How do you choose and style jewellery to complement yourself and your wardrobe? And how do you make best use of your jewellery collection without being boring? The answers aren't always obvious. Never fear: we've come up with our 15 top jewellery style tips to help you be your fashionable best.
Does this sound familiar:
You've got an overflowing jewellery collection filled with pieces you love (or have forgotten you love), but you’re really not making the most of it and you're not sure where to start. Or maybe you’re just not confident about which pieces to shop for to work with each other and for you.
We've all been there.
The good news is that we've assembled a bunch of handy jewellery style and fashion tips and tricks to help you wear fine, fashion and costume jewellery that complements your sense of style, personality and wardrobe.
Let's dive in ...
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1. Create layers with rings, necklaces or bangles
Why not start with something fun? Experiment with contrasting lengths, shapes, textures and colours to make appealing layers with rings, necklaces, bangles and even in some cases earrings.
If you're layering necklaces then go for different lengths to draw the eye up to your face. Different shapes, colours and textures will often work a treat. To help with this you should read our necklace length & style guide.
For bangles and bracelets you can pretty much create an arm party with different pieces which will flash and jangle as you move. Rings can be mixed, matched and stacked in all sorts of interesting combinations: check out both our stacking rings and cocktail rings for ideas.
You can even experiment with wearing multiple earring styles if you have more than one pair of ear piercings or want to combine ear cuffs with other earrings. Take a look at our dangle & drop earrings, along with our stud earrings.
More jewellery style tips
Learn more about styling jewellery with our handy articles.
Layering and stacking is easy: simply gather together a collection of necklaces and pendants of different lengths, textures and designs and try them on in different combinations to see what works. Make a note of the combinations you like so you'll remember them later.
Rinse and repeat with with other jewellery types to up your layering game.
2. Know when to stop
You know how it is: sometimes too much is, well, too much.
If you’re drawing attention to your face and neckline with layered necklaces or a statement necklace, perhaps you don’t really need an armful of bangles to be competing for attention.
Or if you're wearing a bold pair of statement earrings, then perhaps your necklace could be more subtle or even not there at all (on the other hand, a bold pair of earrings with a matching necklace can sometimes work beautifully).
If you’ve accessorised with multiple pieces then consider taking a leaf out of Coco Chanel’s book: "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory"1.
Or not, as the case may be: do what works for you and the occasion you're dressing for.
3. Consider your earrings
Don't you find it can be all too easy to forget about your earrings?
However, your earrings are usually in the field of vision for anyone who is talking to you, so they really are important. You should aim to choose earrings to frame your face and complement your hair, eye colour and skin tone.
If you have long hair a great tip is to select a colour or metal finish which is more likely to be visible, depending on your hair colour.
4. Don't forget to change your earrings
I'm guilty of this myself: if you have pierced ears it can be so easy to wear the same pair of stud earrings for weeks on end. Or maybe you almost never change them.
But remembering to change your earrings is a great way to add interest and style to your look day to day. It's also the perfect opportunity to give your favourite pair of earrings a good clean!
A good place to start is digging through your jewellery collection to find what you haven’t worn in a while. You can also purchase new pairs of earrings which catch your attention and will add some variety and interest to your jewellery collection.
5. Experiment with mixing metals
Once it was seen as a fashion sin to mix different colours of metal, which is something I never really understood as I love them all.
So think about necklaces with pendants which contrast with the colour of chain they are attached to, rings that combine different metal colours or layered necklaces or bangles in different metals to add vibrant interest and colour to your outfit.
Mixing metals has been one of my favourite things to do when designing jewellery in recent years, so you'll find a number of pieces in our online jewellery shop which have mixed metal colours, including silver pendants with gold settings, for example.
6. Accessorise to complement your clothing
This sounds straight forward enough, doesn't it? But I know myself that it doesn't always happen.
Before you start dressing have a think about what item you most want to wear to wherever you're going.
You might decide you really want to wear a specific piece of jewellery to an outing, in which case you should choose your clothing and other accessories to work with it. Otherwise you might pick the outfit first and then match the jewellery and accessories to it.
Either way works. If you’ve spent some time getting the combination right you should look stylish and well put together.
7. Decide the focus of your overall outfit
Here's a related decision to make while getting dressed: what do you want the focus of your outfit to be?
A simple - even boring - outfit will almost always look transformed into something special with the right jewellery and accessories. You can choose jewellery that really makes a statement to bring a simple outfit to life or do some mixing and matching of jewellery for a more layered look.
But if you’re wearing bold clothing, then often it’s a good idea to go with smaller, more subtle jewellery pieces as highlights.
The best advice is to make a decision as to what will work for you and run with it. Your aim should always be to dress like yourself so you feel comfortable and confident.
8. Choose the focal point for your jewellery
Where do you want people's gaze to be directed if you're dressing up for something special?
If you’re wearing jewellery that’s intended catch the eye, then it’s usually best to make the visual focus on one body area which you want to draw attention to: neck, ears, hands, etc..
For instance, if you’re wearing a bold necklace, then go for more subtle rings and earrings. Or you might even consider leaving them out altogether.
Work out what the focal point is and make sure other accessories and clothing don't detract from it.
9. Extend your wardrobe by experimenting
This can be a fun thing to do whenever you've got some spare time on your hands.
Simply put on a basic outfit and try it out in front of a mirror with various pieces of jewellery and other accessories from your collection. Try different combinations of jewellery designs you might not normally consider pairing up and add in different accessories like scarves, bags or watches.
Try a single focal point with a statement piece, then try mixing, matching, stacking and layering. Keep trialling different combinations and focus points.
You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with to vary the look of even the most simple outfit. And once you're done with one outfit, throw on another one and start again.
If you don’t have a lot of jewellery or your collection isn't very diverse, then consider the types of jewellery pieces that will extend and add interest and depth to your wardrobe and go shopping.
Isn't it great to have an excuse to treat yourself to some sparkly things? You're welcome.
10. Don’t be a slave to trends
We've all known someone who is a bit too much of a fashion slave. Trends influence what all of us wear to some extent, which is fine. But it's never a good idea to slavishly follow fashion at the expense of your own taste and personality. You'll end up losing yourself. Oh - and it's also very expensive!
Instead try to figure out and evolve your own style which suits you and makes you feel confident. That might turn out to be unfashionable right now or at some point in future, but if you own it, I just know you'll be fine.
When choosing jewellery to wear, always think about what works with your colouring, frame and general sense of style. Take all of these things into account when you accessorise.
And don’t forget your personality: we’re all different and your personality should be allowed to shine through in terms of the jewellery you choose and how you present yourself in general.
11. Wear rings with panache
According to the old nursery rhyme, wearing rings on your fingers (and bells on your toes, apparently) means you'll have music wherever you go. True story.
Stacking rings in particular can add a lot of versatility to your wardrobe as you can mix and match them as you please to create a slightly different look each day. You can even choose to wear just one or two simple stacking rings for a more minimalist look on some days.
Try pairing up a set of matching rings or go for a mixture of colours, textures and gemstones.
If you’re wearing multiple rings then the consensus seems to be to wear no more than one cocktail ring on each hand. Wearing an odd number of rings on one hand and even on the other works well too.
But why not break the rules as you see fit? That's what they're there for, after all!
12. Match your necklace to your neckline
Unless it’s a sentimental piece that you’re happy to be hidden under clothing, your necklace or pendant should be visible and it should enhance your outfit.
For instance if you have low V-necked outfit then a pendant sitting in the V above your cleavage will work wonders. A long necklace will look great over higher necked and crew necked clothing. A rounded necklace is good with a scoop or other rounded necklines.
Find out more about matching necklaces with necklines in our very handy necklace lengths and style guide.
13. You don't always need to wear a necklace
Sometimes it's a good idea to go without a necklace or pendant (gasp!).
If you’re wearing a bold pair of earrings then not having a necklace to detract from your look can be a good way to go, depending on your outfit. Also if you're wearing a very low cut or high necked outfit not wearing a necklace will often work really well.
14. Consider your sentimental jewellery
Do you have sentimental jewellery pieces that you wear all the time? I'm sure many of us do, me included. But how do they fit into a well-accessorised outfit?
Just because something is sentimental doesn’t necessarily mean you need to wear it every day (wedding and engagement rings aside, generally). Consider how you'd feel about not wearing a particular piece every day and if that's an option for you.
If you do opt to wear one or more sentimental jewellery pieces all or most of the time, then consider how you can layer those pieces with other jewellery to add interest and variety to your style.
If it's a necklace you might look into getting a longer chain or an adjustable chain so that it can hang beneath clothing if it's not a match for the rest of your outfit. Rings can also be put on a chain and hidden beneath clothing if needed.
15. The most important rule: ignore the rules!
This is my most favourite style tip of all: break the rules as you see fit.
I'm a big fan of people looking like themselves rather than everybody else. Dressing up should be fun and it should be personal to you. Your style is about who you are and how you want to appear to others. It doesn't have to be all twin sets and pearls, or all free flowing and boho for that matter.
If what works for you is doing whatever you want, following none of the typical fashion tips and creating a chaotic clash of things you love wearing, then my advice is: go for it.
16. Bonus tip: clean your jewellery
So many people overlook cleaning their jewellery and I'm on a mission to change that. It really will make a difference to how your jewellery looks and how well put together you are.
If you take a close look at the jewellery you wear often or which has perhaps been left unworn for some time, you'll quite likely notice it looking grimy, dull and far from its sparkling best.
You wouldn't neglect cleaning your clothes, so you shouldn't neglect cleaning jewellery which is just as 'up close and personal'.
So what do you do about it? Well I strongly recommend you have a read of our comprehensive jewellery cleaning & care guide: it covers all the bases and will help you make the best decisions about looking after your precious jewellery. If you're in a hurry then you can also check out our 10 tips to quickly clean jewellery. And then: get cleaning!
Other jewellery style tips:
- WikiHow: Accessorise with Jewelry
- Tatler: the jewellery rules
- Who What Wear: top 10 jewelry pieces
- Harpers Bazaar jewelry guide