Sometimes you’ve got to take your cues from the natural world. I had originally conceived of this post as an homage to the pearl (probably my favorite “gem” — and also my birthstone) but quickly found myself drawn to pairing the luminescent pearl with the craggy grays of the oyster shell. It’s a genius combination — and effortlessly modern, especially since I’ve sensed a return to mid-90s minimalism in some recent big name fashion collections. Working with shades of gray is an easy way to achieve the modern monochromatic remix of mid-90s simplicity. And here, below, are a few of my favorite pieces.
To begin: a feminized oyster gray dress by Derek Lam ($845, TheOutnet):
Now here’s the trick: offsetting the matte gray with the glow of pearl accents. Though I’m typically against wearing flats to events marked “cocktail” or more formal, these mother-of-pearl adorned Giuseppe Zanotti sandals (on sale for $695, Shop the Shoebox) impart just the right amount of irridescence:
Then all you need is a little ivory clutch, some pearl-accented enorma-studs (I adore the Kendra Scotts featured below — $70, Max and Chloe), and you’re good to go. I wouldn’t clutter the look with much else — your shoes are about as much bling as you need.
For a dress with a little less flounce and feminity, amp up the pearl presence. Consider, for example, the J. Crew “Gracie” dress in light pewter ($189, J. Crew):
It is, essentially, the perfect wedding guest (or bridesmaid!) dress. Elegant, sophisticated, and still fresh thanks to the unexpected color. You can easily make the look more radiant, more lively by adding pearl accents — perhaps these dainty, vintage-like pearl drops ($68, J. Crew) and this cluster pearl bracelet ($88, Danielle Stevens):
Or if you are more an oversized-cocktail-ring kinda gal (this little Magpie is), check out this Lee Angel bauble ($75, Net-A-Porter):
Or maybe just let this unbelievable clamshell Judith Leiber bag do all the talking for you ($4,395, Neiman Marcus):
(Side note: is it wrong that I’m almost as excited to be carrying a classic Judith Leiber clutch to the reception of my wedding as I am to be wearing my gorgeous wedding gown?! Eee! Fashion overload.) You can get the look for (much, much) less with this La Regale beaded clutch ($38, La Regale):
While we’re on the subject of the shell itself (did you know some people collect them? They are gorgeous!) — I just have to feature my favorite little Kate Spade ring (on sale for $82, Nordstrom):
Just don’t forget to keep the gold of the ring company — add on some gold-rimmed shades or a gold-accented bag for good measure. For work purposes, don’t you live for this pearl-beaded Marni top (a cool $823, MyTheresa)?
(If those are too avant garde for you, the lower-heeled Miu Mius or the patent Michael Kors pair I featured yesterday should work just fine.) All you need is a pair of enormous pearl studs and you’re ready to go. Or maybe pair this See by Chloe top ($108, TheOutnet — love the scalloping along the neckline) with some white skinnies and a pair of pearlescent flats (Vivienne Westwood, $115, My Wardrobe):
If you walk on the bolder side and like the chunky jewelry look, consider throwing this Hive & Honey pearl cluster stunner on top ($68, Piper Lime):
As for decorating yourself: another office-appropriate styling option? This ASOS ruffle-front dress ($68, ASOS):
The color palette works well for the evening — and is somewhat unexpected. You’d certainly be the belle of the ball, standing out in a sea of black. Consider, for example, this floor length La Perla gown (yes, they do ready-to-wear now! — $595, Net-A-Porter):
Love the beaded, plunging neckline. And when you’re wearing it — the world is your oyster!