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How to Wear Jewelry for (Almost) Any Occasion

BY: Editors | Mar 1, 2019

Knowing how to wear jewelry can be tricky. Here's how to accessorize for almost every social occasion, from Netflix-and-chill to dressed-to-kill.

woman wearing glam party jewelry

Sure, diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have OTHER friends—pearls, gemstone pendants, crystal studs, and whatnot. These pieces are more affordable, after all, and they’re versatile enough to work with almost any outfit. But knowing how to wear jewelry like this isn’t always intuitive.

Luckily, we have some in-house stylists who spend their days accessorizing models. We challenged them to create some jewelry looks for the most common situations you could find yourself in. Here’s what they came up with.  

Casual jewelry on model

Casual Occasions

Such as? Brunch, weekend errands, strolling around your ex's neighborhood like, "Oh! You live here? I had NO idea!"

To up your style game on casual days, reach for your fine-metal jewelry. When in doubt, choose thin pieces and stack them together for a breezy layered look.  

Styling Ideas

Necklaces

V-neck tees and high-neck sweaters perfectly backdrop a stack of fine metal necklaces. Layer 2–3 chain and pendant necklaces of various lengths for an effortlessly cool vibe.

Rings

Thin gold, white gold, and rose gold rings look especially chic when you feature a few on each hand.

Bracelets

Elevate casual outfits with a few basic fine metal bangles. They add structure to a look, helping you appear put together even when you’re in a tee and your hair’s in a messy bun.

Earrings

When you want to add a dash of color, gemstone stud earrings are an easy option. Smaller studs around the 3mm mark are especially on-trend.

Casual jewelry

Model wearing professional jewelry

Professional Occasions

Such as? The daily grind at the office, job interviews, grifting

When you need to look polished, choose subtle pieces that don’t distract you or others. You don’t want to sit through an office meeting fidgeting with a jangly bracelet. And while workplaces are trending toward more casual, it’s best to leave showy types of jewelry in the jewelry box if you work in a more buttoned-up setting.

Collection of professional looking jewelry

Styling Ideas

Necklace

Few things look better with a blouse and blazer than a gemstone pendant. Choose one in a color that matches a number of pieces in your wardrobe so you can wear it often.

Ring

This is where a simple fine metal band comes in handy. It adds a little something without demanding too much attention.

Bracelet

Sleek metal bracelets look professional with blouses and office dresses, as long as they don’t get in the way of working with your hands. Choose something flexible to avoid clinking and clanking while you type.

Earrings

Highly versatile fine metal stud earrings look right when you need to make a good impression by adding just a hint of subtle shine.

party jewelry on model

Party Occasions

Such as? Cocktail parties, dinner parties, another day the cats don’t overthrow us

This is when you can dig out that fashion jewelry. Chunky statement pieces add pizzazz to cocktail dresses and LBDs that would look too sparse without some flashy objects to jazz them up. However, be sure to stick to just one or two pieces at a time to avoid looking over-the-top, unless that’s what you’re going for.

Styling Ideas

Necklace

When dressing for a night out, go for a thick statement necklace. Or if you want to go big elsewhere, opt for a minimalist necklace that adds shine without being overwhelming.

Ring

A cocktail ring works for all kinds of party ensembles. The bigger the ring is, the more it will catch people’s eyes.

Bracelet

A chunky bangle or big cuff makes you feel like you stepped off the set of a soap opera—in a good way. Pair a design-heavy cuff with a simpler ring in the same color scheme for balance.

Earrings

Colored-gemstone statement earrings add a fun pop of color to black dresses, preventing looks from being too one-note.

collection of party jewelry

formal jewelry on model

Formal Occasions

Such as? Weddings, fundraisers and galas, the coronation of Queen Cleocatra (all hail our supreme ruler)

A few timeless pieces—the classics—are essential for those occasions where you need to look your best. Channel Hollywood glamour icons like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, who knew how to add the perfect finishing touches to formal looks and wear them with confidence.

collection of formal jewelry

Styling Ideas

Necklace

A long pendant with a solitaire diamond is the definition of timeless elegance, and it goes with everything.

Ring

Fashion girls mix high- and low- pieces all the time. Take inspiration from them and pair a crystal solitaire ring with real diamond jewelry for a cohesive look that won’t bankrupt you.

Bracelet

Similar to a crystal ring, a tennis bracelet can be made with crystals and still give off that luxe vibe.

Earrings

Earrings will complete your formal look, especially if you’re rocking an updo. Crystal earring jackets or ear climbers add just enough edge to keep a formal look from being too stuffy.

Photos by Philip Campbell

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