Styling Advice from Bridgette Raes – The Accessories

I had a follow-up virtual styling session with Bridgette Raes last week (read about my first session with Bridgette here and here).   I listened to my recording from the session yesterday and there is a lot there!   I was originally going to do a single post about my second session with Bridgette, but now I just don’t think that will suffice!   Consequently, I will devote several posts to debriefing my follow-up styling session.  These posts won’t necessarily be consecutive but will all be published within the next couple of weeks.

I know that many of you would probably love to work with a professional stylist, but that may not be feasible for financial or other reasons.   So I’ve decided to let you in on my experience in the hope that you will glean some valuable style insights through what I’ve learned.  Although Bridgette’s advice is specific to my situation and needs, much of it will also be applicable to others, especially the information pertaining to accessorizing and color coordination.  These are topics often covered on Bridgette’s excellent blog, but I thought these points might be driven home further by means of my personal example.

Part One – All About the Jewelry

Today’s post focuses specifically on accessories, primarily jewelry.  I took photos of all of my jewelry pieces and shared them with Bridgette via Dropbox.  I wanted to get feedback from her on what I have, as well as some suggestions for priority items to purchase in the near term.

Although I have pared down my jewelry collection considerably since the beginning of the year (you can read about that process here and here), I still have a large assortment of pieces.   In photographing my items, I tried to organize them as logically as possible to make it easier to discuss what I have with Bridgette.   That process also helped me to better understand what I have in terms of the various jewelry categories.   I share all of the photos below, interjected with Bridgette’s feedback.

If you find yourself struggling with an overabundance of jewelry, it may be helpful for you to organize and photograph your pieces in logical groupings as I have.   I found that I was able to identify areas of duplication this way that I didn’t notice previously.   It’s very likely that you will experience similar realizations.  Yes, it takes time and energy to do the re-organizing and take photos, but it just might help you get un-stuck and more readily be able to purge some of your large jewelry collection.

The Short Necklaces – Neutrals

I currently have eight short necklaces in either silver or gunmetal tones.  They are mostly pendant styles, although one is more of a “statement necklace” (see photo of these items later on in this section).

I recently decided to let go of another necklace in this category, a very shiny and ornate looking silver style that I could never figure out how to wear.

Shiny statement necklace

I could never quite figure out how to wear this shiny statement necklace!

I had sent Bridgette a few photos of me wearing the above necklace and her primary thought was that it looked very dressy and too formal for both the pictured ensembles and my lifestyle.   I had come to a similar conclusion myself, which is why I ultimately decided to pass the necklace on.   It’s a beautiful piece, but it really has no place in my life.

The necklace was purchased prior to my writing this blog and was an impulse buy at a “jewelry party.”  I also bought a pair of earrings at that event which were likewise too formal for me and my daily activities.   I wasted a big chunk of money by buying jewelry items solely because I liked the way they looked.  I didn’t stop to ask myself Bridgette’s tried and true question, “Where are you going in that?” and suffered the consequences. In my defense, I didn’t know about Bridgette and her advice yet!

I share my foibles here in the hope that you may be able to avoid making the same type of mistakes.   Before buying any new jewelry piece or article of clothing, always identify real life occasions when you will wear the item in question.  You can save yourself money, guilt, and regret by pausing to take this one quick step!

Below are the short neutral necklaces I still own:

Silver and gunmetal short necklaces

My collection of silver and gunmetal short necklaces

So what did Bridgette have to say about these necklaces?   She feels they all suit my lifestyle much better than the necklace I wrote about above, but they are a bit repetitive in style.   She feels that I’m “splitting my wears” by having so many similar pendants and that I could probably cull the eight necklaces down to just two.  She recommended that I pay attention to which ones I wear over the next year or so and then purge the rarely or never worn pieces.

I agree that there is redundancy in this collection, but I didn’t really notice how much until my session with Bridgette.  A few of these pieces are kind of old and were being stored in a different section of my jewelry armoire.  Had I been more aware of what I had, I hopefully wouldn’t have purchased new items which fit the same necklace category.   However, I have long operated under the assumption that neutral pieces are more versatile than colored items, which is a large part of why I bought so many.  Bridgette is really shifting my views in this regard.  More on that below…

Colored Short Necklaces

I have ten short necklaces which incorporate color in either the pendant or chain (or both).

Colored short necklaces

My ten colorful short necklaces and pendants.

Of these, Bridgette was surprised to see the orange necklace (fifth from the left) due to its warmer tone.  I told her this is an older piece that I’ve kept to wear with my remaining warm-toned clothing items (brown, orange, yellow, coral).  I still like the style and it works well for its intended purpose, but I don’t plan to purchase any new jewelry (or clothing) in warm tones, as I have a cool complexion and have recently identified a color palette which works well for me.

Bridgette’s favorite of my colorful necklaces is the one on the left, a peridot and smoky topaz pendant that was a gift for my 40th birthday from my father and stepmother.  Bridgette likes the modern, sleek, architectural nature of this piece and feels it’s a good match for my style.  I don’t wear this necklace often but I plan to incorporate it into my outfits more regularly following Bridgette’s feedback.

Bridgette also liked the moon-shaped labradorite pendant (third from left – probably 18 years old!) and the green pendant (third from right) because the colors are bright and good shades for me.  She recommended that if I get any more short necklaces, I should go brighter and less delicate. She feels that my necklaces are pretty but may not reflect my clean, modern style.  She suggested that I ask myself if my current necklaces are “me” now.   I’m going to ponder that question and see how I feel when I put my various necklaces on.  I will see which ones resonate with me in the coming months and then decide which ones are ready to be passed on.

The Long Necklaces

I have eleven long necklaces, as shown in the two photos below.

Long necklaces, part one

My long necklaces in silver, gunmetal, and black tones – part one.

Long necklace collection, part two

Long necklace collection, part two:  I wear these necklaces more often than the ones above. 

Bridgette’s issue with my long necklaces is that they’re all silver and there’s a lot of duplication. Her favorite one is the necklace with different sized circles at the bottom of the second photo.  Interestingly, that’s my favorite long necklace, too!   I also prefer the necklaces in the second photo over the ones in the first photo, probably because they are simpler in style.

When I went through my jewelry the last time, I had a difficult time deciding which long necklaces should stay and which should go.   I kept so many, as I plan to push myself to wear necklaces more often to see which ones rise to the top.   I tend to wear long necklaces and scarves more often in the cooler months, which have yet to begin in my neck of the woods.  I can see Bridgette’s point about the similarity among my necklaces and I likely will pare down my collection to around half the current size within the next six months or so.

The Earrings

In my jewelry armoire, I separated out my earrings into neutral and colored pairs:

Neutral earrings

My silver and gunmetal toned earring collection.

My colorful earring collection

My colorful earring collection – a lot of blue and green!  Also, gold and copper earrings.

Extra earrings and my pin collection

Fancier earrings, “on the bubble” pairs, a few sentimental pieces, and my pins/brooches. 

Bridgette and I mostly discussed my colored earrings, which are shown in the second photo above. Her main comment was that I have a lot of blue pieces, which is true.  In fact, I didn’t realize how many blue earrings I have until I organized my collection by color.   I also have quite a few pairs of green earrings, while other colors are not represented much at all.

Bridgette told me that many of her clients have the same level of duplication in their wardrobes as I do.  She said that people often have a ton of stuff and “nothing to wear” because so much of it is the same.  In terms of my jewelry, how many different ways can I wear blue earrings?  She recommended that I either don’t buy any more blue earrings or that I institute a “one-in, one-out” policy with them.   She suggested that I buy some purple earrings, as well as other colors in my palette (burgundy, red, fuchsia, etc).   I love purple and was surprised at how few jewelry pieces I have in that color.  Purple jewelry pieces are now on my shopping priorities list!

When I mentioned that I have too many earrings that are on the small side, Bridgette said that we all need to have both bigger and smaller earrings, especially if we like to wear bolder necklaces from time to time.   It’s best to pair a larger necklace with a smaller pair of earrings in order to keep things balanced.  On the flip side, if your stand-out jewelry piece in an outfit is a pair of larger earrings, it’s good to skip the necklace in that instance.   Accessories are wonderful and really have the power to elevate our looks, but we should be mindful not to go too “over the top” with our jewelry.

There aren’t really any hard and fast rules, as style personas vary widely, but the general guidelines are as I just outlined.  We all know of women who can pull off looks that would be too much on almost anyone else, but we should trust our instincts when we look in the mirror.  If we’re worried that perhaps we have too much jewelry on, it’s very likely that we’re right!

Finally, the Bracelets

Last but not least (before we moved on to the outfits, that is), Bridgette and I looked at my bracelets. I currently have 32 bracelets, which I separated out into three groupings:

Neutral metallic bracelets

My black and metallic bracelet collection.

More neutral bracelets

More neutral bracelets:  cuffs, alternate metallic tones, and a few more silver pieces.

My colored bracelets

My colorful bracelets – again there’s a lot of blue in there!

Bridgette was impressed with my bracelet collection.  Not surprisingly, she really liked my colored bracelets, which again include a lot of blue. Her favorite piece was the purple and pink beaded bracelet that my friend gave me a few months back.  She suggested that I wear this bracelet with the bright purple garments in my closet, but I can also pair it with complementary colors and neutrals like navy or black.

I really like my bracelets, too, but I know there is quite a bit of duplication there.  The bracelets I’ve been wearing the most are the ones in the first photo, especially the two black leather bracelets (the wrapped style with silver chain details and the belt buckle style with silver hearts).   The embellished grey cuff in the second photo used to be a tried and true favorite, but I don’t love it as much these days.

I think Bridgette is right in that I currently prefer more clean and modern styles in both jewelry and clothing.  Some of my jewelry pieces pre-date my style evolution and don’t really suit who I am today.  As my preferences continue to evolve, I’ll no doubt let go of some old favorite items in my jewelry collection, just as I have done with the garments in my closet.  Even looking at the photos today, I have some definite ideas about what I’d like to hold on to and what can easily go.

I no longer feel the emotional need to have an overly large wardrobe, and that holds for my accessory assortment as well.   It’s taking me a while to lower my closet “set point” to a more reasonable level, but I’m feeling more and more satisfied with less these days.   I’m happy that I’ve taken my time to pare down, however, as I’m still in danger of feeling a sense of scarcity that can lead to a panicked shopping spree.  If you’re like me and have a tendency to quickly purge your wardrobe and then overshop in compensation, check out my advice for how to best manage your transition to a smaller closet.

Some Advice on Color Combinations

I’ll close this post with some advice from Bridgette on color combining.  First of all, our jewelry does not have to match our clothing.  It can look very stylish to wear jewelry pieces in colors that our complementary to the garments in our outfits (some great advice in this post).  We can also use our colorful jewelry pieces to accent our neutral ensembles.

If you struggle with deciding which colorful jewelry pieces to wear or buy, use your patterned garments as a guide.   For example, if you own a printed top like the one below (a previous wardrobe “benchwarmer” of mine that’s now a closet favorite), you can pull any of the colors from the print to wear in your jewelry pieces, handbags, and shoes.   I would have the option of wearing mint, red, yellow, or pink accessories in addition to neutrals like black, white, and metallic.   For years, I only opted to pair my garments with neutral accessories, but now a whole new world has opened up for me in terms of color coordination!

Floral print tank

There are lots of accessory options for this floral print tank!

Be careful about how many different colors you include in a given outfit, however.   A good rule of thumb is not to wear more than two colors unless they are “grounded” by a neutral.    So I could successfully wear a mint necklace and red pair of shoes with the top above, but if I also wore a bracelet in one of those colors or another bright tone, it would likely be too much.

Likewise, if you opt to pull only one color from a print for your accessories, don’t include too many instances of that color within an ensemble.   I could probably wear a red cardigan and red pair of shoes with my printed tank, but adding red earrings would create a too “matchy-matchy” effect that isn’t in line with the current style aesthetic.

Bridgette has written lots of blog posts which offer excellent color combining advice.  For your reference, here are a few of my favorites:

Conclusion and “Throwback Thursday”

I hope you enjoyed this first post debriefing my follow-up virtual styling session with Bridgette Raes.  In future posts in this series, we’ll dive into some of the advice Bridgette gave me on some of my troubling outfits, as well as her tips for taking my best looks up a notch.

One thing Bridgette does each week on Thursdays is recap some of her posts from last year at that time.  Since I have a lot of posts in my archives and many of you are likely newer readers, I decided to start doing the same thing.  Here’s what I was writing about in mid-October of 2013:

  • Decisions, Decisions… The Keep or Purge Question” – I offer five powerful questions to ask yourself if you find yourself with too many clothes in your closet and want to pare down. This is one of my most read posts and it was written exactly a year ago today!
  • A Tale of Two Shoppers” – Differentiating between how shopaholic shops versus a conscious, mindful buyer. The catch with this post is that both shoppers I wrote about are me, at two different points in time.
  • Useful Links to Help You Shop Your Closet” – This post offers a number of links to advice on how to better work with what we already own. We often think we need to buy more in order to cultivate the look we want, but that’s not always the case!

Feel free to share your insights on the topics of this post or any of the “Throwback Thursday” posts above.   Unfortunately, I had to close comments on my earlier posts due to a severe spam problem, but you’re welcome to comment and ask questions about previous topics in the current comments section.

59 thoughts on “Styling Advice from Bridgette Raes – The Accessories

  1. As usual, fabulous post! The concepts seem really clear the way you explained them, particularly about the duplication of similar items and having lots of items but feeling like there is nothing to wear. Makes so much sense! Thanks so much for sharing what you have learned.

    • Doesn’t Debbie do a great job with these posts? It’s even great to read these back because, in the moment, I really don’t recall everything I say. It’s great to read how clients experience a session and what really sticks.

    • Thanks so much, Justine (and thanks to Bridgette for chiming in as well)! I internalized Bridgette’s advice and wisdom so much more by listening to the recording and encapsulating everything here. I’ve heard that we learn things best when we teach them to others and I’ve found that to be true. Sharing what I learned with everyone here has helped me to better internalize it all – it’s a win, win!

  2. I’m really glad that you share your sessions with Bridgette with us – and I’m happy that this confirms my own findings about how more of the same doesn’t give us more options, only more items. There is one slight exception to this rule: I find that with bracelets you CAN have several items that are similar, because you can just stack them, which will give you a different look. With earrings, that is not possible :-). Some necklaces can also be worn together. You could consider this if you purge more.

    You have some really nice pieces!

    • I second Mette’s comments. I am also really struck by how many pieces you have that are so similar. Instead of making yourself wear them to see how they feel have you thought about simply pulling out a few that you really love and wearing those only. Then you could see if you miss any of the others. It also will be interesting to see you adding more color in your jewelry as you move towards your desired color palette.

      • I see a lot of sameness too. Perhaps you could use a second box to put the pieces you naturally gravitate to over a given time. Not forcing yourself to wear pieces. Then after a season, assess what you love and consign anything that seems duplicate. If you think a piece is a different season wear then hold it for a second round. This is sort of the “turn the hanger around” closet awareness helps me. Just a thought. I also like the idea of stacking your bracelets for a different vibe. But I’d be careful I wasn’t doing this to force the wears. Thank you for your frankness.

      • The other thing you can stack is necklaces. I noticed repeats in this area too that could possibly be purged.

      • Kathy, I love your insight and suggestion. What I call that with clients is “putting it on life support”, meaning it is on borrowed time and the plug will probably be pulled at some point.

    • Hi Mette! Bridgette here. I do have to agree with your comment about layering. Lately I have been into layering bracelets and loving it. Not to speak about Debbie like she isn’t here (hahaha), I think, given how much time she spends typing, she has to make sure that this is realistic for her. It may be a great idea for being out when she wants to dress up an outfit. However, one has to watch these things. Sometimes we hold onto things with reasons like, “I’ll just keep these bracelets in case I want to layer”, and then never do. I see a lot of that with clients. I once had a client who kept keeping things for “painting and home projects.” When I looked around her apartment her walls were all white and she couldn’t remember the last time she did a home project. The bigger issue about Debbie’s bracelets is that they are all similar. I don’t have as much of an issue with the amount of bracelets she owns as I do the repetitiveness. Anyway, great feedback, Mette, I really appreciate it!

      • You are absolutely right in your comment about the reasons we come up with for holding on to items just in case, Bridgette. We often convince ourselves about these things – or maybe we used to need things for such occations and don’t question the belief even though we never garden/paint/go to the opera etc. anymore. The main reason I mentioned layering bracelets was because I was looking at all your bracelets Debbie (to include you here 😉 ) and was struck especially with how many black metallic pearl bracelets you have, and I just wanted to say that wearing each one individually wouldn’t bring much new to an outfit if it was one or the other, but stacking them would (stacking them with bracelets from your other photos would as well). Explore if you like them stacked before you choose one to keep over the others. And you probably don’t need more black metallic pearl bracelets ;-).

      • Oh and I have a term for the times we hold onto things we think we will use and then come up with imaginary places we will wear them or times we will wear them, but know we won’t, it’s called Wishful Wardrobing. Now my clients say, “Am I wishful wardrobing?” Ha!

    • Thanks, Mette, Juhli, Kathy, and Bridgette. What a great discussion in this thread! Here’s my input…

      I like the idea of layering my bracelets and necklaces, but Bridgette has a good point about too many bracelets being a problem with all the typing I do. I would probably reserve the bracelet layering for when I’m out of the house. I haven’t done too much bracelet layering in the past and usually just kept it to two pieces. It may be too “maximalist” for my more minimal style, but I will definitely give it a try to see if it’s for me. Same thing with necklace layering.

      I like Kathy’s idea of doing something like “the hanger trick” with my jewelry. I gave this some thought today and I’m going to give this a try. I may do one more round of purging first and then clear out two or three drawers of my jewelry armoire for the purpose of seeing what I wear. I’ll put things in the drawer after I wear them and see what I end up reaching for. This should help me to pare down further by the end of the year.

      I forgot about your “wishful wardrobing” question, Bridgette! I’m going to add that to the list of questions I ask when I’m shopping, as that has been a big problem for me. For example, I tell myself I’ll wear something out to a nice dinner, but most of the restaurants around here are pretty casual. I think I just have to accept that my life is very casual and to stop buying anything that’s not that!

  3. Thanks for sharing your Bridgette sessions with us! It’s very helpful and you explain it in an easy to understand way. I’ve been reading a lot of her posts and find them helpful as well. A few months ago I purged quite a few pieces of jewelry to my sister and niece. I haven’t missed them and in fact could probably purge some more. A lot of my jewelry are near-duplicates, like yours. I need to really take a look at what’s remaining and make a plan for any future purchases.

    • I think that is great, Kim! It’s amazing just how much we don’t need. I think accessories are always evolving. I have a Wantable subscription and I really love getting new pieces every month. But when a new box arrives I always cull down.

    • Let’s both plan to look at our remaining duplicates, Kim, and pare down further. I’m inspired to do that after talking to Bridgette, writing this post, and seeing the comments. I agree that accessories are always evolving, but many of mine are old and really don’t suit the style statement I want to express anymore.

  4. I loved loved loved this post! When I was looking at my jewelry, I was also finding that I had too many similar things. I’ve gotten down to a much smaller selection but I don’t have nearly as many duplicates now. I bet you could purge at least 1/2 of your jewelry shown here and never notice it was missing! This is not a negative discovery- how exciting to find another clue on how to help yourself make wiser purchases in the future, and another way to simplify your life by reducing the redundancy of choices you can make! Bridgette’s philosophy (not splitting your wears) is the single most helpful thing that has helped me both reduce/ make my wardrobe more manageable, and has helped me not make as many mistakes in my purchases.

    • Hi! Thanks so much for your kind words. I recently did a post on my blog showing all my accessories and my readers were shocked by how little I owned, but how much I could get from them. All it takes is being more discerning and seeing what you put in your wardrobe less of an emotional one and one that is more purposeful. I wrote a blog post about this last year and it really put this thought into perspective by comparing it to how we stock other areas of our home. If Debbie doesn’t mind, I am going to post it right here.

      • That was a great post. The videos showing accessories on different looks is also great. Found you through debbie’s blog and have learned a lot.

    • I’m glad you liked this post, Meli! I’m sure you’re right that I could purge half of my jewelry pieces and not even know the difference. I’m actually feeling inspired to do so now, but also a little nervous. I think I’ll use both Deby’s “first impression test” and one of Bridgette’s great questions (something like, “Would you ever wear this item over this other similar item that you love?”) to take another pass through my jewelry collection. I know I will feel better with less, as it’s still hard to find things and decide what to wear given the current large assortment.

      Bridgette, thanks for sharing that older post. I remember it and enjoyed reading it the second time around. I definitely did NOT shop with a wardrobe mentality in the past and I suffered greatly for that. I also loved your post this week in which you showed your accessory collection! I shared the link in the color coordination section above, but here it is for those who want to check it out: That is a MUCH more manageable accessory collection and it is SO versatile, too. I hope to be able to cultivate a similar collection soon, but first I need to pare down what I have!

  5. Debbie, I can’t thank you enough (again) for being so generous with your readers and our work together. I hope it helps everyone. It’s amazing that this post will be broken up into parts when we only spent an hour going over all of it. You’re right, I must talk fast. 😉
    Out of respect for the privacy of my clients, I can’t share information like this on my blog unless they give me permission. And even then, I have to be respectful and the content is written from my perspective, not theirs. It’s also nice to hear back work with a client from their perspective.

    Anyway, your commitment to having a balanced wardrobe should be commended. Good for you for investing in yourself! Thanks again for this wonderful series.

    • You’re more than welcome, Bridgette! I appreciate your coming over here to comment today. I do believe that my openness about my work with you will help others. That’s why I decided to go into more detail about everything. Why not? I am already pretty much an open book on this blog, so this is just another extension of that 🙂 Feel free to send prospective clients to my posts so they can get a better sense of what it’s like to work with you. I’d imagine it would be a little different in person, but the advice would be the same.

      I think I was really in the place to want to really absorb all of your advice. Writing about it is helping me to learn even more, plus I have the added bonus of being able to share what I’ve learned with others. I really consider it a privilege and I have been so happy to be able to work with you. For those who are even considering hiring Bridgette, it’s completely worth the investment. I believe that it will pay off for me at least ten-fold, if not more!

  6. Hey Debbie, I have that exact same brooch of the two figures dancing in step! My mother gave it to me about 15 years ago. How long have you had yours?

    • How cool, Deby. Small world! My husband got it for me 8-10 years ago while he was on a business trip, I think somewhere on the East Coast. Neither of us remembers where he got it, but he thinks it might have been at Dulles Airport from a vendor. Do you wear yours? If so, how? I really like it, but it’s a larger piece and I’m not totally sure how to wear it.

      • I really like the brooch, but I have a hard time wearing it with scarves because the arms and legs of the dancers tend to get hooked up in the scarf fabric, especially if its a knit. I think it works best to wear on flat fabric.

        Sometimes when I have a piece of jewelry I love but seldom wear–and this is usually a pendant or a pin–I have it custom framed, very small, like looking into a jewel box, and I use it as decor in my home. I framed a carved jadeite dragon pendant and placed it on my living room mantel. A few years ago, a close friend gave me a set of vintage bird pins as symbol that “we are family even though we are not related by blood”, and I framed those, hanging them on the family wall of photos in the hallway. The dancers pin is the kind of thing I might get framed some day.

        I’m not much of a brooch person with regard to wearing, but I like to look at them. I have a several bee pins I have collected and been gifted over the years, and a few weeks ago I got the idea of pinning them onto the silk lampshade in my office, so they look like they just casually lit down on their way to somewhere else. I like the symbolism of the bee, a creature who, by the laws of physics, should not be able to fly. Also, my name (Deborah) means “bee”.

        Its fun to use jewelry and accessories to decorate with! For 4 years, the valance in my bathroom was a raw silk oblong scarf that just happened to look perfect. When I moved to a new house, it reverted to being a scarf. Ha ha, kind of like the modern version of Scarlett O’Hara making a dress out of the drapes–only the other way around!

      • Deby, what a wonderful idea to frame a brooch/pin. Thank you for this suggestion. Also, your suggestion for giving our clothing a “first impression” test is outstanding too. Last week I had to pack for a conference and after following your advice I ended up eliminating an outfit and selecting something else. Wise words you offer. Thank you.

        And Debbie, good post!

      • I know what you mean about the arms and legs of the dancers getting caught up in scarves, Deby. I love your ideas for displayed loved brooches that we don’t wear. Sounds like you have some beautiful brooches! I’m not much of a brooch person, either, but I used to be. I got rid of many of my brooches in my earlier jewelry purges, but have kept my favorites around. I can definitely see framing some of them. I like the bee symbolism, too. I heard that Deborah means “Queen Bee,” which of course I liked 🙂 I also like your Scarlett O’Hara analogy, as I’m a big “Gone with the Wind” fan!

      • I love Gone with the Wind, it was my favorite “grownup novel” I first read when I was in the 7th grade. One day I was lamenting to my English teacher that I couldn’t find anything to read, that I had read so many things and I wanted to step it up from the children’s section. She took me to the school library (our school was grades 7-12), handed me GWTW, and said, “here, try this–it might be tough going for you at first, but I think you’ll love it. It WAS tough at first, because at 13, I did not understand much about men/women romantic interactions, so I had to read parts of it very carefully so as to understand what was going on–but she was right! I became enthralled. I first read it in paperback, but now I have a first edition (from the Goodwill!) that I reread every few years. I’ve always admired Scarlett for all her conniving–she was a survivor and she was very real about her motives.

      • How great that you’re also a GWTW fan, Deby! Like you, I also read the book at a very young age after having seen the movie and loving it multiple times. I think I was also around 12 or 13 when I read the book. I would actually love to read it again, so maybe I should look for a first edition, too! I am also a big admirer of Scarlett O’Hara, especially because she was such a survivor!

  7. Wow, I would never have thought of grouping my jewelry like this and seeing what is similar so I can see where I am splitting my wears. And, of course, like most things I never think to do, it seems so simple now you lay it out! I haven’t really tackled my jewelry yet, so it’s definitely something I need to do.

    • It’s amazing, isn’t it, Sarah? I was really struck by the similarities when I laid everything out for photos. I had NO idea there was so much duplication among my jewelry! Of course, now I am inspired to pare down once again. I already got rid of a lot of duplicates earlier in the year, but I guess it’s like peeling an onion. I’m going to tackle my jewelry some more over the weekend (and may pare down more clothes or at least move items to a “holding zone” to see if I miss any of them). Good luck with your upcoming jewelry purge!

  8. Wow you have an impressive jewelry collection! My guilty pleasure used to be scarves, at one point I owned over 30 of them! But then I realized I was only ever reaching for the same handful, so I’ve purged many of them over time. It appears that my ‘scarf phase’ is over, so why keep holding on to them right?

    • You should have seen what I used to have, Lisa! My entire jewelry armoire was packed to the gills and it was the biggest jewelry storage option I could find. I was a big scarf collector, too, and had 56 of them when I started this blog. I now have about half that, so it’s still a lot. I pare down bit by bit as I see what I don’t wear. I was off of scarves for a while, but I’m liking them more again. Sometimes we cycle in and out of both accessory and jewelry preferences.

      • Please don’t take offense, but every time I read jewelry armoire I think “that is part of the problem”. I find that most people fill up the storage space that they have and then don’t use what they put in it. When clearing out my Mom’s house we found a second jewelry storage unit we didn’t even know she had tucked away in the back of the closet. She hardly ever wore most of what she owned but it sure was stored nicely. Perhaps deciding how much jewelry you really will use and scaling down your storage to fit that would help?

      • Juhli, great observation! I totally agree. I have lived in a small 700 sq. ft. Apartment in Brooklyn for 17 years. I have to keep things tight because I simply don’t have the space. As I like to say, a handbag is like a home, the bigger it is the more crap you put in it. We tend to expand by the size we have to expand in.

      • My apartment isn’t much larger than yours, Bridgette. We’ve lived in a smaller space for about 6 years, but before that we lived in a space that was more than twice as large. It was definitely easy to accumulate too much there! Good point about the handbags! I have different sizes there and I always notice that the larger ones become too stuffed.

      • No offense taken, Juhli. You raise an excellent point. I remember when I lived in a larger apartment with more closet space. It was SO easy to just amass a huge wardrobe without even giving it a second thought! When I bought my jewelry armoire, I was in a very different frame of mind and wasn’t considering any sort of downsizing. At this point, I think I would cut my collection in half and my current storage would still work well. As you can see from the photos, the drawers are still a bit cramped. If I downsize more than that, or if I see myself continue to accumulate so many new pieces, I will have to pursue a smaller storage option.

  9. This was very interesting. I liked Mette’s idea of stacking bracelets and layering necklaces if that seems appropriate for you. I almost always wear hoop earrings, but if a necklace or bracelet is simple I often wear more than one. I think it gives both the outfit and the jewelry a new look.

    • I liked Mette’s idea, too, Tonya. I’m going to give it a try and see if it feels like “me.” I haven’t been one to layer jewelry in the past, but I may end up really liking it. If not, that’s all the more reason why I should pare things down further!

  10. Fabulous post, Debbie, and great advice from Bridgette. I really enjoy hearing your two voices together. It’s interesting that Bridgette liked that purple/pink bracelet so much, I think you were feeling doubtful about it, Debbie. Have you worn it yet?

    I really liked your accessories post, too, Bridgette. Here is the direct link in case any other comment readers are interested:

    I was looking at my jewelry a bit today and I feel like I actually have three lengths of necklaces — not just short and long but short (near the collarbone/above the neckline of my shirt), medium (nestles right at the bottom of the breastbone), and long (falls between breastbone and bellybutton). Curious if anyone else has noticed this or if I just have an extremely picky eye in this area? (or maybe a quirky body — I’m short, with a short torso, so actually I’d expect not to notice such a difference but who knows!)

    • I love that Bridgette came over here to comment, Sarah, as it was great to get even more input from her! As for the bracelet, no I haven’t worn it yet, but I’m more inspired to do so following my session with Bridgette. I see more possibility for it now, but the proof will be in the wearing. We’ll see if I end up loving it in actual outfits.

      I loved Bridgette’s accessories post, too! Thanks for sharing the link. I was great to see Bridgette’s actual collection, as I would have imagined it would be larger. It really doesn’t take a lot (of either clothing or accessories) to have many options. My problem was that I kept buying more of the same and was either not wearing much of what I have or “splitting my wears.”

      As for necklace lengths, many of mine are adjustable for different necklines. I also bought some necklace extenders on Amazon that allow me even more options. So I think my short necklaces encompass both your short and medium lengths as a result. I am tall but short-waisted, so I don’t have a very long torso. I notice a bit difference with necklace lengths and necklines just like you do. Perhaps I also have a quirky body – and a picky eye!

    • Thanks for posting that link. I was surprised by how popular that post was. I do have a very small collection but I just culled down recently. I have a Wantable accessories subscription because I write for them. I have loved what I have gotten so far and I always try to let things go when I get something new that I like better and will do the same thing. As I said in an earlier comment, my apartment space is so small that I try to keep everything tight.
      Debbie- in regards to hanging jewelry, my cleaning lady actually came up with a great solution. She took an old mirror that had hooks, and was supposed to be a coat rack, but it was so flimsy and small that I could never use it as such. She hung it in my bedroom and I now hang all my necklaces from it and, bonus, there is a mirror right there. It’s a great way to keep my necklaces from getting tangled and I seem them all displayed.

      • I really think that was one of your best posts, Bridgette! I love personal examples, as they help me to see what a workable wardrobe really looks like. I love all of your other posts, too, but this one was especially instructive for me. I figure that if the “accessories Queen” can get by with far fewer jewelry pieces than I have, why can’t I? It has really caused me to re-think things!

        Your cleaning lady seems very astute. Seems like a good solution, but don’t your cats play with the necklaces? Perhaps they aren’t as young as my Sprite, but I know he’d have a field day with my necklaces if they were within his reach. My current jewelry storage (which, yes, may be too big for my downsizing needs) has two swing-out doors with hooks for necklaces. I have two or three necklaces on each hook at present, so it would work a lot better if I pare things down. I would better be able to see what I own and would probably wear things more. Perhaps I would only need ONE of the doors!

      • My cats love to nudge our shoes, but they never damage them in any way. I think cats have very different senses of smell, as I would never think of burying my face in my husband’s shoes (no matter how much I love him!).

  11. This post and the subsequent discussions have been very interesting. Lots of lovely jewelry but so much of it very similar as has been mentioned. And so many pieces!! Interestingly, no pins or brooches were shown( unless that’s a cat pin or two! I thought I had a lot of jewelry (some of it heirloom and not worn much), but I have maybe less than 15% of the amount shown here. I think having fewer pieces makes each more special but that’s my philosophy about clothing in general. I have layered and wrapped necklaces (a garnet necklace around cheapy multiple strands of pearls, etc.).

    • This is my pared down jewelry collection, Dottie! I have purged many pieces since I started my blog last year, but only wrote about the more recent purge I did back in June ( There were even more similar pieces before I pared things down, but I’m gradually moving to a more manageable collection size. Bridgette’s input will definitely help me to get to the next level! I DO have I think 6 brooches, but I don’t wear them much anymore as I wrote in response to Deby’s comment above.

  12. What a great post! I’m really looking forward to more posts about your sessions.

    I am also nodding my head in agreement with this duplication issue you are currently dealing with in your accessory collection (and likely in your wardrobe). I definitely am guilty of that with my clothing, and although I haven’t gone into my jewelry collection lately, I’m sure it would have the same problem. I will definitely be combing through my baubles soon!

    In other news, you will be proud to hear I have stopped shopping for almost two weeks now…and have even managed to delete my ebay and poshmark apps on my phone, which were big pitfalls for me. It’s nothing to throw a parade over yet, but I’m feeling good about the direction I’m heading and the more time that passes, I am feeling the grip of wanting to shop weaken a little day by day… 🙂

    • Way to go Chelsea! Two weeks is a great start. I understand how hard it is when you’re constantly bombarded with ads and pictures of new clothes and accessories. I started a shopping ban 7/1/14 and am trying my best to go to 1/1/15. I’ve done ok with it but did purchase a raspberry bag that looked like what I’d been searching for for months. Got it and ended up returning it as it was larger than I thought. Then I saw a beautiful Missoni scarf/stole on Pinterest that would look great with my whole wardrobe. I told my husband that’s what I wanted for Christmas and he said ok. Well, a couple of weeks later I went to the site selling the scarf and it was sold out. I asked him if he’d gotten it for me yet and he said no. I was really feeling the FOMO and started searching the internet for another retailer. Found the scarf and ordered it myself. When I got it a few days ago I was thrilled to find it was great quality and just beautiful. So though I broke my shopping ban I’m not really sorry about getting the scarf. It does indeed go with my entire wardrobe and is such great quality it should last for years. As for what I was doing looking at Pinterest, I usually avoid women’s fashion so that I’m not tempted. However someone had posted that Missoni scarf in the Home Decor thread and I just had to go look at it. Keep doing as great as you are so far Chelsea!

    • Big cheer for you, Chelsea! You’re really doing great, and you, too, Kim! I love how everyone encourages each other so well here. If it takes me a while to get to the comments, I can always count on another reader to provide advice or encouragement as needed, and I really appreciate that. Deleting phone apps helps a lot to stop the temptation to shop. It used to be that shopping was limited to actually going to a store, but now we can shop anywhere, anytime. It definitely makes it harder to recover, but we’re all doing it. I’m very proud of both of you (not to sound motherly – LOL!). The scarf you got, Kim, sounds like a good purchase. I’m sure the scarf is beautiful and will be very versatile with all of your colors. Keep up the great work, both of you. My readers inspire me every day!

  13. You have a lot of jewelry Debbie.
    I used to love earrings and necklaces in all colors, sizes and shapes but I stopped buying them many years ago. As I got older I did not like the look of dangly earrings on older earlobes, lol.
    My jewelry collection now is very simple and fits in a small tray. I stick to mainly silver and a bit of gold. I buy good pieces now maybe once a year. Just last month I bought a long Tiffany chain necklace as it was my birthday treat to myself. I also love handcrafted designer silver pieces. I have had my bracelets for years now and I love them and wear them all together daily. I only wear small diamond studs in my ears and maybe every now and then will I wear a pair of statement earrings.

    • Sounds like you have a well-curated jewelry collection that works well for you, Carolyn. I think when it’s all said and done, my collection will be half its current size or smaller. I was very inspired by Bridgette’s recent post in which she showed her jewelry collection ( . She is able to do SO MUCH with far fewer pieces than I have. I can definitely see myself with a collection closer to that size. It will be less overwhelming, less redundant, and easier to where, much like what you have currently.

  14. I love the comments almost as much as your blog, Debbie! You have great readers and I think we all appreciate how much you contribute in the comments, in addition to your great blog posts. It must be quite time consuming, but adds a lot.

    • I agree that there are many wonderful comments here, Hilda. I always learn a lot from what readers contribute. Yes, it’s time-consuming to reply to comments, but I enjoy interacting with readers. I may not always be able to respond at the level I do now, but I think it’s great when conversations get going here that don’t really need me. That’s when I feel like things are really working. You help and support each other beautifully!

  15. Debbie – what have you done with jewelry that’s broken?
    When I look at my case I have a drawer full of watches that need batteries or new bands, earrings with broken clasps, necklaces with broken links or clasps that have some problem.

    I can’t quite bring myself to get rid of them, but I feel like it would be too expensive to replace the batteries or have them fixed.

    • I have usually repaired broken jewelry, Ginger, and often my husband has been able to do it for me because he’s quite handy. If he can’t do it, I often took the pieces to a jeweler, but sometimes I think that wasn’t the right thing to do, especially since I often end up passing those pieces on. It may not be the best investment I could have made, but otherwise I would just have to throw things away and that doesn’t feel right to me. That said, a very “costumey” piece broke recently and I just let it go. It was not made well at all and I only wore it a few times. Do you like the broken pieces? If so, I would repair them one or two at a time. That’s pretty much what I did and it wasn’t too expensive that way. Maybe just repair your favorites first and see if you wear them before fixing anything else. No need to do it all at once! Also, you could pass broken pieces on to friends or family members who might be willing to foot the bill for the repairs in exchange for getting a free piece that they love.

    • Ginger, I sold my Mom’s broken jewelry that was made of gold or silver and also sold jewelry of hers and mine that I would never wear. I then used the money to get a ring of my grandmother’s resized. I wouldn’t have spent the money to do that without getting the money from the sales. Perhaps you can sell some pieces, repair the ones you love and let the rest go.

  16. I have a lot of jewelry, which I wear often, and purge through about twice a year as the mood strikes me. My intention is to sell the culled pieces on ebay, but I haven’t gotten around to that yet because of time issues. Sometimes I recycle pieces in and out of the “ebay file” if I’m not sure about parting with them.

    To keep my jewelry organized, I bought a Lori Greiner cherrywood jewelry armoire that sits on top of the bureau. Its a great system, I can see everything easily.

    • I don’t know what it is about jewelry, but I’ve found it harder to let go of than clothes, too, Deby. It’s getting easier, but it hasn’t proceeded as smoothly as my closet pare-down. I don’t really have many sentimental clothing pieces, but I do have an emotional attachment to some of my jewelry items. I also have an armoire for my jewelry, but it sits on the floor and is about four feet high! Perhaps I would do better with one like you have at this point. After my next pare-down, I may opt to reconsider my storage method.

Comments are closed.