Using Jewellery to Elevate Your Party Outfit

If ever there was a time to dress up, it’s Christmas and New Year!

There’s no need to rush out and buy a whole new outfit though; think about how you could use jewellery to add some glamour to one you already have.  Have a root through your jewellery box to see if there are any hidden gems in there, or buy some inexpensive costume jewellery to add some sparkle and make your outfit celebration-ready.

To look your very best, there are a few “rules” you might like to bear in mind when accessorising your outfit. These take account of your physical characteristics and also the style of clothing you want to accessorise. At the end of the day though, wear what makes you happy because a smile is the best accessory of all!

Bear in mind your physical characteristics:

Your scale

The Ebbinghaus illusion

It’s generally most harmonious if you match the size of your jewellery to your scale.

Take a look at this Ebbinghous diagram which neatly illustrates how our perception of size is affected by the area that surrounds it.  In each case, the central orange spot is the same size, but when surrounded by smaller dots, it looks much bigger. If we apply this to necklaces, you can see that a necklace worn on an expansive area (broad shoulders/ large bosom) will look relatively smaller, whereas, if it is worn on a small area (narrow shoulders/ small bust) it will look relatively larger.

This means that, if you are statuesque – tall and big-boned – you will look especially good in large statement pieces that accord with your stature.

Petite small-boned women, on the other hand, tend to look better in more delicate jewellery as it is more in harmony with their scale. If you’re petite but would like to make more of a statement with your jewellery, multiple fine strands will work  well, or opt for a single statement piece and keep the rest discreet.

Photo courtesy of Max Ducourneau

You can buy layered necklaces or create your own from what you already have using these simple tips:

  • Start with a short base layer. A simple delicate chain or a delicate chain with a small pendant is ideal.
  • Add a slightly longer middle layer. You can choose a chain with a larger pendant or a layered necklace with multiple chains.
  • Your top layer is the longest necklace in your stack and should be the most eye-catching. You can choose a statement necklace with a large pendant or a layered necklace with multiple chains in different lengths.

Your neck length & face shape

If you have a longish neck (particularly if this is combined by a slightly boney decolette, which is often the case), shorter necklace lengths tend to be more flattering.  Conversely, short necks and fuller bosoms tend to look good with longer lengths.

A long neck can carry off long statement earrings, whereas if you have a short neck (and therefore less space between your earlobes and shoulders), you will tend to look better in shorter ones. If you have a round face, you may want to choose earrings that will elongate it, such as dangly or drop earrings. If you have a square face, earrings that soften your angles, such as round or hoop earrings will look good.

Your best bits!

Jewellery is a fantastic way to highlight your best bits. So, if you have lovely hands, cuffs, bangles and cocktail rings were made for you! If you have delicate ears, pull back your hair and show them off with fabulous earrings.

Choose your best colours

Jewellery that harmonsies with your colouring is particularly flattering and will make you shine that little bit more brightly. If you have a warm golden skin tone, gold will look fabulous, whereas if you have a cooler, pinker skin tone and say grey hair, silver or platinum will be lovely on you. Sparkle is especially lovely on those who have a lot of natural vibrancy to their colouring (we colour analysts call them Clears) but, to be honest, I think everyone should feel free to indulge in a little Christmas sparkle!

Tailor your jewellery to what you’re wearing

Your best jewellery will not only complement your physical attributes but also enhance what you’re wearing. Generally speaking, the plainer your outfit, the more you can go to town on your jewellery. Think about gorgeous Audrey Hepburn wearing that iconic black Givenchy dress accessoried with the over-sized multi-standed pearl necklace, earrings and mini tiara in Breakfast At Tiffany’s. It works because of the stunning simplicity of the gown.

Generally speaking, if you are wearing a low cut top and the necklace is sitting against your skin, something a little more delicate and refined is called for than if you’re wearing your necklace over a thicker fabric such as velvet or brocade.

Adding a necklace can also be a good way of mitigating a neckline that is not quite right for you too.  So, if for example, you have a short neck and/ or big bust, a high neckline is not your most flattering. Adding a necklace to drape down and create a focal point that is lower will lengthen your neck and distract from your bust.

When it comes to earrings your choice will depend on whether you’re also wearing a necklace and how dressy your events is. For a drinks party, where for example you may be waering a silky blouse and trousers you will probably want to wear more discreet earrings than for a full on New Year’s black tie event, where you make want to bring out the sparkly chandeliers!

Take a look at my online catalogue if you’d like some ideas on how to add a little sparkle to your outfits.