Style File: Mixing & Matching Jewelry

Studio 5 Beauty & Style Contributor Holly Stone shows us how to mix and match, and what not to do.

The current trend in jewelry is larger pieces. Wood, shell, metallics, turquoise and coral are seen everywhere. Wearing and pulling off big and bold babbles doesn’t have to be a faux pas if it’s done in the right way. These large pieces can make a fashion statement or be a true conversation starter. Here are some tips on how to wear bold jewelry, what to wear it with, how to mix and match, and what not to do:

Keep in mind; wearing large stones or big babbles takes one thing: confidence. And it truly means you are extremely comfortable with drawing attention to yourself. So, confidence is key to pulling off this look. Following the next six rules can be crucial to making this look work for you.

Rule # 1: Invest in Real Settings

The bigger a stone looks the more fake it can look. If you can’t afford real, then try to make sure the settings are real, such as sterling silver, white gold, gold or platinum. This will make the rest of the jewelry appear real and will not break the bank.

Rule # 2: Keep it Simple

Keeping large pieces of jewelry looking great and not tacky just takes a little know how. Remember; keep it as simple as possible. If you’re wearing an oversized necklace, say large pearls for instance, keep the rest of your jewelry more delicate. Keep your outfit more subdued.

Rule # 3: Go Easy on Prints

Go easy on the prints when wearing large pieces of jewelry. You are already drawing lots of attention to the jewelry and you don’t want your outfit to be too loud. By combining loud prints and massive jewelry you may attract unwanted attention to yourself. Bold jewelry looks great when it is displayed as the centerpiece and the attention grabber. White, beige, black or solid colors would create a fabulous backdrop for your jewelry.

Rule # 4: Mix metals.

Silver and gold complement each other nicely.

Rule #5: Embrace costume jewelry

Costume jewelry doesn’t always equal cheap-looking jewelry. This is an inexpensive way to get fabulous looking jewelry. It is easier to buy trendy pieces that you can recycle when the trend ends, if you didn’t spend a lot of money on them.

Rule #6: Avoid Cheap Looks

If it looks cheap, you are communicating this about your image. It is better to wear no jewelry at all than to wear something broken, bent, faded, or plastic.


Here are a few things to avoid:

Don’t always be too matchy-matchy.

Nothing will stand out if it all looks the same. Choose one item to stand out i.e.: a necklace, a ring, an earring, or a bracelet. Keep everything else more simplistic. If you have stones or glass and are mixing pieces, keep the metal common, but vary the pieces. Mix woods and shell with metals, or stones.

Don’t feel like EVERY piece needs to be the same color.
Different shades of the same color work wonderfully.

Don’t Wear Multiple Large Pieces

Don’t wear a bunch of large pieces at once (i.e. a bold necklace, bracelet, earrings). Too much of a good thing is simply that: too much!!

Don’t just go for new

Try vintage. Some of the best “bold” jewelry pieces can be found for cheap at vintage or thrift stores. Aged pieces tend to have lots of character and pizzazz and can say a lot about your personality. Not to mention, it’s much easier on your pocketbook.

Don’t be afraid of color

This can be the most fun, whether you choose a stone or a beaded necklace with a splash of red or green. It doesn’t matter if the stones are real or faux; the larger size will make your piece unique. And, the color will grab the attention of people from far away. If the piece of jewelry has a little sparkle, even better. This will glitz up any outfit and prepare it for a night out on the town.

Don’t wear plastic.

This just looks cheap and juvenile. Buy resin, glass, wood, metal, crystal, stone or shell.

How to determine what size of jewelry is appropriate for you:

Not everyone should wear large jewelry. The scale of jewelry that is the most flattering on you can be determined by your bone structure. The following table will help you determine if you are small, medium or large boned. You measure above your hand and under your wrist bone to get an accurate read.

Height Wrist Measurement
Bone Size

or Frame
Short or Petite

under 5’4″
5 1/2″ or less Small
5 5/8″ to 6″ Medium
6 1/8″ or more Large
Medium or Average

5’4″ to 5’7″
5 2/4″ or less Small
5 7/8″ to 6 1/4″ Medium
6 3/8″ or more  Large

Over 5’7″
6″ or less Small
6 1/8″ to 6 1/2″ Medium
6 5/8″ or more Large

Someone who has small bone structure should wear small scale jewelry. Someone with medium structure can wear small, medium or occasionally large jewelry if they are taller. If you have large bone structure, you can wear medium or large prints. The idea is that you wear the jewelry and that the jewelry doesn’t wear you.

Whatever you decide, bold jewelry must fit your bold personality. If you’re not already outgoing, these pieces could make you more so. Just be sure to find a piece of jewelry that you are comfortable with.

All of the jewelry featured was provided by Valley Fair Mall. Make mom smile with a FREE diachronic glass pendent courtesy of Glamour Glass when you spend $150 or more in same-day receipts at any of the 120+ shops and eateries at Valley Fair Mall May 3-11, 2008. See Customer Service for more information. You’re sure to find that special something for mom at great stores such as Bath & Body Works, Hallmark, any of their fine jewelry stores and more!

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