The rules of style often dictate restraint, but based on the winter 2022 fashion trends, there were no such inhibitions. Even the jewelry at the fall/winter 2022 fashion shows went toe-to-toe with blocky shoulder pads, oversized jackets, sparkly tops, clashing prints, and blinding neon fabrics, almost out-competing the clothes for attention. But the metals and gemstones themselves communicated a message: Winter jewelry might be hurtling toward the ostentatious, but not by reinventing the wheel. All of this season’s hottest jewelry styles are remixes of classics, which means they’re not only easier to find and purchase at an affordable price point, but that you’re apt to wear them again and again—even when these loud trends inevitably quiet.
“It’s definitely going to be a big, bold winter, but in fine jewelry, classic and refined never go out of style,” wrote Tanaz Shayan, co-founder of fine jewelry brand SHAY Jewelry, in an email.
As we assessed this winter’s hottest runway trends in the jewelry category, we found a lot of overlap. You’ll notice that overlap in the categories defined below; that’s because the best thing about these styles is that they mix and match with ease. “Your trends should be very personal in fine jewelry, I think,” says Chelsey Bartrum, founder of jewelry brands Heirloom Revival and Starling Jewelry. “Everything comes in and out, but there’s definitely always things that you just wear because you love them and they’re for you.” Below, a rundown of the season’s spiking designs—and how you might make their looks your own.
The classic pearl is finally getting a facelift, says Tenisha Wilde, founder of jewelry brand Ten Wilde. “Pearls play such a huge part of the ‘old-money aesthetic’ that’s been trending for a while; think Blair Waldorf,” Wilde wrote in an email. “Styles have repeated themselves through the decades, but pearls took their time to make a comeback…I don’t see them going anywhere, and I’m here for it!”
Shayan agrees. Come November, “pearls are also going to have a major moment this season,” she wrote.
Adds Bartrum, pearls are “also very wearable and a nod to what your mom or grandmother might have worn.” But unlike your grandmother’s simple single strand of pearls, the runways called for stacks and stacks and stacks of pearls or pearls worked into other forms of jewelry such as rings, bracelets, and earrings. Models at Givenchy, Versace, Paul Costelloe, and more rocked enormous pearl baubles styled as chokers, plunging necklaces, and lobe-straining drop earrings.
Classic geometry will always be well-represented in your favorite jewelry stores, but the winter runways called for more outside-the-box thinking. Organic, abstract designs represented a more free-flowing approach to fashion, with Etro, Christian Cowan, LaQuan Smith, Yuhan Wang, and others offering up fluid, swooping pendants and funky, eye-catching spirals.
The trend presents an opportunity to experiment without reinventing your wardrobe. A classic T-shirt and pair of jeans take on a whole new vibe with a pair of cloud-shaped earrings or a chunky, maze-like cuff. “Accessories are quickly becoming the main attraction,” Wilde wrote. “I’m seeing it to a point where outfits are being worked around a jewelry piece, rather than jewelry being worked into an outfit.”
“The earrings category has expanded a lot in the last few years,” wrote Sally Rong, founder of jewelry brand Rellery, in an email. “Huggies, studs, hoops, and ear cuffs all seem to really have taken over the conversation for the ultimate ear stack.”
But the foundation of any ear stack is a hoop, which dominated runways at Chloé, Jill Sander, and more during this year’s fall/winter shows. This season’s hoops range from dainty and classic to massive and polygonal, but the idea remains the same: A good hoop will go with anything.
The cool tones of winter snowfall call for a spike in equally cool-toned jewelry, as represented on runways for LaQuan Smith and Miu Miu. “While gold will always be a mainstay (particularly the 14K gold color because it looks good on all skin tones given the softer yellow color), silver jewelry has definitely seen an uptick in popularity this year,” wrote Rong. “In particular, we’re definitely seeing a trend toward chunky statement silver jewelry and Gothic-inspired jewelry, amongst Gen Z and millennials.”
She added that silver jewelry appeals to these younger consumers, in particular, because “it’s relatively more affordable than gold and is also a cooler color tone that’s versatile and easy to wear.”
Layers Upon Layers
The easiest way to match this winter’s trends with the pieces you already have in your jewelry box? Put on more of them. One of the most prominent accessorizing staples of the season is layering—stacking necklaces, bracelets, and earrings alike into maximalist statements. That also means you can purchase individual, lighter pieces, then mix and match them into heavier assortments. (For inspiration, look to runways at Chanel, Saint Laurent, and Off-White.)
“We see a lot more volume of [customers purchasing] dainty jewelry than chunky jewelry,” Rong wrote. “This is because customers love stacking tons of dainty pieces together to create unique, everyday statement looks.”
But Wilde finds even larger pieces can easily multiply for an exciting aesthetic. “I’m really obsessing over jewelry taking center stage to one’s own personal expression and style,” she wrote. “I’m definitely a more-is-better type of girl, so I’m just having so much fun as a designer right now with the statement pieces.”
Florals for winter? Just might be groundbreaking. Models for Loewe, Roberto Cavalli, Ulla Johnson and more sported heavy metal blooms during this year’s fall/winter shows, a sure sign that flowers are a mainstay even if the real deal won’t survive the frost.
“Floral motifs are popular all year round,” Rong wrote. “They are not only pretty and playful but also meaningful and unique.”
Shorter, colder days mean more sparkle will be necessary this winter, regardless of the hour. Wrote Rong, “The current tennis necklace trend is great for both dressy and casual. It is paving the way for wearing more crystal jewelry in the daytime.”
Vivienne Westwood, Carolina Herrera, Off-White, Bora Aksu, and other designers showed off fall/winter collections featuring numerous interpretations of crystal jewelry—some more classic and diamond-encrusted, others more chunky and bohemian. Find the look that best suits you, but don’t shy away from doubling up.
The Y2K-inspired neon fabrics featured in numerous high-fashion collections this year have seeped into jewelry trends, inspiring bright, bold enamel earrings and rainbow gemstones lodged in bracelets and necklaces. Rong writes that most customers will naturally gravitate toward earthier, neutral tones as the seasons change, but this year’s runways granted us permission to hang tight to sunnier shades even as the skies grow gray.
Colorful pieces can also be worn in a variety of styles: Birthstones, for instance, are much more timeless investment pieces, while enamel earrings or rainbow bracelets can be a low-barrier entry point to jewelry collecting. “We’ve seen it at both ends of the spectrum: bold, classic, investment styles hold sentimental value, and refined lower price points are a reflection, for many, of the current global economic status,” wrote Shayan.
Luxury houses like Ralph Lauren, Valentino, and Vivienne Westwood brought back tassels with a bang this winter. While long, dangling earrings outfitted with shoulder-brushing fringe might not be the most practical staple for everyday wear, Rong writes that “customers do love getting bigger and bolder pieces for special occasions, like weddings or for vacations.” That makes this season’s swinging drop earrings the ideal purchase, especially given their longevity.
“I love the idea that [we], and other more delicate, fine jewelry brands, are also going to branch into some bigger, more significant pieces,” Bartrum adds.
Lauren Puckett-Pope is an associate editor at ELLE, where she covers film, TV, books and fashion.