Most outfits needs a little jewelry — a necklace, brooch or bracelet — to look finished. Of these choices, bracelets are the easiest to coordinate with an ensemble and their versatility makes them the best investment of any money you’ve set aside for jewelry.
- Matching a necklace with a top is tricky because it needs to work on three different levels. First, the style of the necklace needs to complement the fabric and cut of the top. Second, the length of the necklace needs to fit or complement the neckline of the top. Third, the scale of the necklace needs to work, proportionately, with the face and frame of the wearer.
- Brooches are tricky because, in addition to complementing the style of a top (or dress or jacket), they cannot put too much stress (i.e., weight) on the fabric. I have a beautiful Alexis Bittar brooch that is simply too heavy to be worn on anything except velvet or wool blazers.
- Bracelets only need to complement the style of the outfit. Q.E.D.
If you still need convincing, consider: The women who write Go Fug Yourself have construed this guidance as a mandate, which they have shortened to an acronym — NAB (Needs a Bracelet). That seems irrefutable to me.
When I started working at my law firm, I invested in an assortment of David Yurman sterling silver link bracelets and bangles. These bracelets are the workhorses of my jewelry box and I wear them all the time in various combinations of 2-5 bracelets. I remember when I bought the bracelets I also considered a three-stranded bracelet — but a colleague pointed out that three single bracelets were more flexible than one three-stranded bracelet. She said, “Some days, you might want to wear just one.” And I thought, “No, I won’t!” And I haven’t. But the general principle was sound.
Not all bracelets need be investments. Clever designs are made from wood, horn, lucite, cloth, and yarn. Regardless of the material, I am a big fan of multiples — wearing two or three bracelets on the wrist.
Perhaps the junior staff liked it; a cat wearing a bell can’t surprise anyone.
One final tip from Diana Coleman, the excellent David Yurman specialist at Neiman Marcus in Washington, D.C.: Store sterling silver bracelets in their pouches and then inside ziploc bags and they won’t tarnish. I’ve had these bracelets 12 years and haven’t polished them once. They’re still bright.