We’ve all read through (and perhaps shopped from) those checklists outlining the “wardrobe workhorses” you need in your closet: a white button up, black slacks, a crisp trench coat. While it is important to have those clothing basics covered, we cannot ignore the importance of adding jewelry to your outfit. Your jewelry choices add those doses of sparkle and polish that tie a look all together and signal that you put thought into your ensemble.
We break down, step-by-step, the pieces you should add to your wardrobe and jewelry collection, in order.
1. Stud Earrings
This small addition to your jewelry collection will have a big impact on your outfit, adding a smart finishing touch that requires no real effort or thought.
Look for a pair that suits your personal style and affixes closely to the ear. We suggest shying away from long or chandelier earrings as your first or go-to pair; these sweeping styles can feel too dramatic for everyday wear.
2. An Everyday Watch
Like the extra shine of earrings, a classic watch makes your outfit feel polished and pulled together—again, with minimal effort. We recommend a clean design with a metal bracelet which is a reliable everyday timepiece that feels professional in the office and not too stuffy for off-duty days.
To help you decide whether you should invest in a white or yellow gold, defer to your favorite handbag’s hardware. If your work tote has gold hardware, opt for a gold watch. If your satchel is covered in silver-brushed studs, go for silver. Really hard-pressed to pick? Go for a two-tone watch and problem solved. Steer clear of styles that have too-colorful dials that may compete with your outfit.
Regardless of which style you pick, ensure that it fits your wrist size correctly. For more on that, check out our handy guide to find the right case size for you.
3. A Delicate Pendant Necklace
Up next on your jewelry checklist: a pendant necklace with sentimental meaning. It is important to pepper your jewelry collection with pieces of personal significance so the collection remains uniquely yours.
Ideally, you want an unobtrusive chain necklace that you can put on and never have to take off. Consider a pendant with your birthstone, a loved one’s initials, or a small charm that recalls a warm memory.
4. A Statement Bracelet or Cuff
As your day-to-day collection comes together, it’s time to add in a few bold pieces to keep things interesting, starting with a statement bracelet or cuff.
We recommend sleek and architectural pieces that add dimension to your evening outfits or punch up your weekend t-shirt-and-jeans. Or, if you love stacking your bracelets, try a handful of bracelets and cuffs that pair well together and have different textures like a charm bracelet, a smooth enamel cuff and a thin chain bracelet.
5. Stack-Friendly Rings
To further personalize your jewelry wardrobe, add in a handful of mix-and-match rings. Look for rings with varying thickness that you can stack up or wear individually. Keep your collection interesting with rings in different metal types, colorful gemstones or pavé stones. The goal here is to have a healthy variety of styles that can throw together to complement (and not overwhelm) the other pieces of jewelry you’re wearing.
6. A Statement Necklace
Like your bold cuff or bracelet, you need a necklace that can spice up a crisp button up or silk blouse. Unlike your dainty pendant necklace which quietly supports an ensemble and style, this necklace should be the focal point of your outfit. You want a stand-out necklace that works with multiple outfits but not one you wear every day. Try a sleek lariat, a chunky chain collar or a long wrap-around necklace with stations.
7. Statement Evening Earrings
Now that your daytime jewelry collection is covered, you’re ready to branch out into evening styles. We recommend starting with chandelier or long earrings as they offer you the style flexibility to work with a variety of necklines and dress styles.
Once you have these core styles covered, do not feel beholden to them forever. Your style will inevitably evolve as your preferences chance. Take regular inventory of what you’re wearing—and what’s collecting dust—and start editing, updating and refreshing your collection accordingly. The joy of a jewelry collection is getting to actually wear it, so make sure your pieces are always a reflection of your unique style.