Statement jewellery not only elevates an outfit, but also allows the wearer to express themselves and their individuality.
These pieces don’t need to feature glitz or bling, and they don’t need to be costly. Inexpensive jewellery can be effective at adding ‘oomph’ to a look – and, best of all, this means you can invest in a few different pieces for a variety of looks, occasions, and moods.
Plus, you can have fun with what you wear and how you wear it. Maybe, once, there was an expectation that mature women would wear jewellery best described as ‘demure’ – a string of pearls, a small pair of golden hoops, or an elegant brooch, perhaps. But, this certainly isn’t the case today, as we can see from role models like Helen Mirren.
So, if you’re ready to embrace statement jewellery, here are six ways to do so.
1. Use jewellery to accentuate your best features
A statement piece will almost inevitably draw the eye to it and, therefore, to the part of the body it’s worn on, so it’s worth thinking about which features you want to enhance. Perhaps you have elegant wrists or a fabulous new manicure? A bracelet or ring will attract attention to these.
Your hairstyle can have an impact too. Wearing your hair loose and long may create enough interest around your face and neck, without adding striking earrings or an eye-catching neckpiece. Or, you may want to draw the eye up to your crowning glory by wearing equally beautiful jewellery.
At the same time, a chic, short haircut or ‘up do’ can be even more glamorous when the exposed ears are wearing eye-catching earrings.
The shape of your body is also worth considering when choosing jewellery. For example, a necklace that hangs low can help to create the illusion of length and height, as Diane Hall, co-founder of Dower & Hall explains: “I personally always suggest our long necklaces when I am speaking with customers in store,” she says.
“Not only do they smarten up any outfit, but I find they’re very flattering, as they lengthen the upper body outline rather than concentrating on the neck area. They therefore give a nice slimming effect too, as they draw the eyeline down.”
2. Choose jewellery that compliments your outfit
“It’s important to consider the style of your clothing to ensure the statement jewellery pieces you choose are complementary,” says jewellery expert Stefano Pietrini, from Watches and Crystals.
“A high neckline may provide minimal room for a necklace, and incorporating one may overwhelm the outfit, so it’s best to pair this neckline with statement earrings and bracelets,” he continues. “However, plunge or V necklines offer the perfect opportunity to display your favourite statement necklace.”
However, the loss of skin elasticity that comes with age can sometimes lead to women wanting to cover the neck and decolletage/ chest area with higher necklines. Yet, this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t wear a statement necklace.
In fact, there’s a growing trend for layering jewellery over crew necks and even polo necks or turtlenecks. Bling doesn’t have to lie against the skin to make an impact – how’s this for inspiration?
Wanting your jewellery to take centre stage can also influence your choice of outfit, because the simpler the outfit, the more opportunity the jewellery will have to stand out. Consider block colours and classic styles – for example, a flowy summer dress with stacks of wooden or metal bangles on each arm.
Other examples include an elegant black dress, or jeans or pants with a white shirt. These ‘capsule’ pieces offer lots of opportunities to style them up with glam jewellery.
“A classic look always feels very chic,” says Brigitte Jones, founder and designer at Twisted Vintage. “Try your favourite jeans, a white tee or a turtle neck with a favourite blazer and trainers (or a comfortable heeled boot) plus a cool handbag, finished with a statement necklace or earrings. Our ‘tie-necklaces’ look great with a simple yet classic outfit like this.”
3. Mix, match, and layer jewellery
“Matching jewellery sets have slowly become outdated as people opt for a more ‘out of the box’ approach with their jewellery pieces,” says Stefano. “As they can create an old-fashioned appearance, I recommend experimenting by mixing and matching jewellery pieces, or sticking to one statement piece for a more youthful look.”
Many people assume that wearing statement jewellery limits you to one piece, but this doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re worried that wearing two pieces – for example, a necklace and earrings – in the same area of the body may cause one to detract from the other, why not wear a fabulous necklace and a dazzling cocktail ring?
The colours that suit you might also be considered here. If you love green but find it drains your complexion, try wearing it as a piece that sits further away from your face, while wearing a more flattering colour in a necklace.
Mixing up your statement jewellery also doesn’t have to mean wearing it on different parts of the body: layering can make a statement too, such as the bangle-stacking we mentioned above.
Other examples include wearing lots of chains of different lengths and thicknesses or having a variety of piercings running up the length of your ear.
“Don’t be afraid of multiple ear piercings,” agrees Diane Hall. “Debbie, a 50+ woman who has worked in our Glasgow store for 15 years suggests to regular customers who are looking for a style update to add a couple of extra ear piercings. Our Gold and Diamond Labrets are small – but add several and they definitely add a statement to the ear!”
She adds that customers “have been thrilled with the results because they’re fun and show that multiple piercings can look beautiful at any age.”
An alternative idea comes from Brigitte. “Have you ever considered wearing extra long earrings – so long that they graze your collarbone?” she asks. “Do you know how cool, elegant and fabulous it can look? I dare you to give it a try!”
Stefano notes that weight may also be a factor to consider when choosing statement jewellery. especially when it comes to earrings. This is because thinning and loss of elasticity can affect the plumpness of the earlobes, giving them an elongated appearance.
“When wearing statement jewellery, consider the weight of the pieces you’re wearing and choose designs that won’t drag down your lobes,” he advises. “You can purchase high-quality hollow jewellery: these long-lasting pieces are designed to be as lightweight as possible while still making a statement”.
4. Think about the practicalities
Great style also incorporates good sense so, just as we plan outfits according to what we’ll be doing that day or evening, the same goes for wearing jewellery.
For example, if looking after a small child is on the cards, it’s probably not the right day for a long necklace, or dangly earrings, as grabby little hands may cause some damage.
At the same time, if you’re going out on a dinner date, you might want to think about your companion’s eyeline. Your hands – holding a wine glass, eating your meal – will be frequently in action, and therefore drawing attention. This, then, could be an opportunity for some fabulous rings (and a fresh manicure!).
Putting some thought into how your jewellery works, not only with your outfit but also with where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing will help you to feel more comfortable – and therefore, more confident.
5. Use jewellery to tell your own story
“Statement jewellery’s sole purpose is to make us feel fantastic. If it feels good, wear it. If it doesn’t, don’t.” These empowering words come from Arabel Lebrusan, founder of Lebrusan Studio.
She continues: “As a mature woman, you are an evolved human being who has achieved many milestones, learned many lessons, and assumed many roles.
“Whether it’s the reinvention of a piece of jewellery you once bought on an unforgettable holiday, a symbolic talisman celebrating the end of your working life, or a set of diamonds declaring ‘I’m an independent woman who has earned her dues,’ statement jewellery is an opportunity to tell your story.”
Brigitte Jones, owner of Twisted Vintage Jewellery, knows all about telling stories through jewellery: her brand cleverly combines old and/ or broken necklaces, watches and bracelets to craft them into new and utterly unique pieces. This means that you can have a fragment of something special to you woven into a statement piece – the face of your mother’s watch, or a coin from the year of your birth, for example.
6. Consider budget options
While there are many red-carpet examples of dazzling rings, chokers, bracelets, and rings from which to take inspiration, this doesn’t mean that statement jewellery needs to be budget-busting.
If fast-fashion chains aren’t to your personal or ethical tastes, you can also collect a variety of affordable statement jewellery pieces by visiting thrift stores, charity shops, and boot sales. This is also a way to find unique, one-off pieces to complement existing outfits.
For other ideas on how to elevate an outfit, including where to buy affordable jewellery, you may like to check out this Annabel and Grace article.
“The key is that the jewellery aligns with the individual’s personal style and preferences,” says Sophia Lutz, designer at Coeur de Lion. In a nutshell – try to wear pieces that resonate with you.
As noted above, this could mean jewellery specific to you and your memories and experiences, or it could mean pieces that perfectly enhance a particular outfit, whether casual or formal.
Most of all, statement jewellery is an opportunity to experiment with your look, because it doesn’t necessarily require a huge investment. Nor does it demand that you alter your appearance drastically or semi-permanently, in the way that, for example, cutting or changing the colour of your hair might.
In this way, statement jewellery is a personal style feature that requires less commitment than any other. After all, how many other outfit components can be removed and put into a handbag during an event?
You wouldn’t be able to do this with hair, nor shoes – and definitely not a dress! Statement jewellery is not only lots of fun, but it’s also relatively risk-free and deserves to be played around with.
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How do you wear statement jewellery? Have you found any of the tips particularly useful? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.