Over the past few years, antique jewelry has really made an entrance in my life. And with it, I’ve been experimenting with some ways to style antique necklaces so that they look current and express my personal style. I certainly don’t want to look like a “fashion don’t” when stepping out the front door! I want to share two different ways to utilize antique necklaces. The first is layering, and the second strategy is using one necklace as a focal point.
So let’s start with layering necklaces. With this, you can layer various antique/vintage necklaces, or you can mix old and new together. Doyle & Doyle recently shared this photo on Instagram, which is a fantastic example of how to layer with panache.
I’ll share what I did with them two days last week. On Monday I looped the long antique necklace around my neck twice, creating a choker effect, and paired it with the non-antique necklace.
In my typical black, I liked how they looked with my harem pants and sandals. I describe my personal style as “urban bohemian” and I thought this ensemble was true to my style.
Then on Wednesday, I wore a dress over a pair of cropped, frayed-hem jeans. I wore the 57″ necklace long, layered the new necklace. I’d never worn a necklace so long! But once I figured out how to maneuver it (and not get it stuck in the seatbelt), I felt pretty swishy! It’s true that I don’t necessarily look like anyone else on the street, but in my book that’s a good thing.
Now let’s take a look at just using one necklace as a focal point. While I was at the Hillsborough Antique Fair a couple weekends ago, I spent quite a bit of time with the charming Lenore Dailey. I photographed two different necklaces to use in my examples. The first one is a Victorian 18K and silver necklace with rose cut and old European cut diamonds. At first glance, you might think, “Oh, this is gorgeous, but certainly best worn for a dressy occasion.” I feel the complete opposite. I think it would look just amazing worn during the day. Don’t worry…I’ll give you some ideas how in a minute.
The second necklace that caught my eye in her booth was this Georgian 15K gold flower chain with the most amazing clasp — check out the cabochon turquoise. What workmanship!
So yes, of course you can wear these necklaces with a cocktail dress. But how cute would they look with a t-shirt, jeans, boots and a biker jacket? Or what about this — a simple pencil skirt, a pull-over sweater, and funk it up with some Golden Goose Sneakers. (yes, I might be just a wee bit obsessed with these sneakers).
If you add one of these necklaces to the sporty chic look, it’d be awesome! I like how the turquoise would look against the raspberry color. Not too “matchy-matchy,” if you know what I mean. And the juxtaposition of the diamonds with sneakers would be so cool — not a combination someone might typically come up with while getting dressed.
The bottom line is I want you to know that it’s much easier to incorporate an antique necklace into your look than you might think. Try it on with unexpected garments, and you might be very surprised at how original and unique it looks. And with any item you purchase, remember that the more it costs, the more you should wear it so that the cost-per-wear goes down. Never save anything “for good.” Now venture forth into your jewelry box and your closet and have some fun! Send me pix of what you come up with.
Thanks for the great response to my “Observations on Portland” article — so fun! And as I promised, here’s the follow-up post with the jewelry lo-down from the ‘hood. As I mentioned, one of the reasons I went there was to visit Twist. (This store is up in the 23rd Ave. area.) I’ve ordered from them online before, and I was so psyched to see the store in person. Not only was it much bigger than I had envisioned, but they carry items for the home as well. Who knew? The first case that magnetized me was filled with work by Judy Geib. This opal bracelet left me speechless. (There are so many times I wish I had a bottomless wallet…)
I was also fascinated with these crystal lockets from Loquet London. You can select from a vast variety of charms to put inside. Such a darling take on the charm theme!
These lovely studs by Suzanne Kalan with a black diamond halo “sparkled” my attention as well.
Oh, and you can’t help but be intrigued by the signage and light when leaving the store!
Only a couple blocks away on 23rd Ave., I visited Gilt. They specialize in both vintage and antique fine jewelry (on the main floor), and vintage costume jewelry and new items from local designers up on the second floor. It was brimming with customers, and I was told that Sundays are a BIG day for engagement ring shopping. (I’m always learning something new!) Given Portland’s eco-conscious attitude, I’m not surprised that vintage rings are a hot commodity. They have a very clever color-coded box system, and the color of box tells you what metal the ring is set in. Here’s a (very small) sampling of their fabulous selection.
They have a large collection of lockets and Native American jewelry as well.
I did make a little purchase here. It’s a necklace by Amira (a Portland artisan), made of woven nylon thread, glass beads, and brass. It definitely appeals to the boho girl in my soul, and I like the mixed metals. And I just haaad to take home some sort of souvenir, right?!
Walking back towards my hotel downtown, I stopped at Frances May on SW Washington St. They carry some of my favorite clothing designers, and they have a well-edited selection of modern jewelry as well. I liked this large statement necklace by Erin Considine.
During my exploration of the east side, I went to Altar, as recommended by my fashionable bartendress, Emily, from the previous evening. I may have missed this had I not been chatting with her. This establishment features “northwest alternative handmade” items, and it’s definitely worth a stop. This organic wall display of necklaces was awesome!
It turns out that the designer of this line (called Iron Oxide Designs) is Amy Fox, and she is part-owner of the store and was manning the front desk that day. Cool!
These necklaces by Fox Tail Jewelry are very industrial boho, and they fit in perfectly with the Portland aesthetic.
I unfortunately failed to note the designer of these tassel necklaces, but I love them!
While I tried to really pack in my shopping time during my two-day stay in Portland (and I certainly saw a lot!), these were my jewelry highlights. As you can see, there’s a real range in offerings. To be honest, I found more diversity in the jewelry than I did in fashion. Hope you enjoyed this virtual tour! And please let me know if you have a favorite spot to shop there as well. I always love hearing from you.