It's In My Closet, Now How Do I Wear It?: Grandma's Pearls

"Is there any way for me to rock the pearls without evoking Barbara Bush or a depressed teenage goth?" Wait, that's a bad thing?
Publish date:
July 12, 2011
jewelry, pearls, it's in my closet now how do i wear it, statement pieces

Hi Laia,

Now I've got a real challenge for you. My grandmother was a glamazon in the 50s and I have inherited a lot of really great costume and real jewelery from her that I love to wear. The one stumper I have is her pearls. I've got two chokers- a single strand and a 3-layer.

I'm a jeans and T-shirts kind of girl (nice jeans or skirt and blazer for work meetings, summer dresses on the weekends). Is there any way for me to rock the pearls without evoking Barbara Bush or a depressed teenage goth?

I'm also attaching an amazing topaz cocktail ring and necklace set my grandma left behind. The necklace also has a brooch backing (how considerate the jewelers were in those days!) I usually wear these as statement pieces with a LBD, but if you have other ideas I'm all ears!

thanks for your advice! Jen

Thank you for writing in Jen! Looking at your picture right now, wearing the single strand of pearls, I think you should wear this necklace every day. I am obsessed with people's signature items, especially the things that people wear everyday and a classic pearl necklace belongs to the "wear everyday" party. I mean, look at Lisa Simpson! Her pearls never stopped her from being awesome, and they won't stop you either.

And no, you don't have to worry about becoming the poster child for a Barbara Bush stye revival (was it ever really "alive" in the first place?) or looking like a depressed teenage goth (you must've had some fancy goths at your school, none of the ones I know ever wore pearls). First because your style already doesn't lend itself to these kinds of comparisons and trust me, pearls are not what's going to turn a summer dress into "goth" and unless you're wearing kicky skirt suits, you're safe from ex first lady comparisons.

As a matter of fact, your style is actually perfectly suited to the addition of this accessory; you're all about no-nonsense, tried-and-true classics.

I would save the three layer pearl necklace for special occasions, worn with a little black shift dress. I have an extra-long (fake) strand of pearls that I like wearing with my sort of "retro" dresses when I'm feeling especially girly, but I've also been known to mix them up with my favorite denim jacket from time to time. Pearls can seem like a difficult thing to bring in to the mix, but they also go with more things than you probably imagine so there's a bit of a silver lining.

As for your statement pieces; first of all WOW. These are beautiful. I am also in agreement that these only come out during special occasions, but that ring is so amazing that I would probably not be able to resist the urge and wear it every day. These will look good with a lot more things than black dresses! They have a sort of magical amulet vibe about them, and in my head I picture them being worn with wildly printed gauzy tops and layered looks with maxi skirts. I know this is not your style at all but I just want to point out the versatility of these pieces. Your grandma must've been one awesome lady, now go out and rock these babies!