Accessories 101: how to layer necklaces

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Layering necklaces is one of my favorite ways to add dimension and and visual interest to a simple outfit. Today I’m sharing a few of my tips for how to layer necklaces, and some favorite combinations.

Layering necklaces or other types of jewelry is a great way to add impact and one or more focal points to an outfit. I’ve received a few requests for tips on selecting and combining necklaces, so thought I’d put together some ideas starting with two new (to me) necklaces from recent French Kande “stack up” collections (both gifted). The first one is from the most recent “Tissé” collection, and the second from the De la Mer stackup.

what I am wearing

what I am wearing

Long-time readers may know that I’ve been a BIG fan of French Kande jewelry for many years now. One of the things I love most is the feminine-with-an-edge aesthetic. I’m charmed by the vintage French medallions (which Kande has collected at various French flea markets) that are at the heart of the brand. And I love that you can build a collection over time, that older pieces will coordinate nicely with newer ones.

Both of these new necklaces look great worn on their own, but can also be a great starting point for a layered look. With just two other necklaces already in my collection, I was able to create a few different looks.

How to layer necklaces

This “Y” necklace from the earlier “Os” collection is a nice choice for a casual look. The metal is the same in both (brass), but other than that, the necklaces are different enough to not look too matchy.

For a slightly more dressed up look, here I’ve doubled a long pearl strand with brass “Cuvée” pendants. This could also work to fill in a v-neck, or if you’re wearing a blazer that buttons at the waist.

With a collared top, you could also wear the shorter necklace underneath the collar, with the longer one in front. This works well with longer jackets or blazers, and creates a nice vertical line.

I like the mix of the different shapes of pearls here. Again, they’re similar, but not matchy. The short necklace has both silver and brass metal colors, so you could go either way with the metal in the second necklace.

You can also pair necklaces with different pearl or stone/bead colors, though I think it works best when you stick with warm + warm or cool + cool.

And if you don’t like wearing longer necklaces, these two look fantastic worn together!

More tips for layering necklaces & other jewelry

Whether your accessorizing style is minimal or Iris Apfel-esque, here are a few tips to help your jewelry look pulled-together.

Think similar, but different

You want to have one or two elements that tie the pieces together, whether it’s metal tone, texture, aesthetic (minimal sleek vs. Bohemian beads & feathers, for example), materials, shapes, or color. But then you can vary the other elements.

  • I like to keep the visual weight of pieces relatively close (very delicate pieces will usually get lost when paired with chunky ones). But wearing all pieces of the same visual weight can be boring, so vary it slightly.
  • If you’re wearing multiple pendants, vary the shape.
  • Start with pieces you wear most and feel most comfortable in, then add from there.
  • Think about how many focal points you want in an outfit. When I’m layering necklaces, for example, I don’t add statement earrings or a lot of different bracelets. But it’s about what feels right for you.
  • Play around with proportions until you find what lengths of necklaces work best for you. The types of clothing items you wear most will also determine your best jewelry styles.
  • Don’t save your “best” pieces for “someday.” WEAR your favorites. (Pearls especially, benefit from contact with the oils in your skin!)
  • Get yourself a jewelry polishing cloth (gold | silver). It’s much easier on some stones and oxidized finishes than chemical cleaners.

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