Don't let your earrings know it's February

    January is over, your friends at home just went back to school last week, and you’ve already weathered a few too many sub-zero days. Whether or not the dreaded seasonal depression has set in yet, the sartorial makeover is in full swing. Tank tops and skirts have been banished to the back of the closet until April, and you can just forget about those peep-toe pumps that looked so cute back in September. With your wardrobe reduced to t-shirts and sweatpants, you might as well just let jewelry slide too until the sun comes back, right?

    Wrong. The threat of hypothermia is no excuse to hide those new chandelier earrings you got for Christmas or Hannukkah. In fact, cold weather should be an incentive to accessorize: between scarves, hats, animal-shaped mittens (I have tigers), boots and tights, you should be able to match your jewelry to something. It’s time to take charge of that abandoned jewelry box and shake things up.

    More colorful than a bag of M&Ms
    It’s all about colors this season. And with the snow outside, the piles of reading inside and the long walk to Tech to look forward to, who can’t use a little color in their life? Blue and yellow (yes, really, yellow) are the big colors of the season — look for them appearing on bags, belts and shoes, not to mention every dress manufactured in the next few months. And you Wildcats are in luck: purple is very popular, especially heading into spring. So hold on to those Northwestern T-shirts — they’ll be couture by March. With animal prints like zebra and leopard swinging back from “tacky” to “cute,” you can go wild matching or contrasting your jewelry. Black, white and gold are always safe bets when you’re wearing something flashy, but if you want to take the look all the way, pair exotic bamboo or carved wooden jewelry with your print. With so many colorful options to choose from, you should never stumble into class in head-to-toe black again.

    Sassy bangles. Photo by yri on Flickr, licensed under the Creative Commons.

    Not that kind of cuffs
    Big bangles are the name of the game this season, with everyone from Fendi to Banana Republic offering their own spin on cuffs in metallics and bright colors. Textures like hammered metal or braided fibers lend a unique touch and enamel bracelets add a fun, flirty splash of color to even the darkest, most depressed winter outfit. Just throw on a rainbow of bangles and bam! Your outfit isn’t gloomy anymore — it’s chic.

    For the Pre-M.R.S. among us
    Unless you’re getting married soon (and if so, on behalf of the female population of NU, where did you find him?), rings probably aren’t part of your everyday life. That’s okay — rings are great statement pieces, so it’s better not to overdo them. When you have the chance, though, go all out. Cocktail rings are a great way to add some sparkle to a simple dress, and they’re more subtle than bangles or a flashy necklace. Big colorful stones are in right now, so look for a color that works with your style. Pair a chunky cocktail ring with a simple gold chain necklace for a pretty, understated look.

    Long necklaces are a quick addition to a fun winter outfit. Photo by Trinity on Flickr, licensed under the Creative Commons.

    Layers aren’t just for leggings
    Don’t throw away those super-long necklaces yet. Long chains are great for winter, especially when you layer a few of them together. If you want your necklaces to stand out from the sea of braided gold chains, look for ones with small charms, beads or contrasting colors. Throw them over a cute crewneck or sweater before heading to class, or match with a dress for a night out. You might not want to wear them to The Keg, though. The last thing you want are all those chains hitting you in the face when you’re trying to dance.

    Hey baby, what’s your sign?
    If you’re hunting for a more individual look, pendants are a big trend this season. Throw a pendant (the bigger, the better) on an old chain or a basic leather cord and you’re set. That box of old-lady jewelry your grandmother left you is worth another look, too — old-fashioned stones and pendants are both classic and unique. Also, keep your eyes peeled for pretty zodiac pendants in gold. According to InStyle, astrological signs are appearing in all shapes and colors this season, from flat stones to three-inch-long gold fish. Flash your sign and keep that weird guy at the bar from using the lamest pick-up line in the book.

    Dangly earrings can bring color to a drab winter outfit. Photo by e³°°° on Flickr, licensed under the Creative Commons.

    Size does matter
    As someone who thinks earrings should always threaten to touch your collarbone, my reaction to this season’s trends is “About time!” Big earrings are definitely here to stay, but big doesn’t have to mean tacky. There are countless shapes and colors to choose from- remember that simplicity is never a bad idea. If you want a huge, bold shape, stick to one color, like red or blue. If mixed colors is your thing, look for a smaller shape, like flattened ovals or little crystals.

    For fancy occasions, take a cue from stars like Cate Blanchett and Sara Ramirez, who rocked sparkly drop earrings to the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Drop earrings, which range from two stones to chin-length strands, frame your face without overpowering it. Find ones with bright stones on the end for a little bit of color or stick with basic gold and silver for a more subtle look.

    The key to finding great jewelry, though, isn’t matching it with that cute new top you just bought. It’s matching it with you. If you hate long necklaces because you’re clumsy and get them caught on your door handle, don’t wear them. Trends aren’t made for everyone — in fact, you look much better and more original when you don’t follow what Glamour says, word for word. Don’t pay attention to what that girl next to you in lecture is wearing along with her Uggs, Burberry scarf and North Face jacket; even if it matches, she clearly doesn’t have the imagination to go with it. Find a color or style you like and run with it.


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