I’m a life-long jewelry whore and anyone who knows me knows this to be true. I live by the adage that more is more, and instead of getting dressed and taking one item off (which Coco Chanel famously recommended), I believe you get dressed and put (at least) one more thing ON. The category of too much? Puh-lease. I think there’s strength in numbers—piling on a dozen silver bangle bracelets makes more of a style statement than, say, wearing one of them. Ditto for a cascade of chain necklaces, or multiple ropes of pearls, or a suite of Native American turquoise—I’m talking necklace AND earrings AND rings AND bracelet stack, all in their vibrant blue splendor. Choosing a look and unabashedly going for it takes confidence, savvy, experience…and a smidgen of reckless abandon (don’t understand? Stop what you’re doing right now and Google the name Iris Apfel).
I started wondering, what’s this all about? What does jewelry do for me? How does it make me…feel? I’m glad you asked.
For 7 days I decided to go all in, wearing as much jewelry as possible, all the while tracking my state of mind. I decided to let each day represent a mood, a style, a color, a material, or all of the above. I forced myself to change every single piece of jewelry, every single day. No cheating. One day was devoted to the color green (my fave), another day to all the beaded pieces I’ve accumulated from trips to Mexico and Africa. One day I busted out all of my pearls, most of it handed down to me from my mother, grandmothers and a beloved aunt.
While I admit it took a bit of time and energy (getting it all off before I went to the gym was part of the work out), it was really fun. It also forced me to tap into the notion of WHY my love of jewelry is so pronounced. Here’s what I’ve come to realize:
Jewelry makes an outfit look finished.
Jewelry adds a little interest, a bit of sparkle, a shot of color so that even the basics look like you’ve put a bit of effort into it. Add a few baubles and you can take jeans and a sweater from supermarket friendly to drinks with the girls. Same goes for a simple black suit, which can be a non-event on anyone’s watch but paired with the right bling can go from snooze-fest to style high. Here’s what you need to know: In order to have jewelry to wear, you have to actually buy jewelry. Now’s the time to start collecting.
Jewelry is joyful.
There’s no denying the pleasure that comes from the senses—I’m talking sight, sound, and touch. Jewelry has all of that, and jewelry often has all of that at the same time. Things that sparkle in the light, feel good to the touch, shock with bold color…adds interest and undeniable joy. To you, the wearer, and to others who see you.
Jewelry always fits.
Not gonna lie, I am not the same size I once was. Babies and donuts and intermittent exercise breaks (and that thing called gravity) have all caused things to…shift. It’s fine. I feel great. I’m fuller than I one was but still pretty close to what I’d like to be. I may not be able to wear those Levi 501 jeans from college, but I sure as shit can wear the bangles I bought while backpacking around Europe after my junior year in college.
Jewelry is an awesome way to make basic clothes look chic AF.
Black pants and a long sleeve T-shirt, whether from Prada or the Gap, gets reinvented with a suite of the right jewelry. From classic to boho, basics provide the perfect backdrop to play and create. Nothing is wrong, anything can be right.
Jewelry tells a story.
Jewelry often has the personality that your clothes do not, so the choices you make can spin all kinds of narratives. The styles you try, the colors that speak to you, say something. Whether big and bold or dainty and delicate, your jewelry is an integral part of your messaging.
Jewelry connects me to people I love and the places I’ve been.
I’m a collector of few things, but a collector of jewelry could be on my Linked In profile. It’s that profound. I have inherited a lot, from my mother and grandmothers and aunts, and I love wearing things that I remember being worn before, by the women I loved. Like the multi-strand seed pearl necklace that belonged to my Granny Annie, or the dozen green Bakelite bracelets that were part of my mother’s stash. I also like to buy things wherever I am in the world as a memento from a far-flung adventure. I remember the sights and sounds and smells of that place, and the time I spent there, and it takes me right back, even when I’m, say, on the New York City subway.