outfit laid out with jewelry to match

How to Match Jewelry with Your Outfit

It’s that time of year again! Holiday parties and get-togethers are a fun opportunity to dress up and show off your flair for fashion. That said, choosing the right jewelry to coordinate best with the clothes that you wear takes thought and doesn’t come easily to everyone. It’s important that your jewelry reflects your personality and compliments your outfit. When the time comes to accessorize, do you sometimes imagine Joan Rivers giving you a harsh critique? To help eliminate some of the guesswork, we’ve put together a few guidelines on how to match jewelry with your outfit. The next time you find yourself in doubt about your accessory options, refer to these simple suggestions and you’ll keep the fashion police away.

Dress for the Occasion: Matching Jewelry

The first rule of fashion is to wear an appropriate outfit. Being overdressed or underdressed can make you feel out of place, and you don’t want to be the center of attention for the wrong reasons. Below are some general guidelines on what type of jewelry works for different types of occasions.

1. What type of jewelry to wear to work:

This depends on where you work of course, but generally, this is a time to be understated. Do you work in an office, school, hospital, or otherwise serious environment? Choose simple, classic pieces such as small hoops, stud earrings, small pendants, chain bracelets or simple single bangles. Diamonds or gemstones are appropriate but stick to solitaire rings and studs or small amounts of pave.

 Large Disc Pendant and Offset Circle Stud Jewelry for Work

Large Disc Pennant in 14k yellow gold on 14k yellow gold chain with brown diamonds (left)
Offset Circle Studs in 14k Yellow Gold/White Diamonds (right)

If your job is in a more casual environment you can show a little more personality with your pieces – larger hoops and small dangle earrings, layered bangles, large pendants or layered necklaces – but stay away from statement pieces or too much sparkle. Simple jewelry, especially pieces made of alternative materials such as wood and leather, are also great for laid-back looks.

O ID Bracelet and Oval Wood Totem Pendant from Marion Cage

"O" ID Bracelet in Sterling Silver with Brown Leather (left)
Wood Point Scatter Necklace in Bloodwood/Bronze (right)

2. What type of jewelry to wear to dinner, drinks, or a night out with friends:

Typically this is a smart-casual or dressy-casual occasion. It’s also a time to really let your personality shine! Almost anything goes but don’t come to the table (or bar) dripping in jewels meant for a special occasion. This is a great time to break out those long dangle earrings you’ve wanted to wear, stack on several rings, some fat bangles or wear a tiered necklace. It’s okay to draw a little attention. You’re out to have a good time!

Spicula Dangle Earrings and a Small Point Three Tier Necklace

Spicula Dangle Earrings in 14K Yellow Gold (left)
Small Point Three Tier Necklace in 14K Yellow Gold Points on a Sterling Silver Oxidized Chain (right)

3. What type of jewelry to wear to a cocktail party, black-tie event, formal celebration, or special occasion:

Now is really your time to shine! For dressy occasions, your jewelry should be elegant. Is your dress a showstopper? Then keep your jewelry simple and sumptuous. Try large diamonds or gemstones to make your look pop. If your dress is a solid color with a streamlined cut, use your jewelry to up the ante. Chandelier earrings or a statement necklace composed of multiple stones and tiers will do the trick – but pick one or the other! If your earrings are the focal point of your ensemble, you may want to skip the necklace. On the other hand, if your necklace is the centerpiece, pair it with simpler stud earrings. For a high-drama look, pile on sparkly bracelets and chic stacking rings.

Mirror Trace Necklace and Portail Dangle Earrings

Mirror Trace Necklace in 14k yellow gold/brown ombre pave diamonds (left)
Portail Dangle Earrings in 18K White Gold Plated in Black Rhodium with White Diamonds (right)

Consider Your Neckline!

It’s crucial to think about what accessories will work with the cut of your neckline. If your necklace and your neckline are in conflict, your entire ensemble becomes unbalanced. Always make sure that the length of your necklace is significantly shorter or longer than your neckline, so that it doesn’t get lost in the mix.

Here’s a list of what jewelry common neckline styles, and what type of jewelry compliments them best.

1. What jewelry to wear with a V-neck dress:

A V-neck may be the most versatile neckline when it comes to necklace options. You can either mirror the V-shape with your necklace, or compliment it with a curve. For a short V-neck, a choker or short chain is the way to go. As the V-neck gets deeper, the options multiply! Chokers, chains, and short to medium pendant necklaces are all great for medium V-necks. Deep V-necks are great with a lariat or sautoir necklace, and also lend well to layers of necklaces. Above all, be sure to never choose a necklace that sits below the V.

Jewelry to Wear with a V-Neck Shirt or Dress

Tiered Totem Pendant in Sterling Silver/18K Yellow Gold (left)
Mirror Points Necklace in 18K Yellow Gold with Oxidized Silver Chain (layed with Long Mirrored Points Necklace in 18K Yellow Gold/Oxidized Silver Chain (right)

2. What jewelry to wear with a turtleneck:

Turtlenecks are best with long necklaces or no necklace at all. Long earrings can be tricky with turtlenecks, so it’s safest to stick to studs, hoops, or very short drops if you’re in doubt. If you’re skipping the necklace, add a bracelet or two (or three) to spice things up.

Jewelry to Wear with a Crew Neck Shirt or Dress

Ankole Tassle Sautoir  in Sterling Silver Plated in Black Rhodium/14K Yellow Gold (left)
Totem Amulet in Sterling Silver with 18K Rose Gold (right)

3. What jewelry to wear with a crew neck:

When the neckline goes high, the necklace goes low. Wear medium to extra-long chains and pendants with crew or boat neck tops. Make sure that they sit at least 2 inches below the collar and go as long as you like. Strands of beads as well as tiered and layered necklaces are also great options.

4. What jewelry to wear with a halter or one-shoulder top:

If your top or dress is a halter or one-shoulder style, don’t compete with your neckline. Skip the necklace! This is your opportunity to wear statement earrings like long dangles or chunky cuffs. Jazz things up with bangles or stacks of bracelets.

How to Decide Which Gemstones to Wear: Color-coordinating Jewelry and Wardrobe

Follow the basic rules of color theory when coordinating your wardrobe and jewelry. The color wheel is a great tool to help you determine which colors fit together best. If you've ever been curious what kind of jewelry goes with a red/blue/green, or any color dress, the answers are here.

Gem Color Wheel

Start with the color of your outfit or jewelry and look directly across the color wheel to find its complementary color. Complementary colors create the most vibrant look, because they are in high contrast with one another. For example, if you are wondering what jewelry to wear with a navy blue dress, find blue on the color wheel and look across. Orange is its direct complement, so gold-toned jewelry would be a great choice. If you are dressing up for the holidays, you might be curious as to what jewelry matches a green dress. Look no further than rubies or spinels. For a red dress, emeralds are perfect!

Spinel Cascade Necklace and Egg Drop Earrings

Spinel Cascade Necklace (left)
Egg Drop Earrings in Sterling Silver Plated win Black Rhodium with Rubies (right)

Another way to utilize the color wheel is to choose analogous colors. These are the colors that are right next to each other on the wheel. Analogous colors create a harmonious look without being too monotonous since the colors are similar yet different. For example, if you want to choose jewelry to wear with a royal blue dress, go with green or violet gems. A purple gemstone, such as our geo tanzanite necklace.

geo tanzanite necklace

Not sure what jewelry to wear with that little black dress? Black goes with any color! Black on black, looks super chic, too. Our top choice when it comes to black jewelry is black rhodium jewelry with black diamonds.

Arabesque Dangle Earrings and Vertical Shard Necklace

Arabesque Dangle Earrings in Sterling Silver Plated in Black Rhodium with Black Pave Diamonds (left)
Pave Shard Necklace in 18K White Gold Plated in Black Rhodium with Black Diamonds (right)

At Marion Cage, we are always happy to help you make exquisite jewelry selections based on what fits your style.

Whether you’re searching for the perfect piece for a special event or looking for a treasure to wear every day, we are always here for you, online and in-store on Magazine Street!

← Older Post Newer Post →