The right kind of jewelry will complement your outfit, enhance your best features, or complete your look. But you need to know how to wear the jewelry correctly, or rather, you should be able to pick the right kind of jewelry to create the desired look. In as much as you may not be into striking, attention-grabbing, and bold statement jewelry, there are times when you will need such jewelry. In these modern times, especially, you have to be extra careful about the kind of jewelry you wish to wear because you don’t want to look or feel out of place.
So, this article is all about jewelry etiquette – what you can, should, can’t, and shouldn’t do when it comes to jewelry.
While people have been wearing jewelry for centuries as a way of enhancing their appearance or to make a status statement, you need to oblige by the jewelry-wearing rules below.
Top 10 rules for wearing jewelry in Modern Times
1.Less is (NOT) more
This is one of those more topics of contention, and you may be against it if you are all in support of Coco Chanel’s recommendation for removing the extra thing you have on.
But, please indulge us – and just for a moment, won’t you agree with us that a layered look with the right jewelry options looks stunning?
Less might be more when you work in a conservative office setting or if you’re attending an interview for a big C-Suite position, for example, but the times have changed, and more often, layering with more than a few pieces is the style to beat.
Of course, it is challenging to interpret and reinterpret styles from the past, but with fashion designers coming up with new concepts and you having the creative ability to add your own unique spin to your accessories, some rules like less is more might have to be kicked to the curb for now.
Stacking and layering jewelry is stylish in today’s fashion scene, and if you don’t mind this look, go on and layer your necklaces or stack the rings or bracelets. Of course, you should be careful not to go overboard if your place of work is more conservative. But whenever you can dress in a fashionable way that allows you to express yourself best.
2.Earrings have to match (Try Asymmetry)
When it comes to wearing jewelry today, this is the other rule that you may want to throw out or perhaps, just reconsider. Although we’ve been taught and have known that earrings have to match – it is what most of us have known to work – it is not the only way to wear earrings. You don’t always have to wear your earrings as a pair. Think asymmetry.
The new rules regarding wearing jewelry show that asymmetry is something that would work really well for you, as long as you are intentional with how you style your jewelry. And thanks to the tons of elegant, eclectic earring pairings around, you can transform your look easily.
The best part is that you don’t have to go shopping; you can pull off a perfectly asymmetrical look with the earrings you already have at home. Think of it this way – you can pull off the asymmetrical look with one long earring on one ear and a small hoop or stud earring on the other ear.
It’s even better if you have multiple piercings because you can play around with different pieces in a bid to create balance and find what really works for you – this would mean trying out different jewelry styles and metal finishes that blend well.
3.Invest in high-quality pieces of jewelry
This is an important rule when it comes to jewelry, and it transcends generations. But the age-old question remains – does investing in high-quality pieces of jewelry mean buying the most expensive fine jewelry options you can find?
Well, we have some good news to share with you – high-quality jewelry is not always synonymous with expensive jewelry, especially because you can find several high-quality jewelry options from reputable brands, and the best part is that these jewelry options will not break the bank.
In other words, you need to look out for fine-quality jewelry that you can wear daily comfortably.
You can find such jewelry from fashion-forward and fast-fashion brands that make use of high-quality materials for the jewelry. You will be happy to know that this doesn’t mean buying jewelry made of the finest gemstones or precious stones – think of the materials used to make the jewelry, their suitability for your skin type, and how well the materials will stand the test of time.
These should be the parameters that you use to determine the quality and value of the jewelry. In other words, fine jewelry in modern times is not the jewelry with the biggest price tag, but one that offers the best value for money in the long run while allowing you the comfort of wearing the jewelry comfortably on a daily basis.
The modern rule to fashionable fine jewelry is more like the jewelry that feels great, feels comfortable, and is made of safe and non-toxic materials – think of water-resistant and nickel-free fine jewelry pieces as high-quality jewelry to invest in and wear.
4.Perfectly imperfect matches
If you are layering jewelry, for example, consider putting on jewelry with different elements/ features. We recommend multiple metal options, different or contrasting textures for the chains, lengths, and always vary the weights of your jewelry for a more dynamic look.
The best part about this level of versatility is that you not only end up with jewelry that looks stunning, but the mix of the elements will leave you with pieces that don’t tangle as much. The layered look also creates excellent synchrony, adding that much-needed complement to your bold outfit.
Keep in mind that if you are trying a different look but you are not sure where to start, or you just wish to spread your wings, contrasting elements for your necklaces, for example, will go a long way in elevating your look.
5.No mixing metals. Really?
This has to be the oldest rule in the jewelry guidebook, and we think that it’s time to put this kind of nonsense to rest. It really is an adage that is not trendy or realistic anymore, especially because we have all seen some very stunning metal combinations, and you can be a gold and a silver person.
Next time you want to try gold and silver, try it out and see how it feels – if you like it and it doesn’t feel too much for you (personality and style), then go for it. This is one of the fashion and jewelry rules that needs to be broken, and we give you the go-ahead to break the rules.
6.You’re never too young for diamonds and pearls.
Even today, pearls and diamonds are true representations of great style, elegance, and sophistication. But some people may argue that these elements are not an idea for young-ins.
Well, we wish to rubbish these claims by telling you that pretty much anyone can wear pearls and diamonds.
And the best part is that you could opt for a pearl necklace and diamond stud earrings and you will be the most stylish person in the room.
Thanks to the modern jewelry brands reimagining pearl and diamond jewelry, leaving you with more of the low-key and less-fussy diamond and pearl jewelry options, you can wear these kinds of jewelry, your age or event/ occasion notwithstanding.
If, for example, you work in a more conservative office setting but still wish to stun with jewelry that matches your style and personality, you would look great in stud diamond or pearl earrings and/or necklaces.
7.New watch culture
We’ve heard this too many times – that the watch you choose to wear must be dainty – but really, this is not a jewelry-wearing rule that stands in these modern times.
While this rule made more sense when it was recommended for persons with smaller wrists, read females, who have smaller wrists, hence the need for the smaller watches, you don’t have to live by this rule today.
The good news is that the revolution of the jewelry and fashion scenes means that there are numerous options for oversized and unisex watches that look great, especially when matched with your favorite bracelets. So, if you are into watches, wear the watch that you feel best and the most ‘you in.
8.Wear big accessories with simpler, plain clothes
If you are into big statement pieces for accessories, for example, a large choker or bib necklace, you’d want to pair it with simper outfits, for example, your LBD (sleeveless) or a sleeveless ball gown.
Essentially, the old rules regarding statement pieces of jewelry still stand because wearing something simple with the statement piece is the only way for the statement jewelry to stand out.
And if you’d rather simple and less busy pieces of jewelry, then you could wear it with more detailed or even busy, patterned clothes.
9.Right necklace for the right neckline
Again, some old rules on jewelry wearing are here to stay for much longer, and this is one such rule.
If wearing a statement neckpiece, you can only wear it with a scoop-necked top, a strapless top or dress, V-neck, or an off-shoulder top.
Don’t wear halter necks, collars, or details like ruffles with statement pieces; they will clash terribly. But a solid color turtleneck sweater or top would work perfectly with a stunning neckpiece.
The modern rules of wearing jewelry note that you can mix up your real gemstones to your heart’s content, whether faux or real gemstones are involved.
Jewelry etiquette Related Q&A
When should you not wear a necklace?
It might seem like a necklace is an important accessory that you need to wear every day, but the truth is that there are cases and times when you should not wear a necklace. These include:
When you’re wearing a high neckline top or dress, in such cases, you should focus more on your earrings and maybe bracelets/ watch if the top is now long-sleeved.
You shouldn’t wear a necklace if you have a busy top
When wearing fluffy or supersized sweaters
When you’ve layered tops
Or when you have on an oversized bow blouse/ top
How many pieces of jewelry should you wear at once?
Generally, and in more conservative settings, you should stick to three accessories at a time, but this rule is meant to be broken, especially when dressing for a casual occasion.
With stacked rings and bracelets or layered necklaces taking over the fashion scene as the preferred everyday look, you can wear more than three pieces of jewelry, as long as they are not distracting or not clashing with the outfit you have on.
When it comes to settling on a number for jewelry, we recommend opting for an approach that ensures balance. As long as your accessories and the outfit balance, then you’d be good to go.
Is it OK to wear matching necklace and earrings?
It is, but matchy-matchy is no longer trendy, especially not in today’s fashion scene. If you prefer the look, you can stick to it, but it doesn’t feel modern, and we wouldn’t recommend it today.
Is it OK to mix silver and gold jewelry?
Yes. You can absolutely mix gold and silver jewelry if you are going for a trendy look. There was a time when this was considered a faux pas, but it’s not the case today, and you can mix gold and silver jewelry or even copper or pewter.
Does jewelry have to match the wedding ring?
No, you don’t have to match your jewelry for your wedding. You can wear differently colored metals if you wish to.
Should husband and wife rings match?
No, they don’t have to match. We recommend choosing wedding bands that best represent your styles and preferences. You also need to consider your lifestyles and choose what would work for either of your lifestyles.
Can you wear different color rings?
Yes, you could wear different color rings, if you’d love to.
Rules are to be broken, as you can see above. And if you weren’t sure about how to accessorize, the recommended rules above will ensure that you look stylish and modern.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.