fashion to decor trimmings Fashion

FALLing for Embellishments: Fashion to Decor Trimmings

One of my favorite things about living in the Northeast is the incredible Fall foliage that starts to pop end of September. It’s dreamy for all of us that get a rush from color.  The other thing that positively charges my transition from Summer to Fall is FABULOUS FALL FASHION!  Invited by Westchester Home Magazine to share my favorite fashion to decor trimmings, I had more purpose than usual to research the runways.  For those of you who don’t live near NYC, the digital version of my article is here>> Fashion Forward.  Additionally, in this post, I’m sharing my study, inspiration and love for the exquisite embellishments that are trending this season.


After a long dry spell from frills, embellishments have re-emerged on the design scene, signaling economic recovery with the desire to decorate. These details, overscaled, graphic or used en masse, express individuality writ large. Whichever decorative style you curate, in your dress or in your home, it is sure to garner attention from your family, friends and/or followers, because these modern embellishments have something in common: they’re camera-ready, an essential for ecommerce and social media sharing.  2016 has emerged as a year for exuberant expression through unexpected fabrications.  Here’s an overview.

PATCHES: old school redux

fashion to decor trimmings

Historically, patches have proffered identity, signified rank, noted accomplishments, showed team allegiance, or even flaunted places traveled. This season’s designers have taken this embellishment and given us non-ranking folk a way to distinguish ourselves: retro, artsy, clever, exotic, sporty or noble.  These patches aren’t earned but bought, and not as presumptuously as procuring a royal title.

fashion to decor trimmings
Gallery Embroidered Braid by Houles | Panda and Fox Badges by Coral & Tusk, Fox embellished by Trim Queen | Tennis Club Badge & Stars by M&J Trimming | Crown Badges by East Coast Trimming

EMBROIDERY & FLOWERS: handcraft meets tech

fashion to decor trimmings

Once the technique used to mend or tailor fabrics, embroidery stitches evolved from utilitarian beginnings to impressive decorative needlework. This trend aligns with the rise of the artisan, the appreciation of craft, and the maker movement.  It also exemplifies the very 21st-century meeting of handcrafted with technology, the subject of Manus X Machina, the acclaimed exhibit at The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Whether using yarn, sequins, beads, or gold thread to stitch designs of flora or fauna by hand, machine, or both, these embroidered designs pop dimensionally from the textile. When done on a patterned fabric, the design mash-up is especially eye-catching and in vogue.

fashion to decor trimmings
From top embroidered tapes: Berkeley by Schumacher | Zadar by Charlotte Moss for Fabricut | Guadeloupe by Dana Gibson for Stroheim | Celtic Tape by Scalamandre | Ingot by Stroheim | Guilloche by Scalamandre | Ashbury by Schumacher

fashion to decor trimmings

Whether using yarn, sequins, beads, or gold thread to stitch designs of flora or fauna by hand, machine, or both, these embroidered designs pop dimensionally from the textile. When done on a patterned fabric, the design mash-up is especially eye-catching and in vogue.

fashion to decor trimmings
L to R: Embroidered Garden in Summer Sky by Stroheim | Raffia Wallpaper Custom Flower by MS Schmalberg | Edelweiss & Chalet borders by Barbara Barry for Kravet | Custom petals & leather dahlias by MS Schmalberg | Trianon Tape by French General for Fabricut | Astra Beaded Border by Lori Weitzner for Samuel & Sons

PASSEMENTERIE: a status symbol returns

fashion to decor trimmings

Literally meaning “to turn by hand,” passementerie is the art of manipulating braid and ribbon into dimensional ornament. Passementerie has decorated royal interiors, costume, and military uniforms as frog closures, epaulettes, belts, tassels and tiebacks, signifying rank, status and power since the guild of the Passementiers was created in 16th-century France.  The new translation of this art form conveys status too, as one must be able to afford this handcraft.  Much of the passementerie on Balmain’s Fall runway had a military vibe, and designer Olivier Rousteing cleverly christened his models, and fans, #Balmain Army.

fashion to decor trimmings
Clockwise: Harbour Serpentine Braid by Samuel & Sons | Ribbed Button Costume Collection by Robert Allen | overscaled Casual Knot Frog at Calico Corners | Reverse Pineapple Frog at Calico Corners | Elegant Knot at Calico Corners | Escutcheon Applique by Dana Gibson for Stroheim | Chinoisserie Frog & Metallic Passementerie by Calico Corners (all Calico items avail in-store only)

TASSELS & FRINGE: the unstoppable trend

fashion to decor trimmings

We’ve seen tassels and fringe go from couture to ready-to-wear to mass market and DIY; this trend seems unstoppable.  Its versatility to convey mood —sleek yarns for chic, chunky yarns for crafty — and its playfulness of movement, keep it swinging at the top. Designers continue to find new ways to use it, infatuated with its texture, length and application, fabricating every which way: vertically, horizontally, diagonally, sheathed or layered.  Plus, it’s sexy and that always gives a trend some legs.

fashion to decor trimmings
Clockwise: Halsey Onion Fringe by Scalamandre | Bell Fringe by Schumacher | Costume Tassel fringe at Robert Allen | Twiggy Key Tassel by Houles | Calisto Key Tassel & Rouen Skirt Tassel Fringe by Samuel and Sons | Joffrey Tassel Fringe by Dana Gibson for Stroheim

In addition to being photogenic, all these embellishments share a nostalgic edge, modern interpretations of things familiar. Perhaps in these uncertain times of change, decorating has become an act of sentimentality that we are eager to wear on our sleeve, or sofa.


I hope you got some Fall Fashion inspiration from this post and if you have an embellished ensemble you’re proud of, please send to me @TrimQueen #TrimQueen

You know I LOVE to share your creativity whether in your home design or fun with fashion.

In creative harmony,


  • Pamela Fritz

    Fresh and detailed, just gorgeous, all of it.
    Thanks for your beautiful creativity and bold examples Jana!

    1. [email protected]

      Thanks Fritzy for reading and I appreciate all of your #trimspotting too. This post wrote itself once I had all the exquisite trims at my fingers. xoJana

  • Meredith Morrison

    I knew you were going to be all about Gucci & Dolce this season! That pink Balmain dress had me squealing! I’m also loving the goldwork getting some play- I keep saying I need to take a class on it. I love all of your trim and inspo Jana!

    1. [email protected]

      Thanks so much Meredith. Whether the idea of embellishment is back comes from fashion or decor, I’m happy that people have some exquisite materials to choose from. If only I could afford that Balmain dress….may have to DIY a version! Keep me posted on any of your #TrimAlchemy, I love to share. Jana

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