Summer's effortless style should extend to your jewelry. After all, who wants to worry about gems getting lost at the beach, or forgetting your diamonds after a weekend getaway? Bobbie Thomas, “Today” style contributor and co-host of “Fashion Police,” presents summer's simplest accessory solution — organic jewelry.
Dress down with brown
Want the style secret that will extend your winter wardrobe into a year-round homerun? Make formal black pieces more casual with wood and leather accents! Last summer's chunky wooden boho bangles were a must-have, but this year stackable prayer bead bracelets with personalized charms are all the rage. Sydney Evan offers delicate diamond symbols such as lucky clovers and skulls on hers ($200-$5,000; www.birdla.com or www.18jewels.com), while Michelle Roy's versions have cubic zirconia trinkets ($80; www.shopintuition.com). Also charmed, leather strands are stepping up as this season's top two-in-one trend. Wrap the strands around your wrist or let them dangle around your neck for a creative touch to any outfit. From earthy designs at Banana Republic ($18-$78; www.bananarepublic.com) and Sogoli ($75-$3,000; www.sogolidesign.com) to hand-crafted colorful creations at Lee Angel ($175-500; www.LeeAngel.com), there is something for everyone. Even high-end designers like Kara Ross have been inspired by the wood wave (price upon request; kararossny.com).
Rocks and feathers flock together
Add a punch of color to summer's neutral palate with Mother Nature's rainbow of feathers, resin, and rocks. Dinosaur Designs offers resin jewelry in a variety of vivid colors ($50-$5,000; www.dinosaurdesigns.com), while AH Jewelry turns feathers into flirty earrings and necklaces ($24-$125; www.luvcharlie.com). And for natural amber and raw gemstones like bolder opals, jade, and amethyst pieces, Beads of Paradise sells a variety of imports from Bali ($68-$785; 212-620-0642).
Every beach babe knows that the best way to accessorize summer's swimsuits and other carefree clothing is with shells. Blink offers chains accented with shells, horns, and other beach-themed pendants like glass starfish ($40-$150; 516-398-8090). When it comes to coral, Kenneth Jay Lane's cuffs ($98; www.maxandchloe.com) and Joan Hornig's charitable necklaces (100% of the profits are donated; www.joanhornig.com) make a bold seaside statement and La Loop's natural necklaces made with exotic tiger cowries and split Zealand shells feature a looped clasp front and center, so you'll never lose your sunglasses again ($85-$495; www.laloop.com). Leila's mother-of-pearl Phoenix pendant is perched to rest delicately on your décolleté ($75; www.hautestar.com), while Beads of Paradise imports an assortment of unique one-of-a-kind blister pearls and tiger mother of pearl from Bali ($68-$348; 212-620-0642).
Handmade and granny chic
Crochet is a huge hit for summer fashion, and naturally this vintage trend has helped to highlight some crafty jewelers. Libby McInnis uses colorful string on wood frames, with some designs featuring hand-blown glass pendants that hold water ($150-$300; libbymcinnis.com), while Lee Angel's crochet collection showcases raw crystals encased in silk netting. Fabric will add tons of texture to your baubles, and Gap ($7.50-$19.50; www.gap.com) and Intuition offer bangles wrapped in bright silk and ribbon ($19.99; www.shopintuition.com) to really make your wrist accents pop. Or, DIY and tie on the trend … try weaving silk ribbon around your delicate beads for a quick fabric fix.
For those gals who must have their metal, nature is inspiring summer's best silver and gold pieces. Moss Mills' offers the entire forest family with beautiful rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets ($90-$480; www.mossmills.com), while Kenneth Jay Lane's pendants will keep the fruits of summer ripe around your neck ($87-$112; www.maxandchloe.com). And last but not least, check out celeb-favorite Anthony Nak's brand new Tree of Life medallions, which symbolize the past, the present, and the beauty that surrounds us all ($500-$15,000; www.anthonynak.com).