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10 ways to double your jewelry wardrobe

With holiday invitations soon to be arriving in your mailbox, the universal dilemma of 'what to wear' sets in. Should you buy something new or hope no one remembers what you wore last year and recycle your holiday wardrobe?

If your budget matches that of Britney Spears, no problem -- go shopping. If not, we've got just the solution for you. Put your jewelry box to work.

You can expand and update your jewelry wardrobe without spending a dime. The trick is to have the pieces you already own do double -- even triple -- duty.

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Here are some stellar new ways to shine:

Hand it to your feet -- and vice-versa
Toe rings are all the rage, but before you buy: Have you tried your finger rings on your lower digits? You may be surprised to see what fits -- if not on the traditional second or third toe, perhaps on the pinky or the big one? Think outside the box!

Putting her money where her mouth is, this writer is wearing a stretch rhinestone "toe ring" on her right-hand pinky, even as she types this.

Recycle your bits and pieces
Take rhinestones that have come loose from old jewelry -- or that you've saved from pieces you've discarded -- and affix them with false-eyelash adhesive to your skin. You can create the look of a ring by gluing several stones to the top of a toe, or a finger. Try arranging a few above a decollete for that "invisible neck-chain" look, or dot your ears with one or more. Indeed, stick-on stones are commercially available -- but why buy what you may already have?

Add sparkle to your step with a glittering ankle chain
You almost certainly have one, whether you think of it as such or not: A basic 18-inch neck chain, when doubled, creates a standard nine-inch anklet. Have very slim ankles? A basic 24-inch chain tripled should provide a good fit. For added pizzazz, dangle a charm from the catch.

Accent your waistline with a gold or silver link belt
A standard 24-inch neck chain will work for the wasp-waisted; 30- and 36-inch lengths are other basic options.

Mix and match
Create your own chatelaine pin. You may not know it by name, but you'll probably recognize this popular retro-look just by picturing these instructions: Anchor an unclasped chain bracelet to your bodice by placing a conventional-type jewelry pin at each end of the bracelet's catch. Position the pins close enough to each other to allow the bracelet to drape gracefully.

Spiff up a strand of faux pearls by adding a brooch
Add a classic cameo for a soft, period look -- or go for all-out glitz with a rhinestone brooch. The stores -- even those geared to the very young and trendy -- are currently loaded with these "important" estate-look pins, giving truth to the saying, "Everything old is new again."

Give lonely lapels the lift they deserve
Don't have a pin that would fill the bill? No problem -- any post-back earring will do, from the simplest studs to outsize "chandeliers." If there's a hatpin in the family, that'll do the trick, too. A pearl or crystal-topped one would look terrific on its own or piercing a lace-trimmed pocket hanky.

Punch up plain old bracelets
Simply twist two chain bracelets together, and secure them at their catches. For added interest, use one gold-tone and one silver-tone. Also consider hanging a necklace pendant or any charm from one or both catches.

Create your own unique hoop earrings
Dangle a ring of any style -- plain or jeweled -- from ear wires. You may have saved them from no-longer-wanted earrings. If not -- you can purchase wires inexpensively from costume-jewelry or hobby shops. For a really bold look, instead of a ring, use a slim, lightweight bangle bracelet.

Pump up plain pumps' appeal with showy shoe-clips
Don't own any clips? Consider: Any clip-on earrings can pinch-hit.

Here's a good general rule of thumb: Mentally block out the adjective in any jewelry-item description. Cell-phone charm, zipper-pull charm, bracelet charm -- these can all be used pretty much interchangeably.

Also, don't forget to save the "good," reusable parts of any costume pieces you ditch -- they can be just the linchpin or crowning jewel you wish you had for your own creations.

These can all become your "lucky charms."

Laura Shanahan is a freelance writer based in New York City.


-- Posted: Nov. 12, 2004




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