A reader left a comment on my blog wanting to know more about pairing necklaces and earrings in an outfit. Let’s start this discussion with statement necklaces.
What’s a statement necklace? It’s a necklace that’s characteristically bold, large-scale, and does the heavy lifting in an outfit. It can have personality and make a statement.
You can buy a necklace that’s a statement necklace or you can create a DIY statement necklace by doubling or tripling smaller necklaces to create more visual volume.
In music terms, your statement necklace is either a solo artist like Adele or a dynamic duo like Sonny and Cher, or an awesome trio like Maurice, Robin, and Barry from the Bee Gees. They’re all outstanding.
I also call these necklaces a something necklace. (That description will make more sense in a minute.) It’s really something. It’s not standing in the shadows. It wants attention. It speaks in ALL CAPS, large fonts or exclamation points. Its message is:
See me now
Let me entertain you
Notice me first
It may or may not be striving to be complimented but it’s earning them. You can interchange those terms: statement necklace/something necklace.
Statement/something necklaces in action
My non-dainty, non-demure big honking crystal necklaces are a statement or a something necklace. They get noticed.
So what kind of earrings do I wear with them? With the largest crystal on the brass chain above, I wear this delicate mesh earring by Ajna Designs Jewelry. It’s outlined in 14k gold fill and the inside crystals are a smokey-taupe color. They have a hint of a color connection to the necklace.
I call an earring that takes on this supporting role to strong necklaces a nothing earring. I don’t use the word ‘nothing’ in a disparaging way AT ALL. (That point requires all caps.) If I come up to you and say, “Oh, what a beautiful nothing earring,” take it as a compliment.
When you don’t have an earring that plays this role, you may never wear that spectacular necklace you have because you can’t figure out what kind of earring to wear with it. A nothing earring is a perfect earring. Often I take clients shopping for the sole purpose of finding those special nothing earrings that they’ll wear with their something necklaces.
If you’d ever want to see me lose my stylish mind, creep into the house at night and steal my crown jewel of nothing earrings, these gray faceted beauties that probably cost me $30 about 10 or 15 years ago.
They were my earring of choice when I decided to wear this large-scale chunky necklace over my red sweater. See what I mean? They relate…enough…without getting in the way of the solo necklace.
Creating a DIY statement/something necklace
Here’s my friend Marj. She was wearing a Bee Gees type necklace combo for brunch at one of our get-togethers. She’s wearing a barely there earring as she’d gotten her ears re-pierced and had to wear studs for awhile. Her cluster of necklaces is definitely getting compliments.
Here’s one of my dynamic necklaces. I’m a crazy-jumping-up-and-down-screaming fan of it. I’m wearing my crown jewel of nothing earrings with this one. There’s such ease in getting dressed when you don’t have to think hard about which earrings to wear. Just grab your nothing earring and you’re out the door.
When nothing earrings get bigger
I’m been trying to think about how I would discuss the accessories my friend, fellow blogger and Instagram buddy is wearing. Meet Elizabeth. She’s the Vintage Contessa. Her Instagram feed is @antiquegoddess. Elizabeth is 5’11”.
The necklace she’s wearing here is resin and by Stella McCartney. She tells me the black earrings are junk and made of plastic. Elizabeth is a trailblazer, not a follower of rules. She can do whatever she wants. But I’m going to suggest that her black earrings are her nothing earrings in this outfit.
The resin necklace is about triple the scale or more of the earrings. The black earring relates to the trim in the caftan she’s wearing. Even though black can steal the show when it’s up against a honey-color, the necklace wins out.
On me, I’d probably wear these earrings alone, but on Elizabeth, they’re playing a backup role.
I have a similar example from my wardrobe. See that whole lotta pearls at my neck? Well, actually, it’s a duo. This is a Sonny and Cher necklace.
I felt this colorful, lustrous Etro jacket could do well with a necklace with a lot of presence. To get that presence I put the two sets of pearls together. The petal pearl necklace came from TJMaxx. The bauble pearl necklace came from a consignment store in Fargo on my last shopping trip with my mom.
And what’s the nothing earring I’m wearing with it? Well, it’s a jumbo-sized crystal earring with gold trim by Alexis Bittar (a TJMaxx purchase). With a plain white shirt and jeans, the earring could stand alone. But with the pearl combo necklace, it blends in, relates in color and scale, but doesn’t take anything away from the necklaces.
More doubling up of necklaces
This is Veronica. She’s a big fan, as am I, of necklaces by the Sol Sisters. What you’re looking at are two two-part necklaces. The light colored one is made from jasper beads and the rust/orange one is made from carnelian beads. They are both doubles. I decided to use both of them in this outfit which is a chambray blue linen dress (Eileen Fisher), a soft black linen jacket (Eileen Fisher), and an ombre carnelian colored scarf from her collection. The jasper beads relate to her hair color and the carnelian beads relate to the scarf and the darker red tones in her hair. I love these together.
We added a nothing earring to this. I don’t have a picture of it but it’s a button ear with gold on the outside and a moonstone in the center. It’s a very important nothing earring that gets used all the time (priceless).
This ends the visual part of the lesson. Have I made this subject as clear as mud or as clear as a spring stream in the mountains?
I hope you realize if you have necklaces that you’re not wearing that it would be important to get out there and find nothing earrings. You’ll look for earrings that have a hint of something that relates to your necklaces. As you see, I have only a few choice nothing earrings that I wear with lots of something necklaces.
Okay, my friends. I’m ready to take questions and/or hear your marvelous comments. Who wants to start?
Sandy Miles-BlaxlandMarch 13, 2018 at 4:18 am
Many of your suggestions are things that I already practice. But the doubling up of smaller/shorter necklaces such as the pearls is beautiful. AND I love the earrings you choose to go with the gorgeous pearls. Thanks for your blog posts; I get new ideas all the time.
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 7:49 pm
You’re so welcome, Sandy. I’m so glad you find these posts useful! Thanks for stopping by and keep coming back!
RobbiMarch 13, 2018 at 4:30 am
Great post! My “nothing” earrings are the work horse of my jewelry. I call them “hole fillers”. And, I know you have posted before about your crystal pendant but where oh where did you find it? Love it!
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 7:48 pm
Hole fillers! I like it! I actually went to a gem faire and bought the ingredients and made both of those necklaces myself. I LOVE them!!
LeaMarch 13, 2018 at 7:31 am
Good morning Brenda. Great post, explained perfectly. My question is does one have to wear earrings? Can you wear just the statement necklace and bracelets and no earrrimgs? I’ve noticed since I no longer have a pixie cut, but a chin-length bob, I hardly ever wear earrings. And they were my go-to piece of jewelry before… feel my ears are hidden, so why bother… Aha! Just writing this out gives me insight to something I’d not thought about. You rock, Brenda!
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 7:47 pm
Thanks, Lea. You know a client came to mind immediately when you explained your haircut. She does wear small earrings because she sometimes pushes her hair behind her ears. But the way you describe it I’d say no, you could go without.
AmyMarch 13, 2018 at 7:32 am
This reminds me of a documentary called, “Twenty Feet from Stardom.” It’s about richly talented “back up” singers who made contributions to hit songs. Their voices are well known, but not their identities. Their work supported the stars of the ensembles. Watch it just for fun if you ever get the chance.
RobbiMarch 13, 2018 at 5:06 pm
That’s a great movie!
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 7:45 pm
Thanks for reminding me! I never saw it when it was out but really wanted to. I will look for it for sure.
PatMarch 13, 2018 at 7:38 am
Thanks for the inspiration, Brenda! My favorite “go to pair” is a barrel earring in leopard reversing to gold…love them! I do have a challenge to throw out to you, Brenda, and your beautiful, creative readers….remember when crew necks were the norm? I purchased a beautiful David Yurman chain necklace, silver (not my best color) with bronze border (my best color). If I could find a way to, successfully, lengthen this to 18” the necklace would come out to play occasionally. At today’s Yurman pricing, an extension piece takes 8 months and equates to round trip airfare to Paris…all this for “not my best color”.
Any suggestion as to how I can lengthen this quality necklace would be so appreciated..
You are the best,
Keira WilliamsMarch 13, 2018 at 2:45 pm
Have you taken your necklace to a jeweler to add chain to it? I’ve done this with multiple of my necklaces.
PatMarch 14, 2018 at 7:45 am
Thank you, Keira, yes I have taken it to a jeweler. After spending hours discussing, comparing, looking at other options, the general consensus was returning it to the designer to add the extension..anything else would greatly diminish the esthetic value of the necklace. Again, this is why I am looking for other ideas that will blend rather than detract. Whew!
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:56 pm
Well, I like the suggestions that have been given already. I think a jeweler familiar with Yurman pieces would be good to try. We had a great shop locally but it’s gone now. I truly hope you find a solution. Great to hear from you, Pat!
Patricia SchultzMarch 16, 2018 at 6:24 am
What kind of clasp does it have? Will the extender show? French Kande has extenders for circle and bar closures (you have to do a search on their website to find them), and Silpada has a silver chain extender. Can you buy a matching (or similar) bracelet and use that as an extender? That might give you more length than you want, but it might be worth a try. Good luck!
Bobbi A MouzonMarch 13, 2018 at 8:10 am
Good article. I usually just wear diamond or pearl studs with statement necklaces, this gives me some ideas to branch out a little! Thanks!!!
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:54 pm
You’re welcome, Bobbi. Great to hear from you!
Holly McDonellMarch 13, 2018 at 8:10 am
I would use a thin silk cord or ribbon.
PatMarch 13, 2018 at 8:27 am
Great thought, now it becomes a color issue…..
KathyMarch 13, 2018 at 12:40 pm
You can always purchase necklace extenders from craft stores.
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:49 pm
I used to carry these in my closet bag when I went to see clients in their closets. They are such a great solution/fix. You’ve reminded me that I need to get some more. I gave all of mine away!
KatieMarch 13, 2018 at 8:14 am
My everyday earrings are a pair of “Herkimer diamonds” — they look like clear quartz crystals — wrapped with silver wire. See-through, so they go with anything, but the tiniest bit edgy, so not boring. I should order a back-up pair, since I’d be lost without them!
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:54 pm
Oh Katie! Maybe you should order an extra pair for me and I’ll pay you for them. I LOVE Herkimer diamonds! Well, I won’t put that on you; I’ll go look for them. That’s just such a good idea. One of my clients has Herkimer diamond earrings and necklaces and I adore them.
BarbaraMarch 13, 2018 at 10:54 am
Ok, I knew about “nothing” earrings, although I called them support earrings. Commenting to say that Veronica’s outfit is brilliant. I’ve seen that EF dress, or similar EF dresses, and I would never have thought to add those items in those colors. Love it!
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:52 pm
So glad you liked Veronica’s outfit. I LOVE those colors against the soft blue, especially with her hair color. And a shoutout to the Sol Sisters who made those necklaces!
KathyMarch 13, 2018 at 12:38 pm
Good post…springing from the making of a beauty bundle..including supporting pieces. My go to support ear rings are diamond studs. I don’t know an outfit that doesn’t like a diamond. My problem with statement necklaces are the sheer weight sometimes of large or chunky pieces.i really have to test drive them before I buy!
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:51 pm
That’s always a good idea, to test drive them. I love how you don’t know an outfit that doesn’t like a diamond. You put a big smile on my face! Thanks, Kathy.
Keira WilliamsMarch 13, 2018 at 2:47 pm
Great post and great topic! I use silver hoops and gold hoops in this role. I like that you have defined this as a “thing.” 🙂
JacquelineMarch 13, 2018 at 4:51 pm
I use both silver or gold hoops too. I have them in different sizes as well as shapes and texture. One never knows which one will be called upon to support the rest of the outfit’s accessories.
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:48 pm
That’s great, being prepared for anything. What great advice for all of us!
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:48 pm
Thanks, Keira. It helps to think about it in that way, doesn’t it?
La ContessaMarch 13, 2018 at 6:24 pm
My black earrings are Really TORTOISE in color,but do have a hint of black to them and DEFINATELY look BLACK here.
They will forever be called MY NOTHINGS from here on OUT!
Loved this Post and Thank You for The Shout OUT as I sit here in HAWAII pausing to reflect on The Pearl Harbor Memorial.
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:47 pm
Thanks, Elizabeth! I’ll go in and change that. Of course they’re tortoise! I need to get to Hawaii. I’ve never been and I’d really like to go to the Pearl Harbor Memorial too. Looking forward to seeing you in the not so distant future!
KathyMarch 13, 2018 at 8:50 pm
I really enjoyed this post! I make rings and my mind goes blank when making earrings. I wear “nothing” earrings and statement necklaces and just couldn’t join in on those that love matching everything. I didn’t see until now that this all makes sense. I’ll be trusting my instinct and embrace making “nothing” styles!
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:45 pm
Hooray, Kathy! We need more nothing earrings in our fashion world. Yes, yes, yes, empathically yes!!!
Trinnie qMarch 14, 2018 at 4:20 am
Well now you there is a lot to think about! My pierced ears holes are closed, but maybe it is time to revisit this! What fun ! Thanks everyone, sending love from Oz
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:43 pm
Thanks Trinnie. You know I just realized that chatting with each other here on the blog is like having people over for coffee and pastries like my mother’s generation did. I like it! Love from Sonoma!
Trinnie qMarch 14, 2018 at 4:20 am
Excuse the typos x
Cathy D.March 14, 2018 at 3:26 pm
I have a few statement necklaces I’ve collected over the years, and a few combinations of necklaces I wear together. Usually I wear them with my small-to-medium sized diamond studs. In fact, I wear these studs most of the time, although I sometimes substitute simple pearl studs. To tell the truth, I’m such a minimalist that I don’t wear much jewelry. For the last year, however, I’ve felt a need for more earrings. Don’t know why, but although I look at them constantly online, I cannot seem to make myself buy them. Brenda, maybe I need to go shopping with you!
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:42 pm
Now wouldn’t that be fun!!! Sometimes you just need a nudge.
LaurieMarch 14, 2018 at 5:00 pm
Brenda, thanks for your post and inspiration as always.
I thought that it was only appropriate to wear one “signature” piece; I distinctly remember reading somewhere to only really do one area. But that was long ago!
Your pictures show that many beautiful pieces of jewelry can work together. . .
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:41 pm
Yes, jewelry fashion changes just like clothes fashion does and right now, more is great. I love this period of time when we can add and add!
Jennifer RyanMarch 14, 2018 at 9:24 pm
Love the blog post. Great advice!! You have fantastic ideas!!
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:40 pm
KristinMarch 15, 2018 at 8:48 am
This is great! So glad to have found your website. One question: what about keeping necklaces in place when you live in a colder climate and like to wear cowls and layers? I’ve posted a few pictures on my website-love to see what others do.
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:37 pm
I’ll take a look. Generally, I just wear longer pendants usually because they weight of them pulls it down and it lays nicely against the back of the cowl underneath the fold.
cindy hattersleyMarch 15, 2018 at 1:46 pm
I love that linen gray combo with that necklace. It is one of my all time favorite combos of yours. I so agree about nothing earrings with a big necklace. Only the Contessa can pull off giant earrings as “nothing earrings” Great post!!
BrendaMarch 15, 2018 at 6:33 pm
I know! You remember when I took that picture. It was fun studying it against my idea about nothing earrings but you’re right, she can do it! I happen to love that linen outfit too. One of my very favorites as well! Thanks, Cindy!
Jane MudieMarch 26, 2018 at 1:35 pm
Hi from Australia Brenda. Thanks for posting this subject, it’s one that I am often struggling with! I have collected many “star of the show” pieces, but I don’t think I have put enough effort into my “supporting act” pieces! Thanks for the inspiration, but most importantly, thanks for showcasing women of a similar age to me (almost 63).
JennieMarch 30, 2018 at 5:06 am
You are a talented writer as well as fashion consultant! I love your metaphors – Sonny and Cher, the Bee-Gees, Adele. Makes perfect sense and I will think of this every time I shop for jewelry.
JennieMarch 30, 2018 at 5:08 am
Revised: You are a talented writer as well as professional image consultant! I love your metaphors – Sonny and Cher, the Bee-Gees, Adele. Makes perfect sense and I will think of this every time I shop for jewelry.
BrendaMarch 30, 2018 at 4:14 pm
Oh this brings me joy! I’d love to be inside your head when you’re looking at jewelry and naming musical acts to help you make chooses!
Susa BergNovember 8, 2018 at 4:36 am
happy to discover your blog today. Many years ago, I read two books from you in german language and what shall I say: they change a lot! Thank you for you knowledge and that you divide this with us!
BrendaNovember 27, 2018 at 11:03 am
That makes me so happy! I love seeing the covers of the German editions. I’m thrilled you found the blog!