Creating a Minimalist Jewellery Capsule

Jessica Rose Williams
by Jessica Rose Williams

My relationship with jewellery has been a rollercoaster.

I started taking it seriously after watching Legally Blonde at the age of 15. My silver Tiffany charm bracelet was my pride and joy and made me feel very Elle Woods, which was my look at the time. Following that came my faux diamond encrusted J pendant necklace which was rarely off my neck. Nights out were times to have fun with Topshop style costume jewellery but I always came back to those key pieces I treasured.

When minimalism took over my life I declared myself ‘not a jewellery person’ and I decluttered almost every piece I owned. Since then I’ve kept my collection to a mere three pairs of earrings and that’s been it. This has worked well for me for the last few years but something has shifted recently and I’m feeling both ready and excited to rebuild a capsule jewellery collection that’s a bit more grown up and reflective of my current personal style. I’m craving some more options, variety and probably nostalgia. The costume jewellery won’t be making a comeback but the idea of a few quality timeless pieces is stroking my heart.

I don’t mind telling you I sincerely regret letting go of my white gold J. I wouldn’t wear it now because I favour gold jewellery over silver but it was part of who I was at that time in my life and it’d be nice to have it in my sentimental box. Luckily I have a photo of it so that softens the blow. That being said, if you are in the declutter phase of intentional living, take it from someone who’s been there - be careful with the sentimental items you let go of and at the very least photograph every single one.

I was going to write this post at the end of my capsule jewellery journey when I’d acquired all the pieces I’m fancying but then I realised that was silly because as a capsule wardrobe veteran I already know exactly how to approach this and it makes more sense to write when I’m at my most enthusiastic. I’m writing this guide as much for myself as anyone else, to keep me on track and save me from making any silly mistakes I should have learned from by now.

So here are a few tips on how to create a jewellery capsule

1. Know your skin tone - the easiest way to figure out your skin tone if you don’t know it already is to look at the colour of your veins. If they’re blue you’re likely to have cool skin in which case silver or white gold will suit you best. If your veins are green then you’re likely to have warm skin and that means gold will compliment you better. If you have a mix of the two (like me) then you’re neutral and you have the pick of either. That’s not to say you can only wear jewellery that compliments your skin tone, but it’s best to know the rules before you decide to break them.

2. Consider your real life - yes we’d all love to flounce around in diamonds like Marilyn Monroe in Gentelmen Prefer Blondes but let’s be real - when and where are you going to wear your current jewellery and the new pieces you’re thinking of adding? These are essential questions to consider when your fingers are itching to add to cart. Dressing for our real lives and still granting ourselves full freedom and experimentation with this as opposed to our fantasy lives is a solid practical rule to make sure we actually wear what we own.

3. Less but better - the number one rule of shopping for any minimalist, slow or intentional liver. How much jewellery do you actually need? How many pieces will you realistically wear over the span of an average year in your life? Focusing on quality over quantity will mean you can afford better pieces that will last longer. Having fewer pieces doesn’t mean you have to spend more on the jewellery you do buy and given the size of the jewellery market there’s no need to spend more than you can afford. Even with a less but better approach owning less results in spending less overall because you’re buying fewer things in the first place and not replacing as often. This is also a more sustainable approach to not just jewellery but shopping in general. It goes without saying vintage jewellery is always worth considering as it ticks both sustainability and affordability boxes.

4. Go slow - a capsule anything is never done. I’m gnawing at the bit to complete my capsule jewellery collection right now but I know this is a huge mistake because I’ve already made it with my capsule wardrobe. This is not Pokemon, you don’t gotta catch em all. Take your time, enjoy the process and unless your funds are unlimited, committing to less but better will make sure this happens naturally. There is so much joy to be found in the researching, the browsing, the contemplation and finally the arrival of something you’ve poured so much thought and intention into.

5. Know your personal style keywords - Accessories should be an extension of your capsule wardrobe, complimenting your existing (or ideal if your just starting out) personal style. If your clothes are the story, jewellery is the punctuation. The two must compliment one another and play to their strengths. Summing up your personal style in three keywords will help you make decisions about what to buy and what to let go of. This is a pivotal exercise we go through in my simplified wardrobe ebook. If you’re new to this concept, to give you an example of how it works my current keywords are simple, romantic and functional. Everything in my capsule wardrobe and soon to be capsule jewellery collection reflects these words in a way that speaks to me and this is what creates harmony.

This is what I’m thinking for my own jewellery capsule. There’s not much Elle Woods in here anymore but the old me is still shining through. Feel free to use it for inspiration but remember yours will and should look completely different to mine precisely because it’s yours.

So what’s in your jewellery capsule? And if you’ve got a favourite jeweller you’d recommend let me know in the comments. Mine are currently Tiffany (definitely still some Elle Woods in there somewhere!), Carrie Elizabeth, Mejuri and Ebay or local jewellers for secondhand pieces.

Jessica Rose Williams
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