Trend Watch: Jewelry Fit for Prints

The trend towards large, chunky jewelry continues unabated as we head into winter and start dreaming of spring. There are at least a couple of fashion-driven reasons for this.


First, clothing for the winter months is heavier, thicker, warmer. It calls for more substantial jewelry. The pretty little pendant on a fine chain that looks charming with a lightweight froth of a dress in the summer looks rather stunted and lost worn with thick cable sweaters and layers of woolens. Delicate dangling earrings get tangled up in scarves, hoods and hats.


Happily, the introduction of resort collections almost immediately on the heels of the fall and winter apparel collections mitigates the stifling effect of winter on the most fragile accessories. The desire for layers of warm clothing is quickly replaced with longings for warmer climes. Designers with a lighter hand needn’t wait long for their pieces once more to be objects of desire.


However, quite separate from the texture and weight of winter apparel, designers have gone wild this season and into their resort and spring lines with a panoply of prints and embellished garments and accessories designed to catch the eye. These prints and decorations are the second reason that statement-making pieces of jewelry are currently so important in a stylish woman’s wardrobe. Only a strong piece of jewelry can hold its own against such a visual feast.


Among the print designs popular this season, animal prints are making yet another of their seemingly regular appearances. Sharp black and white op-art prints are an important option. And then there are the multi-color extravaganzas of blurred-edge ikat prints and the printed splatters and brush-strokes of painting-inspired designs. See the December 2007 issue of Elle magazine for plentiful examples of the trend toward colorful prints.


There are a couple of possible approaches to adorning an eye-popping print. The first is to hold the attention of the viewer with simple, bold stretches of metal. A significant cuff bracelet, a heavy link necklace of precious metal, a large pendant on a heavy chain, a boldly designed brooch, a strong wristwatch or ring and large, unfussy earrings are all accessories that will accentuate the wearer’s features and complement but not compete with the bold hues or contrasts of her apparel.


A second approach is to use color powerfully. Pick up a color found in the print and work it, or use plenty of bright jewels or beads with black and white. Wimpy choices in jewelry are not going to present a successful strategy for adornment.


The trend most difficult to coordinate with jewelry is the trend toward clothing, bags and shoes adorned with enormous faux gemstones. See, for instance, this example from In Style magazine’s holiday gift guide, a cardigan sweater designed by Trina Turk: 


The design of the cardigan renders finding a compatible necklace or earrings difficult. Simple diamond stud earrings should be fine; otherwise, large hoops or non-dangling earrings of very simple design likely would be the best option. If possible, keep the scale of the jewelry consistent with the scale of the embellishment on the dominant piece of apparel or accessory. Because of the length of the sleeves, a bold, unembellished metal cuff or two might work. A cocktail ring would be an excellent choice.


Here’s the good news about such a memorable sweater. Many a fashion-conscious woman loathes being seen wearing the same thing twice, and although she may well wear a unique seasonal item at disparate events with little potential for running into the same people, this concern particularly rings true when being photographed is a near certainty. And then, hopefully, she will once again see the virtue and practicality of a classic little black dress adorned with her favorite styles of fine jewelry.

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