Out: You are what you eat. In: You are what you wear. But it's not always the clothes that make the person. In fact, if there were only three rules of dressing well for women, two would deal with accessories - and one of those would pertain to jewelry.
Ever wonder why so many women say they feel naked without their jewelry? Because an outfit without jewelry is like a cake without icing. Beyond completing a look, the right jewelry can turn an ordinary girl into a fair lady. Even for guys, jewelry has taken on greater importance with casual as well as more formal attire.
With the Emmy Awards - one of jewelry's biggest nights -delayed and then delayed again (now it's scheduled for Nov. 4), some are left wondering what the next jewelry trends might be.
“With this whole kind of business attire that they're doing, there will be a lot less glitz,” said Michelle Orman, spokeswoman for the Jewelry Information Center, a trade association based in New York City. “A big diamond collar by Harry Winston may not be appropriate with a business suit, which is what people have been asked to wear [to the awards]. I think we're going to see some more modern designs, some cutting-edge pieces.”
Jewelry designer Christian Tse will provide platinum mesh jewelry for some Emmy guests, Ms. Orman hinted.
The toned-down ceremony “leaves a lot of room for some of the bridge collections, like Robert Lee Morris,” she added. “So I'm excited on that end because there are so many designers who don't work in diamonds. We'll see amethysts and citrines and pink tourmalines and rubies. Things that inspire images of wine and roses.”
Color is key, thanks to gems, crystals, and stones in reds, purples, and oranges. Gold is white and yellow, pearls are gray, pink, and black, and diamonds are brown, pink, and canary.
Classic, vintage, retro, deco, estate, ultra-opulent - it seems every type of jewelry is en vogue. Necklaces are brighter, earrings are longer, rings are bigger, bracelets are funkier, and pins are flashier this fall.
“Everything's getting bolder and more geometric as we go into the fall season,” said Irene Fitzgerald, spokeswoman for The Accessories Council in Milford, Conn.
“There is so much jewelry out there,” observed Susan Kurtz of Goldstock Jewelers in Pittsburgh. “People are more interested in wearing jewelry all the time, every day. Anything and everything goes.”
While yellow diamonds are showing up as smaller accent pieces, brown diamonds from cognac to coffee are popping up all over. Whether solitaires or pave, they go easily from day to night and complement the earthy shades that many clothing designers favor in fall and winter lines, noted Alison Mayher, general manager of Saks Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh.
In pearls, white remains the most popular choice. But gray, pink, green and lavender are attracting interest, said Ms. Fitzgerald.
Pearls are everywhere. Large and small. A single strand or a dozen, in chokers and lariats. A few men have taken the cue and are wearing stylish pearl tie pins and cufflinks.
Platinum may be the most upwardly mobile metal of the season. It's bigger than ever among celebrities, who wear it alone or to set yellow and black diamonds.
At the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, for example, Jennifer Lopez, Jamie Foxx, and Janet Jackson wore platinum jewelry. Busta Rhymes and Britney Spears also have been spotted in platinum, and so have star athletes such as Alan Iverson and Shaquille O'Neal.
“It's expensive and exclusive, so it signifies class,” says platinum jewelry designer Chris Aire of 2 Awesome International. “Platinum is a status symbol, since it's the ultimate and the best.”
Even as platinum ascends, gold remains a big draw. There's a trend toward paler shades of yellow gold, while oxidized forms of white gold lend an estate feel to pieces.
“People like white metals,” said Ms. Kurtz. “Platinum for engagement rings and wedding bands and white gold for bracelets and necklaces and earrings, and colored gem stones and diamonds with them. Stones with white metals are a little newer.”
Pale yellow gold is popular in mesh pieces. Mesh, along with lasso and lariat necklaces, are part of a “sexier skin-is-in” trend, said Elizabeth Florence, executive director of the Jewelry Information Center.
“The sensuality of exposed skin is heightened by fine jewelry,” she said. “Lengthy lariats and thread-like chain earrings in platinum or gold neatly pull together the deconstructed look of fall/holiday. Woven collars of platinum or gold that conform to a woman's contours feel sensual on skin and offer a peekaboo glimpse of neck, shoulders, and decolletage.”
Hoop and shoulder-duster earrings are back big. Leather shows up in cuffs, rings, and earrings as another dimension to fall's equestrian theme.
As far as rings go, “the bigger the better,” said Ms. Fitzgerald.
“It's almost the '80s again,” added Ms. Mayher, “but a much more refined look.”
Bracelets are made of Lucite, leather, plastic, silver, and gold. Diamond line and colored crystal bracelets maintain their momentun, while the steady popularity of charm and ID bracelets has been joined by a rush for zodiac symbols.
Pins and brooches made of colored stones and crystals are all the rage. They're shaped like animals, birds, insects, and especially flowers.
“Flowers are huge, every kind of flower in every kind of size and shape and with all kinds of gems,” said Ms. Fitzgerald. “And pins don't have to be worn on the lapel anymore. They can be worn on hats, on the shoulder, as belt buckles. You can wear smaller ones as a group together, three at a time. This has just emerged for fall.”
Growing consumer demand for jewelry and other accessories has been a boon to the fashion industry. “More embellishment has become popular,” she said.