I remember being in elementary school and going shopping with my cool older sisters at our local mall’s Charming Charlie. Intermixed with the pungent smell of faux leather and the sparkling glitter floors were their immaculate color-coded displays of accessories. Of which, iconic to the 2014 fashion climate, were countless maximalist statement necklaces.
Like any trend from years before, we look back now and cringe at the brightly colored bubble necklaces which were adorned by our favorite lifestyle Youtubers and Pinterest gurus in the early 2010s. But now, after several years of dainty chains and pendants, statement necklaces are making their return.
Thankfully, not in the business-casual style they were in 10 years ago, but in a wacky elementary school art teacher way (I’m saying this as a form of flattery): clunky charms, lots of layering, and mixing metals. In opposition to clean girl and quiet luxury aesthetics, eclectic maximalist jewelry is taking a firm grasp on the fashion society.
Brooklyn Charm has been in the social media spotlight for the last several weeks. The esteemed jewelry store has locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York, Copenhagen, Denmark and Ventura, California and is known for its consumer interactivity to make their own, custom pieces of jewelry. Shoppers pick from hundreds of charms and several different chains to make one-of-a-kind pieces the employees can put together for them. Hearts, cowboy boots, lucky numbers and fruits are all tokened into charms available to shoppers. I saw visitors who shared on TikTok that there were several hour wait times to take home the unique necklaces ranging in prices under $100.
But you don’t need to head to New York or California to partake in this eclectic trend. Charm necklaces and custom jewelry can be made simply from supplies available at any craft store. Influencers are sharing online the charms they’ve collected from markets, vintage shops and craft stores to create the jewelry on their own.
An age-old fashion rule is to never mix your metals; gold and silver that is. It has even been a trend on social media to share whether you are a “gold girl” or a “silver girl.” It seems like a rule as definite as avoiding navy and black together. But as fashion has become more expressive through time, are the rules still relevant? The answer, in my opinion, is no.
Two-toned jewelry collections have risen in popularity this year. Net-a-Porter, a London based luxury fashion retailer, has accredited it as “2023’s jewelry trend to try.” Rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings of all metal types and tones are being styled together.
Individualism through maximalism
These trending jewelry styles fall under the fashion aesthetic of maximalism, which is essentially the idea that more-is-more in opposition to the minimalistic less-is-more. Besides just jewelry, I have seen maximalist stylists wearing (for lack of other words) crazy glasses and draping their outfits in different eclectic accessories like scarves, ribbons and keychains.
The reason why this style is trending in an era of neutral Skims body-suits is really quite simple. It is expressive and it is personal.
Charm necklaces are so loved because they are unique, custom and can hold significant meaning. They may hold significance because the wearer was able to make it themself, the charms they chose have meaning behind them or perhaps they are vintage. No matter what significance it may hold, charm necklaces are different from anything anyone else might have. Each necklace is unique to the creator.
Layering different beads and mixing metals creates a one-of-a-kind jewelry collection to its wearer. I personally think maximalist jewelry is incredibly chic. The look it creates reflects what fashion is intended to do: self expression.
It reminds me of a grandma’s jewelry collection – in the best way possible. Someone who has lived a full life with lots of love, girlhood, fun, the best closet and great stories to tell. It reminds me of how Jane Birkin, the inspiration behind the Hermès Birkin handbag (perhaps the most luxury purse available in high fashion), packed her Birkin bag just full of junk that held importance to her.
Maximalism is truly the epitome of personalization –– and with a modern fashion industry fueled by cheap, mass production, that’s hard to come by.