It's people-watching season. Now that we're no longer swaddled in sweaters, jackets, coats and such, it's easy to spot the fashion items that make a big impression.
I've got one word for you: necklaces. With an exclamation point! Make that two!!
So many of us are on a shopping budget — I know I am — and looking for that Wonderful One Thing that will make any outfit look special.
After spending the last few weeks watching women stroll around town, the single item that makes me think, "Wow, does she look great," is a statement necklace.
Susan Swimmer, the fashion features editor at More magazine, found a neon-bright one at Ann Taylor for less than $100 that she wears all the time. Then she sent me the link to the Kate Spade necklace shown here so I could ooh and aah.
I did more than that. I headed to Nordstrom to try it on. It was love. Unrequited love. Because $348 is way, way more than I'd ever spend on a piece of costume jewelry.
And you don't have to.
Kathryn Finney, a bargain shopper if I've ever met one (she's founder of budgetfashionista.com), fancies giant necklaces that grab you by the throat. One of her favorite resources is Etsy (etsy.com and it's one of my faves too. You can spend hours on that site searching through the (literally) tens of thousands of options under "statement necklace" and, especially, "statement necklace bib."
Trust me, it's dangerous. And many, too many, of the fantastic options are less than $50. (Beware that many are one of a kind, so if you want it, act quickly.) I'm crazy about the "bubble statement necklace" in turquoise from Ily Couture on Etsy for $49. But the "green bead statement necklace Mexican style" from JustineJustine on Etsy for $50 is pretty primo too.
Either of these (and zillions more) would make the most boring black T-shirt or white cotton sundress look utterly fantastic. And, in case you're thinking that the colors don't go with anything you own, think again. When it comes to these jewelry choices, anything goes. Really, you can't clash.
But if you're still locked in a matchy-matchy kind of world (get out of it) and are looking for a specific color, go to Charming Charlie (charmingcharlie.com), one of my favorite sources for frugal jewelry. It's so inexpensive that you can wear it for just a season or two and then feel fine about donating it. The Charming Charlie stores (in 35 states) are organized by color and are overwhelmingly inviting, or just overwhelming. Type in a color on the site and you'll turn up hundreds of options in the shade of your choice.
And the prices? You'll need CPR. The "oceana statement necklace" in blue and green — a worthy low-cost substitute for the Kate Spade — is a mere $14.97. Yum. And the "royal jewels collar necklace" ($24.97) is a raspberry stunner. Or how about that purple "layered chain and bead necklace," a real grabber at $14.97?
I know many women in their 30s and beyond think that the chic-for-cheap Forever21 is too youthful for them. Ladies, think again. The jewelry and accessories there are a steal and work for all ages. If you want to play How Low Can You Go, a look at the necklaces at forever21.com is a must. Check out the "sparkling collar necklace" in brown/gold — a knockout at a knockout price: $9.80. Another option is the "colorful flower necklace" in pink/coral or cream/black for $12.80. At those prices, no need to pick just one.
Have I got your attention? Now go shopping for a die-for necklace and capture the attention of nosy passers-by who will ask you where they can get one just like it.