If Tyra Banks publicly swears by her cubic zirconia stud earrings, then I’ll proudly don my $3 faux pearl earrings from Forever 21. I’m not an avid shopper for clothes at the trendy fashion store (mainly because I’m turning Forever 29 this week), but I am addicted to its cheap, cheap, cheap jewelry. Its under $5 earrings, rings and necklaces, when worn ever-so-selectively, can give your outfit an instant uplift. For a bit more money, discount designer stores like TJ Maxx (Stock Quote: TJX), Filene’s Basement and Loehmann’s also carry great accessories.
Keep It On the Down Low
For diamond or pearl knock-offs you still need a good eye and smart way of styling. Otherwise, the price will show. As my friend and New York stylist Amy Salinger preaches, “It’s all about appearances. If you are going to buy CZs, make sure they are not overwhelming and super bling.” She suggests buying a smaller pair that’s easier on the eyes and blends well with your overall look. Otherwise she continues, “You will only draw attention to the fact that they are not truly diamonds.”
In some cases, you’re paying for what the item’s worth. My $3 pearls from Forever 21 probably cost 30 cents to make. They probably won’t last more than a season. And I’m okay with that. (To be safe, I bought two pairs). Along those lines, keep in mind that gold-colored metal jewelry may tarnish. Glued-on jewels may fall off and cheap clasps on necklaces might break. Be prepared to toss them after several wears. For longer-lasting jewels Salinger suggests pieces made out of beads or bronze-colored metal, instead.
—Catch more of Farnoosh’s advice on Real Simple. Real Life. on TLC, Friday nights at 7.