Take it as a glimmer of good news: The art of adornment is alive and well.
Even as fashion writers concoct all manner of helpful, creative ways for their readers to get more value out of their wardrobes, jewelry is what makes the difference between dull and interesting, between thrown together and styled.
A great example of this can be found in the January 2009 issue of Glamour magazine, with its feature article “7 Ways to Work That Tee.” The featured tee shirts are not three-to-a-pack Hanes white tee shirts, however. These range in price from affordable styles by Uniqlo ($16), American Eagle Outfitters ($25), J. Crew ($45) and People’s Liberation ($57) to – gasp – $630 (Lanvin). Focusing on cool graphics and eye-popping colors, Glamour encourages its readers to look for labels identifying pima or prewashed 100% cotton, “garmento-talk for extra-good quality.”
But the accessories! They are, to an item, distinctive signature pieces. Shoes are by designers Christian Louboutin ($660 and $745), Valentino ($595 and $790) and Lanvin ($995)(thousand-dollar shoes oddly invisible underneath an overly long Lanvin skirt). Handbags are by Mulberry ($995), Sylvia Toledano ($1,500), Etro ($1,650), Christian Louboutin ($2,625) and Valentino with a price tag of – wait for it — $4,495. Yes, a $4,500 handbag is shown with a $57 tee shirt and $70 Levi’s jeans. It is a lovely bag.
But even with the most fabulous shoes and purses, the ensembles would be lacking, even boring, without the bling. The jewelry finishes every look.
The jewelry, like the leather goods, is comprised of distinctive signature pieces, a mix of high and low, diamonds and rhinestones. The necklaces range in length from short to long, sometimes worn in multiples. Bracelets are worn in multiples, except that, quite sensibly, the prong-set diamond tennis bracelet is not worn next to other pieces. The model sometimes wears a hat or flower in her casually undone hair but no earrings.
The odd piece of costume jewelry under $100 is in the company of rings by Lizzie Scheck Jewelry ($350) and Gucci ($5,110); necklaces by Janis by Janis Savitt ($500), Iosselliani ($699), Tom Binns ($1,400) and Lanvin ($2,423); and bracelets by House of Lavande Vintage ($1,200), Tom Binns ($1,300) and Roberto Coin ($12,500 diamond tennis bracelet). A Hermes watch (no price given) and Cartier love bracelet ($4,450) are worn throughout the photo spread.
For the woman deciding whether a couple of $45 J. Crew tee shirts are in the budget, most of the accessories shown are well beyond reach at the present moment. But consumers and retailers alike can use the photos to suggest styling ideas and perhaps even to inspire the stylish customer to seek out and find a new signature piece of jewelry that she will wear again and again, and love forever.