Making a Statement

December 10, 2006 • Magazine

Making a Statement

Making a Statement

Sun, 2006-12-10 13:00

Jacqueline Zenn

We all have our go-to jewelry: simple silver hoops, pearl or diamond studs, and a few delicate, understated necklaces, but that can get a little old, especially around the holidays when it seems that everything is just a little more glittery. When your basics get boring it’s time to take a page out of every Hollywood starlet’s book and rock a piece of jewelry so bold it requires its own entourage. This is when it’s time for some serious sparkle; however, statement jewels can be tough to pull off, but there are a few style rules that will ensure that you’re wearing the bling, and not the other way around.

Rule number one: keep it simple. Wear sleek silhouettes in neutral or understated colors. Think of your statement piece as the focal point and your clothing as the frame. It’s there to serve as the background and to highlight your fabulous jewels. Also, stick to solid colors or very subtle prints. A dramatic print, even in neutral tones can look too busy with a bold piece of jewelry. After all, you wouldn’t want your frame to detract from the artwork. These filigree leaf earrings from Urban Outfitters could easily be the star of any outfit. By the way, stores like Urban Outfitters and H&M can be excellent places to pick up some fun jewelry at great prices – it’s so cheap that you can wear a piece only once or twice and not feel guilty.

Rule number two: clothing and jewelry should work together. Make sure your undertones match (general idea: yellow metals with warm tones and white metals with cool tones). In addition, you want the basic style of your pieces to be similar. For example, you shouldn’t wear a very modern, angular necklace with a ruffled or lacy top; the feel of the individual pieces would clash. However, too matchy-matchy is also bad – “setsâ€? of matching earrings, necklaces, and bracelets can look very contrived. This layered gold necklace (by Jose and Marie Barrera, available at Neiman Marcus) would be perfect with shades of ivory and winter white for the holidays. Or try this multistrand pearl necklace from Macy’s with a little black dress.

Rule number three: one feature at a time. You can wear a spectacular necklace (or several necklaces at a time) or shoulder-length chandelier earrings, not both. Same rule works for bracelets and rings – either a chunky cocktail ring or a dramatic cuff. When it comes to mixing things like bracelets, earrings, and necklaces, proceed with caution. Major earrings and piles of bracelets can look like bohemian style gone wrong. Rings are easier to mix with other jewelry as long as you follow rule number two. This impressive smoky topaz ring from Banana Republic is an excellent way to dress up a more basic outfit.

Rule number four: it’s all about proportion. If you’re very petite, a huge necklace or a bunch of massive bangles will overpower your figure. The one exception to the proportion rule comes when a large piece has a airy, delicate design, like this bracelet from Pink Mascara (Citrine by the Stones). However, if you’re taller or curvier, you can usually pull off larger jewels quite well. There’s no hard and fast style directives here, but always try before you buy. If something just looks off, leave it at the store, no matter how much you love the piece on its own. There’s no point in having a gorgeous collection of jewelry if you never wear it.

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