The Ultimate Guide To Pulling Off A Mixed Metal Look

A lot of thought is required when styling an outfit, and one of the trickiest steps can be adding jewelry. Jewelry can make or break an outfit, and there are infinite ways to use jewelry to accessorize. Thankfully, jewelry style, generally speaking, isn't as guided by trends as clothing is — we can buy far more pieces of jewelry with confidence that they'll always look good. Still, this doesn't totally erase the pressure we can face when trying to decide what jewelry to wear.

Selecting jewelry can be difficult because there are many different types of metals, from the seemingly infinite shades of gold, including black gold, to platinum and silver jewelry. Instead of selecting one metal for the day and sticking to it, try a mixed metal look. With strategic styling tricks, it's a simple way to add some life to your outfits and keep your jewelry combinations from getting stale. If you don't know where to start, here's the ultimate guide to pulling off a mixed metal look.

Take a balanced approach

If you're new to mixing metals, start by taking a balanced approach. Mixing metals can easily get muddled, but when you're deliberate about your choices, they come across as curated and not disheveled. Be balanced in both placement and metal choice. Don't load up every inch of your body with a different tone of jewelry. Instead, choose a couple or a few different spots, such as your ears and your wrists, to adorn, and stick to two different tones. For example, try gold bangles with platinum rings or white gold earrings with a rose gold necklace.

Stack pieces

Who doesn't love a good stack? A stack of jewelry is the perfect way to incorporate mixed metals because it's apparent you did it purposefully. But don't gather every different metal you have and throw it into your stack. Stick to a couple of metal options, and find a thread to keep the look consistent, such as a similar chain or stone. Use weights or widths for variety so as not to overwhelm your look. Stacks can be made around your neck, fingers, or wrists, and each is a perfect place to sport mixed metals.

Opt for dainty pieces

Mixing metals can feel wrong if you've never done it before, so ease into it by doing so with dainty pieces, even if you don't often do so. A dainty piece won't draw much attention to your look, and it won't overwhelm it either. Choose a dainty piece, whether a ring, necklace, or bracelet, that's in a different metal than the rest of your chunkier pieces, or mix multiple small metal pieces. The size of each will help the metals blend for a cohesive look.

Play with widths

Once you're more comfortable with mixing metals, add intrigue to your look by playing with widths. This technique is more applicable to bracelets and rings than necklaces and other body jewelry, but it's still worthwhile. Different widths make stacks more appealing to look at, and it shows a sense of personal style. Try stacking a thin ring on top of a wide ring or stacking two thin rings next to a wide ring. Give a stack of bracelets of all different widths a go. Just make sure you're incorporating different metals into your look.

Choose pieces that already mix metals

Perhaps the easiest way to mix metals is by wearing pieces made with mixed metals. Some jewelry designers stick to a singular metal throughout their entire collection, but others play with metals just as other artists play with colors. Find the designers you like that mix metals, and use their pieces for a simple mixed-metal look. If you want to add more pieces, use the metals within the mixed piece for guidance. For example, if your watch is silver and gold, add a gold ring or a silver bracelet.

Incorporate stones

Do stones ever not look good? We don't think this is possible, which makes gemstones perfect for pulling off a mixed metal look. But, to avoid a chaotic look, be strategic about how you coordinate pieces. Decide whether to use one stone as a statement piece or multiple stones as a styling thread. If it's the latter, pick a stone and mix pieces of different metals that include that stone. If it's the former, choose one stone as your focal piece, and either mix metals around it or use its band or chain as the mixed metal.

Mix metals throughout your body

The beauty of mixing metals is that it can be done with any piece on any part of your body. You can stack pieces side-by-side or cluster them throughout your body. Opt for white gold earrings and yellow gold rings, or wear silver bracelets and a platinum necklace. It's a fun and easy way to mix metals without creating competition. If you're overwhelmed by clustering metals throughout your body, stick to one metal family. This will keep you from feeling chaotic and ensure a cohesive look for your entire outfit.

Choose distinct pieces

Another simple way to mix metals is by wearing very distinct pieces paired with daintier and more discrete pieces. One distinct piece can serve as the focal point, while the supporting pieces can be used to mix metals. But, if you prefer, you can instead wear lots of distinct pieces stacked together and mix metals that way. Either way, those distinct pieces will add intrigue, and when the pieces speak for themselves, it doesn't matter that the metals are mixed. This technique works great with necklaces, rings, and bracelets.

Match jewelry styles

Finding a thread with your jewelry is always a good idea, but it's especially good if mixing metals. Including a like element makes the look — you guessed it — cohesive. Use this theory when buying jewelry. Look for pieces with similar shapes, stones, chain styles, or weights to make styling your jewelry easier. Not every piece you own needs to look the same, but having some go-to pieces for when you want to mix metals will make styling easier. If you want to start mixing metals, keep your existing jewelry in mind when selecting new pieces.

Incorporate color

Metals are inherently all different colors. Use this fact to your advantage when mixing metals, and throw a pop of color that isn't metallic into the mix. This can be done with bracelets or necklaces made with beads of different colors, but it can also be done with pieces that feature colored stones. Stick to a particular palette, or go full rainbow and incorporate as much of the color wheel as you can. It's an easy way to give some life to your look, and it'll put your costume jewelry to good use.

Consider the tones of the pieces

Whenever mixing metals, make sure you're considering the tones of the pieces. Some metals can look harsh next to each other, while others can look too similar and not create the contrast that is required for a good mixed-metal look. Consider the number of tones you're wearing, too. Too many different metals can easily look disjointed. Less is more with mixed metals, and it's the perfect look for which to employ the old "take off one item before you leave the house" rule.

Cluster pieces

Clustering pieces is another simple way to pull off mixed metals. All you have to do is choose one area of your body where you're going to cluster, and then choose your pieces. You can cluster by stacking like metals next to unlike metals, or you can cluster by mixing metals into one area, such as silver and gold rings on one finger or platinum and rose gold earrings on one ear. Clustering creates contrast without creating competition, giving off a breezy, effortless look. It's totally easy and totally cool.

Wear unique pieces

In a similar fashion to wearing distinct pieces, mix metals by wearing unique pieces. They can be unique in their shape or the part of the body on which they're worn. They can serve as a focal piece or be mixed among the fray, but they'll spice up your look no matter what. Try the look by mixing a unique nose ring with more standard necklaces, or look for a gold body chain to wear against platinum rings and bracelets. Standout pieces make for standout looks, especially when mixing metals.

Wear what you like

As always, you can take or leave any of the styling tips you read. What is always of utmost importance is that you wear exactly what you want to wear. Whether you mix metals or not, your jewelry should be a reflection of who you are and what you like, so wear what you like and you won't go wrong.