When Should You Wear Pearls?

1.indexedWhen is the right time to wear pearls?  We’ve talked about how to buy pearls, but Reader C sent in a super short email wondering when to wear them…

One of my favorite jewelry pieces is my strand of Mikimoto pearls that I got for my 30th birthday.  They were an investment piece, and they get so much wear that I’m glad I did invest in a quality piece.  That said, there are a ton of price ranges (and there’s nothing wrong with faux pearls) so there’s something for everyone.  For my $.02, when to wear pearls depends on the kind of pearls we’re talking about: [Read more…]

How to Start a Tasteful and Professional Jewelry Collection

When you first start working, how do you build an appropriate jewelry collection — one that’s interesting, tasteful, and professional? Reader A wonders…

I come from a decidedly non-professional background, and most jewelry I’ve bought has either gone out of style in a month or been so cheap I feel it doesn’t fit with my upgraded wardrobe. I don’t want to look like I’m loaded down with bling, but I also don’t want to look like my grandmother. Do you have suggestions for classic pieces that I can wear to school and then to summer internships? My particular school is extremely competitive (aren’t they all?) and many women dress in business casual every day.

How to start building a jewelry and accessories wardrobe is a great question, and something I struggled with when I started in BigLaw.  My previous jewelry collection was a mix of thrifted/self-made/funky — and at first, I didn’t see any real problem mixing it with business suits.  Then one day I got called into a Big Meeting.  Great, I thought, I’m wearing a basic black suit and a simple blouse.  My confidence disappeared sitting in the VIP’s office, as I became acutely aware of the statement ring I’d chosen to wear that day: a large green agate ring (we’re talking 2″ long) on a chipped, undetermined piece of metal.  I’d paid $20 for it at a DC flea market.  What must he think?  I wondered.  I wound up turning it to face my palm as I took notes and asked questions about the assignment.

I’m curious to hear what readers say here, but I’ll offer a few suggestions: [Read more…]

Surprise Basics for Women’s Workwear

Surprise Basics for Women's Workwear | Corporette2016 Update: Check out our latest discussion about workwear workhorses!

Reader S has a question about which wardrobe items become surprise basics for the working woman…

Would love to hear you and readers share which pieces have unexpectedly come into your regular wardrobe rotation. For example, I know that you’ve found purple pumps to be quite versatile. Now that many of us have found the classic basics, what are some pieces that you have found to be surprise basics?

Great question! Personally, I find that there is little way to predict what will be a favorite — it depends on how an item wears, what surprises it holds (how low does that neckline go if you lean forward?), and how it fits after you’ve laundered it at least once.  Still — there have been a few unexpected basics in my working wardrobe, including purple pumps, as reader S correctly points out.  (Pictured.) Other things that might not be on every woman’s must-have list of items, but are items I’ve never regretted purchasing:

[Read more…]

Coffee Break: Tahitian Cultured Pearl and Diamond Pendant

Tahitian Cultured Pearl and Diamond PendantFor today’s coffee break, we’re digging this Tahitian pearl pendant. Like diamond studs, pearls can be all over the map in terms of expense and quality, but they always convey that you’re striving for a classic look. We like the Tahitian pearl to mix it up a bit, and this one seems like a great size and price for someone just building their serious jewelry collection.  It’s $530 at Blue Nile.  Tahitian Cultured Pearl and Diamond Pendant

Open Thread: What Jewelry Do You Wear at the Office?

what-jewelry-to-wear-to-workAh, office jewelry… too much and you run the risk of looking like Tess, pre-makeover (from Working Girl). Today’s reader mail:

I adore jewelry, and I can pull of a bit chunkier necklace, but I hate wearing earrings or bracelets at the office. Bracelets always end up hurting my arm when I’m writing, as my watch goes on my left wrist and I’m right handed, and earrings always poke into my head when I’m on the phone. I’ve gotten around it by wearing only necklaces, or taking my earrings off when on the phone much like the ladies on Designing Women, but I’d love a more modern suggestion, and to know what jewelry others are wearing!

Perfect Huggie Hoops in Yellow Gold by Jude FrancesWe totally agree — it can be tricky. For our $.02, we’ve mentioned our dislike of bracelets before: bangles are too noisy and distracting, and even tennis bracelets dig into our wrists while typing. As for earrings, we haaate, hate, hate wearing post earrings for precisely that reason. Our solution has been to wear earrings with what we believe is called a “European” back — far more comfortable! — but it can be hard to find ones that are small enough to be acceptable for the office that are nice yet reasonably priced. We end up wearing a lot of “huggie” earrings (like the ones pictured at right), which hug the earlobe. (At right: Perfect Huggie Hoops in Yellow Gold by Jude Frances, available at Amazon.com for $480.) We would argue that earrings that dangle farther than half an inch from your earlobe are a bit too distracting for work, but maybe that’s us. [Read more…]

Reader Mail – Pearl Necklaces and Younger Women

Can Younger Women Wear Pearls | CorporetteA while ago, we got this intriguing e-mail from a reader:

As a late graduation present, I was considering asking my folks for a classic strand of pearls.  This turned out to be more complicated than I had thought.  Is it (still) true that younger women shouldn’t aspire to larger pearls?  I don’t want to buy a strand that will look silly when I’m in my 30s and 40s — what’s the largest I can get away with in my 20s?

The article she linked to explained that larger pearls were for older women — the largest sizes being for women “45 and up,” with the smallest sizes being intended for “older teens, 16 to 24.”

For our $.02: We love our 7.5 MM x 8 MM pearls and wear them all the time — several times a week.   They stodge up a questionable outfit and make us feel like we belong when we’re at an event with much bigger wigs than us.  As for the size, we would say that if you’re wearing suits you’re old enough to get this size of pearls (which, according to the website, is the last size of pearls acceptable for women under 35).  Go to the store and try on different pairs — you’ll eventually find one that feels and looks at home on your neck — and THAT’S the size and length you should get.  (We went with 18″ and would never look back, but if you wear button-down shirts or crewnecks frequently you may prefer to go with the tighter 16″ length.) [Read more…]