It might seem like an obvious question: what should you wear to complement yourself and your clothing when it comes to jewelry? But the answer isn't always obvious.
Never fear: we've come up with 15 fabulous jewelry style tips to help you to be your fashionable best.
Does this sound familiar: You've got an overflowing jewelry collection filled with pieces you love (or have forgotten you love), but you’re really not making the most of it and you're not sure where to start.
Or maybe you’re just not confident about which pieces to shop for to work with each other and for you.
We've all been there.
The good news is that we've assembled a bunch of handy jewelry style and fashion tips and tricks to help you wear fine, fashion and costume jewelry to complement your sense of style, personality and wardrobe.
As Who What Wear says: “incorporating jewelry into your look is always a good idea.” And who am I to disagree?
Let's dive in ...
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1. Create layers with rings, necklaces and bangles
Why not start with something fun?
Experiment with contrasting lengths, shapes, textures and colors to make appealing layers with rings, necklaces, bangles and in some cases even earrings.
If you're layering necklaces then go for different lengths to draw the eye up to your face. Different shapes, colors and textures will often work a treat. For bangles and bracelets you can pretty much create an arm party of different pieces which will flash and jangle as you move. Rings can be mixed, matched and stacked in all sorts of interesting combinations.
You can even experiment with wearing multiple earring styles if you have more than one pair of ear piercings or want to combine ear cuffs with other earrings.
It's easy: simply gather together a collection of necklaces and pendants of different lengths, textures, colors and designs and try them on in different combinations to see what works. Make notes of the combinations you like to trigger your memory later.
Rinse and repeat with bangles and rings.
2. Know when to stop
You know how it is: sometimes too much is, well, too much.
If you’re drawing attention to your face and neckline with layered necklaces or a statement piece, perhaps you don’t need an armful of bangles to compete for attention.
Or if you're wearing a bold pair of earrings perhaps your necklace could be more subtle or not there at all (on the other hand, a bold pair of earrings with a matching necklace can sometimes work beautifully).
If you’ve accessorized with multiple pieces then consider taking a leaf out of Coco Chanel’s book: "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory"1.
Or not, as the case may be!
3. Carefully consider your earrings
Don't you find it can be all too easy to forget about your earrings? Yep, me too.
However, your earrings are usually in the field of vision for anyone who is talking to you, so they are important. You should aim to choose different earrings to frame your face and complement your hair, eye color and skin tone.
If you have long hair a great tip is to select a color or metal finish which is more likely to be visible, depending on your hair color.
4. Don't forget to actually change your earrings
I'm guilty of this myself: it can be so easy to wear the same pair of earrings for days or weeks on end. Or maybe you almost never change them at all.
But remembering to change up your earrings is a great way to add interest and style to your look day to day. It's also a great opportunity to give your favorite pair of earrings a good clean!
You can make changes to your earrings subtly and simply by wearing a variety of small stud earrings day to day. Or you can add some sparkle and movement with some dangle earrings, depending on your outfit.
A good place to start is digging through your jewelry collection to find what you haven’t worn in a while. You can also purchase new pairs of earrings which catch your attention and will add some variety and interest to your collection.
5. Experiment with the 'sin' of mixing metals
Once it was seen as a fashion sin to mix different colors of metal, which is something I never really understood as I love them all.
But luckily that’s no longer the case: even according to the fashion police there’s no need to stick to all silver jewelry or all gold jewelry2.
So think about pendants which contrast with the color of chain they are worn on, rings that combine different metal colors or layered necklaces or bangles in different metals to add vibrant interest and pops of color to your outfit.
This has been one of my favorite things to do when designing jewelry in recent years, so you'll find a number of pieces in our jewelry shop which have mixed metal colors.
6. Work out how to accessorize to complement your clothing while you're dressing
This sounds straight forward enough, doesn't it? But I suspect it doesn't always happen.
Before you start dressing have a think about what item you most want to wear to wherever you're going. Then let that direct the rest of what you will wear.
You might decide you really want to wear a specific piece of jewelry to an outing, in which case you should choose your clothing and other accessories to work with it. Otherwise you might pick the outfit first and then match the jewelry and accessories to it.
Either way works and if you’ve spent some time getting the combination right you should look stylish and well put together.
7. What’s the focus: jewelry or clothing?
Here's another related decision to make while getting dressed: what do you want the focus to be?
A simple - even dull - outfit will almost always look transformed into something special with the right jewelry and accessories.
You can choose jewelry that really makes a statement to bring a simple outfit to life. But if you’re wearing bold clothing, then often it’s a good idea to go with smaller, more subtle jewelry pieces as highlights.
My advice? Make a decision as to what will work for you and run with it.
8. What’s the focal point for your jewelry?
Where do you want people's gaze to be directed if you're dressing up for something special?
If you’re wearing jewelry that’s intended catch the eye, then it’s usually best to make the visual focus on one body area which you want to draw attention to: neck, ears, hands, etc..
For instance, if you’re wearing a bold necklace, then go for more subtle rings and earrings. Or you might even consider leaving them out altogether.
9. How to easily extend your wardrobe? Just experiment
This is a fun thing to do if you've got some spare time on your hands.
Simply put on a very basic outfit and try it out in front of a mirror with various pieces of jewelry from your collection. Try different combinations of designs you might not normally consider pairing up and add in different accessories like scarves, bags or watches. Keep trialling different combinations and focal points.
You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with to vary the look of even the most simple outfit. And once you're done with one outfit, throw on another one and start again.
If you don’t have a lot of jewelry or your collection isn't very diverse, then consider the types of pieces that will extend and add interest and depth to your wardrobe and go shopping.
Isn't it great to have an excuse to treat yourself to some sparkly things? You're welcome.
10. Don’t be a slave to trends
We've all known someone who is too much of a fashion slave.
Trends influence what all of us wear to some extent, which is fine. But it's never a good idea to slavishly follow fashion at the expense of your own taste and personality. You'll end up losing yourself.
Oh - and it's very expensive in terms of money too.
Instead aim to figure out and evolve your own style which suits you and makes you feel confident. That might turn out to be unfashionable right now or at some point in future, but if you own it then you'll be fine.
When choosing jewelry to wear, always think about what works with your coloring, body frame, face shape and general sense of style. Take all of these things into account when you accessorize and you'll be golden.
And don’t forget your personality: we’re all different and your personality should be allowed to shine through in terms of the jewelry you wear and how you present yourself in general.
11. Wear rings with panache
According to the old nursery rhyme, wearing rings on your fingers (and bells on your toes, apparently) means you'll have music wherever you go. True story.
Stacking rings in particular can add a lot of versatility to your wardrobe as you can mix and match them as you please to create a slightly different look each day. You can even choose to wear just one or two simple stacking rings for a more minimalist look on some days.
Try pairing up a set of matching rings or go for a mixture of colors, textures and gemstones.
If you’re wearing multiple rings then the consensus seems to be to wear no more than one cocktail ring on each hand. Wearing an odd number of rings on one hand and even on the other works well too.
But why not break the rules as you see fit?
12. Match your necklace to your neckline
Unless it’s a sentimental piece that you’re happy to be hidden under clothing, your necklace or pendant should be visible and it should enhance your outfit.
For instance if you have low V-necked outfit then a pendant sitting in the V above your cleavage will work wonders. A long necklace will look great over higher necked and crew necked clothing. A rounded necklace is good with a scoop or other rounded necklines.
13. Do you actually need to wear a necklace?
Sometimes it's a good idea to go without a necklace or pendant (gasp!).
If you’re wearing a bold pair of earrings then not having a necklace to detract from your look can be a good way to go, depending on your outfit. Also if you're wearing a very low cut or high necked outfit not wearing a necklace will often work really well.
14. How do your sentimental jewelry pieces fit in?
Do you have sentimental jewelry pieces that you wear all the time?
I'm sure many of us do. But how do they fit into a well-accessorized wardrobe?
Just because something is sentimental doesn’t necessarily mean you need to wear it every day (wedding and engagement rings aside, generally). Consider how you'd feel about not wearing a particular piece every day and if that's an option for you.
If you do opt to wear one or more sentimental jewelry pieces all or most of the time, then consider how you can layer those pieces with other jewelry to add interest and variety to your style.
If it's a necklace you might look into getting a longer chain or an adjustable chain so that it can hang beneath clothing if it's not a match for the rest of your outfit.
15. The most important rule of all: ignore the rules!
This is my most favorite rule: break the rules as you see fit.
Dressing up should be fun and it should be personal to you. Your style is about who you are and how you want to appear to others. It doesn't have to be all twin sets and pearls - or all free flowing and boho for that matter.
If what works for you is doing whatever you want and following none of the typical fashion tips, then my advice is: go for it.
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