As far as arm candy goes, the stretch bracelet is one of the best styles for the petite woman because it's adjustable. Because many petite women have tiny wrists, it can be difficult to find regular bracelets that are small enough, and shopping in the children's department doesn't usually result in finding bracelet styles that look like something an adult woman would want to wear. Bangles slip off too easily, and other types of bracelets are frequently too long for the petite woman who has a small wrist. Some petite women solve the problem by wearing necklaces and earrings while avoiding bracelets altogether.
A stretch bracelet can be a handy solution to the problem of the too-long bracelet so long as the stretch bracelet retracts to fit the wrist well.
Construction-wise, there are two types of stretch bracelets. One type is strung on a stretchy elastic cord, and the second type is backed with accordion-style hinged metal, which expands when it's pulled and returns to its original size when it's not being pulled.
New Commercial Stretch Bracelets
New stretch bracelets (examples are pictured above at left) are very easy to find. They're available at fashion retailers everywhere from discount stores to department stores to boutiques. Typically stretch bracelets are beaded, and they may feature any type of beads -- stone, pearls, glass, resin, wooden, metal, ceramic, clay and so on. There's such a large range of colors and color combinations that it should be easy to find a stretch bracelet that goes with any garment. Another benefit of the new commercial stretch bracelet is that it should be fairly inexpensive. Expect to pay less than $30 for a stretch bracelet that's costume jewelry quality. Often stretch bracelets are sold in sets with several bracelets for one price. Compare prices on stretch bracelets.
DIY Stretch Bracelets
It's easy to make a do-it-yourself stretch bracelet (examples are pictured above in center). All you need are some beads and some elastic string. Special elastic beading string, such as Stretch Magic (compare prices on Stretch Magic) is available in several diameters in transparent and colored elastic. After stringing the beads on the elastic, simply tie a knot that holds well. The advantage of the DIY stretch bracelet is that you can easily fine tune the fit and choose from a wide selection of beads or even make your own beads. The only caveat is to watch out for beads that have very sharp edges because they could possibly cut the stretchy bead string. For those who enjoy jewelry-making, another way to make a stretch bracelet is to buy an expandable bracelet and attach beads to it using headpins.
Vintage Stretch Bracelets
Older stretch bracelets that qualify as "vintage" (usually at least 20 years old and often older) are available from several different sources. These are fun fashion accessories, especially because you're not likely to see anyone else wearing exactly the same bracelet. There are a couple of cautions to keep in mind when you're buying any vintage jewelry. Remember that's it's old and may have some flaws or wear, so look it over carefully, or if you're buying online, pay special attention to the description of the condition of the item. If there is no mention of condition, inquire of the seller. If you're considering purchasing an expandable, such as the pink bracelets pictured above at right, make sure that the metal mechanisms on the back are not broken. If you purchase a vintage stretch bracelet that is strung on elastic, you may need to replace the elastic because it will lose its stretchiness over time.