The majority of women (and some men) have an appreciation for jewelry and beautiful things, but what sets the casual dabbler apart from a pro is the ability to use jewelry as a form of self-expression. This is the essence of jewelry styling and indeed, of style in general–it is the awareness of one’s aesthetic, personality and mood and the ability to convey it through one’s appearance. You are the canvas, your medium is your clothing and accessories and in your repertoire of tools are concepts taken from visual arts, architecture, physics, etc. With so many ways to play no one need look the same.
Choose one core theme
The theme will serve as the central story for your look. For the purpose of this post lets use texture as our core theme as it is a very subtle yet sophisticated way to create visual interest and a personal favorite of mine. In order to do this, you have to pay attention to the materials that your clothing and accessories are made of and what effect the materials have on light, color and feel. Next, decide whether you want your accessories and outfit to highlight a cohesive textural feel or contrast each other to engage the eyes. The look from Dior below uses the knobby texture of the bracelet to accentuate the grainy weave of the tweed dresses.
Dior Haute Couture F/W 2012/13
Look 2 below does the opposite. The hard, sleek lucite produces a sheen when struck by light whereas the soft, fluffiness of the fur diffuses light and our eyes relish such textural contrasts.
Look 2: Lucite and Fur
Texture is not the only theme at your disposal. You can set a chromatic theme or draw from an era in history such as the mod 60′s or look to another culture and draw inspiration from Japanese minimalism, for example. The purpose of a theme is to provide you with inspiration around which to build your story. Check out my Pinterest Jewelry Styling mood board for more inspiration.
Add a pop factor
Always make a look multi-dimensional. In order to do so, make sure you build what I call a “pop factor” on top of your theme. In the Dior look, color is the pop factor; the warmth of the caramel brown leather against the cool grey of the tweed makes the bracelet stand out visually. If the bracelet was a gray leather the look would be far less interesting because it would be swallowed up by the fabric of the dress. Even though this look is very minimally accessorized, it is nevertheless rich in impact because of the use of both texture and color together.
The clear lucite in look 2 takes on the color of whatever backdrop its worn against so color can’t be used in our repertoire here. In this case, quantity is the pop factor–three bracelets on each arm and one-to-three rings on each hand provides the light with enough surface area to bounce off and contrast against the diffuse fuzziness of the fur.
Know when to stack and when to hold back
Style is just as much about what you withhold as what you put on. More is rarely more if you don’t know what you’re doing. I take no issue with BIG, I love big–sometimes and selectively. Similarly, I have no problem with being overdressed as long as I know that I am intentionally doing so. It comes down to awareness of the situation and a conscious decision to step outside the norm if you so choose. Translated to jewelry styling: I generally choose one theme and one pop factor, it is a rare occasion indeed that one will need more than that.
Final note about originality
Too many street style and fashion blogs follow the same trends. One person sees a stacked look on the runway and suddenly everyone is up to their elbows in stacks of spike bangles. This is not style, this is sheep mentality. The purpose of media, print publications and blogs is to inspire, not to create a legion of detachable Peter Pan collar-wearing follow-bots. Digest what you see and make it your own. If you read this post and decide that you want to experiment with two themes or two pop factors, I love it! Show me what you create! People learn from each other and rules are made to be slammed.
Big Kiss and Bigger Diamonds,