How Jewelry Completes Your Look – Styling Tips from Professional Stylists
The finishing touch to any fashion ensemble, fine jewelry is often the last thing we put on before we head out the door or into the video call. Many of us have our favorite go-to jewelry wardrobe staples, but to freshen things up and make sure we are selecting the very best jewelry for our outfit du jour, we spoke to some professional stylists about how they choose jewelry and how jewelry completes the look they envision. As Giuseppe always says, “One of the greatest things about a well-stocked fine jewelry wardrobe is the infinite possibilities! Even the dullest of neutrals or simple chic all-black ensembles come to life with a well-placed diamond brooch or the perfectly chosen colored gemstone earring or cocktail ring. My clients have always said that putting on jewelry is their favorite part of dressing for the day.”
Tiffany Gifford, Nashville based Celebrity stylist and founder of TiffanyGifford.com who styles Cheryl Crow, Miranda Lambert, Wynona Judd, Tenille Townes, and more for their red carpet appearances says, “Jewelry is a must have for every look – it gives a sense of polish and finish. It can instantly upgrade your look or change it entirely to go from day to night.”
Here we share real and valuable tips from Tiffany and two other stylists to help you figure out what jewelry to wear with your favorite fashion ensembles.
Go Monochrome – Match the color in the jewelry to the color in the outfit
From left – Christian Dior F/W 2022-23, PICCHIOTTI Xpandable Ruby cocktail ring, PICCHIOTTI Masterpieces Sapphire & Diamond necklace, Jason Wu S/S 2023, Givenchy F/W 2023-24, PICCHIOTTI Xpandable Fancy Yellow Diamond rings
In recent years, the monochrome trend has dominated haute couture runways and the look continues to be popular moving into next year. All-red looks, dubbed “Heat Factor” by WhoWhatWear, are warming things up for Fall/Winter 2023-24, seen at Ferragamo, Tory Burch, Proenza Schouler, Stella McCartney, and more. All–black ensembles including black outerwear appeared at Victoria Beckham, Balenciaga, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, and Givenchy, among others. Styling these single-color looks can be as simple as matching the color of the jewelry to the color of the outfit. For jewel tones, like scarlet frocks and green blouses or bright blue blazers, choose colored gemstones – the higher quality the gem, the more intense the color. Ruby earrings or necklaces pair well with red, deep blue sapphires with navy tops, and emerald goes well with green.
Kathie Young, stylist for fashion brands, runway shows, magazine editorials, broadcast segments, retail catalogs, celebrities, and more, advises “Monochrome looks are just that, looks of all the same color. All silver jewelry with silver or gray garments (cool tones). All gold jewelry with gold, beige (warm tones), and all pearls with white, creams, and pastels. Keep it tonal, and do not deviate.”
Shaye Strager, stylist for corporate professionals and luxury brands, owner of Strager Style and one of Atlanta’s “Top Stylists,” notes The Atlantan, agrees: “With the monochromatic movement of dressing dominating the way many are showing up at work and at play, accessories have never been so important. Many of my corporate clients have moved into a more classic, sophisticated, and monochrome wardrobes for day to day, calling for their jewelry and watches to express more of their unique character.”
Think Shape & Style – Choose jewelry with complimentary silhouettes and similar styling
When thinking about what jewelry to wear with your outfit, consider the silhouettes or shapes of the overall look. According to Tiffany Gifford, “I let the clothing and shapes of the clothing inform the jewelry I choose for a client – so, if something has a lower neckline for instance, I know I could use a longer necklace.”
Kathie Young adds, “Statement necklaces are perfect for deep plunging wide open necklines that give you lots of bare skin, or for garments that have a higher cut such as a jewel neckline that provides a simple bodice of the same color fabric with most garment details being below the waist. This is the perfect frame for a large statement necklace. If a plunging neckline, the necklace looks best if the bottom of the necklace is centered between the top edge of the dress neckline, and the collarbone. If wearing a plain tunic top or dress, a longer pendant necklace is always a perfect statement.”
It is also important to honor the style of the clothing design. For jewelry and accessories, choose tones, textures, or designs that pair well and most importantly don’t compete with the aesthetic. Tiffany, says “I also use the colors and patterns of the clothing to tell me the jewelry’s vibe – should it be sweet or edgy, should it be gold or silver, etc.”
Kathie agrees, “Keep your jewelry in the same style or tone as your wardrobe. If you are wearing a tailored suit, keep the earrings tailored, clean, simple, or sharp lines, geometrical, etc. If your dress is frilly and airy, then the same with your jewelry, not heavy and chunky, but fun, frilly, and feminine.”
She adds a warning about avoiding competition between the jewelry and the fabrics. For example, “If there is a lot already going on around your face with your wardrobe, keep the jewelry around your face simple. Small, plain, and simple earrings are best, like small hoops, singular pearls, or a button earring. Instead of a necklace, try a bracelet.”
Another way to avoid too much competition between your clothes and your accessories is to put your jewelry on bare skin. Jewelry looks great on the skin and often enhances skin tone with its radiance. Kathie advises, “In general, where there is a lot of skin showing, that is where the jewelry goes. Bare arms? Stack on the bangles, bracelets, and charms. If there is a lot of space between your ears and wardrobe, then wear a chandelier, or statement earring. Fill in the skin with jewelry.”
Let the you shine through – Jewelry makes the outfit yours
Jewelry is a big part of personalizing your overall look and style. You may be wearing the same wardrobe basics (like a button-up white blouse or a turtleneck) as someone else in the room, but your jewelry can help you stand out and express yourself.
“During the past 20+ years of fashion styling, I’ve always felt that clients needed to be the most vocal about their jewelry and watch selection because it speaks to their true style identity with accessories,” says Shaye Strager. “I’m hopelessly devoted to a strong stack of bracelets and rings that celebrate love with pure passion.” If you have a favorite look, allow it to become a part of your fashion identity, perhaps even your “jewelry signature.”
Don’t hesitate to wear your favorites regularly, but also add new staples to the jewelry wardrobe from time to time, for similar but not identical looks. For example, if you love the look of hoop earrings, invest in a gold pair, a diamond pair, a gemstone pair, and experiment with sizes to see which frames your face best and which will show up with your preferred or current hair length. However, Shaye Strager warns to consider your circumstances, “Earrings need to be primarily closer to the ear for the women I’m styling—- they are speaking at keynotes, conferences and doing TED TALKS, so jewelry shouldn’t distract, simply give warmth and flatter their face shape and silhouette.”
Looking for something completely different? Try a parure! Thanks to all of the royal events (weddings, coronations and the like) and the many royals in pop culture (tv shows like The Crown, Bridgerton and the new Queen Charlotte series), the parure, or suite of jewelry, is front and center again. Kathie Young says, “the days of matchy-matchy being a no-no are rapidly evaporating in the current fashion climate. Once again, it’s okay to wear a jewelry suite. While I would not recommend wearing three matching pieces, I would definitely feel comfortable with two. A great starting point is a bracelet and earrings.”
Lastly, to be most comfortable with your jewelry choices make sure they express something about who you really are. Go beyond the basics by freshening up your fine jewelry options seasonally, just like your wardrobe. Shaye Strager says, “My clients want to invest in the pieces they wear the most, and jewelry is always top of the list. Essentials include a statement watch and an interesting pair of cufflinks for the guys, and my female clients are gravitating towards longer necklaces that look great with any neckline of blouse or dress.”
Most of all, have fun with these styling tips from the pros!
Feature image at top – clockwise from upper left – Roberto Covalli S/S 2023 (Launchmetrics Spotlight), PICCHIOTTI Emerald Masterpieces ring, PICCHIOTTI Gem Ceramic earrings, Big Park S/S 2023 (Launchmetrics Spotlight), PICCHIOTTI Masterpieces Ruby & Diamond Baguette cuff bracelet, Jimmy Choo F/W 2022-23
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