Dominique Cohen: Designer

I have been a huge Dominique Cohen fan for years, so I was especially excited to meet her in person at a recent trunk show in San Francisco.

Hanging out with Dominique Cohen
Hanging out with Dominique Cohen

I’ve always considered Dominique’s jewelry as perfect layering pieces. Although she makes all different types of jewelry, I associate her most with her necklaces. She has core collection chains in rose and yellow gold. To these you can add a variety of pendants.

She features semi-precious and precious stones, as well as stunning pearls to her jewelry. By adding different layers and stones, you get completely different effects. It’s wonderful (and cost-effective) how you can keep adding different necklaces to your collection over the years, yet they all mix and match perfectly, both with themselves and with other necklaces you already own.

I also love the fact that her jewelry is made right here in the USA. It is hand made, and she casts each gold piece in her Los Angeles facility.

Here are a necklace and some earrings from her spring 2011 line:

beautiful Dominique Cohen necklace

beautiful Dominique Cohen earrings

You can find her jewelry at Neiman Marcus, Sak’s Fifth Avenue and various smaller boutiques. Read more about her and her line at Dominique Cohen.

Necklace Length: Where Should it Hit?

How many times have you found yourself at the jewelry counter trying on a necklace and wondering if it looks just right? Is it too long? Too short? Why is it just not quite right but I don’t know why?

Well I’m happy to say that the concept of balance points will help you determine the most flattering necklace lengths for you. And the bonus is that it’s simple–no rocket science involved.

To find your first balance point, measure (with string, a ruler, or whatever) the distance from your hairline down to your chin. (If you have thick bangs, then measure from the bottom of your bangs to your chin.) Then, drop this same distance down from your chin. Voila–that’s a balance point and a great place for necklaces to hit. Often, if you’re wearing a top with a neckline that feels to “high” and you add a necklace that hits at this balance point, then it suddenly works much better.

example of necklace balance point measurement

short necklace balance point

For the second balance point, just double this length. In other words, take that first measurement from your hairline to your chin, double it, and then drop it down from your chin to find a perfect spot for your long necklaces to hit.

long necklace balance point

With this handy guideline, I encourage you to visit your jewelry box. If you encounter some neglected necklaces, perhaps its just the length that needs a little adjusting.

What’s Your Jewelry Signature?

When people think about you and your jewelry, do you have a signature? Perhaps it’s the big, chunky men’s watch that you wear every day. Or are you usually wearing the topaz cocktail ring your grandmother handed down to you?  If you’re me, then you are inexplicably drawn to necklaces with horn pendants. Whenever my friends and clients see a horn necklace, they inevitably think of Amy.

horn jewelry collection
A selection of my horn pendant necklaces

Developing your jewelry signature goes hand-in-hand with your personal style. It speaks to who you are and what you love. Having your personal style clearly defined is the first building block of developing your jewelry collection. Without a solid sense of your personal style, then you are left adrift in the sea of fashion, and you’ll undoubtedly make some purchases you will later regret.

Think about what makes your heart sing. If you are drawn to more classic styles, then your signatures may include pearls, a gold link bracelet with a monogrammed charm, or a Cartier tank watch. The romantic will likely have layers of pearls or dreamy chandelier earrings. Baubles in turquoise, red coral, and armfuls of bangles will undoubtedly be part of a bohemian style.

Having a jewelry signature really puts the “you” in your ensemble. It could be just one specific piece (like a bangle with a horseshoe on it) or it could include a general theme (such as jeweled stacking rings or pieces with your initial on it). The goal is to not walk around looking like a cookie-cutter image from the latest catalogue or magazine. Instead, let your individuality shine through. So what is your jewelry signature?

Bracelets: Charmed, I’m sure…

About 10 years ago, my mom made the comment to me that all the rich girls she knew growing up had charm bracelets. She, on the other hand, was the daughter of two loving, but poor Italian immigrants. Of course, I decided then and there that my mom had to have one too. Heck, waiting 60 years was long enough, right?!

The more I thought about it, the more I realized what a special thing charm bracelets are–they literally are a history of your interests, your family, and your life. They speak volumes about you, yet in such a subtle way. She just had to have little birthstone booties to represent each of her grandchildren, a starfish to remember our annual trips to the beach, and a cruise ship to commemorate our first voyage last summer. Each holiday, she can count on one more memory to add to her bracelet. It’s almost like scrapbook for your wrist.

mom's charm bracelet

I do like charm bracelets better than those charm-keeper necklaces that were popular back in the 1980’s. With those, the charms were always so squished together that you couldn’t see each one. With charm bracelets, they are nicely spaced out so you can appreciate each one. And just the subtle jingle of the charms make you smile.

If you’ve got your own, or one passed down to you from a family member, take a close look at it. If jewelry could only talk…

Trunk Shows

I think jewelry trunk shows are one of the most under-utilized events for jewelry lovers. When a jewelry line is brought to a department store or boutique, by either the designer themselves or a rep, that is considered a trunk show. Usually a store only shows a small portion of a designer’s line, so when a trunk show is scheduled, they bring all sorts of beautiful baubles that you normally wouldn’t get the opportunity to see or try on.

Whenever I attend one of these shows, I feel like I’m playing in the big jewelry box of the designer. You can try on whatever your heart desires with no obligation to buy. It’s also educational to try jewelry on with the expert from the company there, as they can often tell you things such as the inspiration for the piece, show you other ways to combine their jewelry, etc.

Shows are normally scheduled for a few hours, and typically no appointments are needed. I’ve noticed that on occasion, in the smaller boutiques, a discount is offered on the pieces during a trunk show. If this sounds like something up your alley, be sure to get on the mailing lists of your favorite local stores so you won’t miss out on any jewelry opportunities!

Should I buy it?

I can’t tell you how often I’ve found myself standing at the jewelry counter with a client while she tries something on, and she asks me, “Should I buy it?”  Beyond the issues of affordability and if it’s flattering, the answer is easy.

First of all, do you absolutely love it?  If not, take it off and step away from the case.  I don’t care if your best friend has one just like it, or you saw Jennifer Aniston looking amazing in the same thing.  I care about you and your true feelings.

Next, it’s all about cost-per-wear.  Basically, the more you spend on something, the more you should wear it to make it cost-effective.  For example, if you wear your watch every day, then it’s wise to invest more money in it.  The cost of the item will go down each time you wear it.  But if you are thinking about spending a lot of money on a pair of special occasion earrings that you may only wear once or twice a year, then think very long and hard before making that purchase.  It may not be a wise investment.

Here’s an added tip: many stores have a deal that if you buy something over a certain dollar amount on their credit card, then they will spread out your payments, interest-free, over a six month period.  This has worked out great for me at both Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.  Just an idea. 😉

Happy shopping!

Storage for Your Bling

I know that you have tried to pull out a necklace to wear and found it in a tangled mess. Or you go to put on a pair of earrings and can only find one of them.  Sounds familiar, right?  If so, then you may need to work a bit on how you store your jewelry.  I’ve got all sorts of tips to help you solve this dilemma.

Using a jewelry box or armoire is an easy solution.  And there are scads of beautiful, yet functional, choices out there!  If your collection is smaller, then consider something like this from  Pottery Barn.

For those with a more substantial collection, I highly recommend an armoire like this one from Ballard Designs.  Note that many armoires only have one or two drawers with built-in sections, so you may need to buy trays for the other drawers.  I’ve had great luck with these from the Container Store.

If you happen to have a free drawer in a dresser or closet, you can easily turn that into your jewelry box by using these same type of trays.  Most closet companies can also build in felt-covered wood or lucite jewelry compartments with sliding trays into your existing cabinetry.  Voila–instant jewelry box!

For those with limited space, these hanging organizers are perfect.

Another idea is to buy decorative wall hooks (you can find many darling ones at Anthropologie) and hang all your jewelry from these.  My dear friend Jen decorated her whole vanity area like this.

Personally, I also like to use some of my jewelry as part of my interior design.  I’ve got some of my favorite sparkly rings displayed in a domed mercury glass pedestal.  I also highlight some of my necklaces and beaded bracelets on a large, antique glass wine jug.  One caveat to displaying jewelry, though, is that it then needs dusting, and it’s more prone to tarnishing if it’s silver and exposed to the air.  To me, it’s worth it just so I can gaze at it when I’m in the room.  Lovely…..

Antique jug used for jewelry display

The most important thing is to have your jewelry neatly stored, yet easy to see.  If you can’t see something, you’ll never wear it–and your jewelry wants to be worn!

Hoop Earrings: Hoop it up!

As I was choosing what earrings to wear the other morning, my boyfriend happened to peek over my shoulder into my jewelry box. Granted, he’s about the most un-materialistic person I’ve ever met, but his expression totally cracked me up as his eyes opened verrry wide.  “Why do you have so many hoop earrings?  Aren’t they all the same?!”

Clearly, not all hoops are created equal, and in my mind, they are the LBD of a jewelry wardrobe.  (LBD=little black dress)  Hoops in their various sizes and metals are one of the most useful items you can have.  In fact, when I finally got my ears pierced in college (it was torture waiting that long!!), I promised my parents that all I really needed were hoops, as you could wear them anywhere.  (That lasted for about two weeks, when I just had to branch out, of course!) 🙂  But truly, hoops can work from the boardroom to the ballroom.

So what type of hoops should you have in your collection?  First, consider what metal you wear. If your skin and hair are in the cooler tones then silver or platinum are most flattering, and warmer skin tones look fabulous in gold.  Rose gold, which is currently very popular, looks good on many skin tones, so be sure to try it out in the stores. (If it works for you, buy it while it’s in fashion, as it will one day disappear again.)

Small hoops (up to about .75″ in diameter) are best for more conservative environments, and medium (.75″-1.5″ diameter) to large hoops (over 1.5″ diameter) range from casual to dressy.  In each of these categories, you also have to consider the thickness of the hoops themselves.  Thin hoops are more basic (but certainly not boring) and wider hoops make a bolder statement.  When considering what size and width to buy, be sure to consider your own proportions.  Teeny, tiny hoops on a 5’11” voluptuous gal just won’t do the trick.

Hoops go beyond basic when you get into diamond or beaded varieties. And I just love the sparkle of diamonds!  Once you’ve got your basic metals down, then save up for some diamond hoops, be it jeweled all around, or just with one or two diamonds as accents.  And yes, you can wear them during the day!

Affiliate Link Disclosure

If you’ve read my “About” page, then you know I’m a complete jewelry-a-holic and that I started this blog to write about what I love. Plus, writing this blog goes hand-in-hand with my full time career as a wardrobe stylist. Everything I choose to write about is because I have something to say on the topic, not because someone is paying me to write about it. But I do want to let you know that I do have some affiliate links in articles, which means that I sometimes may make a small percentage of money if you buy the item through my link. This does not mean that you are paying a higher price whatsoever, so don’t worry about that. Any compensation I receive will never influence the content or topics of posts made in this blog — that, I can promise you. If you want to read more about the FTC guidelines, then click here.

Jewelry Fashion Tips

Welcome to the Jewelry Fashion Tips blog! As a wardrobe stylist and personal shopper, I am surrounded by jewelry on a daily basis. Of course, this is heaven for me, as I’ve been a jewelry-a-holic since about kindergarten. (No lie–ask my family!) Rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings…they all make my heart sing. Regardless of one’s personal style or age, the crowning glory on any ensemble is your jewelry.

I am fortunate to be on the front lines of discovering new jewelry designers, fabulous shops to find new treasures, and witness current jewelry trends on the street. Everything from costume jewelry to fine jewelry catches my eye. In my opinion, it’s all in the mix when building your own jewelry collection.

The aim of this blog is multi-tiered. Some posts will be more informative, such as how to wear layered necklaces or what sort of jewelry box/storage options you may have. At other times, I’ll be filling you in on the latest jewelry designer I’ve met or some new jewelry store that I just have to tell you about. Or, it may even be discussing a tried-and-true line that holds the test of time. Though based in the San Francisco Bay Area, I do travel a fair amount, so look forward to tips from around the globe.