When it comes to choosing precious metal jewelry, people used to be advised to stick with their skin tone. People with dark skin and yellow undertones were to choose gold, while cooler complexions with rose undertones had to settle on silver. When you think about it, that is just too limiting and really silly. The trick is not to overwhelm your skin tone with too much of a good thing.
Gild That Lily
Now that you know gold will work for you, no matter what your complexion, it helps to know when to tap its powers. For this, you will need to look at the colors and styling of your outfit.
Many bohemian styles, as well as nautical and preppy fashions and vintage looks can benefit from a hint of gold.
If you have on a long, patterned caftan on for example, you might want to play up its international flavor with bold gold hoops, a gold cuff or some hammered gold chandelier earrings.
The key is to have them look a little imperfect for a true artisan feel, as if you snapped them up at an open market.
If you are sporting hoops, look for some that have a stamped pattern that looks as though it was branded into the metal.
If your gold cuff features gemstones, make sure that they are of varying sizes and organic-looking cuts and finishes.
You can even bobby pin some skinny artisan gold necklaces into your hair to function as a rustic headband. You might want to braid a few together for a truly custom headpiece.
Just as the gold in this look lacks a little polish, you should be a bit carefree with hair and makeup.
Tousled waves, messy milkmaid or fishtail braids and top knots should be offset by a smudge of imperfect kohl eyeliner or a lightly stained pout.
Bronzer should be dusted over your cheekbones, forehead and the bridge of your nose to play up the warm tones of the metal.
Navy, in nautical or preppy styles, looks especially good with perfect gold accents. The primness of this look requires slim, immaculate gold hoops, studs or a pendant necklace with a single stone or motif.
The key is to stick to basic shapes that won’t compete with sharp tailoring or plain patterns.
When gold is paired with these styles, it is best to keep hair and makeup sharp-edged. A low, wrapped ponytail with blunt bangs or an asymmetrical bob will let the simple jewelry shine. Perfect red lips or a stunning Neo-’60s cat eye will complete the overall look.
Gold works particularly well with dainty retro looks.
An Edwardian military jacket or lace-trimmed blush shift can really sing when paired with delicate gold drop earrings cast into the shape of swallows, tree branches or leaves.
Silver has been a go-to look for evening wear for decades. Maybe it’s because it has the ability to make diamonds and crystals glimmer like no other metal can.
You can also look at it as playing with natural light. Gold looks great against a saturated beach sunset while silver picks up diffused moonbeams.
For these reasons, you will always find dramatic shoulder-grazing earrings and sleek cuffs after dark at any club or swanky restaurant.
Silver jewelry can be dressed down just as easily though.
A popular summer trend borrowed from South America features many small brown or black leather cords strung with silver religious charms or hand-made silver beads fashioned into bracelets or necklaces that look great against gauzy white tunics, cut-offs and simple leather sandals.
For all of its shine, silver looks particularly fresh when brushed or antiqued to a rich gunmetal hue.
This treatment of the metal makes for some stunning bib necklaces, with black ribbon, velvet and jet beads woven into thick silver chain. Silver punk spikes can also be worked into the mix.
This heavy look pairs particularly well with fall’s rich textures of cashmere, wool, velvet, brocade and leather.
Hair should be kept architectural, with soft pompadours or blunt angles and lips can be dramatic, in shades of plum or raisin.
Silver can also be featured via many different strands of chains in varying lengths and textures for a rocker vibe.
For those who shy away from such a heavy treatment, bright silver collar necklaces are making a comeback. These look sharp with sweater dresses and riding boots.
Mix and Match
Finally, don’t forget that when the elements are small — skinny bracelets or necklaces — silver and gold can play together in a cohesive look.
Just make sure that only some of the strands are bright while the rest are dull.