I was in Paris with fellow PRiME board members, Valerie Freeman and Jan Fletcher OBE, just a few weeks ago. Our meeting took place near the end of fashion week in Paris, so while we did see the odd fashion blogger here and there, none offered any inspiration to us, whatsoever, on the latest in fashion. (Perhaps that’s because they are blogging to 20-somethings and not us?) But, we did have great fun strolling past shop after shop of beautifully crafted window displays. None were more striking than those bearing the name of the grand dame of Parisian fashion herself, Coco Chanel.
Karl Lagerfeld has carried on the tradition of Chanel’s designs reflecting the aspirations of women and their changing role in the world. No longer do career women need to wear the Barbie version of Ken’s “go to work” suit (read Fashionable Business Attire). Women are free to dress as feminine as they like in virtually every industry today and no one shows them how to do it better than Chanel.
The Chanel windows stood out, and not just for their bold fashion looks, like hot pink – head to toe – the traditional box jacket, and knee high boots, but for their overabundance of accessories, especially Chanel pearls. Not dainty pearls, like your mother wore, but layered, thick, chunky pearls that could handle the heaviest of tweeds.
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Of course to pull off the layered Chanel pearls shown here (and keep it remotely wearable for work) takes some guidance. Claudia Bradby Jewelry offers a five step process to follow in layering your pearls. First, using the image below, familiarize yourself with the various lengths and where each necklace layer should ideally rest on your torso.
Second, go for a graduated effect. Vary the lengths and weight, the more delicate should be shorter than the chunkier, heavier pearls. Third, use a pearl lariat to add versatility to your look. Fourth, mix up the metals. Rose gold and silver work together adding dimension. Fifth, use ropes and ropes, much like the Chanel pearls layered in the window storefront. Odd numbers work best, three, five and if you’re tall, and brave enough, kick it to seven layers. Once you get the hang of it, you can channel your Chanel-look like a pro.
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