I have a confession to make: I don’t own a little black dress. For some time, I’ve been wearing navy and other dark neutrals for my evening attire. Navy is more flattering to my skin tone.

In fact, navy is known as the universal color because it’s becoming to all skin tones, hair and eye colors and personal styles. And as with black, you can turn one navy outfit into many different ensembles by changing the accessories.

So instead of talking about adorning your little black dress, let me show you some elegant and colorful vintage jewels that will turn your little navy dress (or evening trouser suit) into an unforgettable holiday ensemble.

Wear a Bold Brooch

Wear a brooch on your shoulder, jacket lapel, belt or at your waist. Here are two examples, both pinned to the shoulder of a navy silk kimono jacket, to give you an idea of how well this color works as a blank canvas for jewelry.

This first example is a 1950s piece by Hattie Carnegie. The colors of these stones really flash as you move, and the navy brings out the lush green tones in the brooch. If you like emerald green, you could add an evening bag in the same tone. If you wear earrings, you’re in luck – this brooch comes with matching earrings.

This second example, also from the 1950s, is a Miriam Haskell design. This piece has loads of sparkle and texture. With faux diamonds as the main component, this brooch is easy to accessorize – simply add faux or real diamond stud earrings. You could repeat the silver tone of the setting in your evening shoes or bag.

Wear Earrings

Whether you have pierced ears or not, vintage earrings can accentuate your face, add glamour to your ensemble and also make a statement about your personality. Here are two examples from the 1950s. Both are ear clips, so anyone can wear them.

The pair on the left is by Schreiner, a prominent maker in the 1950s. He is known for the imaginative combinations of colors and stone shapes, cuts and sizes he used to create pieces that are still amazing today. Notice that this pair has a definite right and left earring, so your face is framed. You can add a pearl or diamond (real or faux) bracelet, as both are used as accents in the earrings.

Not for the faint-hearted, the earrings on the right by Hattie Carnegie are 3 ¼” long. Their length, movement and iridescent stones provide all the sparkle you’ll need to dress up any outfit.

Wear Pearls

Tips for Dressing Up for the HolidaysWear pearls – not a simple strand, though. Take a look at this opulent, four-strand baroque pearl necklace that’s embellished with rhinestone rondelles and blown-glass beads in gemstone colors. This 1950s necklace with matching earrings was created by Louis Rousselet, the premier maker of faux pearls and glass beads in the first half of the twentieth century.

Given the range of colors – sapphire, ruby, emerald, and amethyst – this piece is amazingly versatile. You could wear the matching ear clips or diamond studs, and choose one of the gemstone colors for your evening bag.

How to Wear these Jewels

You can see these pieces and others styled with contemporary evening outfits in my latest blog post Dress Up Your Little Navy Dress.How to Wear these Jewels

What accessories do you like to wear to holiday gatherings? Do you accessorize with vintage costume jewelry? Do you have a favorite piece? What other holiday fashion tips can you share? Please share the details in the comments.

Barbara SchwartzBarbara Schwartz is a vintage costume jewelry historian and the proprietor of TruFaux Jewels, a boutique of exquisite costume jewels from the 1920s-1950s. Through her blog, social media, and private coaching sessions, she helps women create their unique, personal styles by accessorizing contemporary fashion with vintage costume jewelry.

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