Toe rings were kinda cute on all those hippie girls you went to UC Santa Cruz with in the '90s, with their floor-reaching skirts made from natural dyes and fibers. But then again, so were the "natural" cloves they smoked.
Called bichiya in India, toe rings serve as more of an indication of marital status than anything else—married women wear the jewelry on the second toes of both feet, though some sets come with 10 rings, one for each toe, right down to the pinkies. The rings are usually made from silver because of the highly respected status of gold in Hindu society; no gold is to be worn beneath the waist. Men sometimes sport toe rings for therapeutic reasons, or even to amplify their masculinity. Same thing.
Cultural identity and reasons aside, toe rings only speak to the undying fascination some of us have with placing a bizarre accentuation on our feet, adorning them as if they were hands. You know, growing your toenails to a revolting length (and emphasizing that length with a French pedicure); Tweety Bird ankle tattoos; getting flowers, rhinestones or sunsets painted on your toes; buying cheesy sterling-silver anklets from a mall kiosk; etc. It's just very . . . '90s. Peggy Bundy. Without the charm.
All that stuff you've done to your feet since you were 17 costs tons extra—which might mean you need to reconsider. Sans the general maintenance and upkeep, the add-ons only result in making you look a lot less like a sophisticate than you probably wish. Simplicity and moderation should always come out on top when it comes to accessories.
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Though I suppose that's debatable. This is Orange County, where everyone seems to have a coastal mentality. At the beach, toe rings and other foot adornments are often paired with flip-flops and open-toed sandals (lifestyle excuses everything). So if you must, I'd advise you to stay away from the precious metals for anklets. If you're going to do it, do it all the way—braided hemp anklets with glass beads? Sure, why not?
But it's when the club gals—yeah, you, the one the bouncer at Glam recognizes and knows by name—pair 'em with chunky heels and 2004's leggings. Unfortunately, that is what foot accessories are usually associated with these days, not cute Huntington Beach surfer gals. Risk wearing that anklet and toe ring inland, and risk being roped in with a less-than-appetizing subculture.
The question of tackiness is, as always, subject to opinion, but I plead with you to take a real look at your feet before you choose to Bedazzle. Cankles? Anklets will only draw attraction to the absence of ankles. Squat, pudgy toes? No one wants to see sparkly rings jammed onto swollen Vienna sausages.
Think about it.