5 Kinda Amazing Little Facts About Heels, Sequins and More Party Outfit Essentials

By Meredith Turits, Glamour magazine

Perfect party dress? Check. Killer shoes to match? Another check. But there's one more accessory you're going to need to go with your stunning holiday party outfit-and this one will make you the center of attention.

While you'll wow 'em with your glamorous look, why not be the star of conversation, too? While you're out doing your holiday shopping, pick up a little something for yourself: Encyclopedia of the Exquisite by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins (she's a former WWD and W editor, and a Vogue writer!). It's a stylish little index of the facts you never knew you absolutely needed to know about one hundred of the most wonderful things in life-from frilly lingerie and champagne to dining al fresco to trapezes.

Here's a little sneak peek from the book so that you can go out on the town armed with these 5 fab betcha-didn't-know-facts about your own fab holiday outfit:

High heels

Heels landed on the fashion map in seventeenth century Venice, where ladies copied the shoes Turkish women wore to the baths, and decorated them with stamped leather, silver foil, hand-painted lacquer designs, silk and jewels. These early heels reached heights of more than a foot. Meet your match, Mr. McQueen.


While our beloved gloves originated from the gardening needs of Greeks and Romans, they became a ceremonial staple medieval times for formal betrothal ceremonies. A lover gave gloves to his mistress during the ritual, and when a lady gave up a glove, she proved her favor. So much more romantic than texting "Hey, how you doin'?, now isn't it?


Supposedly the yearly perfume budget for Madame du Pompadour, King Louis XV of France's mistress, in the eighteenth century was half a million francs. (That's a lot of l'eau!) Louis wasn't so thrifty, either; he demanded his apartments be scented something different daily, too. Their scent-addiction got perfume banned in France for nearly ten years after French Revolution. Dish up that fact when someone asks why you've got so many perfume samples piling up in your bathroom.

Red lipstick

While you won't be surprised to hear that the often-provocative lipstick shade has been banned throughout history-from the Romans to the Elizabethans to the Nazis-red lipstick was actually declared "an essential nonessential" in the U.S. during WWII. Why? Psychiatrists said the hue caused a lift in women's spirit and geniality, which directly benefited male family members. (As red lip-loving gals ourselves, we kind of have to agree about the essential nonessential thing-less so about the dude stuff.)

The word "sequin" comes from the Venetian zecchino, which was a coin issued in 1284. When the currency died out, Venetian ladies would embroider their clothes with the old, pure gold coins. Thus, bling is born.

Talk about an accessory no one else will be sporting! Don't you love these little fashiony facts?

Which of these fun facts is your fave? Will you be bringing one along to your next party? And, seriously, could Venetian women be any chicer?

P.S. Hooked on these nifty little facts? Pick up Encyclopedia of the Exquisite here!

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Photo Credit: Condé Nast Digital Studio