Every woman knows that the secret to incredible personal style lies in expertly choosing and wearing jewelry. Bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and rings can take an outfit from dull and drab to fun and fab!
Yet there are some guidelines — we won’t call them “rules” — to making sure that your jewelry enhances your look, rather than detracting or distracting from it.
Want to learn how the world’s top fashionistas wear their jewelry with flair? Keep reading for helpful tips!
1. Choose Good Quality Pieces
Now, we’re not saying that you must shop for jewelry exclusively at high-end retailers, or only wear that one set of expensive pearls that your wealthy grandmother bequeathed you. But beware of super cheap jewelry, which usually isn’t worth even the pittance you’ll pay for it.
There are ways to get great bargains on jewelry that won’t fall apart the first time you wear it or turn your fingers green. So be a bit persnickety. Shop around, know your metals, and learn where to look for good deals — estate sales, antique shops, and consignment stores can be treasure troves if you know what to look for.
2. Be Smart About Substitutions
In Guy de Maupassant’s short story “The Necklace,” a woman borrows an exquisite diamond necklace from a friend but loses it. She and her husband are then plunged into a life of poverty, as they work to pay off the crippling debt incurred by replacing the necklace. Years later, she finds out that the original necklace loaned to her was a fake — worth much less than the replacement that caused her so much suffering.
The moral of the story? Good substitutions for diamonds and other gems are affordable and often indistinguishable from the real thing. Take moissanite, for example, which this company uses in its exquisite designs.
In fact, real diamonds are falling out of favor, due to the ethical and political issues surrounding how they are mined.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Layer
Just as you layer clothing pieces to fashionable effect, so too can you — and should you — layer jewelry.
A stunning way to wear necklaces is to choose complementary chain lengths to create a ladder-like stacked effect. This is a perfect approach to mixing sentimental pieces with more au courant, stylish necklaces or pendants.
Similarly, a pile of silver bangles worn on one wrist can be a bold, attractive choice. Even rings can be stacked; in fact, some rings are designed for this very purpose and look great when worn either individually or all together.
4. …but There’s Also Too Much of a Good Thing
Stacking can certainly make a statement, but there are times when it’s not a complimentary statement. Designer Coco Chanel once famously issued the following style edict: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” (We’re assuming she meant an accessory rather than, say, one shoe or the pair of pants you’re wearing.)
When it comes to wearing jewelry, less can very often be more. So be judicious about what pieces you wear, but make those pieces count.
5. They’re Not Called Statement Necklaces for Nothing
So-called statement necklaces are an excellent way to bring a little bling to an otherwise conservative outfit. They take some panache to pull off, however. One fairly firm rule: keep everything else you wear simple.
That means no dangling earrings, clattering bracelets, glitzy belts, or rhinestone-studded stilettos. Think of how you would display the necklace in a museum: on a plain, solid-colored background. Let that be the inspiration for wearing jewelry that’s big, bold, or bejeweled.
6. Let the Clothes Take Center Stage
Conversely, if your clothing choice for a particular occasion is attention-grabbing in any way, the jewelry you wear should be subtle. Wearing a bright, printed pattern, an unusual neckline or hemline, or splashy details? Stick to diamond studs in your ears, your wedding ring, and little else.
It’s all about balance. Loading too much jewelry on top of an already flamboyant fashion selection is a surefire way to be a Glamour Don’t.
7. March To a Different Drumbeat
Classic style, by definition, steers clear of trends. So unless a bracelet is sentimental to you — it was a gift from your children, for example — it’s usually best to skip whatever everyone else is wearing.
Otherwise, it’s going to look very dated in a couple of years. That’s simply not a smart way to utilize your jewelry budget.
8. It’s OK to Mix and Match
Once upon a time, wearing silver and gold was a big no-no. Nowadays, that’s no longer true. Mixed metal pieces mean you don’t have to side exclusively with Team Silver or Team Gold.
White gold, rose gold, platinum, titanium — anything goes! The same is true of wood and other non-metal materials.
9. Pay Attention to Earrings
Pressed for time, or unsure what jewelry to wear for a specific event or occasion? When in doubt, focus on carefully choosing your earrings. After all, they frame your face and therefore will receive the most attention.
If you have long hair, pick earrings that contrast with your hair color so that they stand out. Earrings that are excessively dangly, or oversized hoops, will be a distraction. And if you have multiple piercings in each ear, be sure to select earrings that are similar in style. A row of graduated hoops is always a safe bet for multiply pierced ears.
10. The Most Important Guideline to Wearing Jewelry
If you like it, wear it. That’s right — our last tidbit of advice may seem to fly in the face of all the previous tips. However, we celebrate the right of every woman to indulge her fashion sense as she sees fit.
So if that means a 1970s era silver spoon ring, an armful of black rubber bangles ala Madonna circa 1986, or a puka-shell necklace that you bought on your honeymoon? You do you!
Can’t Get Enough Style and Fashion Tips?
Now that you’re read our definitive guide to wearing jewelry with clash and panache, you might be curious about other woman-centric topics.
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