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To me, the perfect summer embellishment comes in the form of grosgrain ribbon. I like how full-bodied it is — no frothy girly ribbon, this. Often in clean colours and crisp stripes, grosgrain is fresh, sporty and preppy. Three words I could use to describe my favourite teenage summers spent lifeguarding (in the 80s, when preppy was first truly big, and now I am dating myself, ouch). No wonder I have such a fondness for grosgrain. But when trolling fashion sites and leafing through mags, I see I'm not the only one. While I may consider this my indulgence in nostalgia, I think others see grosgrain for what it truly is, a North American classic.

This summery belted shift dress looks trimmed in black and white grosgrain to me, also perfectly crisp and cool. And look at the many colours of striped grosgrain available online. Imagine what you could do with those.

You could trim a hipster hat (similar to the one I might have rocked in the 80s, on the lifeguard chair). Or dress an outdoor table with grosgrain ribbon mini-flags.

Or, make the ubiquitously preppy string of pearls more casual. And how about dressing up your summer napkins in grosgrain belts?

Basically, anything you can trim with ribbon can be done with grosgrain, and when applied sparingly and paired with something crisp, you can create your own North American classic.

For other fun uses for ribbon, try lining a wallpaper blind or lampshade.

Photo credits:
1a. Alexis Mabille Spring 2011 RTW collection
1b. Pink Hedgehog Paper Crafts
2a. Above The Fray Cap, Anthropologie
2b. Martha Stewart
3a. Girls' Pearl Medley Necklace, J.Crew
3b. Martha Stewart

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