The year is 2010. Luann de Lesseps is a new friend to us all, thanks to the “Real Housewives of New York.” She graces our screens once a week to educate us on class, elegance and the statement necklace.
A few years later, I (can’t believe I’m admitting this) have been influenced by the countess. I have the same Francesca’s necklace she owns, in three different colors. You can hear me before I enter a room; a plastic symphony playing a harsh melody as my beloved statement necklace sways back and forth, much like the container it no doubt came in from China.
The statement necklace is everywhere. It’s inescapable.
When I think of the infamous statement necklace, I would say it lands somewhere between watered-down costume jewelry and a piece that reflects your mood. While yes, it makes a statement, it also is an important accessory to your greater outfit.
A statement necklace can do a few things. Obviously, it can elevate a seemingly bland or simple outfit, but it can also incorporated a festive additive to your event. Attending a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard in July? I wouldn’t bat an eye seeing a fiery lobster statement necklace. Going to the Amalfi Coast for your senior trip? If your neck is free from chunky lemons, what are you even doing?
Back in the 2010s, side-stepping a school uniform meant adding fake diamonds or pearls as big as your cornea. You may have been doing your very best to emulate characters (the Gossip Girls, Samantha Jones, Diana Trout) and to highlight your personality ― statement necklaces were replacing mood rings.
But like most trends, the statement necklace seemed to weigh us down and soon we saw the complete opposite: dainty, small jewelry from the likes of Catbird and Madewell.
That is, until this summer, when I noticed a familiar scene in stores and online. Necklaces were heartier again. Dare I say, the statement necklace is back?
I spoke with Karen Giberson, the president and CEO of Accessories Council. I wanted to know: What actually defines an accessory as a statement necklace?
“A statement necklace can be made of fine materials or a costume,” she said. “It’s the impact of the piece versus the material it’s made from. A statement necklace is the highlight piece of an outfit, the focal point and often the anchor of the look versus a finishing touch.”
Retailers like J.Crew, Francesca’s and Anthropologie have perfected the statement necklace for customers of all ages. Online options include BaubleBar, arguably the queen of statement necklaces.
So, why does it feel like the statement necklace is making a comeback? Giberson explained, “I’ve worked in the industry for 35 years and over that time, jewelry has had many swings from ‘maximal’ looks, in the ’80s or ‘minimal’ looks in the 2000s. Based on the runway shows and what’s happening on the street, we are definitely in a more maximal stage. The accessories are bold, and that goes for the necklaces too. And often, bold is layered on bold for a ‘mega’ necklace moment.”
“I have collected jewelry for all my career and it’s something that I save, unlike trendy apparel pieces,” she continued. “I may put it away for a while, but I will undoubtedly rediscover it as rewear in the future.”
Trends come and go, but maybe statement necklaces never really leave us. “For genesis of the latest neck trends, I’d turn to the runways from Spring 2022. We saw strong bold chains, lots of layered looks, oversized beads, charms and a lot of color,” Giberson added.
Plus, they’re showing up more on red carpets, she noted.
“I’d say that mainstream stores have translated the looks into styles that are affordable and unique to their customers,” Giberson said. “And after a few years of dainty, we are ready to update our jewelry wardrobes with something new. And in the world of zoom, a bold necklace is a rare professional touch that can translate well in our remote world.”
Suffice it to say, I might time travel back to 2011 and tell my past self to cool it on the two-for-one deals at Francesca’s, but clearly, I was on to something. Trends come and go, but it seems statement necklaces are forever.
Check out some that are on the market right now.
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