Today’s fashion elite are all about celebrating unique style and individuality—but it hasn’t always been this way. Historically, notorious fashion “rules” governed and gatekept the definition of style. Chances are, you’ve heard a handful of them before:
Lucky for us, however, these style rules were meant to be broken—especially when it comes to mixing metals. In fact, this is one of our favorite “rules” to break. Whether wearing gold and silver together, yellow gold and rose gold, or accessorizing with all three, there’s no wrong way to rock a mixed-metal look.
While dreaming up all the ways we could style gold and silver together, we started thinking: Where did this rule originate from in the first place? And, if you’re looking to branch out as a fellow rule-breaker, where does one start?
We’re diving into all of the above so you can start styling your own mixed-metal moment.
A History of Mixed Metal Jewelry
While the origin story of the mixed-metal rule is unclear, the former fashion faux pas likely stems from the same source that sparked many of these arbitrary style rules: royalty and the division of class.
Nobles and royals alike have long dictated fashion trends throughout history. Sometimes, the sheer opulence of the fabrics and materials popularized by the ruling class was enough to keep clothing and jewelry beyond the realm of affordability. Queen Elizabeth I, who ruled from 1558 until her death in 1603, owned a collection of over 2,000 dresses adorned with opulent pearls and gemstones. Similarly, the Queen of Spain also wore extravagant dresses beset with luxe materials like jewels, embroidery, and pearls.
Cost wasn’t the only way the rich established fashion rules, however. Oftentimes, actual governance, known as sumptuary laws, were put in place to discourage the lower class from emulating their wealthier counterparts. In France, for example, Philip IV regulated “the dress and the table expenditures of the several social orders,” while subsequent French rulers restricted the use of gold and silver embroidery, silk fabrics, and fine linen.
We’ve certainly come along way since the Middle Ages, and while fashion is still exclusionary to some degree (just look at the Birkin bag), trends today are more accessible than ever. Retailers at every price point mean fashion isn’t just for the rich—it’s for everyone.
In other words, it’s time to throw that dusty old fashion rulebook out the window and start embracing your one-of-a-kind style in all its mismatched, mixed-metal glory.
How to Style Gold and Silver Together
Maybe you played by the old rules and you’re ready to step outside the sartorial box, or perhaps you’re just looking to remix your look. Either way, here are some quick tips for saying goodbye to the old-school rules and hello to working mixed metal jewelry into your everyday wardrobe.
1. Consider Jewelry Placement
Sometimes people feel hesitant to wear different metals because they’re afraid it might look accidental (those with irrational fears of mismatched socks, we’re looking at you). If that thought has crossed your mind, we have a solution: Try styling the mixed metal tones to look intentional by considering your jewelry placement.
Pick two or more types of jewelry (earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc.) to mix and match. For example, wear a gold and silver necklace together along with stacked rings in various tones, or several bracelets on each wrist of different metals. By wearing mixed metals in multiple places, the look will feel more like a curated style moment than a clashing one.
2. Try a Two-Tone Piece
If layering multiple pieces feels intimidating to start out with, try easing into the trend with a single piece of two-tone jewelry. The mixed-metal look has never been so effortless—or eye-catching, for that matter—than with two-tone necklaces and bracelets. No layering is required to achieve the mixed metal look, so it takes the pressure off styling yourself. Simply slip it on and you’re good to go!
3. Personalize Your Look
Fashion, at the end of the day, should be all about wearing what makes you feel good. If you want to mix rose gold, silver, and yellow gold together, do it. If you want to throw our tortoise acetate jewelry in there, too, do it. If you decide you don’t want to mix metals after all, don’t do it!
Life is short, so don’t forget to have fun and personalize your look. Whether you’re a minimalist, maximalist, or somewhere in between, the mixed metal trend translates to every style aesthetic.