How to Wear Necklaces

Darla writes in:

I would like to know more about necklaces and what to wear with what – and examples of shirts that need them and shirts you would never put a necklace with, etc.

Wow, yeah, I need to know more about this too. Time to do some “research,” otherwise known as holing up at Barnes & Noble, sipping a latte, and thumbing through fashion mags. What a life!

I basically adhere to the “less is more” approach to accessorizing. I rarely will overdo it when it comes to accessories, and yet I’m always impressed with how some people wear necklaces over very busy outfits and look great. I think part of the knack of accessorizing is finding your personal style and then rocking it with confidence.

I’m just now coming into my own with accessorizing, and I’m looking the big FOUR-OH in the eye, so I may not be the best person to be doling out advice, but that’s never stopped me before.

A good general rule for accessorizing is this: If you are small with delicate features, you will look better in smaller, more delicate jewelry. If you are a bigger boned gal, then you can get away with bigger jewelry.

I’m in between, and I like my jewelry somewhere in between.


I used to always wear a small pendant of some sort, but sometimes they look diminutive in the overall composition of the outfit. They work best with a narrower neckline, when you don’t need so much to fill in, but you want a little something.


With deeper and/or broader necklines, it’s better to go with something that fills the space. I love this picture of Colleen and me in NYC back in 2008 for a Kyra Sedgewick event. So fun. Both of our tops had a deep V-neckline and we both wore necklaces that filled in. Hers is also a great example of using a pop of color on a neutral outfit. I tend to stick to silver or gold, but I love how she rocked that turquoise over the black and white outfit. I definitely want to start incorporating more color into my jewelry.

Here’s another top that definitely needs a filler necklace. I love how the Stella & Dot Riviera Coin Necklace fills in the neckline and adds interest to an otherwise simple top.


The exception to that rule is if the top has embellishment. Then I’ll often leave an open neckline open and opt for a pair of larger earrings instead of a necklace. That may not be the right thing to do, but I’m always afraid that a necklace would compete with the top so I go without.

Another time not to wear a necklace is when you have ruffles or other busyness going on in the blouse. Melissa wears a lot of these ruffly tops, and they stand alone — a pair of statement earrings, and you’re good to go!

In my case, I chose a necklace that I hoped wouldn’t interfere with the pattern in the top, and yet I knew I needed something. I opted for the statement earrings as well in this case.


Longer chain necklaces are a current look, and this is a great, inexpensive way to update your accessory wardrobe. You can wear these with almost any neckline.

Here are some girls rocking the long necklace:

Zareen, Whitney, Sheila, Cristie and Julie at Bloomingdales

I love how Zareen’s gold necklace dresses up a simple navy blue dress.

Whitney wears hers over a blouse that has some embellishment, and it looks great.

Sheila opted for the bold earrings and no necklace with her ruffly blouse.

And I like how Cristie combines several necklaces to make more of a statement. Just one would get lost in the pattern of the shirt. She also doubles up that one string of pearls so she has something close to the neck.

You can’t see Julie’s very well, but I believe that one is also Stella & Dot. I love how it fills in the neckline and has enough weight to offset the bold pattern in the dress without competing with it.

A long pendant is another type of necklace that I don’t do much of, but it can make a nice statement over a simple top. I don’t have a picture. SORRY!


Now here’s a neat trick for when you want to wear a long necklace but you don’t want to leave an open neckline bare. Wear both! Of course they have to coordinate, but Melissa pulls it off beautifully with this chocolate brown maxidress.


And I have one more trick for you. If you’re drawn to the long, delicate necklaces but you don’t always want to wear them long, you can double them up! By doubling it up, it looks more substantial, and you basically get two necklaces for the price of one! Here are two examples of this.

I hope this helps!