Lessons in Jewelry Styling from Armani

When an ensemble works perfectly from head to toe, with each design element working seamlessly with all the others, that is the epitome of elegant dressing. Understated, tasteful, and refined—yet never boring—the elegant style requires the ability to coordinate multiple elements into one cohesive whole. This is a style of dressing that is expensive but, as they say, worth it.

Once again for spring 2012, the design house Armani has produced clothing and coordinating jewelry that impresses and wows. The April issue of Marie Claire highlights several of these looks.

In the photo above, actress Jena Malone wears an exquisite strapless silver and black striped cocktail dress, with a bit of detail at the waist perfectly complemented by a single large cuff bracelet that plays off the design of the dress. The cuff draws the eye to the waist detail. The dress and bracelet are by Giorgio Armani; the belt is from Emporio Armani, and the shoes are by Christian Louboutin. The look is one of understated elegance.

Malone wears a more complex ensemble from Armani in this second photo. Here she wears a transparent collar edged in black that overlays a white shirt similarly edged in black piping. The collar, shirt and pants are all from Emporio Armani. A simple black bangle from R.J. Graziano completes the look. Overall, the effect  is intriguing—it makes one want to take a closer look.

Actress Krysten Ritter wears this third look from the Marie Claire fashion spread. A strapless top of black edged in white is worn with a petal skirt of white edged in black and adorned with an eye-catching, sassy flower brooch. The petals of the flower play off the shape of the skirt. All three pieces are from Emporio Armani. Ritter also wears a cuff bracelet by Giorgio Armani and  shoes with bow detail from Giuseppe Zanotti Design. The cuff bracelet is nice enough, but it doesn’t coordinate with the rest of the ensemble. A stylist might say that this is an example of adding a bit of edge to cut the sweetness of a very feminine design.

Could the jewelry in the three photos be worn with other looks?  Certainly. Would these ensembles be as stylistically sophisticated without the jewelry? I think not.

Putting aside the edgy cuff, these three photos provide excellent visual examples of apparel and jewelry designed to work perfectly together. Notice, too, that  both of the actresses pictured are very fair with almost jet-black hair. The high contrast of the ensembles repeats this visual effect. The repetition of edging, contrast, and shape renders these combinations nothing less than sublime.