How To REALLY Match Your Jewelry To Your Outfit

Safe to say, now that you are reading this, there must have been quite a few times when you are stuck between your wardrobe and jewelry box, wondering if you are ever going to figure out the one perfect match.

Well, I will try to walk you through seven mental steps, which followed, would probably help accelerate the accessorizing process, and relieve your partner of endless waiting.


Step 1

Combine your personal style with the requirement of the event you are about to attend.

Golden Rule :

You always choose you outfit first, then try on jewelry to compliment.

Look inside your wardrobe and make an inventory. If over half of the clothes in there are business suits, then you must have simple and smart taste in fashion, and the jewelry you choose might not be "outside the box". If casual wear turns out to be the majority, colorful and playful could be your personal style.

Whatever style you represent, there are always formal events and dressy occasions to which you may incorporate your own fashion sense.

For formal events, pick classic jewelry, preferably in sets. Pearl- or diamond-stud earrings, delicate necklace. One rule to follow in formal occasions is to wear two matching pieces. But one carefully chosen piece of jewelry never fails to give you an elegant look; 


For costume parties or red carpet, showy items like chandelier earrings, bib necklace, oversized cocktail ring, chunky bangles, thick cuff bracelet, choker necklace are among the things you may consider. Your jewelry worn to a dressy event like these can pile up, as long as they don't fight fiercely with each other for attention. One tip is never wear a heavy cascading necklace along with a brooch;


For casual parties, you can either go with simple diamond, crystal, pearl, silver or gold pieces, or you may mix and match candy-colored jewelry. It all depends on how strong your willingness is to make a statement, with colors and volume of your jewelry;

For weddings, jewelry sets are the safest way to go. And matching wedding jewelry with your wedding dress should not be too complicated a task. The majority of  brides, I believe, would be head over heels for sparkly diamonds or crystals to wear on their big day. 



Step 2

Gauge the complexity level of your outfit and set the mark for your jewelry accordingly.

There is not a particular type of clothing that stands out as the easiest to pick jewelry for. But there is a range of tailoring complexity from minimalist to multiple layers, draping, sequin, and embroidery.

Simple outfit should be great canvass for bold jewelry. Colors, sizes, patterns, and shapes can be all exaggerated to make a hyper statement. The bottom line is there should always be only one central piece, be it a necklace, a tiara, or a bracelet,  other jewelry can not be stealing its thunder.


Complex outfits are in most cases sufficiently embellished themselves, so if your jewelry gets too busy, a tacky look may be the result. Keep jewelry to a minimum, say a pair of crystal, silver or pearl studs, just enough to draw a little attention from your attire to your elegant face. 


Step 3

Decide a neckline and how much focus on your neck and collarbone you are going for.


Necklaces of the right shapes and lengths need to be paired with particular necklines. Some dresses reveal large area of your neck and collarbone, some cover most of it. You can't use the same tactic on all of them.

  necklace neckline

Here I would give you an idea as to 12 different necklines and their ideal pairing necklaces.

1) Turtle neck - most of your neck is concealed, thus it would be smart to wear longer necklaces like opera, lariat or rope, accentuating your entire outfit that covers most areas;

2) Crew neck - also called 'jewel neck', is the easiest to pair. A bib, a Y-shaped pendant necklace, a collar, whatever styles you fancy, all look fabulous on a crew neck; 

3) Scoop neck - deep round angle space under your neck can be best decorated with chunky bead strands or large pendants;

4) Strapless - short necklaces like chokers or short pendants are the natural partners for this dressing style. You mean to expose your radiant skin across your shoulders,  and something wrapped around your neck makes it look more elegant;

5) Square neck - on a neckline like this, rectangular element in a necklace is the key to maintain the harmony;

6) One shoulder - the tough part of matching this type of neckline is its asymmetry. You are looking for necklaces that are uneven from side to side, or beads of various shapes and sizes. However you play, make sure the length of the necklace stretches at least two inches below the neckline;

7) Halter neck - the most mistake-prone neckline type, because ladies out there more often than not confuse it with a v-neck. There are two solutions: one is to find narrow pendants with a sharp end pointing down, the other is to get an Egyptian style ornate collar, but make sure your clothes cover your entire chest area;



8) V-neck - classic neckline type loved by celebrities and stylists, for it slims up broad shoulders and gives the leaner and taller impression. But to achieve this effect better with a necklace, first you need to find the center of your sternum, place a special and compact gem or charm pendant (something individualistic, like a birthstone, a locket, or a vial) right on top of it, with a delicate chain, so that the focus stays right there;

9) Collared shirt (button down) - wear a choker if you have a long neck, if not, a narrow pendant resting on the last open button would do the trick;

10) Boat neck - the common practice is to double-strand beaded rope and let it dangle around your shoulder-wide neckline. Collar necklace is another interesting idea, as long as you can find any small pendants that perch up and down the necklace, in their own unique, charming way;

11) Cowl neck - make the necklace insignificant, like a pendant on a thin short string. Or wear no necklace but a pair of stunning earrings instead;

12) Sweetheart - revealing, but not as much as a strapless, for this neckline I would recommend necklaces with similar curves, meanwhile has the width to traverse the large exposed area. 



Step 4

Optimize the interplay between jewelry and outfit in terms of colors and patterns.

When I  talk about matching jewelry colors to your outfit, the first thing you need to be reminded of is that an exact match is never advisable. Not only is it unlikely, but it would also look too contrived thus unnatural.

If you happen to have put on outfit in black, white or other neutral colors (beige, ecru, grey, ivory), then your are granted unlimited spectrum of colors to select in your jewelry. Something brave, like a bid of beads in rainbow colors, or a string of crystal daisies, adds real oomph.

If your outfit color isn't neutral, say a overall blue or orange dress, you will need to consult the Color Wheel. It serves to avoid clashing of several color of the same prominence.  You need to find analogous colors with the same brightness or darkness, but no more than three of them, counting the outfit color. Or if your intention is to make a strong statement, get colors on the exact opposite side of the wheel. But unless it's Christmas, you don't want to put green and red together. 


color wheels


If the clothes you wear have a complex pattern and a myriad of shades, use your keen eyes to spot the one central color or element, then find jewelry with something that mimics that pattern. Remember, whatever you go for, keep it simple and classic.


Setting of the jewelry could be of golden or silvery color. While the former looks great with white and brown, the latter finds best company in black, blue and grey. 



The one essential type of jewelry is pearl. It works seamlessly with any outfit, so prepare a pair of pearl studs, a single or double stranded pearl necklace, or a pearl bracelet for the moment of confusion and despair. 


In the below chart are some frequently referenced ideas on matching jewelry and outfit colors. 

Outfit Jewelry
red top ruby earrings
blue dress blue sapphire necklace
black dress, blouse or shirt bright bold color or sparkly jewelry
warm colored dress, blouse or shirt golden color jewelry
neutral color outfit: beige, ecru, grey, ivory colorful jewelry


Step 5

Balance your jewelry with other accessories like hats, sunglasses, scarves, watches, bags, belts and shoes.

This has much to do with your personal preferences. Some of you claim to be a hat maniac, some of you won't leave home without a pair of sunglasses, some of you believe that a scarf or a cowl beats any jewelry, some of you like lots of metal and loud colors on your handbags, some of you wrap extra-wide belts around your waist to look slim, some of you wear watches that are also jewelry, and some of you can not quit a pair of heels with quite a bit of ornaments.

Jewelry comes in only when you prefer using it to compliment your clothing. If you have on you other accessories that are bold or loud, and become the center of attention, you may want to go easy on the jewelry front.



Step 6

Choose the right size of jewelry for your physique, neither too large nor too small.

Petite ladies with moderate height, dainty jewelry pieces are less likely to overwhelm your figure.

While large bone structure of some ladies makes it hard for delicate jewelry to release its charm.

So look into a full-height mirror when you try on jewelry, especially if you are unsure of it scale.


Step 7

Match your earrings and necklace with your hair style.

Besides hair colors, as discussed in the previous article, how you wear your hair is another factor to pay attention to.

Long hair worn down finds good match in studded earrings and necklace of collar or princess length.

Short hair or long hair worn up can be wonderfully complimented by chandelier earrings and matinee/ opera/ lariat/ rope necklace.



Follow these seven mental steps, match the right jewelry to your outfits, and you will find renewed beauty in your fashion collection.  

If you happen to like some of the sets in the pictures, chances are you can find most of the accessories on

 " How do I get started?" You might ask. 

Simple, just click on the sets you think are meant for you.