Choosing Jewelry Redux

At intervals this month, I am updating some previous posts on commonly asked questions because wardrobe and style are often the subject of New Year’s resolutions, and we are at that resolution cliff! It’s drop off time, so I thought I’d share some style tips to help keep you inspired!

Happy day, dear reader!

All images above are taken from Premier Designs.

How are you doing today? I’m recovering from the weekend’s adventures in Atlanta. I had such a fabulous time (at the Midlife Influencers Summit hosted by Robin LaMonte and Nina Bandoni) meeting other midlife women who are reinventing themselves and the world around them! Full disclosure: I am really reaching for the segue here… Have you noticed how the accessories you choose can totally reninvent an outift? Or are you an accessories maven who can’t get enough? Maybe you’re a regular accessorizer, but feel uninspired? Do accessories stump you, and leave you feeling like everyone else knows a secret and isn’t telling? I find this happens to a lot of women, and it’s a pity because accessories are one of the easiest and fastest ways to make a change to your wardrobe, and update your look. Read on for some jewelry basics.

One reason I love accessories is that they can change a look in just a few seconds, and are a great way to play with your style, or try on a new personality. If it’s time to let out part of your personality that normally doesn’t see the light of day, fashion jewelry is a great way to go! Now, if you are a woman who wears only fine jewelry and genuine stones, this kind of play may not be for you. The expense of your preferences makes experimentation less likely, but I would still encourage you to try out some fashion pieces to build a travel jewelry capsule. Taking your heirloom pieces on a cruise, or to the beach may not be good for your peace of mind, or your pocketbook.

What you choose should…

1. Reflect YOUR Personality!

As with all fashion items, your personality should be the main driver for what you buy and wear. What is popular at the moment, or will be next year, shouldn’t be of much concern, unless your purpose is to update your look. If you have a very feminine and relaxed/natural personality, biker bling and skulls are probably not for you. Likewise, the rebel is unlikely to feel called to wear a delicate pearl drop on a fine chain, no matter how “in fashion” it may be. Jewelry is very personal as it is often worn right next to the skin, so if a piece doesn’t reflect an aspect of your personality, it’s likely to stay in your bauble box.

What’s your Pearl-sonality?

If you are just starting out on your accessories journey, there are a few pieces I look for in a woman’s wardrobe during a styling session. There are not must-have’s like you find on other lists; I don’t believe in must-haves, but these are items I frequently reach for to up a look’s style quotient. The three things I look for first are a Short Colored Necklace, a Long Necklace (usually neutral) and a pair of Statement Earrings. (No need to panic! They’re not usually styled together!)

2. Reflect YOUR Refinement Level!

Many clothing items are wearable across levels of refinement. We see jeans everywhere from hiking trails to the office on Casual Friday, but it’s what you wear with it that makes those jeans fit in either environment. The accessories we wear can tell the world what our level of refinement is for the day. The single strand pearl bracelet above with the leather lacing is far more casual than the the triple pearl necklace. In the watches illustration below, you can see how the sparkly evening watch would look out of place on the hiking trail, and the red silicone might be worn to the office, but may not have enough gravitas to keep your jeans looking professional. The leopard band women’s watch is deceptive. The gold finish and leopard band look more Level 2, but the cat ears and kitty collar bling give it a more juvenile feel. More juvenile = less refined!

3. Reflect your coloring.

Silver or Gold? What about Rose Gold?

What is your personal coloring like? Do you look better in silver or gold? Cool colors or warm colors? An outfit of warm tones will look more harmonious with warm toned jewelry. One afternoon, I watched a bride-to-be shop for a pearl necklace to wear with her wedding dress. The bright white pearls were too cool for her warm coloring; they didn’t look right on her. The coloring disconnect make them look cheap, and believe you me, they were quite the opposite! The ivory toned pearls were lovely with her warm skin and honey hair. She was struggling, because the ivory pearls would look “funny” with her white gown. Lesson for brides: Please, buy the dress that makes your skin look amazing! Not just the bright white because that’s what you (or mom) think that a bride should wear! (If you want more information about shopping for a wedding dress, check this out!)

Cool coloring harmonizes best with silver, pewter, and hematite.
Warm coloring looks best with gold, brass, and bronze.
Rose gold flatters soft cools, but may suit some warm complexions as well!

Is your personal color contrast low, or high? Colored jewelry is a great way to add extra color to your outfits. If you are a lower color contrast woman, colored jewelry may work better with clothing in a similar shade, or with neutrals for balance.

Another color aspect to consider is the colors already in your wardrobe. Do you have a defined color palette? Do you own more neutrals or colors? Are most of your tops colored? If so, you may want to focus on finding metallic and/or neutral toned jewelry. On the other hand, if most of your tops are neutral, colored jewelry is a fabulous way to bring attention to your face where it belongs! I find that I wear more neutral colored tops in the hot and humid summer weather because neutrals “feel” cooler to me than colors; I try to remember to bring out my colored jewelry for summer. Other people wear more neutrals in the winter, so should look for colored pieces to bring some brightness to those grey winter days.

Polyvore of Warm vs. Cool Neutral Women's Clothing
Colored accessories are a great way to add interest to a predominantly neutral wardrobe!

Are you a jewelry lover, or does it never make it onto your body? Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry? Is it sentimental, or just something fun that makes you happy? Please share in the comments below… As always, I love to hear from you!

Stylishly yours,

Profuse thanks to Gail at Is This Mutton? for the link up, the feature, AND the shout out! You are most generous!


  • CiM

    Liz, I’ve been reading away since finding your blog. I’ve learned a great deal from your treasure house of ideas and suggestions. There are always a couple of “Liz Tabs” open on my computer and I look forward to any new post. Seeing one in the in-box is a happy moment. 🙂

    I was not much for jewelry until the last two years. After a serious illness and several traumatic close calls – I decided my extreme minimalism wardrobe-wise didn’t work any more. If I was going to live, I wanted to live.

    Much of my clothing was quite old and well worn. No rips or stains, but an strong message of “serviceable and no more.” It fit what we’d been living through, but it wasn’t where I wanted to go.

    I didn’t go crazy spending – but I gave myself permission (after decades of “frugal” as top priority) to buy things that were beautiful, colorful, fit well, and brought happiness. My husband was fully supportive of this and continues to be.

    My old stuff is gone. I don’t want it any more. It definitely put in the work – it was time to move on.

    I appreciate your part in these changes. Thank you for sharing so many interesting and pertinent ideas. I’ve loved reading what you have to say on color, style personality, body types, fabrics, lines and proportion, and more. I agree with the post above, that jewelry can make all the difference in the feel of an outfit. I’ve come to love it.

    Thank you for doing what you do. I’m glad you’re out there and not keeping all this to yourself. Your voice matters.


    Cathy in Missouri

    • Liz K

      Thank you Cathy, for visiting and for commenting. I’m so happy to hear that you’ve come through your rough patch. “If I was going to live, I wanted to live,” strikes a chord. Live! Be you! Show up how you want in this world. Dressing is an affirmative act of presence. (Tiziana Cardini) I see so many people just going through the motions: in life, in eating, dressing, you name it. I’m glad you’re in a different place and that I’ve had a chance to be a small part of that! Blogging is an interesting adventure; you throw your thoughts out into the wilderwebs and wonder who is out there. I’m ever so grateful you shared that you find the blog helpful and are glad you found me. You just made my whole week! Thank you for reading, and stay safe… AND stylish!

  • Scottie

    Just found you on IG and that makes me happy 😎 Great and timely article for me as I tidy er purge especially in this area. My jewelry style is pretty set; I wear a lot of necklaces and bracelets. So pairing down the older and excess so I can find earrings 🙄 Deciding which of five nieces to gift different pieces to has become my new hobby. Thanks!

    • closetplayadmin

      Thank you for visiting, Scottie! I love gifting your treasures to share with your nieces. I have a few bits I have passed to my daughters-in-law, and a few in storage for a granddaughter if one ever comes our way, I’m starting to lose hope though! Our family is very testosterone heavy!

  • jodie filogomo

    Jewelry is a must have for me. Although I have left off the necklace occasionally recently since I’ve been opting for statement earrings.
    How fun you were able to attend that event. I’m bummed I couldn’t go, as I’d love to meet you!!

    • closetplayadmin

      Oh, Jodie, I wish you could have been there, too! It was a great time, and you would have been laughing at all the southern daisies complaining about the cold… Come next year! And if I’m in your neck of the woods before then, we’ll have to connect.

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