How Jewelry Helps You Make a Runway Look Your Own

As much of the country is still waiting to thaw out from a particularly cold winter, let alone to start wearing lightweight spring fashions, the fashion world itself has already witnessed the New York, Paris, Milan and other international Fashion Weeks that introduced designs the style-savvy will be wearing come fall 2011. If you enjoy fashion, view the collections to see the directions designers will be taking in the months ahead.


In the meantime, however, wearing pieces from the spring 2011 collections puts a fashion lover at the top of her game. The web site redcarpet-fashionawards.com reports that last weekend, for instance, Anna Wintour, the editor in chief of Vogue, was recently spotted wearing a Prada banana-print skirt (there’s the fruit motif I wrote about earlier this week) with a white top and cardigan while attending the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open men’s tennis final in Key Biscayne, Florida.



You’ll note that Wintour added a short but substantial necklace to accessorize her look. For Wintour, a short necklace is almost as much a part of her signature look as her oversized sunglasses and bob hairstyle. She wears fashions from current collections and makes them her own through creative combinations and the addition of distinctive accessories.


While Vogue magazine’s photo spreads may inspire creative uses of runway fashions, the April 2011 issue of More walks its readers through the process of adapting a runway look. In the article “From Runway to Your Way” the editors query: “Do catwalk clothes make you think, gorgeous but unwearable? We say, think again. It’s all in the styling.” More provides four examples of runway fashion styled to make them wonderfully wearable.



The first ensemble is designed around a plaid dress from Issey Miyake. The magazine suggests that readers “skip the kooky pink underlayer,” cinch the otherwise shapeless dress with its self-belt to create a waist, carry a metallic bag (“we think metallic is a go-with-all neutral”) and try a navy blue wedge sandal. The final touch: “Add sparkle with jewelry,” suggests More: “For a more feminine look, use a mix of metals, stones and beads of varying lengths. Or add an armload of bangles.” The oxidized brass and Swarovski crystal necklace shown is from Dannijo; the Peruvian opal and 22k-gold vermeil necklace is from Heather Benjamin.



As demonstrated by Anna Wintour, one distinctive piece of Prada can be plenty to anchor an ensemble. The second look in the More article utilizes a bright Prada top, adding neutral pants, espadrilles, a large clutch, and a wide belt. As for jewelry, More urges, “Use bold jewelry: You need something weighty to stand up to the top.” The onyx, quartz and turquoise necklace shown is from Stephen Dweck.



To a Cynthia Rowley sheath dress with peekaboo cutouts, More adds a colorful bodysuit for coverage, sexy pumps in a bright hue to balance the top; a classic bag, and a pair of metal bangle bracelets from Alexis Bittar. More explains: “With such a strong look, keep each element fierce—this is no place for delicate anything.



The final look is designed around a sheer dress from VPL. To adapt the dress, More suggests adding a layer underneath such as a shirtdress or opaque slip dress, and sandals: “No pumps, please: The openness of the sandals keeps the look light from head to toe.” For a handbag, More suggests a Celestina shell evening clutch: “The shine on this one makes it look like a piece of jewelry, and its delicacy keeps it in tune with the overall effect.” As for jewelry, More styles the look with a tulle and rhinestone necklace from Suzanna Dai: “Go for a little shine:  The delicate beading against the tulle, the ribbon tie . . . it’s all in keeping with this pretty, diaphanous look.”


In each ensemble, jewelry plays an important role in creating a cohesive and interesting look. Color, texture, weight and scale are design elements in the jewelry that coordinate with the other pieces in each ensemble. None of these ensembles are shown with earrings, however. What earrings might you add? Would they affect your choice of necklaces/bracelets? This excellent article from More should be required reading for retail jewelry professionals as well as for any woman who wants to hone her understanding of how to adapt a runway look to make it her own.