When Jewelry Makes a Statement

Big, bold accessories stand out in any season

Big necklaces make a big statement.

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Wearing statement jewelry is the style equivalent of a pastry chef including a pair of live, caged lovebirds on the top tier of a wedding cake. You know you have seen something special.

"Because statement pieces are so bold, they add that personal touch and act as a great way to express your fun and exciting personal style," says Allison Berlin, fashion stylist and founder of StyleMadeSimple.net.

You can always add a festive sensibility to even your most basic apparel via statement jewelry. From bauble rings to layered bangles, drippy chandelier earrings to vintage watches, the myriad hues and alluring sparkle of jewelry is an essential ingredient to cooking up the perfect outfit.

Because statement pieces are so bold, they add that personal touch and act as a great way to express your fun and exciting personal style.

- Allison Berlin, fashion stylist and founder of StyleMadeSimple.net

Statement Jewelry: What Is It?

All this talk about statement jewelry begs the question: What, exactly, qualifies as a statement piece? Like most elements of the fashion world, the definition varies from one style expert to another. Jene Luciani, "Today" show style contributor and fashion guru, has a simple explanation.
"A statement piece is something that not only stands out, but stands on its own," she said. "For example, you could don the most basic ensemble and then add an amazing bejeweled bib necklace, and that piece makes the outfit unique and bold. That's a statement piece -- it truly makes the outfit."
Statement pieces are often large and pack a lot of "wow." They can consist of metals or stones, fabrics, nontraditional elements or all of them.
As for pairing statement pieces with the clothing in your closet, the experts say you should make a concerted effort to make the jewelry the center of attention.
Luciani advises women who want their jewelry to stand out to invest in classic clothing pieces. She says tailored blazers, dark jeans, streamlined slacks, a black pencil skirt are fine company for jewelry. So is the classic little black dress.
"When you're dressing in classic and well-tailored items," she said, "you rely on the accessories to make it a little more trendy. That's where statement jewelry comes in."

Festive Trends

Statement jewelry can help heat up any woman's winter wear. You can also expect the glimmer, sparkle and shine to draw more attention.
Berlin's favorite three statement trends for the winter of 2011 are large, look-at-me earrings, chunky bracelets and collar necklaces.
"Think burnished metals or stones in architectural and geometric shapes," she said.
For bracelets, try a large cuff or a stack of bangles for some serious arm candy. The experts also encourage mixing and matching colors and textures.
"Statement necklaces like bib necklaces or medallions have been huge for the past few seasons, and you can find them at all price points," Luciani said.
If you make the effort to get that kind of necklace, you need to wear it with a simple top or a dress with a scooped, square or V-shaped neckline. Open necklines will draw more attention to the statement necklace than a collared or decorated top.
Other statement jewelry pieces on trend in 2011 include chunky vintage watches, in-your-face rings and bedazzled brooches.
"At the top of my must-have list is an enormous hunk of a cocktail ring," said Jess Zaino, style correspondent, writer and host of Cheap Chic Shopping Tours. "Everyone woman should own an oversized men's gold watch and a rhinestone brooch from a grandmother's or found vintage collection."

Year Round Pieces

It's hard to keep up with trends, both research-wise and financially speaking. However, when it comes to jewelry, most pieces have the potential to transition seamlessly from one season to another. Berlin says metallic pieces are good for the holidays or any other season.
"Pieces like silver, gold and rose gold -- and with lighter or brighter colored stones -- add pop to a simple T-shirt or finish off a warm-weather maxidress," she said.
Luciani agrees.
"I love statement jewelry over a plain white sundress or a white button-down," she said.
When it comes down to it, fashion is all about making a statement about who you are. That means you should pick and wear whatever you like. If a certain piece isn't exactly on trend today, style's circular nature is on your side. What's not in vogue right now will likely become a trend du jour in seasons to come.

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