Trend Watch: Long Beaded Necklaces

Extra long and large, even huge, oversized beaded necklaces are being shown with fall’s neutral-colored structured jackets and more fitted silhouettes to “give them a modern feel,” says Harper’s Bazaar. The necklaces also add a strong vertical emphasis. Necklaces are long, longer and longest, and the multiples look (which, last go-round, focused primarily on chains) has made a resurgence.


 [Photos by Greg Kadel, Harper’s Bazaar 9/07.

Necklaces to left by Nathalie Costes. Necklaces to right:

top by Roxanne Assoulin for Lee Angel; bottom two by Simon Alcantara.]


Large, chunky beads are eye-catching, without a doubt. Any accompanying jewelry needs to take a back seat.


If you sell a customer strands of enormous beads (or if a customer comes in wearing some of these beads and is seeking your advice regarding earrings and other jewelry), remember that other jewelry near the face needs to be kept to a minimum. The issue is one of scale. Jewelry that is designed on a smaller scale, particularly if it has a greater level of detail, may look rather puny and pitiful next to the enormous beads.


What other jewelry might work with the enormous beads? Some ideas might include:

  • A strong cuff bracelet, or several bangles worn together.
  • A chunky ring.
  • Simple stud or button earrings.

Whatever the size of the beads, the long necklaces work best on a woman with a modestly sized bust. In a critical scene in the movie “The Devil Wears Prada,” the character played by Anne Hathaway is shown walking desolately down the street in an outfit that includes a multi-strand necklace of pearls and charms that prominently includes the Chanel logo. Even in her size 4 ensemble, the necklaces are bouncing and swinging off her chest.



[Image of Anne Hathaway from provided courtesy of

Twentieth Century Fox. Image of Nancy Pelosi from ]


Ms. Hathaway looked adorable, to be sure, but as you counsel your customers, keep in mind that a long, heavy pearl or bead necklace or chain may be a less successful look on a woman with a larger bust. A necklace swinging off the shelf of a bust or bouncing off a larger tummy is not flattering. Another unattractive scenario is when a necklace literally gets hooked around a breast.


Adapt the look for your curvier customers by keeping the necklace lengths shorter, so that the necklaces end above the bustline. That has the added benefit of keeping the attention up at the customer’s face, whereas longer necklaces can have a tendency to emphasize “sags and bags.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (see photo above right) can serve as a model for the attractive use of shorter strands, as she is often photographed wearing multiple strands of pearls, jade or other beads. Coordinate the customer’s other jewelry around the scale of the necklace, since the necklace will, as intended, visually dominate the ensemble.