Kate Spade once said, “Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends.”
The evolution of my style (and obsession with vintage jewelry) started when I was young. My grandma was a big influence -- she had an impeccable sense of style. She had gorgeous dresses, statement hats, and an extensive jewelry collection that was housed in a tall wood cabinet with lots of tiny drawers (I loved to look through it whenever I visited). I fondly remember one Saturday afternoon trying on a black beaded gown with the highest shoulder pads the 90s could offer. My grandma caught me, but instead of scolding me, she just laughed and said, “You need jewelry to complete the look.” She heaped strands of pearls around my neck, gold bangles on my wrists, and handed me a tiny clutch. To this day, her words come back to me whenever I get ready. A vintage dress is great, but it’s the jewelry that completes the look to make it a statement. So, I thought it would be fun to share how I accessorize some looks to give you some ideas to incorporate into your outfits.
Look 1: Day-to-Night
Even before Covid, I was not one for the "athlesiure" trend. Even if I'm just out running errands, I try to step it up a notch beyond leggings and sneakers (while still being comfortable). You never know when you will get a call to meet a friend for a last minute rendezvous. Any look starts with the outfit - and for a recent afternoon running around the city, I wore this fabulous blazer. The nautical embroidery is fun and unexpected. This reads 90s glam and makes me feel like I am channeling my inner Fran Fine. She may have been a nanny, but she knew how to work a Moschino dress. I didn’t want to overpower the outfit with colors or patterns. So I chose a navy skirt and a black, heeled boot.
The accessories are what make this outfit come together. The blazer is oversized so I chose a massive, vintage Donna Karen chain belt to give it a more fitted silhouette. The black also helps to tie the black boots in with the look. I accented this look with a massive, vintage Fendi necklace. The gold and black details match the outfit, and the style pairs well with the over the top embroidery on the jacket. After I finished running errands, I looked polished enough to meet a friend for an early dinner.
Look 2: Night on the Town
This outfit is perfect for a trip to the grocery store to pick up some milk. JOKING! I put this look together to wear to a cocktail party, but it would also work for drinks with friends or a show at an art gallery.
This look makes me feel very Dynasty -- I think it's the dramatic sleeves. I balanced out the volume of the sleeves with a fitted black skirt - a monochrome look lets the accessories shine. The heavy, gold necklace grounds the outfit and can compete with the sleeves. I felt the look needed a dusting of diamonds, so I wore a pair of YSL vintage earrings. The rhinestones earrings were big so they wouldn’t be overpowered by everything else. No outfit is complete without a bracelet, and this vintage Panetta piece adds just enough silver and gold on the wrist to balance out the look.
Look 3: Cozy Night in with Friends
There is so much going on in our lives, sometimes it is nice to get together with friends to binge reality TV shows and order takeout. Being the maximalist I am, sometimes I like to accessorize my loungewear. I threw this look together for a glammed up pajama party featuring champagne, Thai takeout, and a lineup of Bravo's finest programming.
I love a bold print for daytime, so it's no surprise I like printed pajamas in luxe fabrics. This set of pjs is comfortable, colorful, and silky. When thinking about jewelry for this look, I wanted to feel glam but playful. My immediate thought was to add pearls. Pairing different sizes and colors of pearls adds a unique twist to any look, especially here. It works best with necklaces that are different lengths so you get the full effect of each piece. I continued the pearl extravaganza with a bracelet that has pearl accents. This ensures the look is balanced since the pearls are not only on my necklaces.
Look 4: Romantic Night Out
Whenever Jim and I have a date night, I like to pull out all the stops and get creative with my ensemble. This red dress with its high slit and tiny straps hit the mark perfectly for our Valentine's Day dinner. When accessorizing such a bold dress, I like to pick classic pieces like a delicate crystal necklace and a pearl bracelet with Chanel vibes. The bracelet’s gold and pearl details also pair well with the playful heart bag that can carry all of your date night necessities.
There are so many ways to use vintage jewelry and accessories to enhance your personal style. Don’t be afraid to mix fine jewelry with costume jewelry either - I do it all the time. Think of new ways of using pieces, such as attaching a brooch to your clutch or headband (à la Blair Waldorf). There are no rules, so have fun, experiment, and express yourself.
Until next time, stay GORG!