I’ve been playing with jewellery today folks. That’s something I never do anymore. Most days if I’m heading out somewhere, I just pop on a watch and a pair of earrings. I wear small stud earrings more often than not. Or hoops. I love big hoops. I seem to go in streaks of wanting to wear the same pair of earrings all the time. And if I’m really pushing the boat out, or taking blog photos, I’ll wear a bracelet. Since I retired, the ritual daily rummage through my jewellery for earrings, a bracelet, and a necklace or a vintage brooch has pretty much ceased. But watching an Alyssa Beltempo video on YouTube the other day had me thinking I should rummage around in my jewellery more often. And make more of an effort to wear what I own. Beyond my old jackets, that is.

Adrienne Vittadini jacket, Vince tee, Holt Renfrew brand leather pants, Stuart Weitzman boots, vintage jewellery. Hat from the Towne Shoppe in Fredericton.
Speaking of old jackets. Adrienne Vittadini jacket from 1991.

I’ve never been much of a jewellery person. Other than my engagement ring and a lovely pearl that Hubby bought me in Broome, Australia, I don’t own any “fine” jewellry. I’m wearing my Broome pearl on a small gold chain in the shot above. Broome is famous for its pearls. Mine is called a “champagne” pearl, not exactly silver and not exactly gold in colour. It’s amazing how many colours of pearls there are. That day in the shop in Broome, we were treated to a whole tutorial on south sea pearls, how they get their colour, and even on the history of pearling in Broome. I only wanted the one pearl. Not a strand or even earrings. I like the simplicity of a single pearl. And besides, they were pricey, and we were on a three month trip which was already pricey enough.

The rest of my jewellery is costume stuff. I love the quirky designs of Anne Marie Chagnon, as I’ve mentioned before here on the blog. I have a number of her elasticized bracelets with matching earrings, and even a couple of necklaces. Her pieces have an edgy, almost “industrial” vibe, which I love. Vintage jewellery has long been a passion of mine. When I started shopping at vintage sales, I quickly found out that most of the clothing was way too small for me. My broad shoulders precluded me from wearing the fashion I coveted from the twenties or forties. But the jewellery always fit.

So the other day after listening to Alyssa’s video about curating our jewellery collections and layering necklaces, I had a rummage through my own jewellery. I don’t need any help “curating” or organizing my jewellery, but I thought I would try layering necklaces. Alyssa’s video has lots of good examples and suggestions for doing this.

Adrienne Vittadini jacket, Vince tee, Holt Renfrew brand leather pants, Stuart Weitzman boots, vintage jewellery.
I’m layering a necklace of my mum’s with a strand of pearls that belonged to my mother-in-law.

Of course, layering jewellery is the thing these days, has been for a while, actually. It’s just that I’m not normally a layering jewellery kind of person. I don’t care for “shouty” (I borrowed that adjective from Alyson Walsh) statement jewellery of any kind. Statement necklaces leave me cold, and so does an arm full of big bracelets, so I kind of ignored the layering trend. But I like the way that Alysssa and Emma Hill layer delicate necklaces in a way that doesn’t look shouty at all to me. And I thought I should give this layering thing another chance.

Today I tried wearing an old gold necklace and bracelet which my mum gave to me, and which were given to her by my grandparents when she was young. Both pieces are engraved with her initials. I first tried the necklace with my Broome pearl as you can see in the first shot, above. And the matching gold bracelet with a vintage gold child’s bracelet I’ve had since the eighties. I thought this looked… okay. But I need a better chain for the pearl, or a third necklace, something shorter and delicate maybe to make my two pieces work together better. And since I don’t own a different chain, or a short delicate gold necklace, I abandoned this combination. After all, the idea is to work with what I own.

Adrienne Vittadini jacket, Vince tee, Holt Renfrew brand leather pants, vintage jewellery.
Mum’s gold necklace and Milly’s pearls

Then I tried this combination above. Mum’s necklace, combined with a string of pearls that belonged to Hubby’s mum, Milly. Then I swapped out mum’s gold bracelet for my vintage ivory cuff, to mirror the cream of the pearls. I kind of like this a lot. The strand of pearls is weightier and works better with the gold necklace than my single Broome pearl. Not sure if I’d wear my vintage gold child’s bracelet with that ivory cuff, though. The cuff alone might be better.

Adrienne Vittadini jacket, Vince tee, Holt Renfrew brand leather pants, Stuart Weitzman boots, vintage jewellery.
Adrienne Vittadini jacket, Holt Renfrew leather pants, Vince tee, Stuart Weitzman boots (similar).

And not to change the subject, but how about this old camel hair jacket of mine, eh? Looks pretty darned good with my trusty leather pants, I think. The jacket is part of the Adrienne Vittadini suit that I bought in Montreal back in 1991, the purchase of which ushered in my “indulgent years.” Ha. But I’ve told you that story already. This jacket is in fantastic shape. I love its mannish cut. It’s hard to believe it’s almost thirty years old. I can’t imagine why I haven’t been wearing it. Gad. How many times have I said that in the last four months?

So, one thing I learned from playing with my jewellery today is that it’s hard to layer necklaces when one doesn’t own very many necklaces which are suitable for layering. But I’m not finished yet. I still have to try some silver combinations. And I should dig through the two or three bags of old pieces that I tucked away in a drawer because I never, ever wear them. I’m thinking that I’ve had such good luck lately unearthing old jackets I still love… maybe I’ll find some treasures. Shopping vintage in my own closet. Or drawers as the case may be.

Adrienne Vittadini jacket, Theory turtleneck, Holt Renfrew brand leather pants, Stuart Weitzman boots, vintage jewellery.
For a more seasonally appropriate outfit, I added my Theory turtleneck (same t-neck here but short sleeve in a gorgeous spring colour).

Since I’ve been lying around so much this past month, I’ve had lots of time to extend my slow fashion education. I’ve been reading blog posts and articles and listening to YouTube videos about vintage and thrift shop shopping. Justine Leconte has a video on the subject that includes her suggestions for reputable sites to shop vintage on-line. She suggests several sites including The Real Real, Farfetch, and Outnet. All three of these sites have good selections of vintage or pre-owned jewellery.

I’ve been on The Real Real a lot. Much of their stuff, while beautiful, is beyond what I’d be willing to pay even at a bricks and mortar store. But The Outnet has some well-priced items like these simple gold chains. And I found a couple of lovely necklaces on Farfetch. Like this beautiful set of two gold chain necklaces from Susan Caplan Vintage, which make a layering pair all by themselves. And I love this shorter chunky gold chain necklace also from Susan Caplan Vintage. I might even be persuaded to invest in that short chunky chain.

Might be persuaded. Might. I’m not nearly finished playing around with the pieces I already own.

Adrienne Vittadini jacket, Theory turtleneck, vintage jewellery.
Thanks Mum for the necklace.

Today was my first social outing since the resurgence of my dratted cold. I had lunch with my friend (and former colleague) Marina. We yakked and yakked. About our families, about travel, and clothes, and our shared teaching memories. It was lovely. I was so excited to be out and about I could have talked the leg off an iron pot, as my grandmother used to say. Just like some of the grade nines I used to teach. I loved the grade nines.

Later, when I was at home finishing this post about jewellery, I was reminded of one particular grade nine kid. Heather sat at the very front of my class one year. She adored clothes and jewellery. And she always commented on what I wore to class. Sometimes in minute detail.

One day I spent some time explaining at length the instructions for a fairly complex assignment the class was about to embark upon. When I had finished, I asked if there were any questions. Heather raised her hand, waving it at me energetically, as some kids always do. “Yes, Heather,” I said. “Ms. Burpee,” she leaned in almost conspiratorially. “Do you realize that your earrings, and your brooch, and the buckle on your belt all match exactly?”

Oh yeah. I loved that kid.

In fact, I’m pretty sure I was that kid. Albeit forty years earlier.

P.S. Many thanks to Laurie for suggesting Alyssa Beltempo’s YouTube channel in her comment a few posts ago. Alyssa is chic and charming, and I’ve been enjoying watching her videos. And she’s local, which is very cool.

P.P.S. The links for clothes and jewellery in this post are affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking on my link, I will earn a commission.

Linking up with Catherine at #IWillWearWhatILike and #ShareAllLinkup, and Patti at Visible Monday.


Would you like to have new posts automatically delivered to you? Sign up below, and when new content appears on the website, we’ll send the story to you via email. 

* indicates required


Would you like to have new posts automatically delivered to you? Sign up below, and when new content appears on the website, we’ll send the story to you via email. 

* indicates required

From the archives


Our Many Shades of Grey

High Heels in the Wilderness readers have spoken. Here are their hair stories. Their tales of emerging shades of grey. Or white. Or whatever.

Small Pleasures

Being read to is one of life's small pleasures. And shouldn't be abandoned just because we're not children anymore.

Try a Little Kindness

In these crazy, chaotic, angry times we all need a little kindness.

21 thoughts on “Playing With Jewellery”

  1. I’m crazy about vintage jewellery! Loving the layered look! Have great finds – most currently broaches that sparkle! Many excellent sources: antique mall, flea market or thrift shop. Scored a beautiful Sherman broach in Value Village ages ago. Not much available now! Charity & thrift shops in Florence are my favorite source these days! It’s the hunt! Enjoy all your posts -very much! 😊❤️

  2. I seem to be going through a non jewellry phase . Just the occasional bangle or simple stud earrings. Like you I’ve never been interested in the precious stuff , especially the type available on every high street . I’ve enjoyed collecting vintage pieces over the years such as Art Deco & Nordic Silver . Plus there are some excellent , inventive young jewellry makers around these days working with semi precious stones . I really like your Anne Marie C but am wary of incurring large import taxes so haven’t sent for any . Layering is interesting & I’ve done that in the summer when I’m wearing less bulky clothes with very simple lines . I just don’t like fuss . Dainty jewellry seems too girlish for my broad shoulders & the really clunky stuff shouts too much for me . I often look at bloggers pics & think “ ditch the jewellry “ . Not you , you’ve shown that if the outfit is streamlined & simple the jewellry works .

    1. I love Art Deco stuff as well. When we were in New Zealand in 2008, I was excited to visit the town of Napier. Destroyed by earthquake and then fire in the early 20th century the whole town was rebuilt in Art Deco style. With respect to jewellery, though, like you I don’t like anything too feminine or too fussy either. Just doesn’t seem like me.

  3. Jewellery is my jam, so to speak. I have a lot, from the very valuable to the extremely cheap and I try and wear all of it (but not at the same time). I admit to sorting into seasonal piles and wearing just that lot if I can. At present, the pile includes a lot of brown and wood and some gold, plus gold-ish. It’ll be silver this summer. Some green will be entering the mix next month. The one thing I cannot do is wear anything round my neck with a turtleneck and this is a hangover from my youth when I had a very large chest and, let’s be honest, there was already enough hanging about without drawing any more attention to it…perhaps I should have another go now? The trifecta of earrings, perfume and scarf is what makes me feel I am ready for anything. The fact that I now make my own stuff means that I am honour bound not to buy but just look. Quite freeing, as a matter of fact.

  4. Re necklace layering, the NY Times recently had an article about #neckmess: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/06/fashion/jewelry-neckmess-pippa-small-busy-philips.html
    Much of my jewelry was acquired on travels, worth more in sentiment than in monetary value. I do have a string of pearls, each pearl selected and haggled over at the pearl market in Hong Kong by a dear friend and former colleague. He was off to HK for work and asked a bunch of us if we wanted pearls. He noted the lengths we wanted, bought the pearls, had them strung, and collected the payment afterward. He recently died, and I think of him every time I wear the pearls.

  5. Fashion for me must include a look at jewellery. I love its history and feel privileged to own some special pieces inherited from my grandmother and my mother…they will never be ‘updated’ or ‘modernized’ while in my care as they capture fashion style from bygone eras. Seeing Queen Elizabeth wear pieces that were worn by Queen Victoria over 150 years ago warms my heart…they are not only very valuable but precious and sentimental. I never leave the house without wearing jewellery…stud earrings almost always and a most necessary bracelet in addition to engagement and wedding rings. I will sometimes mix gold with silver or stick to an all yellow gold or all sterling silver…both look striking with the primarily black based wardrobe I wear. I am anal enough to make certain the hardware on my much loved handbags coordinates too! I love jewellery and it is almost always the item brought home from trips to remind me of incredible locations. Jewellery, whether vintage or from travels, is admired, cared for and worn…have fun with your pieces and let them see the light of day!

  6. While I seem to have a fair amount of jewelry, I no longer wear much of it (recently sorted it all out and plan to give most of it away–better stuff to DD or DDiLs, if they want any of it).
    Part of the reason I stopped wearing necklaces came about because for the last twenty years of work, we had to wear a hateful, bloody bright green lanyard with our work ID/data pass attached (which I always put on backwards so my photo wasn’t visible–my mini-rebellion). Absolutely no point in trying to wear a necklace with that ugly thing around your neck. As for earrings, one of my pierced earlobes is partially torn (thanks to a beloved grandchild’s interest in my earrings) and since then I cannot wear any but the lightest of earrings which pretty much ruled out ninety percent of my earrings. Added to that, once my hair turned grey, I switched from wearing mostly gold to mostly silver. Now retired, my lifestyle just doesn’t require much jewelry so my daily wear includes my rings (wedding set and a sapphire ring given to my by my mother), a watch and a small, lightweight pair of silver drop earrings. Put it down to pure laziness and the fact I tend to wear a scarf when I go out–my favorite accessory.

    1. I hate those lanyards too. So many of my colleagues used to wear a lanyard with their keys on them at school. I always hated that. Keys as jewellery. Ickk.

    2. A plastic surgeon can repair your earlobe. A woman I worked with said that happened to her when she was a receptionist and her phone got caught in her big 80s earring.

  7. Beautiful jacket,can’t wait to wear mine in spring. Your styling with all black- perfection! And my favourite one,another one is camel with all cream white
    I wear layered two gold necklaces all the time,one is with a heart pendant and another with a gold nugget from Australia (it must be on our last year’s photos as well) , they sometimes even stay hidden under my turtleneck,if I decide to wear something else,a silver chain or another gold necklace

  8. What fun! I wouldn’t think of leaving the house without jewelry, but I wonder if that will change when I retire and um, don’t leave the house as much? I love the idea of playing around with the vast stash and seeing what new combos to come up with. I enjoy laying out my clothes the night before, down to the appropriate underwear and jewelry, and I do try to change things up regularly. What satisfaction that the piece you bought in 1991 still a)fits b)is too classic to do out of style c)still looks fabulous because of the quality materials – well done, you!

    1. When I still worked, I used to plan my outfits the night before as well. I hated rushing in the morning and then ending up hating what I was wearing all day. Made me so cranky. Ha. But I’m finding that many things have changed now that I’m retired. Including the amount of jewellery I wear.

  9. Jewelry is always a joy for me. I guess because much of my jewelry has been purchased while traveling, either by me or by my husband. My collection includes pink pearls from the Bahamas, soft white pearls from our most recent trip to Quebec, a pearl drop from China, earrings and a solid silver bangle from Peru, a citrine pendant from Washington State, Whitby Jet pendant from Whitby, UK, my wedding band which was handcrafted by a jeweler in Asheville, NC and so forth and so on. Bringing jewelry home never takes up much space in my carryon and is a pleasant reminder of a trip.

    You look fabulous in the necklaces above. A nice touch that transforms a classic outfit to the next level!

    1. Thanks, Beverly. I always buy a jewellery keepsake when we travel as well. Small enough to bring home, and easy easy to wear and remember the place where we bought it.

  10. So glad you liked Ms. Beltempo! I’ve never been into too much jewellery variety and tend to wear just stud earrings in gold or pearls, a dainty gold necklace, my wedding ring and a watch. I did take inspiration from your whole outfit today and finished it off by layering my pearl necklace with another dainty gold and gemstone necklace ..I never would have thought to put them together – and I loved the combination!

Comments are closed.