Photo:Launchmetrics Spotlight/LaQuan Smith; @xbibigul; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Gabriela Hearst; @greceghanem; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Bally; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Ulla Johnson
Mark your calendars, friends, because we're only a few weeks away from the official start of summer. While every season has pros and cons, there's no denying summer is unparalleled. I could rattle off what's special about it for days—e.g., it's the perfect time to sneak away to a far-off destination, and you can get away with eating gelato in a patch of sunlight or lounging by the beach while binge-reading a book. But I'll save my breath because everyone can find something satisfying about summer.
Personally, I derive unbridled joy from the slew of new fashion trends brought on by higher temperatures, especially in the jewelry department. I know the idea of jewelry trends seems counterintuitive, considering most may think that footwear or swimwear is a more important category to watch (and shop) for the season, but I beg to differ. It can be easy to fall into the trope that you need to spend a fortune to feel stylish during the summer, but that's not true. You can add that sizzle to your summer wardrobe simply through jewelry.
In an effort to prove the power of a few simple accessory swaps, I did hours of research to identify the five best summer 2023 jewelry trends, along with the ones to skip. Through scouring S/S 23 runway collections and the social media accounts of some of the most stylish women, I came away with a clear list of jewelry trends that can satisfy everyone's sartorial preferences. So without further ado, here are the jewelry trends that will heat your summer wardrobe.
Skip: Fruit 'N Veggies
Adopt: Under the Sea
Photo:@greceghanem; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Acne Studios; @emnitta; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Simkhai; @chey_maya; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Ulla Johnson
If previous seasons were about drawing inspiration from horticulture, this year was about taking nature-inspired jewelry to a new depth by going under the sea. The tidal wave of ocean-inspired jewelry can, in part, be attributed to the swell of popularity around the mermaidcore aesthetic on social media. But the true force of nature behind this trend goes back to the widespread prevalence of sea-inspired jewelry in S/S 23 collections.
We saw long cowrie shell earrings at Acne Studios, while beaded choker necklaces were adorned with natural conch shells at Ulla Johnson. At the same time, Simkai took inspiration from a mussel's outer shell and created gold oversize clip earrings and clutch bags. But the trend hasn't stopped there. The fashion set has already been wearing everything from starfish earrings to necklaces made from natural shell shards. Its widespread prevalence proves this trend has left the depths of the sea and become a part of our world.
Skip: Charm Bracelets
Photo:@emnitta; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Bally; @cassdimicco; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Tory Burch; @georgia_3.0
Is there any specific jewelry trend that makes you feel nostalgic? Maybe those dainty charm bracelets you wore to match with a loved one? Or how about the grungey rubber bands you bought from Hot Topic? Plenty of pieces can transport you back to the past, but none have made quite the comeback that cuff bracelets have. While the mere thought of a chunky bangle may not inspire the chicest memories, let me be clear now: the new version of this trend is grown. It's no longer focused on oversize or overstacked bracelets. Instead, it's all about styling them in elevated and effortless ways.
That approach is most evident in the S/S 23 collections. At Saint Laurent, leather duster coats were layered over full-length gowns and accessorized with metal and wood bangles. At Bally, a double-denim look was given a little shine with the addition of bejeweled stacked bangles. And then, there was Tory Burch's spring show in which gauzy sheer gowns were accented with cuffs that slithered their way up the sides of models' hands. If that weren't enough to send you off searching for a set of bangles stat, then look at how this trend has already translated off the runway. We've seen the fashion set styling stacked bracelets with everything from skirt suits to bikinis, showing that we're cuffed to this trend for now.
Skip: Dainty Necklaces
Adopt: Punchy Pendants
Photo:Launchmetrics Spotlight/Gabriela Hearst; @amaka.hamelijnck; Launchmetris Spotlight/Michael Kors; @meganadelaide; @shhtephs; @spiritedpursuit
If you recall, there was a time when dainty necklaces reigned supreme. A few years ago, however, chunkier necklaces took over. Since then, there's really been no in-between until now. Rarely can maximalists and minimalists find one trend they agree on, but that might change this summer with the jewelry trend I'm dubbing "punchy pendants." The silhouette of this necklace is categorized by an often delicate chain made from either leather or metal and adorned with an oversize sculptural pendant typically made from glass or metal.
While large pendants are not a new concept, designers' widespread adoption of this necklace in S/S 23 collections made them feel fresh. Contemporary takes of this necklace on the runway included everything from long lariat-style chains with oblongs at Michael Kors' show to big swirls hanging from chokers at Jacquemus. With each iteration of the trend, we saw how versatile and wearable it was, which the fashion set zeroed in on. Although summer is still a few weeks away, we've already seen this style reign supreme as a piece that everyone, no matter their sartorial preferences, turns to in order to accessorize shirtdresses, blouses, bikinis, matching sets, and more. Its pronounced presence has cemented itself as possibly the defining jewelry trend of the summer.
Skip: Y2K Redux
Adopt: The '80s Comeback
Photo:Launchmetrics Spotlight/Chanel; Launchmetrics Spotlight/LaQuan Smith; Launchmetrics Spotlight/Saint Laurent; @xbibigul; @styleheroine; @bettinalooney
You can't scroll through social media without hearing about one specific fashion era: the 2000s. It's been a defining part of recent trends. But if runways and Instagram indicate what's to come, the buzz around all things Y2K-inspired paved the way for an '80s comeback. Of course, nostalgia and social media have parlayed somewhat into the fascination around fashion eras, especially the return of '80s aesthetics. Still, they'd not be nearly as popular without the revival of '80s-inspired pieces on the runway. Both in S/S 23 and F/W 23 collections, we've seen an overwhelming amount of trends from that era, including shoulder pads, pinstripes, and even cuff bracelets, to name a few. But possibly the most surprising trend from this era that's back is oversize earrings.
Many designers embraced geometric earrings this spring, including Saint Laurent, Chanel, and even newer households like LaQuan Smith. But what makes these earrings truly an homage is the details. Many styles spotted on and off the runway come in supersized rectangular, oblong, and circular shapes with signature '80s details like clip-on posts and colorful gemstones. While these earrings may draw inspiration from the past, they've never felt more current.
Skip: Smart Watches
Last but certainly not least, the final jewelry trend you should watch out for this summer is timepieces. Like all jewelry, one can argue that watches outlast any trend cycle—and in some ways, that's true. But modern technology has, in some ways, made the watch feel dated. After all, with so many of us relying on an array of devices, from iPhones, laptops, tablets, and to keep up with the times, it can be easy to dismiss the idea of needing a traditional watch too. And yet more and more people are wearing watches on and off the runway. For instance, in Michael Kors and No. 21's S/S 23 collections, we saw models saunter down the runway wearing multiple watches. At the same time, more influencers than ever have been spotted showing off timepieces.
Understanding precisely why this trend is poised to take over this summer doesn't take too much introspection. On the surface level, watches have begun to feel like jewelry pieces. Some feature colorful faces, embellishments, and even unique bands made from chains that wrap around the wrist. But on a deeper level, I suspect that the fast-moving nature of living in a technological era, with cultural and political upheaval, is leading to this trend's boon. When times are moving fast, and the world is constantly changing, we want to watch the minute hand move slowly by. Being able to relish every second of summertime is something we all secretly desire, and this trend allows us to do just that.