Even though I generally wear pretty simple jewellery, I’ve always been drawn to sparkly, shiny costume jewellery. It’s my inner magpie, I can’t help it. I generally have a couple of pieces of costume jewellery on rotation for occasions that call for dressing up that little bit more. It’s an easy way to upgrade a classic outfit into a more trend-driven ensemble without spending a fortune. A collection of go-to costume jewellery comes in especially handy at this time of year, with the plethora of Christmas parties, last minute long lunches and beach to bar afternoons. J.Crew, Asos and Shopbop all have great pieces at reasonable prices.
Unfortunately, costume jewellery can easily be overdone, or look cheap and tacky. It’s a fine line. With that in mind, this is how I go about integrating costume jewellery into my wardrobe and outfits:
1. Steer clear of anything with a fake antique look – it’s an instant pathway to tacky. Likewise, look for classic shapes rather than anything animal shaped, heart shaped, or even nearing the realm of novelty shaped, especially if you’ll be investing more than a few of your hard earned clams. The exception is if you want to look like the coolest eight year old going, or are going a 90s themed party – in those cases, more is more.
2. Anything overly plastic looking will also bring down your look, unless it’s very clear or high quality lucite. In which case, go nuts. If a piece is an unnatural colour and texture – back away. It won’t help your case at all.
3. Less is more, especially if you are looking at inexpensive pieces. Pair a statement necklace with your smallest and highest quality pearl, gold or silver studs, and easy on the wrist wear. If you feel naked without anything on your wrist, then a simple watch is all you need. Similarly, if you intend to go for fabulous earrings – you probably don’t need a necklace, but you could have a little arm party.
4. Don’t match everything. Your earrings do not need to be worn with the matching necklace and bracelet. See above.
5. Mix your inexpensive costume jewellery with the real thing. No one will know the difference, and if they do, pat them on the back and ask for their shopping advice.
6. Store and care for your costume jewellery correctly – out of sunlight, away from anywhere damp. If it came in a bag or box, store it in that to help maintain the finish. Be careful not to get hairspray on your not-so-precious pieces – it can make the finish a (literally) tacky mess. Wipe it down with a cleaning cloth after every few wears.
Beyond finishing a look, costume jewellery is often a talking point and complimenting someone’s jewels can be a great way to break the ice. There is usually a story of shopping success, and certain pieces might be imbued with heirloom charm. These pieces usually have a story of their own – if not, make some memories to go with them.
What’s your favourite piece of jewellery, costume or otherwise? Does it have a story? xx