Category: Styling Tips & Trade Secrets

Hard Core Jewelry Storage: So Much More than a Jewelry Box

I am constantly inundated with questions about the best jewelry box on the market, how to best store and organize one’s jewelry, etc.  I admit, up until now I really did not have a good answer.  I’ve acquired many a jewelry box only to find them impractical and much too small.  Jewelry trees topple over and look messy, and let’s be honest, have you seen my jewelry?!?!  I have a penchant for enormous costume pieces and well, unless I convert a coat stand into a jewelry tree, they will hardly fit on your run-of-the-mill jewelry stand from the Container Store.  I’ve tried the little acrylic boxes but then unless you are about to create a Dewey decimal system to organize your pieces, good luck finding that particular pair of earrings in the morning as you’re running around putting yourself together.

One day a girlfriend of mine told me she was buying a toolbox for her jewelry.  I suspect she meant a 2 foot by 3 foot toolbox but naturally I was inspired to take it to the next level.  Enter: the roller cabinet.  What is a roller cabinet you ask?  It is a giant cabinet with wheels where real men (the ones who can build you a walk-in closet and fix things like cars and motorcycles) keep their tools.  They are generally found in tool sheds, garages and man caves but guess what?  One found its way into my bedroom.  The drawers are shallow and many–perfect for storing one’s jewelry.

Hard Core Jewelry Storage: So Much More than a Jewelry Box

Hard Core Jewelry Storage: So Much More than a Jewelry Box
Hard Core Jewelry Storage: So Much More than a Jewelry Box Hard Core Jewelry Storage: So Much More than a Jewelry Box

Hard Core Jewelry Storage: So Much More than a Jewelry Box

Hard Core Jewelry Storage: So Much More than a Jewelry Box

Hard Core Jewelry Storage: So Much More than a Jewelry Box

Hard Core Jewelry Storage: So Much More than a Jewelry BoxThere is minimal assembly required and the wheels are optional–I chose not to put the wheels on mine.  All you have to do is take it out of the box and line the drawers with contact paperHard Core Jewelry Storage: So Much More than a Jewelry Box.

Now you don’t necessarily have to go quite so large, here are a few smaller options:

Hard Core Jewelry Storage: So Much More than a Jewelry Box

 

Table top tool box; available here.

Hard Core Jewelry Storage: So Much More than a Jewelry Box

And in red here.

Hard Core Jewelry Storage: So Much More than a Jewelry Box

There is the 6 drawer option with wheels; available here.

Hard Core Jewelry Storage: So Much More than a Jewelry Box

And a super high-tech one; available here.

The best part?  It seems handy macho men are just as afraid of tool theft as we are of jewel theft so every toolbox and roller cabinet locks.  So regardless of whether you use them for costume jewelry or fine jewelry, they will be safe and sound.  Obviously, I would bolt down the smaller toolboxes (especially if you are storing fine jewelry) and I would still keep the really valuable jewels in a safe, but for every day use, let’s just say every girl should own a toolbox.

Big Kiss and Bigger Diamonds,

JZP

What to Wear to Holiday Parties?

 

I look forward to the holiday season every year–full of festivities, lights, family, friends, and presents.  However with the aggressive holiday party circuit, it is inevitable that we tend to sleep too little, eat too much, and drink more than our fair share of holiday cheer; and when one is groggy, puffy, and feeling a little worse for the wear, the question of “what am I going to wear?” may feel like an insurmountable mountain.  Not only does the outfit have to be festive and event-appropriate, we also have to worry about running into people in repeat outfits.  The easy solution is to have a few solid outfits that make you feel like you can run into an ex boyfriend at an event and leave him reeling; and a few high-impact holiday jewelry options that will change the look of the outfit.

The Holidays are a time of year when we all push the envelope a little bit more and swathe ourselves in that extra bit of bling (at least I do).  Now, I take no issue with going over the top with one’s jewelry (obviously) but I do believe that there is a fine line between gaudy-glam and gaudy-gauche.  If you’re going to go overboard, go holiday-windows-at-Bergdorf’s-overboard and not National-Lampoon’s-Christmas-Vacation-overboard.

Not like this. . .What to Wear to Holiday Parties?

Like this!
What to Wear to Holiday Parties?

1. Tell a Subtle Story

Feel like channeling a snowflake?  Go ahead.  Pile on the diamonds, crystals, etc. but think about what you’re trying to achieve and exercise good judgement.  Your jewelry doesn’t have to come from the same set (actually it’s preferable if it doesn’t) but there should be a cohesive story that is not so obvious that the jewelry wears you.  For example, the three pieces below are from different labels but they all feature navette (or marquis) shaped stones–visually, the look is appealing but not too literal.

What to Wear to Holiday Parties?

Kenneth Jay Lane, Waterfall earrings; available here.What to Wear to Holiday Parties?

Net-a-porter, Hello Sweetie necklace; available here.What to Wear to Holiday Parties?

Jenny Packham, Navette bracelet; available here.

2. Kitsch Never Looked Sexy on Anyone

Menorah earrings, christmas tree brooches, Santa’s sexy helper outfit–you get the idea.  Don’t do it.

3.  Know When and What to Pull Back

If you intend to wear a lot of eye catching jewelry then dial down your outfit a touch.  Tons of jewelry plus a jeweled neckline and jeweled pumps is overkill.  If you are wearing an outfit with a lot of layers or patterns then simple jewelry is best.  You can still wear a big piece of jewelry (or two) if it is monochromatic or minimalist.  You don’t have to trade size for simplicity; but choose a piece of jewelry that is simple enough to serve as a solid anchor for a loud outfit.

4.  Be Comfortable

Everything I wear, no matter how outrageous, must be comfortable.  Earrings shouldn’t pinch, necklaces shouldn’t leave an imprint, rings shouldn’t snag stockings, etc.  This also applies to one’s style.  If you are not comfortable in loud statement pieces, then don’t wear them.  When someone wears something they are not comfortable with or in, the strain and effort is visible which renders the entire exercise useless–no one looks their best whilst suffering.

Big Kiss and Bigger Diamonds,

JZP

Jewelry Cleaner Kickstarter

 

Jewelry hygiene is a thing now.  I’ve seen clients with sensitive skin break out into rashes from their jewelry.  They come to me and ask whether they might be allergic to gold or platinum.  My first question is usually, “When was the last time you cleaned your jewelry?”  Every single time I’ve asked that question, the answer is always, “blink. blink. I have no idea.”  People don’t realize it but daily wear of one’s favorite pieces leads to a lot of build up–especially if one showers or moisturizes with the jewelry on.  Think about those little crevices of your shower that accumulate mildew, the folds of your shower curtain that grow soap scum–now wrap that around your finger or neck.  Yup.  Soap scum scarf and a mildew ring not to mention the loads of bacteria that fester in those little corners of your settings.  If I’ve lost your attention because you left to vomit, it’s ok–I’ll wait until your done.  Proper jewelry hygiene is so crucial, I cannot stress this enough.  It keeps your jewels looking pristine and prevents breakouts, rashes, and even illness.  The amount of bacteria that can grow in the nooks of your wet jewelry is staggering.  If you haven’t invested in a jewelry cleaner I highly recommend it.

Nothing can beat a professional cleaning but I did come across a Kickstarter (thanks to Robyn Hawk) that purports to deliver professional jewelry cleaner results by leveraging the power of your dishwasher.  Check it out:

If, like me, you have a soft spot for start-ups and all things jewelry related, back the AquaSonic Wave here.  Otherwise, invest in an ultrasonic jewelry cleanerJewelry Cleaner Kickstarter, fill it with warm water, drop in a denture cleaner tablet, and that will hold you over until you can get to your jeweler for a professional cleaning.

I also highly recommend adopting the following practices:

1) Don’t shower or wash your hands with your jewelry on.  If you’re afraid to lose it, keep a little dish next to your sink to place your jewelry while you’re washing.  If you really can’t bear to part with your baubles, or if you’re washing in a public facility, then make sure you dry the skin under your rings, necklaces, etc. well.

2) Clean earring posts with rubbing alcohol at least once a week.

3) Use an Ultrasonic jewelry cleaner at least once every two weeks.  Don’t tell me you don’t have time.  If you have time to clean your make up brushes then you can do it at the same time.  If you don’t clean your make-up brushes regularly, well then jewelry is the least of your worries my dear.

4) Get your jewelry professionally cleaned yearly.

Big Kiss and Bigger Diamonds,

JZP

The Beyonce Body Chain: Yes or Yikes?

 

Last week at JCK, the biggest jewelry industry convention of the year, I noticed a barrage of body chains.  I have no doubt that the fire behind this trend has to do, to a certain extent, with Beyoncé’s body chains.  Since their debut in Beyoncé’s documentary, ‘Life is But a Dream‘, body chains have been on everyone’s minds; but aside from the taut six packs of tanned celebrities, I have yet to see many gracing bellies around town.  This obviously begs the question: can lowly civilians rock a body chain in real life?

The Beyonce Body Chain: Yes or Yikes?Beyoncé wearing her gold body chain with diamonds in ‘Life is But a Dream‘.

When asked last week during an interview whether I thought body chains would catch on, I opined that consumers would likely be put off by body chains made of precious metals and gems because of the high price points, however, I do think they will be popular once they hit the mainstream costume jewelry market.  The logic is simple–body chains make a very specific aesthetic statement; if people are going to dip their toe in the proverbial water, they will do it with a costume belly chain that costs under $1,000 rather than a fine jewelry belly chain that costs upwards of $20,000.

Belly chains are not easy to pull off.  I personally think they look ridiculous over clothes which leaves very few styling options left to experiment with.  In my opinion, belly chains look fab under a) a crop top, b) over a bikini or a bathing suit with massive cut outs that render it practically a bikini (don’t bother attempting to wear a body chain over a one-piece bathing suit–it’s like wearing a garter belt over jeggings), or c) naked.  Naturally, given options a through c above, you can see how body chains may just push a poor unsuspecting soul over the skank edge so tread carefully!

The Beyonce Body Chain: Yes or Yikes?Specimen of a perfect body chain bearing midriff.

The Beyonce Body Chain: Yes or Yikes?

Beyoncé again wearing a body chain in her documentary.

Bottom line: If I walked around half-naked all the time (and had the abs to do so), I would totally invest in a gold body chain specked with diamonds.  For those of you who spend most of your time clothed but want to try out the trend this summer, you can find costume body chains here:

The Beyonce Body Chain: Yes or Yikes?

 

Fauxtale, body chain; available here.

The Beyonce Body Chain: Yes or Yikes?Jacquie Aiche, body chain; available here.

The Beyonce Body Chain: Yes or Yikes?L’Agence, beaded body chain; available here.

The Beyonce Body Chain: Yes or Yikes?Luv AJ, crystal and rose gold-plated body chain; available here.

The Beyonce Body Chain: Yes or Yikes?AK Vintage, body chain; available here.

Big Kiss and Bigger Diamonds,

JZP

Jewelry Styling from the Same Designer: Alexis Bittar

Anna Dello Russo, editor-at-large of Vogue Japan and street style celebrity, has made taking looks verbatim from the runway to real life her trademark.  Some call it daring as very few humans live in a world where they can lift an entire runway look and not get carted off to a loony bin, others call it lazy–where is the creativity in styling if one just copies what they see on the runway?  Jewelry designers often create a few distinct lines of jewelry for sale in retail platforms.  This begs the question: Should we wear matching pieces from the same line or branch out a bit?  I use Alexis Bittar as my case study here because he is a costume jewelry designer who comes up with many different lines that are quite dissimilar to each other in aesthetic.  He currently has a collection inspired by Georgia O’Keefe, an ‘elements’ line that draws from nature, a modernist line, a lucite line, even a Mauritius monkey line.

My personal inclination is to go against matchy-matchy jewelry.  To wear earrings, necklace and bracelet all from the same line feels very dated to me.  However, I see nothing wrong with wearing many pieces from different collections of the same designer.

What Not to Do

Please don’t put an entire look together with pieces from the same line (see below).  I don’t care how old or young your are, it sends the message that your look was inspired by moth balls.

Jewelry Styling from the Same Designer: Alexis Bittar

 

Alexis Bittar, Ophelia earrings; available here.

Jewelry Styling from the Same Designer: Alexis BittarAlexis Bittar, Ophelia necklace; available here.

Jewelry Styling from the Same Designer: Alexis Bittar

Alexis Bittar, Ophelia brooch; available here.

What to do

Instead, I would pull one piece from the collection and use it as inspiration for a cohesive look that also brings in other elements.  If you like the Ophelia earrings from above, perhaps pair it as follows for a much more modern take on matching jewelry by echoing similar materials or colors.

Jewelry Styling from the Same Designer: Alexis BittarAlexis Bittar, Ophelia earrings; available here.

Jewelry Styling from the Same Designer: Alexis BittarAlexis Bittar, liquid gold thin collar; available here.

Jewelry Styling from the Same Designer: Alexis BittarAlexis Bittar, ripped gold cuff; available here.

Alternatively, if earrings + necklace + cuff is not your thing, try just choosing one kind of jewelry like bangles for example, and layering them for an over the top look that doesn’t weigh you down.  I would wear the top two cuffs on the same arm and then the third cuff on the other arm for a little bit of asymmetry and interest.

Jewelry Styling from the Same Designer: Alexis BittarAlexis Bittar, gold parrot cuff; available here.

Jewelry Styling from the Same Designer: Alexis BittarAlexis Bittar, baroque hinge bracelet; available here.

Jewelry Styling from the Same Designer: Alexis BittarAlexis Bittar, modernist gold dotted bracelet; available here.

In essence, anything that is too matchy-matchy looks terrible.  However, feel free to match different aspects of your jewelry whether it’s the color, material, inspiration, or style.

Big Kiss and Bigger Diamonds,

JZP