8 In Getting Dressed/ Style

DIY Guide to Create the Messy Necklace Trend

Messy necklace in black on Brenda Kinsel website

I made a messy necklace combo for Sunday


I’m into messy necklaces. It’s not an original idea. When I was doing trend research for spring/summer 2016 one of the trends was a bunch of messy necklaces, like REALLY messy. Take a look at how Chanel styled a spring outfit with a tangle of necklaces.


spring fashion by Chanel on Brenda Kinsel website

How Chanel used messy necklaces in spring fashion


Now one could look at this picture and say any number of things.

  1. High waisted white full pants? I’m not giving up my skinny jeans, no way!
  2. She looks twelve!
  3. What is she wearing? A sports bra?
  4. That’s a big ole mess of necklaces. Good grief!
  5. Why don’t they make fashion for real people?


Okay, all (almost) valid points. But here’s how I look at a picture like this. I say no to the pants, no to the top, but I study the necklace situation and think about how I could modify that look and add a little something different to my spring outfits using this as inspiration.

Now you’re going to see that I mean REALLY modify the look. I am working with this trend at about a 10-20% level. (You might do it at 40-60%!)

I’ve discovered that messy necklaces do a few things:

  1. They add layered interest to the neck area. Why not give people something to look at near the base of your neck rather than fretting about your neck? You’re intentionally giving positive attention to an area that gets negative attention.
  2. They create a focal point that has more oomph than a single chain or strand of pearls. It looks more interesting.
  3. It gives you a reason to pull out your favorite necklaces, group them together, and wear them in a new way.
  4. You look stylish and cool!


I’m having fun with this. My clients are having fun with it. I think maybe you’d have fun with it too! So let me break it down with a few illustrations, okay?


Sunday’s messy necklace combo


Black messy necklace combo on Brenda Kinsel website

Messy necklaces focused on the color black.


I wanted to make my Chanel sweater with floral appliqués pop at the neck so I started with something quite opposite from my pretty sweater. I got out my chunky black link necklace. I added a gunmetal simple chain that I wrapped four times around my neck. I doubled another chain that has some gold beads in it. I liked the way it added some glisten to the group. The big black link necklace would have been too hard but these other two necklaces softened up the look.


messy black necklace combo on Brenda Kinsel website

I got lots of compliments all day. Was it the messy necklace? I think so!


Messy necklace in Piedmont


Necklaces about the same length in a combo on Brenda Kinsel website

Mixed metals and pearls in this messy necklace combo.


I have often worn the two necklaces together on the right but last week I decided to add my gunmetal lava necklace. They all come to about the same place on my neck. One moment the lava necklace is on top, another time the pearl slides out in front. Whatever they decide to do is okay by me. It’s messy! It’s supposed to be messy!


A messy necklace using three independent ones on Brenda Kinsel website

Three favorite necklaces rolled into one messy one.


The pearl and crystal messy necklace


Messy pearl necklace combo on Brenda Kinsel website

Pearls get messed up in this necklace combo


This oversized pearl necklace (center) is a favorite. I bought it with Mom on our last shopping trip together. When I put it together with my outfit I felt like it was so big. I wanted to add another scale to break it up a bit. I picked a double strand of pearls, mixed with crystal and chain. I twisted it around my neck and it filled in the space nicely between the top of my blouse and the big baubles. I felt joyful and sparkly all day.

So REALLY, don’t you think you should try this yourself? Do tell me how it goes!


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  • Reply
    Lisa White
    May 11, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Love this trend! What a great way to get more mileage out of your wardrobe while providing the smoke and mirror illusion for “trouble spots.” Personally, I am thrilled the skinny jeans are so OVER. I will keep a few of them that match my tall boots as I like them better than most leggings, but I am not a fan of them without a long tunic or dress and tall boots covering most the the disaster they create on my figure. The high waisted, wide leg, paper bag trousers are in and I am picking up a few. Finding wide legs during the reign of the skinnies was difficult. Shew…hopefully they are gone and will not come back for another 30 years!

    • Reply
      May 14, 2016 at 10:39 am

      Well, that seems to be what fashion does — comes back after 30 years, however everything I’ve been reading indicates that skinnies are now classic and will be around. But thank goodness there are more choices in the market. I’m sure the way you wear your culottes are works of art. You’re so inspiring, Lisa!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Love it! Thanks Brenda, for showing me how it’s done…messy is definitely a concept I can relate to 😉 Having it be a trend is icing on the cake…

    And by the way, you look fabulous! No wonder you received compliments all day.

    Belated Happy Mother’s Day!

    • Reply
      May 14, 2016 at 10:37 am

      You’re so kind! And yes, isn’t it fun to have permission to be messy…on purpose?! Good luck, Katie!

  • Reply
    Marion saunders
    May 13, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Great idea, have so many necklaces, yours look great will defiantly be giving it a go. I have a lot of antique silver pendants on chains that might be my first project. Love that you are encouraging people to use something they already have and repurposing it
    Thankyou Maz

    • Reply
      May 14, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Oh, I hope you do try it, Marion! I was just encouraging a client yesterday to wear her grandmother’s gold pendant. If not now, when? And yes, I am constantly entertained and delighted by using what client’s already have and what I already have for my own outfits. It’s a creative challenge and I’m always up for it!

  • Reply
    May 17, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Hi Brenda! I saw several strands of various beads and pearls on an Anthropologie necklace years ago. I didn’t buy it, but I’ll never forget that piece.

    • Reply
      May 19, 2016 at 7:36 pm

      Interesting. Is it something you could see yourself wearing now? Our style evolves over time. I’m wearing orange now and couldn’t have imagined that even 2 years ago! It’s fun evolving, isn’t it?

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