Accessorizing awesomely: 3 rules of thumb for balancing bling

The accessories we wear can make or break an outfit. For example, you wouldn’t wear a studded rhinestone collar with a smart gray business suit. This season’s jewelry trends seem to be all about stacking and layering, so it can be a little tricky figuring out what pieces work together. In general, though, there are some rules about how to choose what works – and how to avoid what doesn’t. Following are three of them.

Know when to quit

Even though this season is all about piling it on, there’s still a reasonable limit, ladies. If you want to walk out of the house wearing all those cool new necklaces you bought last week, wear a relatively simple outfit, like a T-shirt and jeans. And if you’re choosing one big piece of jewelry, keep your overall look in mind. You can’t wear a statement necklace and a graphic tee and patterned tights and studded 6-inch heels (well, you can, if you don’t mind being mistaken for a clown).

You need to strike a balance between the complexity of your outfit and the number of accessories you wear. So if you’re going to wear that saucy leopard print number, just add a little shine with a couple of cuffs and give the rest of your jewelry collection a break.

Use tools at your disposal

Color coordination is a gift that not all of us have. But you don’t need to be an artist or designer to figure out which colors work well together – you can find plenty of color scheme generators online. You can even upload a photo of your favorite scene – the beach, outer space, a sunset – and produce a color scheme based on the colors in the photo. And when you use an online tool to map-out complementary colors, you’ll never run the risk of committing a color faux pas with your clothing or accessories.

Stick with a theme

You need some kind of overall theme to tie together your clothing and accessories. Are you going with classic and feminine? Wear pearls and a flower hair clip with a cute vintage-looking cardigan. Aiming for a wilder look? Try out a flashy necklace, vintage band T-shirt and an animal print belt. Although you can sometimes get away with mixing metallic finishes (typically when it comes to rings), you’re usually better off just sticking to a single metal. This applies to more than just jewelry, too. So no gold shoes with silver charm bracelets, ladies.

As effortless as some of these Lookbook all-stars and Pinterest princesses make it seem, accessorizing your outfit isn’t so simple. Mostly, you learn what works after a few years of expanding your jewelry collection, and a lot of trial-and-error. Like, maybe your first stab at wearing a statement piece resulted in confused looks from your friends. But you got it right after a few tries.

Eventually, finding the right accessories will become second nature, and you’ll be snapping up trendy pieces and timeless classics that look like they were designed to be worn with your favorite outfits.

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