Building a great jewelry wardrobe takes time and is a constantly evolving process. Whether your budget is high, low or in between, you can curate a great selection of jewels that will enhance your wardrobe and make you feel beautiful and put together. There is great jewelry at all prices and I always subscribe to mixing costume with fine. That said, here is my list of the top Essential Jewelry Items every woman needs in her jewelry box!
Pearl Necklace – Chose a length, and shade that you like! Every girl needs a pearl necklace! Go for a Coco Chanel look and layer it up and pile it on. The more the merrier. Pearl are classic and look good on every body. And if you can’t afford real peals then check out some vintage options. Great quality pearls can be found by Kenneth Jay Lane, Erwin Pearl, Carolee, Monet, Trifari, Ciner and Les Bernard to name a few. All the pearls shown below are indeed vintage costume. Cocktail Ring – The cocktail is essential because it allows you to go big and bold! Wear it on your pointer finger for extra fashion forward points. This is a piece that needs to be worn with confidence. Put it on and wear it – don’t let it wear you.
Stud Earrings – These can be pearls, diamonds, gold silver, with or without stones. Something simple and will be your go to earring when you are traveling light or just want a little bit of something to finish your look. From the left, gray pearls, costume jewelry gold tone butterflies and sterling silver with gem stones.Statement Earrings – So many great choices! Chose a color and style that suits you. I have included dramatic shoulder dusters, chandelier styles and over sized, face front rhinestone hoops. These will transition your daytime look to night, and dress up any outfit. I even like the idea of wearing a statement earring on a day off with jeans when you are going out for coffee. Rule number 1, there are no rules.
Pendant Necklace – One of the easiest ways to bring a younger, hipper vibe to your outfit! Each of these are vintage costume jewelry. Left to right: large gold chain with gold tone Maltese style cross, over sized pearl and jet black rhinestone bauble, Gerard Yosca blue, orange and pearl necklace, Park Lane silver tone owl, and awesome faded, gold tone tassel necklace.
Gold Chain Necklace – A chain style is truly a staple. I like a long one when I can get it as it is great to double or even triple over. These are all costume jewelry, great quality with nice gold tones.
Gold Tone Bangle Bracelet – This basic style is a key piece for building all your awesome arm parties! Most of these are vintage Monet. Great quality and awesome textures. Silver Tone Chains & Necklaces – Just like the gold tone chains, you will need a silver version or 2. Same strategy here. Great for layering and mixing with other chains. From left: Unsigned feather texture necklace, Monet multi strand necklace, unsigned multi strand, chunky chain necklace, Napier 70s serpintine necklace.Silver Tone Bangle Bracelet – More cool bangles with a variety of textures. These vintage silver tone bangles are more of the iconic Monet style.
Chain Bracelet – The chain bracelet brings a marvelous texture to your bracelet stack! These cool, gold tone, bracelets include pieces from the 1960s to the 1990s. Third Bracelet – Once you have the simple bangle and chain, bring in a third color or texture as your pop piece.
Rhinestone Bracelet – Gorgeous rhinestone layer in well to both your silver tone or gold tone arm party.Charm Bracelet – This classic style bracelet has many incarnations and you should be able to find a piece that speaks to you with a special theme, motif or color combination.
Statement Cuff Bracelet – The statement cuff bracelet is big and bold and needs minimal other jewelry. At most a great pair of earrings. If you really want to go for it and go big, try 1 statement cuff on each, a la Coco Chanel. Just make sure they are identical or very similar.
Stone or Bead Necklace – Chose a stone or bead color that matches your eyes or flatters your skin! When you chose gems, beads or stones that match your eyes or flatter your skin, the jewelry will work on almost everything own. Thin Hoop Earrings – This style is great on everyone. Chose a hoop size that works for you!Gold Brooch – Use it to create a focal point. Pin it on your shoulder or at the decolletage. The most modern way to wear brooches is in twos or threes. Get more ideas on how to wear brooches here and here. And check out how Mary Kate Olson wore brooches at the Met Gala earlier this year here.
Rhinestone Brooch – Rhinestone brooches come in all shapes and sizes. Look for prong set and sparkling stones.
Colored Brooch – Have some fun with brooches and have a few on hand to add your pop of color. Again, wear in twos or threes for the most modern look. And if you do that select your pair or triple play by having some kind of commonality, such as they both have some jade green color, etc.
Timepiece – A nice timepiece tells the world that you are well appointed and well dressed. And its a great investment. I subscribe to a watch wardrobe, because there is a need for a variety of watches. Shown here are a classic gold and silver watch, a tank style with black alligator strap and a very unusual vintage, bangle style timepiece with a hinged rhinestone flip top. Personal Piece – Ideally this charm or pendant is on a 18 or 20 inch chain, wear it inside your collar. Wear multiples with special pendants, gems or colors that have meaning for you. Something With Studs or an Edgy Vibe – So many great choices! We all need an element of Rocker Chic! Something with a Chanel or French Couture Vibe
Something with a 1970s VibeSomething with a 1980s /90s Vibe – Trust me on this, jewelry from this era is the next hot collectibleThin Chains for Layering – Buy each layer separately or chose a multi stand that gives the same effect. This look is super easy to wear daily and is a subtle accent and great way to add a minimal decorative effect to any outfit.The examples I showed here are ideas in which to base your jewelry wardrobe strategy. There is lots of room to interpret all of these items as they best suit you, your lifestyle, wardrobe and budget. Look at each item on my list as a starting point and find the one that works for you. My Essentials List is a guide and jewelry should be fun and make you feel good! Hope this inspires you!
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