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Style SOS: How do I ease into wearing jewellery?

Style SOS: How do I ease into wearing jewellery?

“I’ve always been a fan of jewellery, but I’m totally lost every time I start looking at pieces. Any advice for how I ease in?” - Sam via email

Jewellery is a great way to elevate your look – just look at Harry Styles’ accessories game for further proof – so it’s easy to understand why you want to give it a shot. Can it also be daunting to fasten a necklace around your neck for the first time? Absolutely. You don’t want to go in with anything too outlandish and get it wrong, but you still want to make a statement, so it’s important that you strike the right balance.

In isolation, a single type of jewellery doesn’t always work well, so a ring and necklace combination is a good place to start. Pick a simple chain necklace with a small pendant like a cross, and a textured silver band, but nothing too bold. 

Stylist Freddie Kemp says, “When experimenting with jewellery for the first time, most people go for a ring. But diving straight in with one bold ring is an odd look, especially if you don’t normally wear any jewellery at all. Keep your look simple with nice recycled silver piece that has a bit more to it than a normal band, but still maintains a traditional shape. As for signet rings – do it properly or don’t do it at all. Avoid them unless it’s your family crest that’s been handed down.”

If you don’t want to play with combinations just yet, or necklaces aren’t your thing, try out a couple of rings. Always go for real silver or gold, as fake metals will discolour quickly. You want your friends to be turning green with envy at your new found flair for accessorising, not your fingers. 

With necklaces, choose something that falls around the collar bone or an inch below. Anything too long nods to streetwear style, so keep it short and neat. Similarly, the over-the-top rock-and-roll look of layered pendants isn’t a good starting point for most people, especially if you’re typically a minimal dresser. “Don’t go straight in with a bracelet,” says Freddie, “They’re not so easy to pull off, especially if you’re already wearing a watch.”

Once you’ve decided what kind of jewellery you’re going for, the most important thing to consider is how it will go with what you normally wear. Pick something that’s versatile enough to go with everything in your existing wardrobe and remember, just because you’re not wearing lots of jewellery, doesn’t mean that what you do wear needs to be over the top.

Let your necklace fall over a simple white t-shirt, and if you’re wearing knitwear or something more layered, style it underneath. “Don’t feel like your necklace always has to be on show,” says Freddie. “You can still wear it under your jumper. Although it’s new for you, jewellery doesn’t have to be the main feature of your outfit.”

With rings, know your sizes and get them fitted properly, and pick styles that suit the shape of your hand. Freddie says, “If you have long thin fingers, you can wear pretty much anything, but if you have shorter or wider hands, chunky rings won’t suit you so go for simple bands. And if you’ve already got a wedding ring, stick to the same colour.”

Another thing to remember is that you don’t have to wear your jewellery all the time. Choosing accessories is a big decision to make, so only wear them when it works with your look. If you want to separate your weekend style from your work wardrobe, then incorporate jewellery into your casual outfits, and don’t wear your rings and necklaces during the week if you want to feel smarter in your workwear. 

Whatever you choose, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your accessories. There’s no point going for a pendant necklace just to fiddle with it self-consciously all day, or rocking a ring and then hiding it under your sleeve. If you find that you ease seamlessly into accessorising and want to start building a collection, then you can start looking for statement pieces – just make sure you're wearing them, and not the other way around.  


Words: Ella White
Illustration: Ryan Gillett