Taking a Look from Elegant to Exotic with Jewelry

Every once in a while a photograph catches my eye in its demonstration of how jewelry can perfectly adorn an ensemble and flatter the wearer. Here’s an example of how thoughtful and creative jewelry styling choices can take an elegant look and give it an exotic, exciting appeal.

British model and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is profiled in the December 2011–January 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. “Spring Forward,” proclaims the magazine, as in the photos she “embraces the season’s tribal beat.” Her exquisite dress and matching bag are Giorgio Armani. These designs are rendered in fabrics of silver and black stripes of varying thickness set at different angles. Worn with structural jewelry in a white metal, such as platinum, white gold or silver, the dress could have been given an elegant, polished vibe, quite the antithesis of a tribal look.

The stylists at Bazaar take a different approach, however, that changes the visual vibe of the dress. With the ensemble Huntington-Whiteley wears what appear to be large hoop earrings from Langoliers and a pair of necklaces: The top necklace is from Etro; the bottom necklace is from Dinosaur Designs. The jewelry itself is chunky and what might be described as tribal in style.

Consider why this styling works so well: Although stripes present a geometric pattern, the shape of the bodice and the design detail overlay of fabric below the waistline of the Armani dress, as well as the shape of the bag, are all softly rounded. The gathering on the dress and the pleats of the bag also add a soft element. So too the petals dangling from the Dinosaur Design necklace have a softly rounded shape. The length of the Langoliers earrings relates to the length of those petals. That length gives the jewelry scale that matches the scale of the chunky chain handle of the handbag. The repeated motif of the petals echoes the beat of the stripes. The Etro necklace adds emphasis and scale to the portion of the design going around the neck. Everything works together to present a cohesive visual effect.

What is especially intriguing is that, although the dress and bag are matchy-matchy offerings from one designer, the beautifully coordinated jewelry comes from different sources. This jewelry styling took thought and skill, and the result is both unexpectedly creative and immensely appealing.