How to Accessorize With Jewelry (Without Breaking the Bank)

Updated March 31, 2021
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Understanding how to accessorize with jewelry can take your fashion game to the next level. With a few simple tips, you can learn to pair jewelry with any outfit, whether you're going to a formal gala or simply running errands around town. You don't have to break the bank to create stunning looks. In fact, many of the pieces you need may already be in your jewelry box.

Start Simple When You Accessorize With Jewelry

If you're new to wearing jewelry or want to begin building a collection that will compliment your wardrobe, start with subtle basics. These include stud earrings, simple gold or silver chains, basic band rings, and plain bangle bracelets. These items are affordable, and they can be the foundation of any jewelry collection. They will also act as a base for adding to your jewelry wardrobe. In addition, simple pieces go with any outfit.

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Match the Formality of the Occasion

When choosing jewelry to go with an outfit, think about the occasion. Some jewelry pieces have a built-in formality level. Are you attending a formal event? If so, this could be a time for formal jewelry with precious gems and plenty of sparkle. If you already have these, you're in luck. If not, you can get a formal look by wearing costume pieces that have sparkle but don't cost a fortune. If you're just heading to the beach, stick to casual jewelry like simple chains and pendant necklaces, chunky beads, or bangle bracelets.

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Use Jewelry to Take Your Look From Day to Night

Because the formality of your jewelry is so important, you can use jewelry to transform your day look into something you can wear on a date. For instance, imagine you're wearing a black dress. During the day, you can a simple pendant on a chain and keep the look fun and casual. Then for a date, swap the pendant for a statement necklace and add a couple of bracelets to completely transform your style.

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Learn to Layer Pieces Like a Pro

Layering jewelry is a great way to vary your look and show lots of personal style. The key to layering necklaces or bracelets is to gather your collection and experiment. You can't go wrong with several delicate pieces in varying lengths or widths. Choose one or two to be focal points and then add simpler chains or bangles to create that layered look.

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Decide on a Focal Point

One of the most important skills in knowing how to accessorize jewelry with your outfit is choosing a focal point. What do you want people to notice when they look at your outfit? If you have a statement-making top or dress, you'll need to let that shine and keep your jewelry simple. However, if you're wearing a simple top, you can choose a favorite statement jewelry piece to show off. Consider a chunky necklace, a stack of bangles, a beautiful pair of statement earrings, or anything else that really pops. Knowing your focal point keeps you from overdoing it.

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Know How Much Is too Much

No one wants to be the person wearing too much jewelry. You can avoid a fashion faux pas by remembering your focal point and allowing it to shine. If you're showing off a necklace, keep the earrings very simple and small and avoid a lot of bracelets. If you're wearing an armful of bangles, skip the necklace or keep it simple. If you're in doubt, you should always remove one or two pieces.

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Consider the Complexity of Your Look

Another important skill in accessorizing jewelry with your outfit is considering the overall complexity of your look. Do you have a patterned dress or top? What about something with lots of lace, ruffles, or sequins? If your outfit has a lot going on visually, keep your jewelry simple. Go for stud earrings, subtle pendants or chains, and other basic styles.

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Look to Your Neckline When Choosing a Necklace

The type of necklace that looks best with your outfit will depend on the neckline. If you're wearing a gown with a deep v-neck, you can echo that shape with a longer necklace or pendant. If you're wearing a strapless top or dress, you can rock a beautiful choker or statement necklace. The key is keeping your necklace from conflicting with the neckline. Make sure the shape of the necklace looks nice with the shape of the neckline. Skip necklaces that interfere or break up the neckline.

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Add Sentimental Jewelry Pieces to Your Look

You don't have to shop for anything new to accessorize with jewelry. You can work in those sentimental pieces and allow them to shine. For example, if you have a beautiful antique locket from your grandmother, wear it in a layered set with other chains and necklaces. If you have a long strand of beads your mom gave you, knot it and wear it with a bracelet that picks up the same color. Jewelry is meant to be worn and wearing sentimental and antique pieces lets you enjoy these treasures in style.

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Choose Materials That Match Your Undertones

The undertones of your skin are something you should keep in mind when considering how to accessorize with jewelry. If you have warm undertones, opt for warm-toned metals like gold and copper and warm gemstones like ruby, carnelian, yellow diamonds, and more. If you have cool undertones, you'll look great in silver, white gold, and platinum, and you can wear cool gems like blue sapphires, lapis lazuli, aquamarine, and others. You'll find this also helps you match the undertones of your clothing, such as pairing warmer tones with a brown dress or cooler colors with blue.

Woman wearing gold bracelets

Mix Metals With Confidence

Don't feel limited to one metal tone when accessorizing with jewelry. Gone are the days when your jewelry needed to be all gold or all silver. Instead, pick one thing that's cohesive in your look. It can be a color, a style, a theme, or anything else. Then choose the pieces based on that instead of worrying about whether they match one another in metal color.

Woman wearing a necklace with two joined rings

Show Off Your Personality

Ultimately, the best jewelry to wear with any outfit is probably already in your jewelry box. It's about choosing pieces that match your personal style, as well as what you're wearing. Whether you like bold jewelry that makes a statement or simple pieces that work with everything, you can show off your personality while sticking to your budget.

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