More bling, less buck
Chunky statement jewellery is the quickest, cheapest way to transform an outfit from day to night
Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there was a discernible difference between day- and night-wear. For day, we wore knits, skinny jeans and ankle boots; for night, we dressed up in sequins, fitted black “going out” tops and fitted skirts. Now, however, it seems that day becomes night with the flick of a switch – or, rather, the addition of a statement neckpiece. Personally, I blame Joanne Hynes, whose embellished collars have the ability to transform even the dreariest of black polo necks into the chicest of date-night outfits.
But Hynes is not alone; this year, high-street and high-end alike jumped on the bandwagon – even Zara, which used to be rarely mentioned in terms of accessories except to lament its lack of bargain-tastic, catwalk-inspired jewellery, has begun producing studded, embellished and bejewelled necklaces, that it showcases on Zara.comworn with a black tee and blazer, or over a simple navy boat-neck dress.
Unlike almost everything else in the fashion world, when it comes to statement necklaces there are no rules. While they shine – literally and figuratively – when placed against a blank, austere background, such as black, white or a block colour, they look equally stunning placed atop a brightly printed dress, such as Asos’s Mary Katrantzou-inspired lantern dress from its Christmas 2012 collection.
And price is not guaranteed. You can spend hundreds – with one of Hynes’s pieces, for example, which retail at around €500, or with the white rhinestoneencrusted bib necklace from Loulerie, pictured above (€399) – or save your pennies with, well, Penneys. The pale pink number pictured right is €5. Other routinely bargaintastic retailers seem to use extra embellishment as an excuse to raise their prices. Zara’s Art Deco-inspired neckpiece pictured above is €19.95, iClothing.ieis playing it relatively safe with its circular jewelled necklace at €34 (above), and the neon flocked gem necklace pictured right, also from Asos, is €69.45.
The real saving is to be made in outfit-changing time between office and bar, and indeed investment in going-out clothing. Why bother, when the addition of a statement necklace does all the hard work, with a mere flick of a clasp?
How to avoid looking cheap on a budget
Jewellery is a tricky number. Expensive jewellery is, more often than not, instantly recognisable as such. But if you play your cards right, bargain-basement bling can hold its own alongside your finest jewels.
1 Be mindful of your metals
Try and avoid anything in a yellow gold or shiny silver. Rose gold, bronze and anthracite shades of metal are much more unassuming and don’t draw attention to themselves.
2 Try before you buy
In the case of necklaces, open and close the fastenings a few times. Check that all working parts are in fact working, and open and close hinges a few times. Cheap jewellery is not always the most durable, and you don’t want to find yourself at the Met gala with your necklace falling into Anna Wintour’s glass of Moet.
3 If in doubt, go oversized
Some of the most eye-catching costume jewellery is the most OTT. Coloured stones, dangling gems and thick chains are very cool right now and will dress up even the most austere black polo neck (yes, polo necks are back; no, you shan’t be seeing a column on that any time soon).