Thanks to movies and television shows, most of us think we should be living the life of the Jetsons’ by now. But where’s our flying car? Our robot maid? And that awesome automatic beauty machine that Jane and Judy use to do their hair every morning? While we are, admittedly, living in a pretty advanced world, we’re always left craving more—wanting integrated technology woven seamlessly, and beautifully, into our lives. Because, while it’s great to have a handy little device that basically houses all the information of the known world inside it, we want it on our wrists, built into our sweaters and streamlined into our glasses. We just don’t want it to look like technology. And that could be the issue fashion has with wearable tech.
Most women that spend the time, money and energy putting together an Instagram-worthy outfit are not going to want to ruin it with a clunky smart watch reminiscent of a ‘80s Seiko calculator. It’s just not worth sacrificing the look to answer your phone from your wrist—so we dismiss the idea of tech as sort of geeky, keep our phones in our hands and call it a day. But fashion needs to move in that direction—how can it not? With almost every other aspect of human life getting technological upgrades—from smart homes to smart cars—watches that can only tell time seem obsolete, jewelry that only dangles from your wrist seems boring. While fashion has been slow to dabble in technology, it is making some progress with collaborations like DVF for Google Glass or Tory Burch for FitBit. And while we don’t plan on rocking an awkward smart watch any time soon, there are a few brands that are getting this whole wearable tech thing right.
We’ve talked about Ringly before, but the idea of having a cocktail ring that doubles as a notification device is almost too good. Until the moment it lights up to let you know you’ve received an alert, no one would know there was a little computer sitting on your finger. This ring can basically do it all, notifying the wearer with color coded lights or vibrations when they receive an important call, text or even social media update. Set in 18 karat gold and coming in four different colors, this jewelry is probably one of our favorites—basically everyone in the office wants one. What we love most about this brand, aside from its aesthetic value, is that each type of alert can be assigned a completely different color or vibration, leaving you to mix and match to create your own customized notifications.
Beacon & Lively
Similar to Ringly, Beacon & Lively has created jewelry in the form of cuff bracelets that will produce a ring of light or light vibration when you receive a call or text. The alert can be turned off “with the flick of the wrist” and the color coding can be customized and chosen from an entire spectrum of hues. The cuff comes in three colors, gold, silver and black, to make the device something that can be easily integrated into anyone’s wardrobe. While the ring of ambient light is pretty cool, especially since we can use really any shade we want (hello, color coordinated outfits!), our favorite spec is that the cuff is water resistant—meaning that seaside romps won’t interrupt your connection to the office.
This is the one ring to rule them all. There’s an obvious pattern of wearable tech coming in the form of jewelry, possibly due to its ease of fashionable integration, but this one actually needs your movement in order to function. Ring is a device that lets you control anything through the gesture of your hands. Need to turn off the light? Turn on the heater? It can all be done with a flick of the finger. While it sounds more like something out of Harry Potter than something that connects to your iPhone, the Ring is a technological reality and can change the way people connect and interact in world. The Ring can recognize letters, images and certain movements which could assist the visually or physically impaired. While the Ring is a little bigger (and doesn’t come in super glam colors) it’s small enough to be discreet and large enough to make a statement, plus it’s the perfect men’s ring. But take note—this bad boy is not waterproof.
Generally we’re not fans of smart watches—but we love this one. Could you even tell it was a smart watch? With a simplified face, leather strap and classic look, Withings Activité could easily pass for an heirloom timepiece, when in reality, it’s not even close. This watch helps you make the most out of your day by tracking your activity levels (through walking, running, even swimming), optimizing your sleep, setting off alarms or notifications with discrete vibrations, even auto-adjusting to local time if you travel abroad. Entirely Swiss-made, but developed by a team of French designers, the Activité stays connected to your iOS without anyone being the wiser.
Not all wearable tech is about staying connected to your Twitter feed. Sure, we love a celebrity baby-bump sighting as much as the next girl, but this is the kind of jewelry that can literally save your life. Cuff offers pendant necklaces, leather cuffs and metal bangles all hidden with a small linking system that you can discreetly press in case of an emergency. An alert will be sent to family and friends letting them know that you need help and will communicate your location and necessary information such as your medical history. This can be used for children, the elderly, those going off to college or for everyday use as a way of staying safe and connected.