What Does Wearing an Anklet Mean?

woman wearing heart anklet
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Wearing an anklet means many things to people of different cultures. The ankle bracelet meaning differs, from being open to a fling to being a custom.

Tradition has the most significant impact on an anklet’s meaning. Yet, since beliefs change with time, the modern definition of wearing an anklet has also evolved.

To better understand what wearing an anklet means, we checked histories and traditions. We also scoured the internet for the modern meaning of wearing anklets. Next, we gathered all the information below.

Continue to learn about anklets, their history, the cultures that wear them, and what they mean. We’ve also included the purposes of wearing anklets in fashion and other industries.

History of Anklets in Different Cultures Around the World

anklets on both amkles

In ancient Egypt, women wore anklets like we wear wedding rings today. Anklets symbolized that a woman was already married. Often, it was the practice of the wives of wealthy Egyptians.

Even in predynastic Egypt, the anklet was an everyday ornament for Egyptian women. It surpassed social classes, so women of all classes could wear them.  

Today, only dancers in Egypt wear anklets during public events. Because of their Islamic conservatism, most people see wearing anklets as immodesty.

In ancient Greece, anklets and other jewelry represented affluence and privilege. It was the Hellenistic period, and the Roman Empire was growing more prosperous.

In India, women from various subcultures also wore anklets in earlier times. Rajasthani women wore heavy anklets to signify tribal adherence.

The same applies to African women. 

Queen mothers in Ghana wore anklets, for example. They didn’t only function as costume jewelry but also as a sign of bravery against rival tribes.

African woman with mulitple anklets

First-century CE Tamil literature has an epic called “The Story of the Anklet.” It’s about a woman and her husband, who tried to sell one of her anklets to a dishonest goldsmith. 

In the story, he dies from murder as he tries to sell the piece of jewelry. The epic poem also describes the anklet in great detail.

Odisha has Paunji Nupur, which are traditional anklet varieties worn by women. In ancient Odisha, men also wore anklets.

A more recent trend that involved wearing anklets occurred in the US in the 1970s. Bohemian fashion was the trend in this era, and that included wearing ankle bracelets.

Why Did Ancient Customs Wear Anklets?

As mentioned above, anklets became a symbol of wealth or power. 

Women from wealthy families wore more beautiful anklets. 

Gold anklets were for Odishan people in the royal or warrior caste. Other Odishan castes could only wear silver anklets.

You can also find many old customs worldwide where dancers wore anklets as part of their attires. 

These pieces of jewelry added flair and beauty to the dance or dancer.

In India, women’s anklets had small bells that jingled when they walked. 

The anklet announced the arrival of a woman or matron. When men and other family members heard this, they had to be more respectful. 

It was a signal to drop vulgar conversations.  

You’ll notice that in most customs, anklets often function to increase the beauty of women. In these cases, they served to help a wife attract the attention of her husband.

Another purpose we mentioned is that anklets were marks of marriage and commitment. It was visible for men that a woman already has a husband, and he can’t court her.

What Does It Mean to Wear an Anklet Today?

Anklets have a different meaning today as compared to ancient times. Some of the reasons we wear anklets have evolved, while some remain the same. 

These reasons include:

They Increase the Wearer’s Attractiveness

The one thing that has stuck around is that anklets are pieces of jewelry meant for making the wearer look good. In short, it adds to the aesthetic of the wearer.

Consider how trends and styles come back periodically. 

Today, the 70s bohemian style is making a comeback. We see more designers recreating the “boho-luxe” and “gypset” styles.

They are Signs of a “Hotwife”

Our values evolve with our fashion styles. 

Today, especially in the US, many women identify as “hotwives.” These women are in an open or non-monogamous relationship with their husbands. 

With her husband’s consent, the wife can hook up with other partners aside from him.

Most people use dating sites or hookup apps to find non-monogamous women. However, did you know that some hotwives also wear anklets to let others know about their interests?

However, remember that not all women wearing anklets are hotwives. Some may not even know about the subculture of today’s ethical non-monogamy.

Wearing an Anklet on the Left or Right Ankle

You might have heard that wearing an anklet on a specific side or foot can have different meanings. 

We listed below the varied beliefs from the subcultures we researched.

An anklet on the right ankle can mean:

·         The wearer is single or has no partner

·         The wearer has a spouse and wants to have an extramarital affair

·         The wearer is free to approach for sex

An ankle bracelet on the left foot can mean:

·         The anklet acts as a charm or talisman

·         The wearer has a spouse or is engaged

·         The wearer wants a casual or open relationship

·         The wearer is a widow and wants a relationship with a widower

Some cultures follow the same beliefs. Yet, no universal culture or laws dictate that these beliefs apply to all. 

In other words, a woman can wear an anklet on her right foot simply because she feels more comfortable with it.

More Anklet Meanings Based on Color

Did you know that the color of the anklet may also carry different implications? 

Most colors used for anklets also represent the distinct meanings of those colors. For example, a white anklet denotes purity, innocence, and peace. 

Thus, a person wearing a white ankle bracelet could be a virgin.

A yellow anklet can signify good fortune or a penchant for making friends. After all, yellow is a color often associated with the sun, warmth, and happiness.

In many cultures, green is the color of nature. If you wear a primarily green anklet, you’re calling upon nature to give you a sense of calm during stressful times. 

A green anklet can also be a piece of jewelry signifying good luck.

In some eastern cultures, red is a solid and fierce color. 

Wearing a red anklet can bring you good luck. 

Pink, the softer shade of red, can have romantic hints. A pink anklet is an excellent choice for women who are in love or married.

woman wearing black anklet

Black is the color of darkness and mystery. A black anklet can be a sign of a secretive personality. 

It can also connote untold memories.

Above all the colors we mentioned, anklets most frequently come in gold or silver. 

A gold anklet can mean that the wearer has wealth and stability. In some cases, gold is a symbol of good luck. Meanwhile, silver is like the color white. It symbolizes purity, clarity, and feminine energy.