Sweet Suites of Jewelry & Fashions: The Exciting Return of Matchy-Matchy

When both a fashion icon and the host of a major awards show choose to wear to that event something that’s very rarely seen—indeed, something that breaks a long-standing fashion “rule”—it’s time to take note. In this case, the event was the 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards, the host was actress Jane Lynch, and fashion icon in question is model/celebrity Heidi Klum. The “rule” is the long-standing prohibition against wearing anything that exactly matches—a classic look that in recent years has derisively been referred to as “matchy-matchy.”

Heidi Klum, appearing on behalf of her Emmy-nominated show Project Runway, has the pick of current fashions and the style savvy to set trends. Although she is launching a new line of jewelry on QVC, her Emmy night jewels were from designer Lorraine Schwartz. She did matchy-matchy twice: Her Christian Louboutin snakeskin shoes matched her elaborate ruffled dress by Christian Siriano in a neutral hue, and her huge cocktail ring matched her equally eye-catching multicolor cluster-style earrings.

During the course of the evening, host Jane Lynch wore four stunning evening gowns by David Meister accessorized with dazzling jewelry—multicolor gemstone earrings and bracelets attributed to Lorraine Schwartz for the red carpet, and certain other pieces including a fabulous Art Deco ruby and diamond bracelet from Doyle and Doyle. The jewelry that caught my eye was the pink gemstone bracelets and earrings which I believe were designed by Lorraine Schwartz and which appeared to provide an exact match to the color and sparkle of the embellishment on Lynch’s deep rose metallic dress. Not only did Lynch’s jewelry appear in a matched set, but it also matched her gown.

The most noticeable examples of matching suites of jewelry are those of multicolor designs in distinctive patterns or motifs. We saw glimmerings of the return to matching suites of jewelry at the 2011 Academy Awards, when Gwyneth Paltrow wore the L’Ame du Voyage suite, consisting of earrings, ring, and a brooch of diamonds and multicolored gems in yellow gold from Louis Vuitton with her metallic Calvin Klein Collection gown.

Also at the 2011 Academy Awards, Marisa Tomei wore spectacular huge double drop floral sapphire, emerald, and diamond earrings from Van Cleef & Arpels with a matching bracelet, adding a punch of color to her vintage Charles James dark blue gown.  

Wearing a colorful suite of jewelry with a neutral color dress, such as those worn by Klum, Paltrow, and Tomei demonstrates the undeniable return to chic of matchy-matchy. Putting a suite of jewelry with a dress or ensemble of matching color, such as Lynch’s pink jewels and deep rose gown, takes the matching trend to a new level. Designers and the fashion press are showing more and more of this elegant and expensive trend.

The October 2011 issue of Allure magazine focused on some of the season’s most exquisite prints. An ethnic weave dress by Proenza Schouler is shown with a handbag with a matching print panel, plus earrings from Marni of metal, horn, and resin that look to be an exact match to colors in the print.

The same issue of Allure pictures the above dress from Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière with a matching clutch.

In the September 2011 issue of InStyle, Dame Helen Mirren is pictured wearing a sleeveless high-neck dress in burgundy from Akris with matching gloves from Carolina Amato and a matching resin necklace from Ben-Amun.

The September 2011 issue of InStyle advises readers, “Ignore the old finger-wagging for going matchy-matchy.” In discussing the season’s bright colors, InStyle states: “Clothes and accessories in the same palette are fall’s newest BFFs. Invest in one intense shade—whether it be emerald, fuchsia, scarlet, or canary—and then work it as hard as a thief with an alibi. Don’t hold back. “

A current ad for Diane von Furstenberg pictures a mint green blouse or dress worn with a matching handbag of mint green with what appears to be metallic leather trim.

A current ad for White House Black Market pictures a model wearing taupe and black shoes with a matching purse coordinating with a black and taupe plaid skirt and black and taupe bangles.

The October 2011 issue of Vogue reports on the style of eight “cool, modern girls” who “treat precious jewels in a manner far from ‘precious.'” Author Lynn Yaeger continues: “Gone also is the ancient anathema that you mustn’t combine different-colored metals or juxtapose, say, a platinum pendant with a nutty Tom Binns choker, a satin-and-pearl confection from Lanvin, or even a frankly faux plastic Marni.” Nevertheless, the final photo in the series of portraits is that of model, DJ and blogger Bip Ling, who is shown wearing a “devastatingly intricate micro-mosaic suite”—yes, a matchy-matchy necklace and bracelet set—from Fred Leighton with her Erdem dress.

The ancient anathema that decries mixing styles may be gone, but the freshest and most sophisticated look is one where the styles, and the individual pieces, from head to toe, match as one cohesive whole.