Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

September 21, 2011

How To Wear It: Statement Necklaces

Filed under: Absolutely Fabulous,Accessories,Advanced Fashion,Jewelry,You Asked For It — Miss Plumcake @ 4:21 pm

Good afternoon my little pumpkin mellowcremes, how’s every precious thing?

I’m dandy and am bringing, as promised, a more detailed post on the successful deployment of costume jewelry, including 10 Plumcake’s Picks (clicky click on the images for links).

So let’s talk about necklaces.

While all women can pull off a serious statement necklace given sufficient attitude and force of personality, big girls have a leg up on our more slender competition because huge gobstopper gems that can overwhelm a delicate swan-like thing look fabulous and proportionate on our bigger frames.

You gotta have a big canvas if you want to paint a masterpiece.

And before I get all you art history majors waggling your invisible fingers at me, I know that’s not technically correct.

But you know the deal: you don’t split hairs with my turns of phrase and I don’t roll my eyes and cough *shouldagonefortheMBA* whenever you complain in genuine surprise at the shocking lack of high-paying jobs requiring an advanced degree in upside down toilets.

Moving on.

Big necklaces can be tricky for the big girl.

We’ve got the bulk to carry it off, but we don’t necessarily have the neck. I know, I know. Just as I’m convinced my church exists solely as a place for me to lose my sunglasses, you might think this blog exists solely as a place for me to bemoan my lack of giraffe-like qualities.

That is a damnable misconception. It’s also a place for me to post pictures of Spanish footballers in compromising and slightly homoerotic positions. Whee.

Generally speaking, the shorter your neck, the longer you want your necklaces to be.

I’m not saying go for all lavaliers all the time, but chokers or extremely busy bibs close to the throat run a higher risk of making you look a little squatter than necessarily desirable, you want the necklace to enhance the beauty of your face. A too-short necklace is like a photograph that’s been too tightly cropped.

Also there’s the dreaded disappearing necklace, where the front vanishes entirely under my double chin when I talk with any degree of animation.

This is a Very Bad Look for me. It’s like, acid wash and mullet bad.


When you’re tall you can fudge a bit on length, but the sweet spot for short necklaces is juuuust below the hollow of the throat. It’s the prettiest length on almost anyone, and you can still get a lot of drama without the Campbell’s Soup Kid effect.

Now let’s talk about body shape.

Apparently we’re either apples or pears. While I slightly object to being described as any part of Cockney rhyming slang, let’s have a butcher’s at what suits the various fruits among us.

I’m pretty much an hourglass pear, but there’s definitely more time at the bottom than the top.

For me, most necklaces extending longer than the middle of my decollete (I’d say cleavage but my gals have a wide stance so there’s no actual cleave involved unless coaxed via specialty equipment and possibly the Army Corps of Engineers) get lost and are more distracting than anything else.

For apples however, especially short ones (crabapples?), the opposite holds true.

While pears are best served with chunky but clean bib-style ornamentation, those lucky apples can rock the long ropes, pendants and lavaliers like nobody’s business. They make short girls look taller and encourage the eye to travel all the way down the body instead of just hitting the rack or belly and stopping.

Basic styling advice for a statement necklace: Minimize distractions.

Wear your hair up or back if it’s long and you’re wearing a big piece close to the face and keep the neckline clean.

You can have an orgiastic explosion of ruffles OR an orgiastic explosion of jewels, but please, one orgy per outfit.

The last thing you want is to have a visual competition between Big Necklace, Big Hair and Big Neckline.

Go High/Low for day.

It’s really the most chic way for day.

Yesterday I tossed on a dead simple and cheap black t-shirt jersey dress, flat gold sandals and an enormous Bollywood-style necklace.

I added an understated but substantial ring to continue the look of casual glam and it was enormously successful.

For some reason people seem to think every article of clothing has to have the same formality level.

For evening okay, I’ll buy that, but for day and early cocktail, splashy jewelry with understated clothes (jeans, a little cute knit top) is the most fun combination since Ovaltine and compound opiates, and that my friends, is a lot of fun.

Okay ducklings, it’s time for Miss Plumcake to hit the showers. Okay, really it’s time for Miss Plumcake to swim in her pool of costume jewelry like Scrooge McDuck (but in a tiara) but either way, have a fantastic day and tell me all about your favorite necklace in the comments!


  1. My favorite necklace right at this minute is a two strand confection of pearl- and peach colored beads, woven through with very thin peach and white ribbon. The largest beads at the center are probably more than an inch in diameter and they reduce somewhat from there, but not too much. Although it sure sounds cheap the way I’ve described it, the look is actually more spendy despite its $24 price tag. I love it with the heat of a thousand suns but limit wearings to once a month or so, so as not to diminish its power.

    Comment by Marsha — September 21, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

  2. @Marsha: Innnteresting! I’ve seen but never tried those ribbon necklaces. I don’t think they’d suit me but maybe I’ll try one on when I next pillage and/or loot!

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — September 21, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

  3. Once again, I break Miss Plumcake’s rules, by being an Apple who wears a lot of elaborate multistrand bib necklaces. I have extenuating circumstances in the form of a biopsy scar high on my chest, which I prefer to be covered even though I hate high necked tops. So I have several dozen of these necklaces. I make most of them myself, out of all sorts of beads, coins, and other bits. Several garage sale necklaces can often be cannibalized to make one great looking piece for a few dollars. They’ve become my trademark.

    Comment by Margo A. — September 21, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

  4. @Margo: They’re not rules, they’re guidelines. Also what’s flattering generally doesn’t necessarily have to be what flatters you specifically.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — September 21, 2011 @ 7:25 pm

  5. When wearing large statement necklaces, what does one do for earrings? I usually try to find studs of a similar color scheme to keep it simple. What is the Plumcake Way?

    Comment by teteatete — September 21, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

  6. @Teteatete: Good question! I usually don’t wear earrings if I’m wearing a large necklace because I’d say it makes the look seem overdone about 75% of the time. If you absolutely need something to balance out the extravagance pearl studs or your similar (but not matchy) studs are the best bet. Not that YOU would need to be reminded of it, but if your big necklace is part of a parure of equally dazzling specimens, don’t wear the earrings AND the necklace at the same time unless it’s for evening, and even then I’d be cautious.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — September 21, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

  7. My all time favorite is something I liberated from my Granny’s stash: It is silver wrought into a string of hexagons, each filled with a flower made of about 10 loops of wire. The central hexagons have a little metal fringe, which looks better than it sounds. The craftsmanship is pretty incredible and I can’t wear it without getting complimented. I am currently deploying it with a olive green scoop-neck and jeans, and another favorite is over a black turtle neck. It really makes the metal pop. I really don’t wear other jewelry with it.

    My runner up (which gets rather heavy by the end of the day) is a bunch of chunks of raw turquoise (~1 1/2″ each) that have been drilled as beads. I picked them up for $5 at a street fair and strung them together and put on a clasp. I’ve got some really basic slightly-tarnished-silver earrings that I wear with it if I’m in the mood.

    Comment by Maria — September 21, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

  8. Along with the proportion suggestions you listed, I found this article on “balance points” for necklines and necklaces very interesting and, for me, accurate when it comes to choosing necklaces for my face shape, neck length, and oh-so-ample bosom.

    Comment by Katie, Interrobangs Anonymous — September 21, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

  9. Statement jewelry that isn’t Tiffany-priced? Have I got the place for you. Ladies, allow me to introduce to you my favorite jewelry store in the entire world, Metal Pointus. It is of course more fun to shop at their store in Paris, where they have a larger selection, but you can also find them online:

    I have earrings and a necklace from there (neither appear to be online) and I get compliments every time. Also, every time I put them on, I get that warm, fuzzy, “I bought these in Paris” feeling. [And, no, I do not work for them, I just love their stuff.]

    Comment by Jezebella — September 21, 2011 @ 9:45 pm

  10. I’m not really much of a necklace girl (reading this to see how the other half lives) but I love your decollete description… Army Corps of Engineers! I can so relate.

    Comment by KESW — September 21, 2011 @ 11:46 pm

  11. I’m new to playing with statement necklaces, but I’ve found two I really like. I’m a tall, kinda-straight pair (which is why I loathe those freakin’ fruit labels…) & I have a fair amount of neck. I don’t know if these two are working for me, but I like them. One is a granite-y seed beed covered set of graduated baubles (largest being king marble sized?) & the string falls about 1/2way between the hollow & the bosoms (it was $5 in our version of a beach town, Homer, AK). The other is a large lapis & silver Persian bib, a gift from a (very talented & trained) belly-dancing friend. It has almost an Egyptian collar shape. Any thoughts or warnings Miss P???

    Comment by Leah — September 22, 2011 @ 12:20 am

  12. Plumcake, I love that you deployed Cockney rhyming slang. I wish I knew more, would be useful with like-minded colleagues in office politics.

    Comment by marvel — September 22, 2011 @ 7:43 am

  13. Love this post. I went on a “statement” necklace, bracelet, ring, earrings, buying spree last year and It’s been great. Every day when I get dressed it’s a new adventure in decoration. I’ve never been what you might call a shrinking violet, so I love pieces that get you noticed and these pieces do just that. I find myself feeling pity for my poor under-glitzed sisters. Where’s the fun in that? Love to wear bling &jeans and I fully agree on either earrings or necklace. Yo can have too much of a good thing in that respect.

    Comment by Gemdiva — September 22, 2011 @ 10:17 am

  14. These are great tips & I will definitely keep them in mind… however I just wanted to say that I love your writing style and I giggled my way through this whole thing. My first time on your blog (followed a link from Already Pretty)… I’ll definitely be back! :)

    Comment by jen — September 23, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

  15. @Jen: Welcome! I’m glad you stumbled by. I hope you’ll keep visiting. We’ve got all sorts of characters here, so jump right in!

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — September 23, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

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