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A string of pearls is, in many ways, a timeless purchase, both from a symbolic and practical perspective. While a t-shirt or a fancy coat might wear off with time, pearls, if properly maintained, can be passed on from generation to generation. The only problem with pearls is that, as elegant as timeless as they are, if improperly accessorized, they can look a tad outdated.
However, wearing pearl jewelry the correct way will help you look sophisticated and fashionable, even combined with everyday outfits. Yes, you heard us right – pearls are not reserved solely for formal occasions. You can just as easily wear pearls with your crusty Tame Impala t-shirt and worn-off Converse sneakers if you so desire. If you are unsure how to match pearl jewelry with your everyday attire, this guide will tell you everything you need to know.
Familiarize Yourself With Pearls
Before going full on into pearl territory and embracing this lifestyle, you should do your due diligence and learn all there is to learn about them. One good approach for nailing the perfect match is playing around with the pearls’ hue and color. As you probably already know, pearls come in lots of colors, tones and shades such as black, lavender, gray, pink and white.
You should build the outfit around the luster and color of the pearls. For instance, shiny pearls do not go well with casual outfits (say, a tank top or a shirt) because they may stand out too much. The second thing you have to take into account is matching the pearls with the tone of your skin, as well as the color of your hair and eyes.
Here are a few guiding points that will help you find the perfect match:
- If you are looking for a way to highlight your skin tone, a pink pearl necklace is the perfect approach. They not only confer a bohemian and romantic (but not to an excessive degree) style but match perfectly with light hair and skin tones. Obviously, if you want to turn heads during a romantic dinner or occasion, you should go for this approach.
- Lavender pink pearl necklaces are perfect for women with dark hair and skin tones. They add an extra degree of glamour and sophistication to outfits. The only disadvantage of lavender pearl necklaces (if you can it that) is the fact that you need to pair them extra carefully with your outfits. These are not your day to day necklaces, meaning they are best suited to formal occasions.
- Akoya pearls are what many people associate with the classic pearl. A classy, single strand of white Japanese Akoya pearls can go a long way to compliment your style, whether we are talking about elegant, casual or formal outfits. The reason why they are so famous is due to their versatility, as they work well with all manners of skin tones, hair colors or fashion choices. You can match white Akoya pearls with casual wear with the same ease and nonchalance as you would with a business outfit.
- Black pearl necklaces, on the other hand, are in a wholly different league. These pearls are the epitome of sophistication and elegance, a reason for which you will only see them at formal occasions in combination with an evening gown or a classy dress. Apart from the fact that they do not fit well in casual contexts, black pearls are as versatile as the white akoyas, as they contrast beautifully with lighter skin tones and hair colors, and add a degree of mystique to ladies with darker tones and hair.
How to Look Sophisticated During Work and Casual Occasions
Now that we have taken a brief look at pearl necklaces, is it time to discuss how they can be accessorized with your work and casual outfits.
During office hours (9.am to 6 p.m.), if your job requires a formal attire (banks, corporate management, finance, and so on and so forth), the best approach is choosing a short, single strand of white Akoyas in combination with a slim fit jacket, a buttoned shirt or a neck blouse.
If you like the idea of experimenting with your outfit, you can opt for a lavender necklace. However, make sure to build your attire around this choice as to not make your outfit stand out too much.
For day to day activities such as going to university, running errands, grocery shopping, going to cafes and casual visits, you can double the number of strands. Double-stranded pearls go especially well with sporty outfits composed of jeans, sneakers, leather jackets or cardigans. As long as the clothes do not fall in the ‘’smart casual’’ category, double strands work perfectly in day to day situations.
Another interesting incarnation is the pairing of hoop earrings (already a staple of streetwear; thanks, Jennifer Lopez) with pearls. There are two ways to accomplish this – simply combining said earrings with a necklace or a bracelet, or attaching the pearls to the hoops. And there is no need to buy special hoops for this purpose – many stores, such as Annoushka, sells pearls charms that can be added to your earrings.
Length of the Necklace
As for the length of the necklace itself, every size is fair game within business and casual contexts as long as they are matched correctly with the color scheme of the outfit. However, there is a case to be made about the versatility of long pearl necklaces. To help you figure out what is usually classified as a long pearl necklace, here are the most common designs you can find:
- Princess – measures between 17 and 19 inches.
- Opera – between 30 and 37 inches.
- Rope – ranges between 48 and 60 inches, with some being even slightly bigger than that.
- Matinee – 20 and 24 inches long.
- Choker – between 15 and 17 inches long (although some might not define them as being ‘’long necklaces’’ per se).
Amongst these types, rope pearl necklaces are gaining the most traction with young modern women. Unlike matinee and opera necklaces, which might look a tad odd in combination with outfits which would not fit in The Great Gatsby, rope pearls are very versatile. They go especially well with smart casual outfits – by matching a rope necklace with jeans and sack coats, for example, you will create the perfect blend between elegance and casual nonchalance.
As for other pearl related jewelry, the best approach is go for an asymmetrical concept. This means combining pearl jewelry items with varying lengths and designs as to not attract attention to a single item, rather making each one seem part of the whole.
For instance, you can try wearing a choker pearl necklace with a bracelet, or combining pearl earrings with a long-ish necklace and ditching the bracelet altogether. These are only a few suggestions, and remember – there is no better way of finding out what suits you best than experimenting.
Contrary to popular belief, pearls are far from being dead, with recent scientific advancements making the creation of fabulous, yet affordable pearls possible. Furthermore, their popularity is growing.
What was once a jewelry item reserved to the rich or special occasions has been benefiting from a shift in cultural perception, with many young women wearing pearl jewelry in contexts that were once considered inadmissible. It is safe to declare that wearing pearl jewelry will not make one look overly accessorized or outdated – so if you want to rock that style, there is no better time than now.