Blinded by the bling! Rhinestones, faux gemstones and glitz abound this season!

Ann Taylor is one of my favorite places to shop. I realize that this says a little bit about my personal style, but hey, when I need another great pair of black pants or the perfect charcoal gray pencil skirt, I know I’m in the right place!

Since I usually stick to the basics there, I took a quick swing by the jewelry section, just to see what they were showing. Much to my surprise I was blinded by the bling! The “New Ann Taylor” (as they are calling the chain these days) had a boatload of great accessories. And their tagline –“Sparkle or shine – a girl’s best friend” was exactly what I wanted to hear!

This season’s accessories – ropes or pearls, armfuls of gem encrusted bangles and enormous cocktail rings – are all about luxury. Perhaps this says something about the state of the economy – if you can’t be rich, you can at least look rich? Whatever the reason, traditional pieces like pearls, diamond bracelets and oversized, vintage-inspired brooches take on a really edgy look when paired with trendy ensemble – leggings, thigh high boots – even bleach-dyed jeans.

Some of my favorites from Ann Taylor include a four row rhinestone bracelet. This beauty would look equally at home dressed up for cocktail party (think Marilyn Monroe) or dressed way down (a la Madonna). Only $65.

Another fabulous find from Ann Taylor is super trendy bib necklace with heaps of sparkling, multifaceted crystals. This is an online exclusive, and at only $55 probably won’t last long!

At Talbots (another favorite stop), I found a striking purple and black cabochon brooch with a serious 1950’s vintage vibe. I love a brooch used to anchor a scarf securely on the shoulder or randomly placed on a sweater  (never on a lapel!). A real bargain at just $39.

Chicos has a pearletta necklace – a double strand of oversized irregular beads that look freshwater pearls. The choker is definitely the look of the season and this particular necklace would work with almost anything in my closet. Plus, it’s on sale down from $49 to only $42.

My last great find, and my absolute favorite, is a faceted dome ring by Ariella at Nordstrom’s for only $78. Plated in 14-karat gold, the ring comes in several options including black, turquoise, cat’s eye or white jade.

Susan McNeill is a wife, mother, author, entrepreneur and social activist. In addition to Susan Said What?! Susan also writes for Style on a WHIM, It’s how you play the game!, and Success Won’t Wait!


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