Make a statement, with your necklace, of course

Rihanna draped in pearls at the Chanel couture

Rihanna draped in pearls at the Chanel couture show in Paris. (July 2, 2013) (Credit: Getty Images)

Pssst. Want to know the secret to making a sure-fire fashion statement this summer?

Simple. Wear a statement necklace. "Once it was a favorite evening item, but now, a bold necklace can breathe life into a plain suit or take a plain T-shirt from drab to fab," says Karen Giberson, the president of the Accessories Council, a trade group.

Adds Good Housekeeping magazine's fashion director, Jasmine Chang, "They're a staple, like skinny jeans. Big, bold, colorful, impactful necklaces are good for adding color to your outfit, bringing attention to your face and creating conversations."

The range of choices is staggering, with prices going from under $20 to thousands of dollars, and designs that run from wildly ornate to starkly modern, from sparkly bibs and chunky collars to pendants and masses of beads.

But no matter what the style, jewelry designer John Wind of Maximal Art believes dramatic necklaces send a subliminal message that conveys "confidence and ease." Wind, who incorporates vintage flea market finds with reproductions, says the power of a statement necklace is two-fold. "While it might make you look like a movie star, they ironically make you more approachable . . . . People will want to ask you about your jewelry."

If looking snazzy and becoming a conversation magnet aren't enough, there's an added bonus. "The right piece can draw the eye away from figure flaws and make you look slimmer," says Giberson. "Shorter styles call attention to the neckline and décolleté, attracting attention up. This helps balance out one's mid section, which has a slenderizing effect and an elongating look."

DOS AND DON'TS

While the statement necklace might just be the easiest fashion fix, worn incorrectly, it can turn you into, yikes, a serious fashion victim. Here are a few rules for wearing 'em right:

Less is more: "Like any bold accessory, you should play down all the others. Don't wear a big earring, just a small post, and keep the clothing simple, like T-shirts or crisp white shirts," says Jasmine Chang, the fashion director at Good Housekeeping Magazine. "I like to have it hidden under a shirt collar. People will still notice it and it brings them closer."

Comfort is key: Test drive the necklace in the store if possible. "Avoid those that are too heavy for you or have sharp edges that could poke you, pull hair or snag a delicate fabric," says Accessories Council president Karen Giberson.

Color is important: If you look bad in green, then don't buy a necklace with big green stones. "Look for colors that complement the face, much like selecting a make-up color. A piece that is near the face should be flattering," says Giberson.

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