I first met Michelle around 2000. I recall that the first year or so we knew each other, her wardrobe uniform included a fitted black Prada t-shirt, and virtually no jewelry. Seriously, no sparkle! It’s been such a treat to see how Michelle’s style has evolved over the years, and I now consider her one of the most avant-garde dressers I know. Granted, she is in the fashion industry, but Michelle does not let trends dictate what she wears. I’ve seen her dive into both color and gems the past 17+ years and truly discover her own personal style. Lucky me — I got to spend an hour exploring her jewlery box and hearing about her favorite pieces for this latest installment of Into the Jewelry Box.
When Michelle met me at the door, she was in a Saturday casual chic look which included an Avant Toi sweater topped with a knotted chain necklace with a singular Tahitian pearl. She told me, “It’s messy and old…I’ve had it for over 10 years…and I love it.” Now that’s a good return on investment, still wearing it a decade later.
She complemented the easy look with a pair of pave diamond studs. These earrings get a lot of mileage in her wardrobe, as they go everywhere from spin class to traveling the globe.
I was lusting after this other pair of diamond slice studs nestled in her jewelry box — what a fabulous, warm glow! These were purchased on a trip to India.
Another pair of her everyday earrings are these luscious grey drops from Larkspur & Hawk. I can see how they’d just meld with whatever she decided to wear that day.
I hadn’t been to Michelle’s house in years, but it didn’t surprise me to see her jewelry collection was as edited as she keeps her closet. She chooses to buy fewer pieces, but fabulous pieces. I asked her what her most worn items are in the current rotation. First and foremost is the “rolling” bracelet by Sidney Garber.
She first saw this bracelet in Aspen, where one of her friends was wearing it. At first she didn’t “get it,” but then her eye started seeing it paired with The Row and other key designers, and suddenly she had a big “ah ha!” and had to purchase one for herself. It is now her #1 favorite piece of jewelry she owns. She likened the phenomenon to skinny jeans. Remember how when they first hit the scene we cringed while wearing our boot-cut jeans? Then when our eye and mind got used to them, they were suddenly a staple.
Michelle also has two long necklaces which she frequently layers together. One is a golden hand on a long leather cord, and the other is a gold Irene Neuwirth chain with two brightly colored pendants. And all together, they totally work on her!
She found a pair of amethyst Judy Geib earrings that really play back well with the whole jewelry ensemble. They “go” but they’re not totally matchy-matchy, if you know what I mean.
Michelle also has a real affinity for the fashion jewelry from Bottega Veneta. She’s acquired a nice collection of their drop earrings, as well as a very cool bracelet with green accents. These are easy for her to mix and match with her scarf collection.
Speaking of earrings, she has a few pair that are extra-special. When I asked about her strategy for jewlery acquisition, she explained, “I’m clothes-driven. I just LOVE clothes. I buy the outfit first, and then I go about finding the right jewelry.” This is how she ended up with these crazy-cool Nak Armstrong earrings, purchased to complement her mother-of-the-groom outfit for her son’s wedding. I took a photo of them on top of the Gucci skirt she wore. Once again, you can see how she just nailed the blended color palette.
Here’s another standout pair of earrings, this time labradorite by Irene Neuwirth. These are generally reserved for more special occasions.
One of the things I really admire about Michelle’s collection is that it really isn’t full of “basics.” In fact, most pieces have a very distinct personality, just like she does. Have you ever though about having a fly on a necklace? And that it would be one of your go-to pieces? Neither had I, but she bought this Stephen Webster fly necklace and it has become a staple. Who would have thought?
Or what about a multi-strand necklace embellished with crystal evil eyes on pearls? Sounds a bit out there? Well not in this case — in her wardrobe it’s spot on perfect.
I have to say, that getting an inside look into Michelle’s jewelry collection has really got me thinking. Perhaps I should consider adding more color to my jewelry? Does this fit into my personal style? I certainly tend towards buying neutrals. Also, if I see a piece that truly speaks to me, yet it’s more “quirky” than I would normally buy, I’m going to analyze it before automatically dismissing it — would it blend with my wardrobe? Where could I see myself wearing it? All things to ponder.
Thanks to Michelle for allowing me to invade her jewelry box. I love the collection you’ve built, and I’ll be anxious to see what you acquire next!