The Statement Necklace - Easiest Wardrobe Update EVER

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A dramatic necklace is a simple wardrobe upgrade; you probably already have one in your jewelery box that you're not wearing, and now is the time to dig it out.  The statement necklace quite literally goes with everything.  We tend to save our more elaborate pieces for special occasions -- weddings and parties and dates -- but you can pair a dramatic necklace with jeans and a tee a or a suit for an everyday look that has just the right little edge.

J. Crew jeweled palm leaf necklaceWhen you're shopping for a statement piece, look for distinctive details like beautiful stones and an intricate setting.  Don't be afraid to go big -- the whole idea is that this piece will be a focal point of your outfit.  Think about colors and shapes that will work with your existing closet; you want to be able to wear this necklace with everything.  

I'm completely smitten with the necklace pictured here, from J. Crew; the elaborate design and the substantial size are appealing to me because it's the perfect foil to simple pieces like a crisp white tee. I also love the balance of formal and funky -- this is a piece that could easily work for day or evening.  (J. Crew jeweled palm-leaf necklace, $175.00; available in two color combinations.)

If you're not looking for an investment piece, H&M and Target are great places to scour for big style at a small price. And vintage is always fun -- dig through the costume jewelery at Goodwill or your local consignment shop.  Look for floral or botanical pieces, or for oversized beads, either glass or plastic.

What do you wear your statement necklace with?  Everything.  Seriously.  The trick is to keep the lines of your shirt or sweater simple -- a crew-neck tee with a big bib necklace, or a simple sheath dress with a chunky crystal choker, or a sleek cardigan with piles of pearls.  Make a statement -- keep your outfit simple and let the necklace do al the work, and don't be afraid to repeat the same piece over and over.  This is one time that you want people to remember what you wore the last time they saw you.

For a more subtle alternative, look for tonal pieces -- pearls over a white tee, or black beads with a dark sweater.  But don't be afraid to be bold -- that's the whole idea here.  Wear multiple strands of pearls, or choose the big gumball beads.

Dana at Possessionista has more tips for making the statement necklace work; Whoozqueen at Ooh, I've Got Something To Show You is teasing us with the most stunning OOAK piece I've ever seen (sadly, not available, which makes me cry because it' so damn beautiful); A New Mode shares five seasonal splurges (including the statement necklace).

Susan Wagner writes about style at The Working Closet and chic suburban living at Friday Playdate.  She's been digging out her vintage jewelery for spring.

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