How to layer necklaces - une femme d'un certain âge

Accessories 101: how to layer necklaces

Layering necklaces is one of my favorite ways to add dimension and visual interest to a simple outfit. Today I’m sharing a few of my tips for how to layer necklaces, and some favorite combinations.

Layering necklaces or other types of jewelry is a great way to add impact and one or more focal points to an outfit. I’ve received a few requests for tips on selecting and combining necklaces, so thought I’d put together some ideas starting with two new (to me) necklaces from recent French Kande “stack up” collections (both gifted). The first one is from the most recent “Tissé” collection, and the second from the De la Mer stackup.

what I am wearing
what I am wearing

Pearls with vintage medallion (c/o)
(I selected the “Mercier” medallion)

Long-time readers may know that I’ve been a BIG fan of French Kande jewelry for many years now. One of the things I love most is the feminine-with-an-edge aesthetic. I’m charmed by the vintage French medallions (which Kande has collected at various French flea markets) that are at the heart of the brand. And I love that you can build a collection over time, that older pieces will coordinate nicely with newer ones.

Both of these new necklaces look great worn on their own, but can also be a great starting point for a layered look. With just two other necklaces already in my collection, I was able to create a few different looks.

How to layer necklaces

This “Y” necklace from the earlier “Os” collection is a nice choice for a casual look. The metal is the same in both (brass), but other than that, the necklaces are different enough to not look too matchy.

For a slightly more dressed up look, here I’ve doubled a long pearl strand with brass “Cuvée” pendants. This could also work to fill in a v-neck, or if you’re wearing a blazer that buttons at the waist.

With a collared top, you could also wear the shorter necklace underneath the collar, with the longer one in front. This works well with longer jackets or blazers, and creates a nice vertical line.

I like the mix of the different shapes of pearls here. Again, they’re similar, but not matchy. The short necklace has both silver and brass metal colors, so you could go either way with the metal in the second necklace.

You can also pair necklaces with different pearl or stone/bead colors, though I think it works best when you stick with warm + warm or cool + cool.

And if you don’t like wearing longer necklaces, these two look fantastic worn together!

More tips for layering necklaces & other jewelry

Whether your accessorizing style is minimal or Iris Apfel-esque, here are a few tips to help your jewelry look pulled-together.

Think similar, but different

You want to have one or two elements that tie the pieces together, whether it’s metal tone, texture, aesthetic (minimal sleek vs. Bohemian beads & feathers, for example), materials, shapes, or color. But then you can vary the other elements.

  • I like to keep the visual weight of pieces relatively close (very delicate pieces will usually get lost when paired with chunky ones). But wearing all pieces of the same visual weight can be boring, so vary it slightly.
  • If you’re wearing multiple pendants, vary the shape.
  • Start with pieces you wear most and feel most comfortable in, then add from there.
  • Think about how many focal points you want in an outfit. When I’m layering necklaces, for example, I don’t add statement earrings or a lot of different bracelets. But it’s about what feels right for you.
  • Play around with proportions until you find what lengths of necklaces work best for you. The types of clothing items you wear most will also determine your best jewelry styles.
  • Don’t save your “best” pieces for “someday.” WEAR your favorites. (Pearls especially, benefit from contact with the oils in your skin!)
  • Get yourself a jewelry polishing cloth (gold | silver). It’s much easier on some stones and oxidized finishes than chemical cleaners.

Stay in touch.

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  1. Barb
    October 28, 2022 / 3:09 am

    Hi Susan,

    Very helpful post! Do you have a link for your bracelet?

  2. Lyn
    October 28, 2022 / 4:07 am

    Great jewellery ideas and loving the new French bob on you , really suits your style .

    • Susan Blakey
      October 28, 2022 / 6:27 am

      Thanks very much, Lyn!

  3. Donna Dobbins
    October 28, 2022 / 4:54 am

    Love the necklaces!!! Gorgeous pieces. I have a question about the 1st necklace…. Is it heavy around your neck. ?

    • Susan Blakey
      October 28, 2022 / 6:27 am

      Thanks, Donna! I don’t find it heavy, and have worn for hours with no discomfort.

  4. Susan H
    October 28, 2022 / 6:07 am

    I have always admired your jewelry choices and tried to emulate them. Thanks for this post. BTW I love your hair.

    • Susan Blakey
      October 28, 2022 / 6:25 am

      Thanks very much, Susan!

  5. Judy
    October 28, 2022 / 6:24 am

    I am a winter and only wear silver. Does she have any in that?

    • Susan Blakey
      October 28, 2022 / 6:25 am

      Yes! Almost all of the pieces are also available in a silver finish.

  6. Denise L. Thibaudeau
    October 28, 2022 / 6:39 am

    You look as gorgeous as I’ve ever seen you in respect to the colors you are wearing, the jewelry selection, your hair. The camel with the red!! And then that gorgeous chocolate brown silk blouse – that is a knock out! The jewelry is just spot on. Although a bit over my budget, the ideas can be implemented at any price point and I am appreciative for the great tips!

    • Susan Blakey
      October 28, 2022 / 7:12 am

      Thanks very much, Denise!

  7. Lee Ann
    October 28, 2022 / 7:06 am

    Susan, the haircut is gorgeous!

    • Susan Blakey
      October 28, 2022 / 7:12 am

      Thanks, Lee Ann!

  8. Veronica
    October 28, 2022 / 7:18 am

    Love your new haircut! And thank you for these tips on layering jewelry. I enjoy your content.

  9. Kari
    October 28, 2022 / 7:29 am

    This is indeed a very cute hairdo!

  10. Jeri
    October 28, 2022 / 7:30 am

    Your new haircut is lovely. I think it’s perfect.

  11. NancyF
    October 28, 2022 / 7:34 am

    Good tips, Susan. Love your new haircut and the brown Frame shirt–it’s such an interesting twist on a classic style.

  12. Vancouver Barbara
    October 28, 2022 / 8:02 am

    The jewellery is nice but it’s the new do that’s really exciting. The cut and colour is fabulous on you. Never better. Brava.

  13. Mary Alice
    October 28, 2022 / 8:11 am

    Thanks for the great ideas! I especially love the brass Lourdes necklace with pearls. I do have a tiny difference of opinion – I think it looks more modern to mix a heavier piece with a few more delicate necklaces. There aren’t any real rules…. wear what you love!

  14. Jami Sund
    October 28, 2022 / 8:19 am

    Hi Susan – I’ve been following you for several years! You were the impetus for me buying a couple French Kande necklaces. I love them, but they’ve become quite tarnished ( almost black ).Do you use silver polish on your necklaces? I can’t seem to get them clean. How do you store yours? Btw, I also love your haircut! I let my hair go silver. too, furing covid. Definitely see the need for different clothing and makeup colors!

    • Susan Blakey
      October 28, 2022 / 8:31 am

      Hi Jami, thanks very much! I recommend the jewelry polishing cloths I’ve linked to at the bottom of the post. They will clean and remove tarnish without removing the oxidized effect that makes the pieces unique. When not in regular rotation, store the pieces in the black jewelry bags.

  15. Julia
    October 28, 2022 / 8:25 am

    You look fab Susan, your hair is great , that longer fringe really suits you! Jewellery is good too, I particularly like the y-shaped necklace.
    What is that lipstick you’re wearing, I want one!!

    • Susan Blakey
      October 28, 2022 / 8:46 am

      Hi Julia, thanks! It’s Chanel Rouge Coco, in color #416 “Coco.”

  16. Sally
    October 28, 2022 / 8:27 am

    Your hair and the jewelry look great Susan!

  17. Florida Lyn
    October 28, 2022 / 9:12 am

    Love the haircut, but it is so hard to find anyone who will do that cut. I have taken your photo along three times, said “shaggy pixie and bed-head,” but each time and they gave me a short (very short) precision cut bob anyway. As if I had shown them a picture of Dorothy Hamill and said: “This is what I want, but make it a few inches shorter. “) I know I’m in trouble when they shave my neck (“Oh, it’s just a little.”) I’m running out of salons in my area. What are the magic words?

  18. Cher
    October 28, 2022 / 11:15 am

    That new bob is awesome ! Your best style ever!

  19. Esther
    October 28, 2022 / 1:27 pm

    I agree with Florida Lyn in that I can”t get the cut even when I show the hairdresser the pictures from October 2020. What is a good name for this cut? I think it is a vertical cut but must have a professional name…I really like your hair cut, 2020 and 2022…..Help!

    • Susan Blakey
      October 28, 2022 / 1:44 pm

      Hi Esther, thanks! This is a French bob, with some layers.

  20. Bette
    October 28, 2022 / 2:53 pm

    I completely agree with Florida Lyn and Esther about hairdressers who do their own thing and ignore your request — either because they don’t know what they’re doing or they don’t know how to do what you ask. I recently broke up with my hairdresser after she ignored/refused my request. Life is too short! But now there’s the struggle to find a new hairdresser — it’s worse than a divorce, LOL.

    Gorgeous colors in today’s post — you are a walking advertisement for the power of wearing the right colors.

  21. Joanne
    October 28, 2022 / 6:08 pm

    Great post Susan! I wear a lot of long pendant necklaces because I wear high neck tops for sun protection and this gives a better line. But I’ve always struggled with collared shirts and necklaces so I will try your idea, you look so stylish!

  22. Robyn
    October 29, 2022 / 3:02 am

    This isn’t about jewelry but your red sweater. I went to the Uniqlo site and like the red sweater but it’s hard to tell if it veers cool or warm. As a winter it’s often hard to differentiate reds and greens online. Any advice at figuring out colors online?

    • Susan Blakey
      October 29, 2022 / 6:53 am

      Yes, determining colors online can really be confounding. Some retailers add filters to all of their images which skews everything. And even if they don’t, getting colors to reflect accurately in photos is sometimes difficult. I don’t have any foolproof methods, and sometimes I’ve had to return items because the color wasn’t as shown on the website. On my monitor, that Uniqlo sweater looks like a cooler red.

  23. Anne
    October 29, 2022 / 11:02 pm

    Great post. Some good suggestions for combining necklaces which can be tricky.

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