Jewelry in Camouflage – Intriguing Subtlety

An appealing detail that has appeared in a number of fashion photo spreads this season has been the inclusion of jewelry that provides an extremely subtle bit of gleam or sparkle to an ensemble – jewelry barely noticeable in some cases because it almost blends into the background  – what one might think of as jewelry in camouflage.

Tone-on-tone dressing, in which each garment and accessory is in the same family of hues, provides one of the most sophisticated styles of dressing this season (see my September 23 blog post). Jewelry that continues the color theme of an ensemble and is worn on top of a garment of similar hue provides the first style of jewelry in camouflage. Here are some examples:


Drew Barrymore is pictured in the October 2010 issue of Harper’s Bazaar wearing an elaborate beaded gown by Gaultier Paris accented with a necklace from Van Cleef & Arpels. The rose gold chain of the necklace is camouflaged against the bronze beading of the gown, and the bright pendant stands out almost like a brooch pinned to the center of her bodice. Her rings are from Tony Duquette and Jack Vartanian.


This current ad for the design house St. John adds necklaces and brooches to the look for a tweed jacket. The look requires a double-take to register the gleam of the pearly elements and the sparkle of the crystal. The jewelry draws the viewer in for a closer look.

Along a similar vein, a current ad for Honora jewelry combines red pearls with a red dress. It is easy to imagine how those pearls might also be worn over a red sweater, for example, rather than over skin, creating a camouflage effect using pearls and garments together to create a tone-on-tone effect.  


Approaching fashion from another very different yet stylish perspective this season, not with solid colors but with wild mixes of patterns, we can see a second style of jewelry in camouflage. This occurs when finely detailed jewelry is worn over a strong pattern. Look closely at the above photograph from the October 2010 issue of InStyle magazine of a model wearing a plaid shirt and vest from Rag & Bone. Around the neck of the cotton shirt is a diamond and platinum necklace from Neil Lane. The effect is very subtle but at the same time, compelling and utterly intriguing.

Jewelry is often chosen to stand out. This season, try mixing your jewelry with apparel so that the jewelry blends in. Go tone-on-tone or mix a finely wrought piece of jewelry with a boldly patterned garment for a fresh take on sophisticated style.

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