Joyce Hor-Chung Lau, a reader of this blog and, more importantly, a writer for the International Herald Tribune and The New York Times, asked me this question in a comment. (Wait. Small aside. Is that cool or what? She writes about Hong Kong and China. OK. Onwards.)
Question: Would you wear simple pearl earrings with a simple pearl necklace?
Well, no, I wouldn’t. Does that mean that no one can do so? No. Does it even mean that no High WASP would do so? No. It means that High WASPs from California (we like a little counter-culture) by way of New York (we like a little flash) and New England (we like a little quirky), wouldn’t wear little pearl studs and a 16-inch 7.0mm pearl necklace. Not together.
I have good data, however, indicating that winds blow differently down South. First, way back when, I mentioned, “wearing pearls irresponsibly.” I meant the pearl stud with pearl strand combination. Mint Juleps and Magnolias took me to task. Wore her pearls irresponsibly with impunity. Quailing not one whit in the face of my pronouncement. Hmm.
Data point number two. One of my son’s best friends was recruited to play tennis at a highly-regarded Southern university. She left California with wavy blonde hair, t-shirt and shorts. She returned with straight, even blonder hair, and dresses. Also pearls. She may even wear them to play tennis. I don’t know. So let’s assume that what I am about to say may possibly NOT apply south of the Mason-Dixon line. (Wait. Where IS the Mason-Dixon line? Hold on. Oh, OK. Onwards.)
Here’s what my sub-species of High WASPs thinks about pearls. If you wear a simple strand, punk up the earrings. Or flash, or bling. Something. If you wear simple studs, elevate the necklace. Or do without, and wear a pin instead. Pearl pins are one of the great cross-cultural inventions of all times. Artsy Cousins, Sturdy Gals, Grandes Dames, we can all find a pearl pin that speaks our language.
Earrings to Wear with a Simple Strand
From Mary Jo Matsumoto. These are among my all-time favorites. I don’t own them. Yet. But I love the contrast of shiny smooth pearl and rougher fittings. To say nothing of whimsical sea creatures. Sturdy Gals are addicted to whimsy. We are guilty of almost every single present of Santa underwear you will ever receive. Onward.
(Much as I love the chocolate pearls at top, I wouldn’t mix them with a white strand. Looks too accidental. But these earrings in white, with the starfish fittings, and a simple white strand. Yes. Would do it.)
Another option? Go vintage. They knew from pearl earrings in the Mad Men era.
Necklaces to Wear with Pearl Studs
And before you buy any pearls at all, read this post.
Mary Jo Matsumoto 12MM Chocolate South Sea Starfish $2,400
Mary Jo Matsumoto 15MM White South Sea Shells $4,000
Beladora 2 Cluster Earrings $395
Blue Nile 16-inch 6.5-7mm Akoya $860
Beladora Pearls With Links $470.25
The Pearl Outlet Square $110
House of Clasps Toggle $1280
Beladora 2 Pearl Pin $295