Jewelry Box Basics: The Lady Who Lunches

This is the first article in a 6-part series about what basics you should have in your jewelry box, based on your personal style. In my many years as an image consultant, I’ve spent countless hours working with clients and their jewelry, helping them to carefully select the pieces that really enhance their outfits and express who they are. I’ve come up with six different personal styles: the lady who lunches, bohemian, rock star, minimalist, trendy and romantic. For those of you who are wondering where the creative style is, don’t think that I’m neglecting you. Instead, I’ve learned that there really aren’t any “basics” for the creative type! This personal style likes each piece to be a work of art.

Granted, no one fits exactly into one “box,” but hopefully these articles will at least give you a framework of where to start in building your jewelry wardrobe. Personally, though my own style definitely veers towards the bohemian esthetic, there are elements from each style that I love (and have in my jewelry box!). In each article, I’ll be showing an example of each item, but don’t let the price point bother you, whether you think it’s too high or too low. Just use the example as the general “look” and then shop at the price point that you feel comfortable with.

Ok, so here goes…”the lady who lunches” is very prevalent here in the Bay Area. Active with their children’s schools, always involved in various charities, and with a booked social calendar, this woman needs jewelry that will take her everywhere.

I recommend a high quality watch in the metal that looks best on you. You may even decide on one embellished with diamonds, if your style and budget support that. I think this one by Philip Stein is very versatile, and I love the unique shape of the face.

Just the right amount of bling
Just the right amount of bling

Three to five bracelets in the same metal color as your watch are perfect for stacking. They can be worn on the same wrist as your watch or on the other arm. Personally, I’m a big fan of Ippolita. Her bangles come in just metal, or embellished with diamonds and semi-precious stones. The bangles don’t need to all be by the same designer, either. Just look for harmonious design elements in your grouping.

I like using bangles in odd numbers
I like using bangles in odd numbers

A colored stone, worn in the largest scale that you’re comfortable with, really goes a long way. It’s appropriate during the day, and can also add a lot to a cocktail outfit. This blush colored sapphire ring by Jill Alberts is lovely.

Subtle, yet still a statement
Subtle, yet still a statement

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I think hoops are about the most versatile earring on the planet. I’ve yet to find a person, no matter what their personal style is, that doesn’t resonate with the perfect pair of hoops. For the lady who lunches, I really think she needs at least two pair — one, in her metal of choice, and then another with diamonds. (Can you tell that this is a pricey personal style to have?!) Of course, this look can easily be achieved with cubic zirconia as well. This pair by Roberto Coin is just lovely.

I have a cz version of these
I have a cz version of these

I find that various strands of pearls in different lengths, colors, and textures, are definitely a basic for the lady who lunches. Now these are NOT your stuffy, old-lady pearls we’re talking about. Instead, imagine multiple layers, various scales, and even interspersed with metal chains. No need for real pearls, either. There are plenty of man-made pearls at various price points. Here’s a very cool take on a multi-strand necklace by Alexis Bittar.

I love the metal & sparkle details
I love the metal & sparkle details

With these five elements in your jewelry box, you’ve got a good base on which to build. A jewelry collection takes time and money to create, so just enjoy the process. Invest in pieces that you LOVE and that really appeal to your personal style, and you can’t go wrong.

Ippolita: Designer

Ippolita has become one of my “go to” lines for years now in my personal shopping business. Silver, gold, rose gold, gunmetal and gems galore — how can you go wrong? I now have an even deeper appreciation of this stunning line after spending some time chatting with the designer, Ippolita, herself.

Ippolita and Amy
Psyched to meet Ippolita!

Though the trunk show was absolutely packed, she easily spent fifteen minutes or more casually chatting with me. We seemed to quickly bond, covering topics from how to deal with our (mutually) curly hair to our love of Italy. (Granted, she was born there and I am only half Italian, but still…) It’s amazing how much she has done in her life already. She received a degree in sculpture in Italy, a degree in English literature, founded a dance company, and oh, yeah…started an incredible jewelry line in the 1990’s. Never mind that she’s also a mother and involved in countless other things. How does she do it?

One of the things that I love about her line is that it appeals to a wide range of personal styles among my clients. I’ve got classic gals, more bohemian women, and sporty chics who all incorporate pieces from her line into their jewelry wardrobe. Her pieces don’t become dated, either. They will be as beautiful and stylish the day you buy them as they will in ten years. That’s always a selling point, as it really lowers the cost-per-wear. (Not that you need a reason to buy a new bauble, do you?!)

Here’s a close-up of some of her bangles. She designs the bracelets in a rainbow of colors and metals. They easily can stack with bangles you already own.

Ippolita bracelets
Bangles galore!

This silver link necklace will take you from boardroom to a cocktail party, depending on how you style it. Now that’s jewelry bang for your buck!

Ippolita silver necklace
Silver Ippolita Necklace

I’ve written about choosing jewelry metals for different skin tones before. These mother-of-pearl earrings work on a wide range of skin tones. I’ve tried them on clients with both cool and warmer skin, and they just sort of reflect back in a flattering tone. Since she designs mother of pearl pieces in both gold and silver, all you have to do is pick what metal color best suits you, and you’re sure to have a winner.

Ippolita mother of pearl earrings
I want these!

The Neiman Marcus chain will be doing a “Silk Road Dream” Ippolita show in mid-February. She won’t be making a personal appearance, but you can still view the collection. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can see it in San Francisco on February 10th and in Palo Alto on February 15th.

If you have a few minutes to surf around her website, I highly recommend it. It’s much more than just a jewelry site. In particular, I like the “Three Things” and “Salon” segments, so click away. You needed a little break right now, didn’t you?