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The Myth of Mixed Metals

The Myth of Mixed Metals

Like many other young women, I grew up hearing about color seasons, palettes, and undertones. Theoretically, each person is a Deep Autumn or a Soft Summer or a True Bright Clear Whatever depending on their eye and hair color, and once you figure out your season, you get a convenient palette of your most flattering colors to wear.

Beyond a seasonal analysis, you can take into account your undertones, the colors of your arm veins, and which shade of jewelry you look best in. Personally, I think due to my mixed heritage, none of these tests have ever quite worked for me. I’ve been unable to fit neatly into any of these categories, and I’m sure that I’m not alone in that.

Jewelry is supposedly the easiest to categorize: if you’re cool toned, you should wear silver jewelry, and if you’re warm toned you should wear gold. Mixing metals, then, is the greatest jewelry sin. But not only do these tests not work for many people (silver and gold both look great on me, thank you very much!), if they do work for you, now you’ve got a box to fit yourself and your style into.

To be fair, these tests may be helpful for some. If you can find something that works for you, sticking to one palette can make shopping and wearing clothes easier, and it can be nice to know what works and what doesn’t before making a purchase. What I’ve found is that when I wear a cool-toned outfit, silver jewelry looks best, and the same for warm tones and gold. But what I’ve also found is that I don’t think I actually care.

I’ve started to come around to the idea that what compliments my skin and body is not necessarily what I like. I am a person with preferences and a particular taste, not an ornament to be dressed up in the most flattering colors so that other people in the grocery store have something pretty to look at (no shade to those who like to look good at the grocery store, though—your personal preference is valid and needs no other justification).

Unless it’s your preference, I can’t fathom a reason to stick to one metal, or one palette, or an outdated test that says every woman with brown eyes is warm toned, full stop. I love stacked necklaces, even more so when they’re a mix of silver and gold. Give me silver earrings with gold necklaces! Stacked rings alternating colors!

So if we’re talking myth, let’s file “don’t mix metals” under old wives’ tale, and while we’re at it, let’s throw out any rules that halt your self expression. Life’s too short.