Side Effects: How to Choose Jewelry for a Dress with One-Sided Emphasis at the Hip

The March 2010 issue of Vogue notes a flirty visual effect and fashionable trend in the form of side detail on a dress at the level of the wearer’s hips. The detail is perhaps a distant cousin of the peplum but decidedly one-sided; this look is all about asymmetrical sass. As Vogue describes it: “The fashionable set is putting a little bustle in the party-circuit hustle. These swagged side trains lavish attention on the curve of a hip….”

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Whether the look is cascading swaths by Jason Wu (seen on Diane Kruger far left and Caroline Sieber far right), handkerchief-like draping by DKNY (worn by Poppy Delevingne second from right), or a sarong-effect twist of fabric seen in a vintage frock by Miss O by Oscar de la Renta (worn by Anouck Lepere second from left), the effect of these design details is to bring attention to a trim waist and to accentuate or even to enhance the appearance of womanly curves by adding volume at one hip. Make no mistake: these dresses make you notice the wearer’s curves.

Notice, too, that every one of these dresses has been rendered in a lively print or mix of prints. This is no coincidence-the fabrics are designed to catch your eye and to cause it to follow the dots down and around. These designs have an inherent sense of motion and rhythm.

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Illustration: Another example of the side-swept style, this one by Malandrino, featured in the March 2010 issue of Marie Claire.

With a dress that visually demanding, jewelry plays a supporting role. Don’t underestimate the power of jewelry however; after all, supporting roles receive Oscars too.

The key is to choose jewelry that complements the dress and doesn’t compete with it. Thus you’ll notice that the only necklace seen in the four photos from Vogue is a fine chain with a pendant that hangs to the level of, and brings further attention to, the waist. This is emphatically not the time to add a choker or princess-length necklace that draws attention to itself.

Earrings are modest or non-existent; nothing dangles or distracts. Diane Kruger wears a bracelet or two on one wrist to further emphasize the asymmetry of her look; Poppy Delevingne also is pictured wearing a very fine bracelet on one wrist.

One more subtle detail to notice: Kruger’s bracelet seems to have an undulating design, a hallmark of jewelry design for the alluring personality style, and the perfect accessory for a dress style that is all about feminine allure.