Every outfit needs accessories, and jewelry is at the top of the list. The right jewelry can really tie your outfit together, but the wrong jewelry can ruin your look completely. Fortunately, it’s not as hard as you might think to learn how to wear jewelry elegantly.
First, you just have to know whether your skin has cool, warm, or neutral undertones. Then you just have to think about what you’re wearing, and what the occasion is, to begin choosing pieces that will complement your outfit. Experiment with stacking pieces, combining different metals, and building looks around a focal statement piece.
Know Your Undertones
Everyone’s skin has undertones, or natural colors underneath the surface of the skin. Undertones have nothing to do with your skin’s surface tone, so whether you have very fair or very dark skin, you’re going to have undertones. If you have cool undertones, your veins are likely purplish or bluish and your skin will have a pink cast. If you have warm undertones, your skin may have a yellowish or sallow cast and your veins may look greenish. If you have neutral undertones, that means the surface of your skin is roughly the same color as your undertone.
People with cool undertones will look better in silver, platinum, and white gold jewelry. People with warm undertones will look better in rose gold, gold, or copper jewelry. People with neutral undertones will look great in either color group.
Consider the Occasion
Are you going to a formal event? You probably want to accessorize with fine jewelry. Are you going to a casual get-together with friends? Then you can wear more fun and playful pieces, like your charm bracelet and gold charms. If you’re going to work, you should wear conservative, dainty pieces that won’t distract your colleagues. Stud earrings and a simple gold or silver necklace would be ideal to wear to work, for example.
Complement the Style of Your Outfit, but Don’t Be Too Matchy-Matchy
Your jewelry should complement your outfit without overwhelming it. If you’re wearing a simple outfit in a neutral color, you can spice things up with larger, more creative pieces of jewelry. If your outfit itself is busy and loud, pair it with understated pieces so as to not appear too gaudy. If you’re wearing an article of clothing that is studded with rhinestones or other gems, keep your jewelry simple and plain – a simple gold chain and a pair of stud earrings, or no chain and just the earrings, is enough to accessorize a flamboyant outfit.
When choosing necklaces, think about your neck and neckline. Don’t put short necklaces around a short neck. Don’t wear necklaces that come below your collarbone if you’re under 5’4”. Make sure the neckline of your outfit allows your necklace to be visible. Choose a longer necklace if you’re wearing a deeply plunging neckline, for example, or something shorter with a sweetheart neckline.
You don’t want to get too matchy-matchy when it comes to choosing your jewelry for a look. Do use jewelry to tie an outfit together by matching it with your shoes, for example, or your handbag. Don’t match your jewelry pieces to either other. Use a color wheel to choose pieces in complementary colors.
Experiment with Different Metals
It used to be gauche to mix different colors of metals, but these days, you can mix and match gold, silver, rose gold, platinum, copper, and any other metal you care to wear to your heart’s content. If you aren’t sure about wearing colors, plain metal jewelry is always an elegant option.
Stacking bracelets, rings, and necklaces is in style again, so feel free to experiment with stacking your pieces. Stack regular rings with midi rings worn lower down on your finger, or stack two or three regular rings together higher up your finger. Wear multiple bangles of different thicknesses, sizes, and textures on your wrist. You can even wear different-length necklaces on top of each other.
Build Your Look Around a Focal Piece
It’s not a good idea to combine multiple statement pieces into one look – that can really clash. Instead, choose one focal piece and build your look around it. Accessorize with complementary colors or by stacking with simpler pieces.
The right jewelry can be just what your outfit needs to really come together. Make sure you’re choosing to wear pieces that you love. Jewelry is, after all, meant to make you happy.