MA Beauty Expert: Mysterious Pearls & How to Wear Them

Sunday, November 22, 2015
Donna Macdonald, GoLocalWorcester Beauty Expert

My boss recently noticed my strand of pearls and remarked, “Charm bracelet yesterday, pearls today ­ there’s something to be said for classic jewelry”. While a charm bracelet is an open book to be read, there is a certain mystery about the ancient pearl. Real ones come from an oyster when ever­growing microscopic crystals form around an irritant inside it. Then the pearls still have to be harvested. No wonder they are dear. Fortunately for today’s fashionistas, there are plenty of faux options available. Real or fake, the trick is styling them away from church­lady territory.


If you are a young woman in a little black dress, a single strand of classic pearls looks charming and very Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina. But for women of a certain age, pearls need to be shaken not stirred. Real ones don’t like to be mixed with crystals or other beads because of the risk of scratching, but if you have a nice faux strand, add colored baubles to your heart’s content. You’ll still get the “classic” effect but with a fun I’m­not­taking­myself­too­seriously vibe.

Great Lengths

Long “opera” style pearls look beautiful worn with blouses and simple crew­neck sweaters. They finish the look and are a current alternative to large statement necklaces. Wear two or three varying lengths at the same time but keep them all longish. They will languish and sway just­so at the office or at well, at the opera.


Known for the ever­present pearls that encircled her neck, French designer Coco Chanel embraced pearls in everything from the buttons on her iconic suits, to encrusted evening gowns. Pearling­it­up the Chanel way means wearing masses of them all at once. Here’s where fauxs really work their magic: slip on a simple cream­colored blouse or sweater and garnish with several strands and layers of lustrous fake pearls. You’ll have an iridescent winter glow. For a different interpretation, ditch the strands and do the same with masses of faux pearl bracelets. So French! So chic!

Ball and Chain

In the film Tin Cup, actress Rene Russo started a craze when she sported a simple gold necklace interspersed with pearls. Now known as the Pearl Tin Cup Necklace or the station necklace, it is still one of the most popular ways to wear pearls. It looks great peeking out from underneath the collar of a business shirt or cashmere cardigan. It’s a truly modern look that varies only a little from the classic strand but looks distinct and interesting.

Go Big

Be bold and wear one extra­large pearl necklace. Stay away from matching earrings to avoid Wilma Flintstone’s signature look, but choose the necklace for its size ­ it needs to look slightly overdone for maximum impact. Pair with a simple dress and red lipstick and you have a holiday party look.


For pure and simple ease, swap out your diamond studs for a pretty pair of pearl earrings. Just as classic as diamonds, they look feminine and sweet while at yoga class, running Saturday errands, or a romantic evening at home by the fire in your favorite lounging outfit. Real or faux, select ones with an obvious luster for a beautiful glow next to hair and skin. They give an extra "girly" boost to everything.

Dress Down

Don't be afraid to wear your pearls with a plain t­shirt, jeans, and flip flops either. They can look bewitching together because they are unexpected.

This forum doesn't have enough space to elaborate on the many different types of pearls and how to buy and wear them all. But hopefully you’ve been inspired to either shop for your perfect strand, select a chest full of faux necklaces, or head to the family vault for grandma's girlhood strand.

If you’re curious about pearls and want to experience their romantic aura firsthand, plan on attending Imperial Pearl’s annual holiday sales event on December 4th ­ 6th, December 11th ­ 13th, and December 18th ­ 20th, at 7 95 Waterman Ave. in E. Providence.

Donna Macdonald is a freelance writer who enjoys covering topics of interest to women, especially fragrance, style, beauty. She has also written marketing material for a women's book that hit the New York Times Bestseller list and netted her an up close and personal discussion on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Donna currently writes her own personal blog,, where she also writes about issues close to a woman's heart. Donna believes that when a woman finds beauty in the world, she will find beauty in herself.

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