Closet 101 Style

The Perfect Jewelry Wardrobe

Building on last week’s post, where we talked about the value of jewelry (I loved reading everyone’s comments and emails…!! Thank you!) I wanted to write down my own thoughts on what a perfect “jewelry wardrobe” would look like, if one were aiming to keep things (slightly) more minimal.

Everyday pendant necklace. I used to wear a simple pendant necklace all the time, and then decided I wanted to give my longer statement necklaces some air time. After having children, I’m back to these simple pendants and I believe will be for the near future. I love something simple, chic, and that will match with a variety of outfits, necklines, and colors…and which also won’t be harmed by sticky fingers, or get caught on something when I bend over (I know someone who broke their long Van Cleef necklace this way – she bent over and the necklace caught on a chair and she stood back up quickly, and it ripped. Ahh!). My favorite candidate is this topaz pendant from Pomellato. So elegant.

Simple and elegant watch. If you’re one of those people who only use their phone, you can pass on this one, but I think almost everyone could do with an elegant watch in their wardrobe. I’d pick one with a metal strap for durability, elegant enough to wear at night but not too precious that you couldn’t wear it in the day. Cartier Ballon Bleu is a great example of this. Here’s Kate Middleton with hers (she has the 28cm size, I believe). For a less expensive version, I like a lot of the Larson & Jennings designs.

You could try two tone so that it will always match with jewelry. I wore a two tone watch for many years and it was so easy.

Longer statement necklace: Van Cleef 20 motif Alhambra is what comes immediately to mind when I think of this. Still one of the best options that will always make you feel good when you wear it. The problem, of course, is the price tag. You can also check out this lariat version from Lana Jewelry for a fraction of the cost. The little discs means that it will reflect light beautifully and it’ll look great with a variety of necklines.

The long black necklace I’m wearing in the first photograph by the way, is the same as the large malachite pendant the model is wearing above – this is a great option from Van Cleef, you can wear it long for that statement look, or double up the chain to make it more of a pendant. I highly recommend this piece!

Everyday earrings: Same rules which apply to the everyday pendant necklace – easy to wear, match with everything, unobtrusive, impervious to foreign substances carried by children. I like simple and smaller diamond studs for this, although lately I’ve been eyeing the gorgeous pair from Marco Bicego, above. They reflect light beautifully.

Statement earrings: I typically don’t buy costume jewelry but for statement earrings I think costume is great place to spend your money, if only because real precious metals + diamonds can definitely add up when the earrings are bigger and bolder. I love this Oscar de la Renta pair (check out the brand in general for beautiful costume), and the impact they make is huge. Can you imagine these earrings with just a simple little black dress?

If you want to buy fine jewelry, I don’t think anyone can go wrong with a pair of pave diamond stud earrings, which can work for a ton of occasions.

Simple bracelet: Something you can wear everyday, that doesn’t get in the way and matches with a variety of outfits. The most common example I see of this is the Cartier Love, which has earned its popularity by being so incredibly versatile. Another great option are the Tiffany infinity bangles – the price at $2,200 is much more friendly than Cartier as well.

Everyday ring: An engagement ring could totally count for this one and you could be done. I like a simple easy to wear ring…I love rings in general, honestly. One of my favorites remains the Cartier Trinity, which comes in a ton of different sizes, widths and iterations and is comfortable on the fingers. I also love that it incorporates yellow, rose and white gold in one piece…makes it easy to match jewelry!

Those seven items compromise what I would consider to be an ideal, more minimalist jewelry wardrobe. Now of course, it’s always fun to have more, so if you have a few more places in your wardrobe, I’d also consider adding as nice to haves:

Other items from the initial list above, but in other metal colors. So if you have a silver tone pair of earrings, then a pair of yellow gold ones. A rose gold pendant necklace? Then a white gold one…and so on. You could easily go on forever here.

Statement ring: Remember when I said I love rings? I really do, all sorts. I love a gorgeous statement ring – some of my favorite dream pieces are the between the fingers by Van Cleef, but I’ve also recently fallen in love with the Boucheron animal collection.

Alternate watch: If you already have a simple everyday watch with a leather band, you can get something fun. A sporty model, one with a leather strap, something a bit blingy for the evening….anything. I’m one of those people who love watches.

What would be your ideal jewelry wardrobe? Approximately how many pieces would it be?


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  • Michelle
    March 27, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    My ideal jewelry wardrobe is what you have described and what I wear daily.
    Although I think no one at work would recognize any pieces that I wear, I prefer to be understated and I don’t draw any attention with these pieces that I wear.

    Here’s what I have on daily:
    – VCA Perlee clover WG diamond pendant
    – VCA Sweet Alhambra WG diamond pave earrings
    – Cartier Love bracelets (trinity of WG, YG and RG)
    – Engagement ring & wedding band – sometimes I may switch it out with Hermes D’ancre WG band or VCA Perlee clover WG diamond ring
    – Either my Patek Nautilus stainless steel watch or Franck Muller RG Curvex
    – Sometimes I may eschew a watch for other bracelets like my Hermes D’ancre WG which I may stack with VCA Chalcedony 5 motif

    I save the bigger right hand rings for date nights out. They are not convenient when I am with my girls. I don’t do long necklaces as well, just not my thing but they are so pretty.

    • Katherine
      March 27, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      You have one of my favorite jewelry collections ever…I didn’t realize that about you and long necklaces, until you mentioned it. I think you are a bracelet girl no??

  • Kate
    March 27, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    What are your thoughts on Rolex watches – specifically the datejust 28mm two tone type ? I like the practicality of Rolex but wondering if not like buying a jewelry type watch like Cartier.

    • Sanita
      March 27, 2017 at 2:39 pm

      I personally have the Rolex Datejust 28 ( steel and rose gold) and I have been wearing it every single day for about 5 years now. I highly recommend it, its elegant and goes with everything. I have never regretted buying it but I have regretted buying Birkin 35cm and other super trendy items. Hope that helps 🙂

    • Katherine
      March 27, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      I have this watch and it’s a versatile timepiece that you won’t get sick of. Super practical!

    • Michelle
      March 30, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Yes! Bracelet and rings 😄
      I look forward to your posts and check back regularly, Thank You Kat! Baa … Buy what makes us happy 😉

      • Katherine
        March 30, 2017 at 7:27 pm

        Thank you! Can’t wait to see what pieces you add next!!

  • senorita
    March 27, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Here I am again, Miss Rudeness. I put the Cartier love bracelets ( or Slave bracelets as they were originally called) as in the seriously “over and done with” category.
    Have some original thoughts, people.

    Same with those studded shoes that made designers put studs on everything.
    I am surprised anyone is still wearing them. I see some now that have switched to
    plastic pearls.

    • Sanita
      March 27, 2017 at 2:50 pm

      I agree with Señorita, it kind of feels like everyone who loves fashion have the same things (unfortunately me included)
      Van Cleef Alhambra neckless, earrings and bracelet
      Cartier Love bracelet (more is better) ring etc
      Rolex watch
      Hermes H bracelet or Cuff…
      Ohhhhh and what I absolutely hate is CHANEL earrings with CC or even worth CHANEL brooch (they look soooo cheap)
      Im slowing down, after all its not a race… Its nice to build up your collection with a story, meaning.
      I take time to think about one peace at least for 6 months and most of the time I don’t even want it anymore as Im a bit tired of buying and selling… I want peaces that will last and I won’t want to sell …

      • Katherine
        March 27, 2017 at 3:02 pm

        You know I understand your point, and there are times when I’m wearing multiple of the above where I definitely feel like its too much, and take something off. That being said, Ive come around to realizing that I like what I like…I love Alhambra in particular and don’t think I’ll get sick of it. It always makes me happy to wear. I have seen the Chanel CCs done tastefully and when it is so it looks so good!

        Agreed about the building a collection with a story/meaning.

    • Oonagh
      March 27, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      I totally agree, sick of VCA Alhambra and Cartier Love bracelets. In Asia, it’s ridiculous. Sheep. Also, they are so recognizable I certainly wouldn’t call them understated. Same with the Valentino Rockstuds.

  • Sonya
    March 27, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    I think the discussion about Love Bracelets, Alhambra, Rockstud is very interesting.

    I like many women in a certain group own many examples of overdone items. But what is sheep really? In my circle of friends almost everyone has at least one or matching Verdura cuffs. The only thing different are the stones and materials which I do admit can make them look different. Baa….

    In the end, those who can buy with ease and pleasure…we enjoy what we have. Those who can’t….*wink*

    • Katherine
      March 28, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      I love that Baa line, I may have to steal it for a future post. I know you have one of the best collections out there. I am curious if you ever have to suffer from identical JAR pieces 🙂

  • Melissa
    March 27, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    I liked the round Cartier watch you showed but couldn’t afford that price point. I ended up getting the Raymond Weil’s jasmine version as a gift to myself for finishing residency. They look pretty similar and I like that it’s simple and understated.
    For other jewelry: diamond stud earrings, mikimoto pearls, and my Asher cut engagement ring. I keep it pretty simple.

  • Ava
    March 28, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Hi Kat,

    Great post!

    I love that watch so much and when I was going to take the dive many friends said the service at Cartier to get JUST the batteries replaced cost north of $500, the service was sub par and this was years ago. I am not sure if this is still the case, but needless to say, I never got it. 🙁

    I do, however, own a few H watches and the service I get (partially bc I have gotten to know them and the individual who takes care of my pieces) is always really wonderful and it doesn’t cost anything ridiculous. They always are so kind.

    The perfect jewelry wardrobe would include items that make you happy. Stuff that is casual and stuff that is dressy if you need them for events – but at the end of the day makes you happy regardless of brand and if it’s precious or semi-precious or completely faux.

    But since you asked, here goes! I’d love it to include some of the following from:
    vintage Seaman Schepps, vintage Verdura, vintage Buccelati, pearls that fall just at the right length to flatter the wearer, long beaded necklaces both in semi-precious stones and others in plain carved wood beads, w a lovely tassel, H silver CDC, H silver necklaces that are not easily reconizeable, a JAR piece, vintage Cartier, some completely unrecognizeable H. Stern earrings and rings, a few cocktail rings (the ones I get the most compliments on is one from Banana Republic over a decade ago! LOL!), some lightweight colorful dangly earrings, and some Ted Muehling earrings.

    And of course, Chanel – they are just fun. 😉 I have this one necklace with all these little tiny charms on it and it’s such a joy to wear. Women (and men) always get giddy around it and gush over the teeny little charms. And their vintage jewelry is really great, too.

    And if there was no limit, I would equally chuffed for this collection to include all the “basic” pieces everyone already has – lol, in every colorway and stone and metal! ;-D To quote Mae West regarding how many pieces a good jewelry wardrobe would be? “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.”

    Hear, hear! 😀


    • Katherine
      March 30, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      Ava I love your dream jewelry list. I’ll just copy and paste it and make it my own!

  • Sesy
    March 28, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Very interesting post Kat, and the comments also. 😊 It always nice to see people say something that against the trend. Funny thing I have been eyeing Boucheron animal collection as well. I love Hans the Hedgehog and the price is not that bad for the gold ones. And being Boucheron, i think “classic” applies for this collection. Have you checked out Asprey or Chopard? I know I know Chopard is sort of 90’s things, but I saw they have these Happy Diamonds dainty bracelet in shape of square,round and heart which I think look nice.
    Please keep this jewelry related post coming. I love it!

    • Katherine
      March 30, 2017 at 7:26 pm

      Hans the Hedgehog is adorable! You’re right, the prices are “reasonable”. I love both Asprey and Chopard designs but for the purposes of my wallet have not branched out further.

  • Groupthink7
    March 29, 2017 at 7:21 am

    As I have gotten older my jewelry collection has evolved. Being in my mid-forties, I don’t like diamonds anymore. I have sold all of my diamonds that included a $17,000 pair of earrings, tennis bracelets, rings, and hoops). I like the original metals; silver and gold. My sister has three Cartier love bracelets and she loves my 18kt gold cuffs and bangles that I got from Japan and Thailand. I now tend not to buy designer pieces anymore. I love heavy metals as I mentioned before with clean lines.

    • Tracy
      March 30, 2017 at 9:59 am

      That’s funny, because my mom who’s pushing 60 is all about the bling, set only in white gold or platinum. I’m in my 20s and mostly I want matte yellow or rose gold with smooth shapes and curving lines. (As for my unsolicited $0.02 on Cartier love bracelets, do not stand in front of me in an airport security line wearing your permanently attached non-medical metal alarm trigger and we’ll be fine.)

      • Katherine
        March 30, 2017 at 7:27 pm

        LOL. I’ve never seen anyone stuck before due to their Love…lucky me (so far)!

    • Katherine
      March 30, 2017 at 7:26 pm

      I’d love to see your cuffs and bangles. They sound gorgeous!

  • Groupthink7
    March 31, 2017 at 11:34 am

    They are Katherine. The only thing with jewelry nowadays, is that you can’t wear it most of the time. I am scared that I may get robbed. You have to be very careful not to bring attention to yourself; however, you have to live your life. The times just don’t allow you to enjoy the spoils the way you truly want to.

    • Katherine
      April 1, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      This is a great point!

  • Lx
    April 1, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    I agree with you Katherine on liking what you like. I love VCA, Cartier, Bulgari as well as many unrecognizable pieces. I think it’s all about how you wear and style your pieces.

    Yes these pieces are common and so are handbags and shoes and even clothing but being sheep is when you have no personal style and just pile it all on just for the sake of showing that you are wearing brands names.

    Everyone has different tastes and likes and If something makes you feel fabulous wearing it – enjoy it in glory – common or not.

  • C
    April 2, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Really enjoyed reading this. I am definitely sheep-like and boring in my jewelry taste, but here is what I wear.
    Yellow Gold Love, Yellow Gold plain wedding band (got tired of playing the game of the engagement ring always being judged as too big by some and too small by others), diamond stud earrings (1 ct each), yellow gold pendant necklace with my initial on it, black sports apple watch (or swap for Bvlgari Lucea when going out, mix of stainless steel and gold).

  • Wendy
    April 19, 2017 at 12:09 am

    HI Katherine! Hello Ladies! I agree, costume statement earrings for
    Evening are fun! For day, I recommend earrings by David Yurman, among other designers. The 18k Crossover studs in 11mm are gorgeous. They will take you from day to night. I also Love the sculpted cable studs in 18k. Those come in 3 sizes, I prefer the 17mm. My sister wears her small
    18k starburst earrings day and night. All 3 styles are by David Yurman. H.Stern makes a pair of pearl earrings that you can wear as studs or add the 2nd half for a dangly effect. My jewelry wardrobe consists of a few rings and more earrings because I wear earrings most. I think it’s best to buy what you wear the most of.