24.09.2015

Not a jewellery person?

That's what you think. Rise and shine!

Words: Cayleigh Bright | Photographs: Nick Gordon | Styling: Mira Leibowitz | Art direction: Sabrina Scott

You can say “I’m not a shoe person,” but the fact is that even if you don’t feel passionately about them, you’ll still wear them, because the world expects it and because your feet are grateful for the protection from hot tarmac and other people’s bubblegum. The same is not true of “I’m not a jewellery person” people. They can glide through life unadorned, and as a result not really know – not for sure – whether they might in fact be jewellery people.

When I wore a ring to work a few weeks ago, one of my colleagues asked if I’d got engaged over the weekend. It just seemed more probable that over the course of the weekend I’d met someone nice, had a whirlwind romance, cast aside my deep-seated commitment issues, and gone for a manicure so that my ‘She said yes’ Facebook post would be up to scratch, than it did that I would have chosen of my own volition to wear jewellery to work.

I thought about it, and realised that when I do wear jewellery, it’s for sentimental rather than decorative reasons: I have a watch that my best friend gave me for my 21st birthday, and a pretty necklace that a group of my friends got me. But wearing jewellery just because it looks lovely was not really an idea I’d considered, and I make a career persuading people to try things like culottes, clogs and dungarees.

Having enlisted the advice of Mira (the Superbalist junior stylist who curated these images, and who is presumably talented at influencing me to make good life choices since she's my chief 'let's just have one drink' friend in the office) and Fadwah (a senior buyer who’s in charge of selecting the jewellery options you see on this site, and happens to be effortlessly stylish), I chose three looks that I felt ready for, and prepared for my time to shine.

Here’s how it went.

Signature pieces

We started things off simply, with a small selection that I could see myself wearing happily and often. Not too many people noticed that I was wearing these pieces, but that was kind of the whole point – that I looked a little different, but that the jewellery wasn’t the first thing that you saw when I walked into the room. And I liked it. I felt like one of those got-it-all-together types – not a boring, basic got-it-all-together type, but the kind of girl who would have something to list in the ‘hobbies’ section when filling out forms, and would maintain a full social life but only run out of money on the 24th, not the 14th.

I wore a simple necklace, stud earrings and a ring. 

I wore it with black skinny jeans, a navy blue knit and Chelsea boots.

Number one compliment

“You look so… I don't know? Is something different?”

Where I’d wear it

Pretty much everywhere. 

Do this, not that

Actually, there’s not too much that can go wrong here. Just don’t leave your rings on the side of the sink or get your necklace caught in your sweater and you’ll be pretty much okay.

Best brands

Bennt

Statement style

This was what I’d most looked forward to – wearing one of the beautiful rope necklaces from Pichulik. Oddly, wearing a big, bold accessory felt less intimidating than putting on the more delicate pieces. This is not something I can explain, but is probably closely linked to my tendency to wear dark lipstick, bright pink lipstick, or no lipstick at all. I wore it with an all-black look and unsurprisingly, the compliments rolled in: I wasn’t the only one who’d had my eye on this necklace, and it proved to be a conversation starter in that many colleagues threatened, in the nicest possible way, to take it from me by force.

I wore a rope necklace, stud earrings and a triangular ring.

I wore it with all-black everything in the form of a roucnd-necked top with trousers. Wouldn't it also look great with a chunky knit or a white shirt dress?

Number one compliment

“Oh, I want that.”

Where I’d wear it

On more sedate nights out – I don’t see this look lending itself well to dancing – and for daytime occasions where I’d like to look like I put in a lot of effort (but haven’t had time to put in a lot of effort).

Do this, not that

The name says ‘statement’ but that doesn’t have to mean the biggest, brightest piece in the room. If you’ve got a small frame you might want to choose a colourful little piece that doesn’t overpower. If you’re me, and like to wear monochrome looks, black with some shine works really well.

Best brands

Pichulik

Vero Moda

CTR

Geometric

This was the first time since my experiment started that I noticed myself thinking about the jewellery I was wearing as an asset to my outfit, rather than something for which my clothes had to be a blank canvas. The jewellery became part of a ‘look’ of tone-on-tone neutrals which was striking in a different way to, say, the statement necklace worn with a black top, trousers and boots.

Wear it with

Simple looks – ideally tone-on-tone neutrals.

Where I’d wear it

Occasions where I’d like to pretend that I’m effortlessly on-trend.

Do this, not that

There’s no need to overdo things here. Remember how I mentioned understated style? That means you don’t need your rings, necklace, earrings and bracelet to all feature matching diamonds.

Best brands

Bennt

Orelia

Lavish layers

If I felt more comfortable wearing bolder looks, then layers of shine should be a breeze, right? Well, almost. I loved the way this looked, but life got in the way, in that I am not able to operate heavy machinery like staplers and cutlery without getting a strand or two snagged in something. The solution? I’ll be piling on these pieces next time I go to an outdoor festival, because shorts and a kimono is the look they’re calling out for, and because I can’t possibly find something to get them snagged on when I’m in an actual field, can I?

I wore A layered necklace, three bangles, and three bracelets (five pieces on one wrist, one on the other). 

I wore it with A white tee, jeans, a kimono and boots. For warmer days I'll be switching out the jeans for shorts but keeping the look pretty much the same otherwise. 

Where I’d wear it

Festivals and to bars next to beaches, on rooftops, etc.

Do this, not that

Just because you’re going for the more-is-more feel, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to really like every piece you add. Don’t add a piece just for the sake of piling it on – take time to pull together a collection that works really well.

Best brands

Miss Maxi

Orelia

Joya

New Look

90s-inspired

We love the 90s right now, don’t we? For anyone around my age, it was a simpler time, when the Spice Girls were our heroes and we didn’t notice that it was a bit insensitive of them to do all that jubilant jumping up and down in front of that homeless man at the beginning of the ‘Wannabe’ video. When we think of 90s jewellery, most of us picture tattoo chokers, mood rings and yin-yang necklaces, but there was the slightly less bold side to it all, too – simple metal pieces that were the opposite of the over-fussy looks favoured in the 80s. I’m old enough to remember this look more as ‘old-fashioned’ than ‘tinged with nostalgia’, but was pleasantly surprised when I tried it out.

Number one compliment

“This is very... bold... for you.”

Where I’d wear it

Anywhere where where I need to look intimidating.

Do this, not that

This look is all about the drama, so now’s not the time to add your delicate watch with the lilac strap into the mix.

Best brands

Bennt

The Lot