How To: Make Statement Jewelry Look Sophisticated

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Dress: Banana Republic // Jacket: Ann Taylor // Necklace: Devon Leigh // Belt: Gucci // Shoes: Chanel // Bag: Chanel // Bracelets: David Yurman, Lagos, & Sydney Evan // Watch: Michele Watches // Photography: Chloe Saltarelli Photography

I have loved big jewelry my entire life. My mom was nicknamed “Fashion Plate” in high school for her bold sense of style, and I followed in her footsteps earning the superlative “Best Dressed” my senior year at Southlake Carroll High School. If I had a penny for every time someone told me they loved my outfit/jewelry/dress/bag/shoes but they “could never pull that off“, I would be RICH. Like mega bucks. But the truth is, you can pull off whatever you want to pull off. It’s a choice. And the choice is yours.

First let me start with a little myth busting… 

“I am too petite for big jewelry”

False. Big jewelry is designed to look big and make a statement. Saying you are too small for big jewelry is basically just you saying you just aren’t comfortable wearing something that big. Statement jewelry is supposed to be big… and there aren’t any defined rules about what size a person needs to be in order to wear big jewelry. Stop making up fashion rules that don’t exist and try making a statement for a change. 

Can we all promise to try something bold and step out of our comfort zones with our jewelry? Yes?! Pinky promise??!!?
Ok great! Let’s move on…

Now that we have agreed to never use any lame excuses like, “I can’t pull that off” or, “I’m too small to wear that“, we can now dive into…

Statement Jewelry 101 

Be mindful of your canvas.

Be mindful of the outfit that is going to be the canvas for your statement jewelry.Nothing can “cheapen” a fantastic piece of jewelry like pairing it with something that doesn’t look sophisticated to begin with. If your jewelry is making a big statement, it’s always a safe bet to wear something neutral such as black, white, gray, or tan… or even a brighter solid color that would compliment your jewelry. I’m a HUGE fan of mixing patterns, prints, and textures… but if you’re not sure and you want to wear statement jewelry, a neutral palette is a very safe and aways sophisticated choice.

Don’t overdo it.

When you are wearing statement jewelry (especially if this look is not in your typical comfort zone) pick one or two big items to wear at a time, such as a big cuff bracelet with a big necklace. Or Big earrings with a big ring. Try to keep the look balanced so that all of the statement is not all from the chest up… nor is it all on one arm. If you’re wearing a big necklace, balance it with some button earrings. If you’re electing to sport an extra large cuff, then throw on something big up top (like earrings or a necklace). Now don’t get it twisted– you’ll see me breaking these “rules” from time to time because I tend to love ALL the jewelry ALL the time. (Just as Ken Downing would say, “more is more, less is a bore!”) But remember, these really aren’t rules anyway. They’re guidelines for keeping your look sophisticated.

Materials matter.

Be mindful of the materials that make up your jewelry. Plastic jewelry looks plastic. Fake stones look fake. If you’re wanting a look that is truly sophisticated and chic, it may require reaching a little deeper into your pocketbook to purchase a piece that can meet this standard. I’m not saying you need to spend thousands of dollars on every piece of jewelry, but I am saying that nice materials look nicer. I can recommend a whole slew of amazing designers that create statement jewelry from quality materials, but my favorite is Devon Leigh Jewelry. Found at Neiman Marcus and The Shak by Stanley Korshak. A quality piece of statement jewelry will last you longer, look better, and hold more value than any of it’s lesser imposters. You can always find deals on statement jewelry at luxury outlet stores such as Neiman Marcus Last Call (my personal favorite), Nordstrom Rack, and Sak’s Off Fifth. Think of it like an investment. From a woman’s perspective, we know there’s a chance we may not want to wear this one piece of jewelry for the rest of our lives. After all, trends do change like the weather. So we care (or should care) about resale value. If you want to turn around and sell a piece of jewelry in 10 years, you would have to pay someone to take the plastic necklace off your hands (if it’s still in one piece), but someone would likely offer you a couple hundred dollars if you have a piece of jewelry from a reputable jewelry designer, made from quality materials. From a man’s perspective, they are going to ask why you are buying it if you are already thinking about resale, so give them peace of mind by explaining that you divide the price of an item by the number of times you wear it. That $19.99 plastic necklace that you got 10 wears out of ended up being $2 per wear, while the $450 necklace ended up being $1.86 per wear after you wore it 250 times over 10 years. NOW you’re speaking your husband’s language! 😉

Steer clear of “trendy” clearance items.

Be weary of trends that have been around for a few seasons or have made their way to the very bottom of the retail chain. An example I can recall would be those bubble necklaces from several years back. If you don’t know what I’m talking about,Google “Bubble Necklace” and look at the image search results– you’ll remember. Any trend that has a very specific look, has been around for a couple seasons, and has made its way to the .99 cent clearance aisle is not going to look sophisticated no matter how hard you try. It’s not a problem to hop on the trend band-wagon when it comes rolling around… just don’t be the very last person to hitch a ride right before the wheels fall off. That’s not a good look 😉

Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

When in doubt, look at what the pro’s are doing! Is there someone that has a really sophisticated sense of style that you love? Look through their photos and see what looks they are putting together with their statement jewelry. I love referencing back to timeless beauties of the past– Jacqueline Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, and Mary Tyler Moore are some of my favorites. While I always do put my own modern touch on everything I wear, I love having a sense of timelessness reflected in my ensemble.

With that being said– go put on some jewelry! Go big or go home! And report back to me after you do! I want to hear from you if you took a risk and wore something out of your comfort zone lately. How did it make you feel? Did you get compliments? Did you feel confident? Pics or it didn’t happen! Comment below 🙂


PS: Remember to thank Jesus today for all of the wonderful things you have been blessed with.

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