It's an all too familiar story. Woman gets dressed in fabulous outfit. Woman wears hottest new shoes and handbag with outfit. Woman ruins everything by wearing wrong jewelry with outfit. As if rules for skirt lengths, shoe height and lipstick color weren't enough, women also have to worry about the do's and don'ts of wearing jewelry. Relax '- these rules aren't that tough to follow, and we'll also tell you which ones you can now completely ignore!
Go Bold and Beautiful
Wearing bold jewelry takes confidence and fashion know-how. It says to the world, "I'm no shrinking violet, and I'm okay with standing out in a crowd." What it shouldn't scream is, "I am over-accessorizing with the wrong outfit!" The main thing to remember is less is more. If you are wearing a chunky bangle and necklace, forget the bling-bling ring and big earrings, or you'll look like you're playing dress-up in Mommy's closet. When you want to wear big and bold jewelry, don't wear prints '- they just don't get along. Sleek all-black and all-white, however, are perfect with big or colorful jewelry. Have fun with the coral and turquoise trends of the season. The last thing to remember is the larger a stone, the less real it looks. Large retro-cool cocktail rings are very in right now, but resist the "gem-tation" to pair yours with other jewel-encrusted pieces. Let the ring be the focal point of your look.
We were once told not to mix metals, and this is one of the old-school rules (like no white after Labor Day) that designers now ignore. Wearing gold with gold and silver with silver creates a more traditional look, but isn't true fashion all about looking modern? The trick is, if you want to mix metals, keep the style of the jewelry the same. A modern gold cuff won't look right paired back to dainty, antique platinum and diamond earrings. The "stacking trend" lends itself perfectly to the mixing of metals. Stack square or round rings or bangles in different shades of gold. You can even layer gold and silver necklaces for a fashion-forward look. Sometimes rules were made to be broken.
Wear the Right Necklace Lengths
Have you even seen someone who is dressed to the nines, yet something seems somehow off? Wearing the wrong length necklace with a particular neckline is probably the most common mistake women make when it comes to wearing jewelry. Here are some simple guidelines for getting it right.
- Collar necklaces should lie snugly around the middle of the neck, and can be worn with V-neck, boat-neck and off-the-shoulder tops.
- Chokers fall perfectly at the base of the neck, and look great with strapless or plunging necklines.
- Princess length necklaces (17 to 19 inches) fall just below the throat. This is the most common and versatile length of necklace. It can be worn with most necklines except the high ones. Add a pendant and wear with a V-neck for a pretty look.
- Matinee length necklaces (20 to 24 inches) hit the top of the bust, and it's best not to wear this length with plunging necklines. If the necklace hits the very top of your neckline, it will be fighting for attention with your top.
- Opera length necklaces (28 to 34 inches) fall below the bust and look great with a very high neckline. They can be worn from day to evening. This length can also be doubled for a multi-strand look.
Consider Your Age and Body Type
Just as a piece of jewelry can accentuate the positive, it can also draw attention to your not-so-positive areas.
- Chokers are made for women with more youthful skin. Women with aging necks will want longer chains and necklaces to draw attention away from any neck imperfections.
- If you have a wide neck, you can balance that by wearing graduated necklaces, which are very thin around the side of the neck and larger below the collarbone.
- If you have a long, thin neck that you don't want to accentuate, try a triple-strand necklace, with the shortest strand hugging the base of the throat. Avoid V-shaped chains.