amaze plus size magazine

by cynthia sliwa

Spring Necklaces and Bracelets:  A Time to Play


Remember the old maxim that less is more? For Spring 2006, dial up the adornments at your neck or wrists. Necklaces or bracelets worn in multiples and in all manner of configurations are a fashion “do.” Quoting one of my favorite movies of all times, Steel Magnolias, “What separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.”  In necklaces or bracelets (and notice that I say “or,” not “and” – wear only one or the other at a time) this is the perfect time to experiment with color, texture, scale and proportions and have some fun in expressing your individuality with your accessories.

And what a wealth of choices there are with which to accessorize!  Necklaces are available throughout the entire spectrum of prices and in an amazing variety of materials in longer lengths that make fit a non-issue. Indeed, the one necklace length that is rarely seen in the mix is the true choker that fits tightly against the throat. This is a golden opportunity to go shopping at the department stores, jewelry stores or malls and of course online (you can always email each other!) with your less curvy friends to find pieces that each of you can wear and enjoy.

Chains are the bases for most of these multi-strand necklace looks. You can use the classic textures, such as rope-style chains; choose pieces with larger links that incorporate more negative space, or use both types of chains in combination. Look also for chains with gemstones, crystals, beads or other detailed design elements included in intervals along the lengths of the necklaces for interesting touches of texture and color.

Incidentally, yellow gold, together with its rarer sister, rose gold, are the metals of choice in jewelry right now, but if white metals look better on you, don’t hesitate to wear them. Indeed, combining different colored metals is another possibility as you find the mix of pieces you want to wear.

Kendra Scott Pendant Drop Necklace Available at

Along with strands of beads and precious and semi-precious stones of all sizes, shapes, colors and textures, look for shells and wooden beads to add interest to the mix. Vintage crystal and plastic beads can give your look individuality and style. TIP: Look to the size of your eyes, nose and mouth for a guideline as to the size of the beads that will suit you best. The larger your features, the larger the beads you can easily carry off. If you have smaller features, you may look better in smaller-scale beads so that the necklace doesn’t detract and draw attention away from your face. Remember, ultimately, the point of wearing necklaces is to make YOU look great, not to show off the necklaces!

R.J. Graziano Necklaces Available at

In addition to chains and beads, homespun touches are an important fashion trend this year. Many designers are incorporating ribbons, macramé and embroidery work into their jewelry designs. Leather, rubber and silk are additional materials that expand your choices instead of chains.

One easy way to get the look of wearing multiple necklaces is to start with a necklace designed with multiple strands. In some cases, the designers vary the materials of the strands, giving you that put-together look effortlessly. If you choose one of the necklaces in a style introduced last year that looks like a purposeful tangle of chains, make sure you’re wearing only that one necklace. Artfully purposeful dishevelment can be interesting and fun; any more than that can look just like a big old mess.

Pendant necklaces are back in vogue in a big way, and can be layered or combined with other necklaces. The look of tiered pendants is another option for your consideration.

How to get the right mix?  Experiment, and play!  Never in recent times has there been more of a fashion incentive to mix and match.  Here’s a great excuse to do a thorough inventory of your jewelry. Find the pieces hidden away in boxes and pouches and try different mixes. Put pearls or beads with chains, and feel free to mix in pendant or lockets too. Combine necklaces that have a similar sense of weight. A thin gold chain won’t hold its own against chunky turquoise beads.


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