How To Wear Pearls Now

Historically, pearls might have been considered old fashioned, but former Tatler Fashion Director and revered stylist Anna Bromilow insists they’re far from passé. In this month’s instalment of her SL column, she explains why every woman should have some in her jewellery collection, as well as how to make them feel more modern…
ANNA BROMILOW
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Sometimes, achieving true style can hinge on the smallest of details. A particular button, the length of a hem, a contrasting trim – these are the points of difference that can make or break a look. My current styling hack? Brace yourself – it’s pearls. Traditionally steeped in ladylike grandeur, they’ve recently come into their own once more. With houses like Gucci and Chanel weaving them into their heritage luxe aesthetic for a while, we have the maximalism trend – and of course, Instagram – to thank for the embellished, eccentric accessories we now see all around us. So, if you're searching for a look that’s effortless but interesting, pearls, in particular, are quick route to elevated style.

Styling is often about contrast, too, which explains why pearls are most effective when they’re worn with their polar opposite – like a marl jersey tracksuit. Probably the least prim, but most relevant, piece right now, there’s no doubt it looks fresher, more fashion-forward and purposeful accessorised with a pair of pearl earrings. Equally, a simple white tank, minimalist and boyish, looks chic worn with a freshwater necklace. And an oversized white men's shirt instantly goes from nondescript to elegant when worn with a chunky pearl ring. The key is to take simple, contemporary classics and add pearls to elevate the look. Grey cashmere, crisp cotton, pale silk, indigo denim – all wardrobe staples which are the perfect modern match.

As for the style, oversized or asymmetric designs are what you should look out for. Completedworks and Timeless Pearly do this so well. An irregular design and interwoven nuggets of gold make sure their pieces feel less ‘twin-set’ and more statement. Ana Khouri is a favourite, too, with exceptional, modern pieces – something which if, unfortunately, reflected in the price tag (they’re definitely an investment purchase). If you’re on a budget, Zara always deliver when it comes to affordable costume pieces, and Wolf & Badger are also worth a visit. Alternatively, Ottiumberg have some sweet alphabet pendants and pearl charms this season, while Shrimps' ornate and quirky pieces are also surprisingly affordable.

If your love of pearls goes beyond jewellery, Nicholas Kirkwood, Gucci and Jimmy Choo usually have trans-seasonal embellished shoes on offer. Raffia and pearls work well together for the summer, and Jimmy Choo have some great sandals and bags to add to your holiday wish list. Arizona Love (my go-to school run sandals last year) have done a bolder version of their decorative pearl sandals this season – the ultimate, comfortable statement shoes which look fantastic with a black baby doll dress. If a more delicate, Chanel-inspired look is what you're seeking, opt for Rene Caovilla. A low gold heel and black bow make these the perfect white t-shirt and jeans accompaniment. Zara, once again, is where to head if you want to dip a toe into the trend without making the same kind of investment.

​When it comes to individuality and a more modern approach to decorative pearl dressing, then Mother of Pearl rule. It's difficult to choose a favourite from their ready-to-wear collection, with buttoned vests and puff-sleeved sweatshirts aplenty. However, their unique and covetable denim jackets have huge appeal, particularly the ones in ecru. Luxe but wearable, they’re the perfect unusual outerwear to layer over pretty dresses in the warmer months, particularly if you’re going for an all-white look. Simone Rocha is also a must for embellished wearable tops (her t-shirts and vests are a standout) and if you are looking for an easy-to-wear cardigan, then Vita Grace has a pearl-edged cardigan in black and in cream. Less is generally more, though, so instead of going for all-over adornment, focus on trimming, edging and or a single flourish. I love Miu Miu's striped scrunchie for something a little bit different and if holidays do happen, a pearl anklet may be just the thing to up your game on the beach.

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