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You’re probably well acquainted with the corset trend that has been widely popular throughout the last year. Many love it for its ties to fashion past, and to the regency era in particular, which was full of corsets and gowns. Lately, there’s also another aspect of “regency core” that has seemed to be making a comeback, and this one may surprise you. Chainmail has been an up-and-coming material in the fashion world and could become your new favourite trend!

Chainmail may not seem like the most wearable textile; however, many celebrities have been pictured rocking it — and for good reason. It’s the perfect mix of edgy and unique, and is still versatile enough to be worn in many different ways. Here’s an overview of the chainmail trend and how you can incorporate it into your own wardrobe.

First: a little fashion history. Chainmail, a fabric made of interlocking metal rings, is stereotypically associated with medieval knights since its most popular use was in armour. This was because of its lightness and flexibility and because of the strength of the metal. Now, you’re probably wondering how on earth something inspired by medieval armour has become fashionable, but stay with me. Celebrities have been using chainmail to make a fashion statement for a while now. Some of your favourite fashion moments may have featured chainmail without you even noticing!

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In the 90s, models Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss made waves with these iconic looks. The two wore matching chainmail Versace dresses, and the material created this amazing metallic yet flowy effect. The material also makes everything look expensive due to its shimmer and intricateness, which obviously pairs well with the image the models were aiming to portray.

The chainmail dress has since become a staple going out look for many celebrities, including Paris Hilton, Bella Hadid, and Kendall Jenner. Each of them has reinvented the chainmail dress to fit with her own unique style, which shows how unique and one-of-a-kind chainmail can be. In the post below, for example, Kendall has opted for a more classic silhouette with transparent chainmail, whereas Bella has chosen a more edgy chainmail jumpsuit that attaches to her shoes.

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Even Zendaya, the fashion queen herself, rocked a chainmail dress at the 2018 Met Gala. Her dress was inspired by Joan of Arc, so the chainmail was used to pay homage to its traditional use. Although this definitely isn’t wearable for the everyday person, it beautifully highlights how chainmail can be glamorous and elegant. It’s also an interesting ode to the chainmail’s roots — if only all armour was this fashionable!

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Clearly, high fashion is eating chainmail up. But let’s be honest: the chainmail outfits worn by models and celebrities aren’t the most realistic for a college student. Don’t fear; since chainmail is so versatile, there are many ways to wear it in a more casual way! A chainmail bag, for example, is an easy way to dip your toes into this trend without tipping too far on the knight-costume spectrum. A chainmail top, like the one Khloe is pictured wearing, is also a great staple for nights out and can add an extra sparkle to a simple jean.

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Chainmail, while daunting, also has the potential to become a great new trend in fashion. There are many iconic celebrity looks to draw upon for inspiration, and chainmail can add a high fashion twist to a practical item of clothing. You can also adapt it to your own individual style and use it to give a unique flare to your outfit. My professional opinion is bring out your inner knight and give it a go!

Katie Grierson

U Ottawa '25

hi! my name is katie and i'm a first year english student at uOttawa.
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