Santiago, this is the perfect way to cinch the waist of an oversized blazer or shirt in a feminine fashion. Not only that, but the additional pop of color makes our straightforward ensembles a lot more fun, too.

2. Ponytail Decor

The best shoe laces for this trick is either a coated style or a leather shoe lace because it stays in your hair all day without slippage. Sabrina and I lacked a hairbrush on this overcast afternoon, but you could also do a really slick look with a metallic shoe lace like Sabrina’s and wear this hairstyle to make a formal look a bit more unexpected. Try leaving out the bow of the shoe lace to make a long tail (I did this during Fashion Week!).

3. Shirt Harness

This look may be my favorite of the tricks. To make it, I tied two 51 inch shoe laces together and wrapped them around my body over a white shirt from Everlane. I like this style of shirt for this look because its boxy fit makes it flare out between the strands of the shoe lace and at the hem nicely. (Try wrapping two different colored shoe laces if you want even more fun.)

4. Pant Jewelry

This idea came to me during the styling of the Repeller look book. I used a Repeller shoe lace here because it has these awesome little grommets built in, from which you can hang earrings or charms of your choice. These here, of course, are Repeller earrings. Measure the waist of your pants and add 5 inches if just fastening in a knot, and 10 inches if you’d like a fancy little bow.

5. Double-Banded Headband

Like the hair bows, I used the coated/leather shoe laces to prevent any slippage. This shoe lace is also 51 inches so I could wrap it around my head twice. You could also use a shorter one and simply tie it in a bow at the top, side, or at your neck (that’d be so pretty for those of you with very short hair!).

6. Neck Garnish

Leandra occasionally adds charms to her chain necklaces, so here I just used a simple shoe lace to achieve a similar look. You can do one earring, two earrings, a bunch of earrings and you’ve got yourself a new piece of jewelry.

7. Ankle Cinch

Were you worried I was only going to focus on the hips up? (If not, perhaps you should have been??) Here I am cinching pant legs with shoe laces to help elongate my leg and create what I like to call a hoof. Might I suggest de-lacing your sneakers and using the laces as the ankle ties? That would definitely get you some double-takes from passersby.

In conclusion… shoelaces: You can tie them in a knot, you can tie them in a bow, you can… wrap them around your body in various ways and completely transform your outfit. Do you have any other ideas for clever ways to use them? I’m listening.

Photographed by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.

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