Don’t sigh when you receive an invitation with the dress code printed front and centre - this is a chance to have fun and experiment with a look you might not usually get the chance to wear.
‘Casual’ can mean ‘anything you fancy’ to ‘toned down’, so feel free to match your jewellery to your outfit. A beat-up band tee at a concert goes equally well with plain studs as with sparkly gemstone danglers - it’s your call.
‘Business’ tends towards the smarter end of the spectrum, with an expectation of practicality and subtlety. After all, you want colleagues to take you seriously for your contributions and ideas and not be distracted by huge novelty earrings (unless, maybe, it’s a Christmas party). A business conference calls for something classic and elegant, that shows you mean business and have experience, like plain pearl studs.
‘Cocktail’ gives you the freedom to choose a more fancy pair of earrings in keeping with the tone of your outfit. A fifties-style full skirted dress and gloves could benefit from matching diamond studs or a more contemporary diamond drop. Meanwhile a modern dress with interesting features like a low neckline or a cute floral pattern could echo that feature with long beaded shoulder-skimming earrings or enamelled flower studs.
‘Formal’ or "Black Tie" tends towards the classic shapes and gemstones. Stick with discreet gemstone studs, like pearls or diamond (or Cubic Zirconia as alternative), if your hair is down, or choose gorgeous swinging earrings if you’re wearing your hair up. One caveat; if you’re a guest at a wedding you want to look fantastic, but you don’t want to upstage the bride. If every photo ends up with glare from your huge diamond sparklers, you’re not going to be her favourite person. Match the dress code, but keep things toned down as this is one event where you don’t want to be the center of attention.
The final thing to consider when deciding what to wear to fit a certain dress code is the time of day. An important distinction is made between morning wear and an outfit you might put on once darkness falls. The same goes for your accessories. If you’re heading out of the door in a hurry to drop the children at school then get to your morning meeting, you need to look elegant and unharried. Studs are a safe bet to show you’re on track, professional and practical, plus they go with pretty much anything you can throw on clothes-wise.
Once you’re winding down in the afternoon or getting ready to go out in the evening for a night on the town, you can easily be a bit more expressive with your earrings. Switching to beautiful gemstone drops could transform your office outfit into something appropriate for after-work drinks. Donning a pair of glittering chandelier earrings could work to complement a plain dress for a dinner date.
Having taken into account all the various rules and etiquette of occasion-dressing, you can be sure to match the event you’ve been invited to. Now that you’re fully dressed and accessorised, you can head off secure in the knowledge that you are presenting your very best self. Choosing the right jewellery has the real benefit of boosting your confidence, flattering you and making you feel great, whether you’re off to a party or an important meeting, an afternoon BBQ with friends or dropping the kids off at school!