Wardrobe 101

Style Staples: #1 Long Necklace

Happy day, dear reader!

If you have been following my blog for any time, you know how much trouble I have with Must-Have lists! Must-Haves are very personal. Your must have may not mine. Our lifestyles, personalities, values, and budgets aren’t the same; our Must-Haves won’t be either.

That said, I am often asked what are some easy ways to spruce up a basic look. Or “How do I make this into an outfit?” Often I suggest adding a Style Staple. Our wardrobes are built of different kinds of clothes. No, not just different clothing items, or items with different levels of refinement, but clothes with different jobs.

florencia95 (Polyvore)

Some pieces are Building Basics. These are often the pieces you find on many Must-Have lists. White Shirt, Blue Jeans, Neutral Tees, Ballet Flat. Many women have drawers and closets full of these Basics, and still don’t feel put together. That’s because an look comprised of only basics can equal Outfit, Generic, One Each. It’s how you wear them and combine them that make them you.

Other items are Style Staples. These pieces take our Building Basics and tie them into a Look. They reflect your personality. That’s what Style is. Your personality expressed on the outside! Style Staples are often accessories, or variations on a Building Basic that make it different. Often a Style Staple will be a Basics in a color instead of a neutral!

Last, but certainly not least are Wardrobe Wonders. These WOW! pieces do a lot of talking. The Wonder may have a bold pattern, intricate detailing, unusual construction, or lots of sparkle. Whatever the wow factor, you can’t overlook a Wardrobe Wonder. It does not have to be expensive. Some people own no Wardrobe Wonders, because they are are uncomfortable drawing attention to themselves. That’s okay! You don’t have to wear a hat, or a purple checked shirt, or a statement necklace, or a floral blazer, or a red shoe… (The list goes on and on.) unless it works for you!

My latest Wardrobe Wonder is a gigantic bright pink fake flower that puts a smile on my face (and everyone else’s) when I wear it. Is it tasteful? No. Is it elegant? No. Is it cheerful? Heck, yeah! And some days that’s just the ticket. One person’s Wardrobe Wonder is another’s Style Staple. It depends on how adventurous a dresser you are.

When I look into a client’s wardrobe to see what is and what’s not working, I often find he or she is long on Building Basics, and short on Style Staples or (if personality warrants) Wardrobe Wonders. I think everyone can own at least one or two Wonders for days that need a confidence boost.

After indentifying a client’s style recipe and digging about in the closet to find what Building Basics we have to work with, I start hunting for Style Staples to make those Basics into outfits with personality. The first thing I look for is…

Style Staple #1: Long Metallic Necklace

No, this is not something I look for in a man’s closet! Your long necklace can be gold-tone, silver, pewter, rose gold, matte, shiny, bold, or less so. It needs to suit your coloring and personality. It must be able to stand alone; if you need to layer it with other necklaces to make it work, it defeats the purpose! We want throw and go. Metallics are neutrals, and a great way to add some shine and a finish to a very simple look. It takes a plain top and bottom from Cover-My-Nakedness to Outfit in 15 seconds or less.

Two benefits to a long necklace: It creates vertical lines which can help us look taller and/or slimmer, and worn outside a top a long necklace feels less hot-and-sweaty than a short one laying on exposed skin in hot and humid summer weather. (Or when we are having personal summers…)

Do not leave this gem buried in a drawer! Keep one handy for those running late/kids are making me crazy/no time mornings. If you are very busty, look for a pendant or Y style that falls between the breasts, rather than “off the cliff.” The long necklace is not for everyone. If you don’t want a necklace ending on a rounded tummy, look for one that ends higher, at your narrowest point. (This may be mid bust, or just below.)

Lest you think long necklaces are only for those past toddler-time, I have seen darling teething necklaces out there! (Just another thing I wish they’d had when I was in those wilds…)

I owe a thank you to Amy Rose, my Premier Designs jeweler for loaning me the fabulous and versatile necklace shown here, and for another Style Staples posts!

So how about you? Do you have a favorite throw-and-go necklace? What’s yours like? How does it reflect your personality? Let’s start a conversation in the comments below… I love to hear from you!

Stylishly yours,

Many thanks to Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for the Link-Up!


  • Chelsea

    I love your blog and totally identify with your style! I consider myself to be a whimsical, modern, feminine dresser who likes a touch of the bold and unexpected. My long necklace is a black scatter necklace I’ve had for years with big black blocky gems. Somehow it just suits so many things I wear and instantly makes an outfit put together. I also have a gold chain link one that I throw on for my warmer toned outfits.

    • closetplayadmin

      So nice to hear from you, Chelsea! Your long necklaces sound lovely… And like they are working for you. It’s funny how something so simple can create the intention that can turn clothes into an outfit, but the Style Staples are all like that. Apply, and Instant Intention!

  • Cathe Lartigue

    I’m basically a “pearl” girl. My faux pearls always add a glow to the face–which is what I aspire since I’m over 60–any glow–even from wine makes me look a bit younger.
    But it’s so funny because lately I find myself drawn to longer necklaces! I like the sort/kinda Boho vibe they give off and it just gives a more finished look to a casual outfit without being prim.

    Found you through the linkup. Glad I did!!!

    • closetplayadmin

      I used to be more of a “pearl girl” myself, but find unless I go over-the-top with them they feel too prim on me. Now a pile of pearls, that’s something else completely! Not the Effortless Style to which so many aspire, but fun nonetheless. So glad you found me; I’m loving your blog!

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