Design

5 practical and stylish wearable technologies

A new crop of fashion designers and startups are bringing serious fashion to the tech market.

See that ring on her finger? It actually synchs with her iPhone.See that ring on her finger? It actually synchs with her iPhone.See that ring on her finger? It actually syncs with her iPhone thanks to new technology from startup Ringly. (Photo: Ringly)

It’s true that wearable tech is having a moment, but more often than not, fashion tech products have looked more like eyesores than fashion accessories to be taken seriously. Wearables don’t just need to be easy to use and additive to our lives, they should also look good and be versatile. Striking this smart and stylish balance is precisely where many companies have missed the mark.

Fortunately, there’s a new crop of fashion designers and startups who have incorporated cutting-edge tech into practical fashion accessories that people actually want to wear. From bracelets and necklaces, to designer bags and watches for children, here are five stylish fashions we’re loving.

1. Kate Spade iPhone-charging bags

Kate Spade’s new designer bags will power your iPhone. Kate Spade's iPhone charging purse is stylish and practical.

How often do you forget your charger at home, only to realize at the most inopportune time that your iPhone’s battery is dwindling? Then, in quiet desperation, a search for someone (anyone!) with an iPhone charger ensues. It’s maddening!

To alleviate our phone charging issues more gracefully, Kate Spade & Co. has made a foray into the wearable tech market with the recent announcement of the company’s collaboration with Chicago tech startup Everpurse to create designer bags that will charge a wearer’s phone. The collection of wristlets, bags, clutches, totes and backpacks will juice up all models from iPhone 5 through the iPhone 6 Plus, and will last two days on a full charge.

The collection will debut this September, and will be priced between $198 and $698 each.


2. Tory Burch for Fitbit

A versatile and chic fitness tracker from Tory Burch. A fitness tracker from Tory Burch adds style to your steps.

Although they’ve become increasingly popular, fitness trackers have developed a reputation for having a cheap, rubber wristband look. Fine for a run through the park, but not exactly something most women are willing to wear throughout the day.

Tory Burch has a knack for understanding the female consumer and has brought a refreshing new take to the relatively unattractive fitness tracker market. Her collection with California-based Fitbit, released last year, is designed to look like super-chic jewelry as opposed to something you’d wear to the gym. The collection includes a necklace and bracelets in various colors with compartments for your Fitbit Flex tracker ($100, sold separately). Earlier this year, the team released the Tory Burch for Fitbit Fret Double-Wrap Bracelet ($175) which is available in four colors.


3. HereO watches for kids

Kids will love the HereO watch that doubles as a GPS tracking device for parents. This vibrant-looking watch for kids doubles as GPS device.

Tracking your kids’ whereabouts just became easier. Israeli startup hereO has designed fun watches for children intact with what they’re calling “the world’s smallest real-time cellular-connected GPS tracking device.” The watch is intended for children too young to have a cell phone but old enough to feel grown up wearing a vibrantly colored, water resistant watch.

The watch’s GPS system is connected to the hereO smartphone app, which allows parents to track where their children are in real-time. The hereO also allows parents to create safe zones around frequently visited locations, such as a school, and then will notify parents if their child leaves the area.

The hereO watch – available this summer – costs $179, and includes a three-month subscription to the hereO Family App. Thereafter, a monthly fee of $4.95 applies.


4. Ringly

This smart cocktail ring syncs with your iPhone. This smart cocktail ring syncs with your iPhone.

Ladies, you can finally put your phone away with peace of mind at the dinner table. That’s because New York City-based startup Ringly has created the first-ever connected rings for women. The cocktail ring will sync with your smartphone and apps, and light up and buzz to inform you about messages, calendar events and calls. The line of 18-karat gold rings with precious and semi-precious stones was designed by a jewelry designer and will fit right in with your existing collection.

These smart, little cocktail rings cost between $195 and $260 each. Earlier this year, Ringly announced it will expand its smart jewelry collection beyond rings.


5. Swarovski Shine collection

Swarovski Shine is the world’s first solar powered wearable tracker. Track your sleep pattern with this elegant bracelet.

Designed in collaboration with California startup Misfit Wearables, the sophisticated Swarovski Shine collection combines a fashion-forward aesthetic with the convenience of a sleep and tracking device. The collection’s main attraction is – you guessed it – a large crystal that can keep count of a user’s steps, measure calories and monitor sleep patterns. The collection comes in two versions, a crystal face that uses a battery, and a purple variant embedded with solar cells that charge itself without batteries.

The collection is available for pre-order on Misfit’s website and costs between $170 and $250.

Lindsay E. Brown is the managing editor of Eco-Chick, the web’s first ethical fashion, beauty and travel site for women. She has written for Whole Living Magazine, Edible, and Cottages & Gardens. Lindsay has been featured as a fashion and beauty expert on the Veria Living Network. Lindsay holds a BS in Global Business Studies and Marketing from Manhattan College, and received the 2012 Honors Award at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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