The Jewelry Insider

December 30, 2008

Whether you’re accessorizing for work or play, having the right jewelry can go a long way in helping you project an image of confidence and individual style. But how do you develop that style when you’re building your jewelry wardrobe from scratch?

According to, developing your own style means “knowing yourself”: what you like and dislike. To determine this, ask yourself “What is my ideal?” and “What turns my head?” Decide if that means contemporary or classic jewelry styles; streamlined or detailed; colored stones or white diamonds.

Also, listen to style-related comments from others. What outfits or accessories do people compliment you on? This will give you important clues about the kind of jewelry that looks best on you.

Next, make sure what you’ve selected fits your personality and lifestyle. For instance, if you spend a lot of time doing activities outdoors, consider simple earrings that won’t dangle too far and get in the way. Comfort is a must. If something is either physically or psychologically uncomfortable to wear, you’ll have trouble projecting the kind of confidence and competence integral to developing a personal style.

As for the jewelry itself, stick with the basics in the beginning. The rule of thumb is to always buy the best-quality basics you can afford, so you can add matching pieces later. In gold jewelry, such basics should include a gold chain necklace, classic hoop or button earrings, and a link bracelet. Additions could include slide-on pendants or drops to create different looks with your necklace and earrings. In diamond jewelry, classic stud earrings or a solitaire pendant should be among your first purchases.

Experts advise that you begin with classic shapes that look appropriate with a variety of outfits, and then add pieces that offer versatility of wear or a fashion touch, such as different colors or finishes.

And don’t overlook the importance of selecting jewelry that suits your body type. For instance, your height and bone structure play a big role in determining the kind of jewelry that looks best on you. A smaller, petite woman would be better served with necklace lengths that fall below the breast but above the waist to elongate her figure. Meanwhile, a tall, thin woman may want to select a choker that cuts the line of the neck and de-emphasizes her height. And a full-figured woman should stay away from jewelry that’s too small or delicate.

Equally important to style are face shapes. The four basic are oval, round, rectangular and heart-shaped. If your face is oval, triangular-shaped earrings are especially flattering. A round shape should seek elongated, dangling styles that draw the eyes down, rather than around. For a rectangular face, try jewelry that adds width, camouflaging the length of the face. And for heart-shaped faces, look for earrings that are wider at the bottom, because style can soften a pointed chin look.

And don’t forget to consider your hand type if you’re purchasing rings. If you’re long-fingered, wider bands will look especially good on you. If you’re short-fingered, thinner bands and stone shapes such as marquise or pear that elongate the hand would be a good choice.

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