Wearing fine jewelry and fashion jewelry at the same time can be a challenge. You want to make a statement but not be too over-the-top (no one wants to look like a fashion victim), you want each piece to stand out and above all, you want to convey your personal style. Mixing and matching fine and fashion jewelry is a fun and youthful approach to accessorizing. But how do you make sure your beautiful, subtle heirloom diamond pendant that you wear all the time is not completely overshadowed by the fabulous and dramatic necklace you’re dying to show off? Hitchcock Madrona shows you how.
Step 1: Start out with the smaller, more delicate pieces. These pieces may include the jewelry that you sleep in, shower in, and keep on for months at a time. They will act as your base layer and most fine jewelry is of this variety. We took a photo of some of our favorite Loren Stewart rings that can serve as examples.
Step 2: Incorporate something special. Adding an heirloom necklace that has been passed down for generations in your family or that amazing bracelet you got on your travels lends a special element to your look that can’t be bought.
Step 3: Add fashion pieces slowly. Pause and really think about the effect that each piece of jewelry has on your overall look. Does it enhance and show off the more delicate pieces? The goal when mixing these two jewelry genres is that they build off of each other. Typically, you want to have on more fine jewelry than fashion jewelry.
Step 4: Think in terms of odd numbers when layering. Wearing two delicate necklaces and one larger dramatic necklace is a nice option. With rings, consider wearing one larger ring (may we suggest the Hitchcock Madrona druzy ring?!) and pairing it with two that are small and skinny.
Step 5: Mix metals and materials. You want the pieces you choose to be different and distinct from one another so that they don’t blend together. Wearing and mixing different colors, stones and metals together will help you achieve this effect.
We think these guidelines work well but none of the steps outlined above are hard-and-fast rules. Even though layering jewelry can be a little daunting it should always be fun first and foremost.
Handmade wool and silk vests by Hitchcock Madrona.
Dustin and I were not looking to create a vest but we were so inspired by a men’s tuxedo waistcoat from the early 1900’s that I found at a costume shop. We deconstructed it to create the pattern for this fabulously androgynous vest. Menswear has been a consistent trend in women’s fashion for several decades (Hello, Diane Keaton in Annie Hall!). A sharply tailored menswear piece is so sexy on a woman. This vest excentuates your waist and is a great frame for jewelry.
Steel “Tic-tac-toe” ring by Surplus. Gold filled bangle cuffs by Hitchcock Madrona (never take these off!). Steel pipe ring layered with my faux diamonds by Surplus. We have received our holiday order of Hitchcock Madrona bangle cuffs. They are going to be great gifts this holiday season!
I acquired these pants in the most hilarious way – Reilly, a local artist, friend and client came into the store minding her own business when I accosted her regarding the perfect paint splatters on her pants. She told me that she had worn them out and was ready to move on to a new pair. Since I tried, and failed miserably, to create authentic painter’s pants (and I didn’t have the budget for the Double RL version) we did a trade! She got an awesome new necklace from one of her favorite artists, Surplus, and I got the pants! We still alight about it when we see each other – another woman’s trash is MY treasure!
18K gold and diamond shield necklace by Hitchcock Madrona (on oxidized sterling silver chain). I have plenty of these for holiday!
I love the small checks of the vest paired with the larger plaid of this Barbour scarf. At $65, these Barbour scarves are a great gift for everyone on your list – father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, dog. Anyone!
Harriet in her new MOSCOT frames! So cute!
Harriet in the late eighties/early nineties on a photo shoot, and her now (blurred in the background).
Dustin checking out a more current portrait.
Harriet has traveled the world (her father was a diplomat) and has a passion for anything ground-breaking, alive, turned-on-it’s-head, raw, woven, textured, African, and vintage (to name just a few). She has lived in Chicago, Santa Fe, Paris and now Seattle. She has a B.S. in Design (with a photo journalism minor) from University of Iowa. She went back to university in the late eighties and achieved a B.F.A in Metal Design from the University of Washington. Harriet has been working on her two passions: photography and metal design/jewelry/art for 30 years and 25 years, respectively. She is responsible for the beautiful sunset that we have blown up and mounted on the back wall of the store at the moment. She is such a creative inspiration to both Dustin and myself. As far as her jewelry line, Surplus, she specializes in steel that has been found, altered and tumbled (for up to two years on some pieces) from her favorite Seattle forge. She is also the master at incorporating found objects, usually exotic and from far flung locales, into her work.
We asked the fabulous Harriet McNamara to answer some questions for us about her jewelry and what inspires her amazing and eclectic line. We so appreciate her jewelry here at Hitchcock Madrona, and are grateful for how honest and open she was about her design process when responding to our questionnaire. Thank you so much Harriet!
How would you describe your line’s aesthetic?
I love references to history, imperfection, which is the mark of the human hand. (The less manufactured, the better.) Somewhat edgy/ethnic. If it doesn’t make a statement, I don’t bother. An overused icon is forgettable. And, it MUST be sophisticated.
When you design your jewelry, is there any particular woman whom you design for?
I design for all the women I’ve loved in past and present. Audrey Hepburn, Kate Moss, Veruschka, Julie Christie, Isak Dinesen. These women have/had not only beauty, but [also] class. Now, class is something you can’t buy. But, if you have it, you can wear anything! (And that includes our own Erica Nelson-Sheehan!)
I’m soooo sophisticated!
What is your favorite way to style your pieces?
I love to work with shapes that are similar. They can be of any material but if the shapes fight, I know I won’t win the battle in trying get a stunning result. I try not limit myself, re: size. Anything too slick relegates the piece to Louis Vuitton. And, it would be so fun to wear a bit of glitz with a t-shirt—can’t do that with “slick.” In fact, I quite dislike “slick” in general. In shoes, in clothing, in everything. [I] have a similar dislike for safe and “matchy-matchy”. What I like is surprise, humor, wit, and mystery. If a woman has those qualities we love her. The way she characterizes herself tells a lot about who she is. I never wear fleece or puffy coats!
Where do you find inspiration for your collections?
All around me. Especially in my studio, glancing around at all my random stock from all over the world. I was lucky as a young person to travel. I hardly know where my mind will take me. What will remind me of the time I had an eight course French meal?!! What the women were wearing at that time was amazing. I remember, I was a post-teen and it was the mid ‘70’s. Someone sitting near me told me that to preserve “scent” you must put it on your jewels!! I’ll never forget her scent or her jewels. My best friend from college always wore a piece of jewelry with her clothing. She was near six feet tall, with chopped blonde hair. Nobody looked like her. She was absolutely unforgettable and still is. The shop girls in Paris with white t-shirts and amazing faux jewels were the trendsetters. Karl Lagerfeld gets his best ideas from them (rumor has it).
A collage of Harriet throughout her life.
What do you particularly love about designing jewelry?
I was never much interested in working with the one dimensionality of painting. I enjoy taking something like a flat piece of metal and making it a three-dimensional item. And it doesn’t have to be as exact or have an intellectual aspect, like architecture.
What would you say are three key pieces of jewelry that every woman should own?
One fabulous, huge ring (not your engagement ring). A simple but intriguingly shaped necklace (I like my tic-tac-toe necklace) that can be worn with anything. A lot of fascinating bracelets that can all be worn together.
Statement ring by Surplus.
What aspect of the design process do you find most challenging?
Deciding if the piece that I love will be loved by anyone except a runway model. I get pretty far out there with my ideas. Taking things apart has to be [a] part of my process. I hate it. I am currently working on a piece that looks like part of a robot. I adore it, but have already started taking parts off it. Tres tragic.
What clothing or jewelry designers do you admire?
I love all the unnamed jewelry designers who are street vendors in NYC. I love the flea markets in Paris and London. If I can still find Schiaparelli, Chanel or Adele Simpson in any of the vintage places, that’s my favorite! I have an old Christian Lacroix piece that I keep at my workbench. FABULOUS! Ethiopian jewelry is the best! Comme des Garcons’ designer Rei Kawakubo made imperfection into an art form. She IS the 21st century. But, she is old now. Very far ahead of her time. There was and never will be another like her. I think Rick Owens is the best for VERY modern. I admire his work. It is so clean, yet terribly sophisticated. Hard to achieve.
What do you consider to be the most rewarding aspect of being a jewelry designer?
When I finally say, “this will work!” So much goes into being inventive without being offensive or too “over the top.” I was told to send my “over the tops” to Paris. I could, but I really want to challenge the June Cleavers of the world to just get out there and BE!! Take that apron off and have some fun.
As you can imagine, we LOVE Harriet! If you own a piece of Surplus jewelry consider yourself ahead of the curve. Every item that leaves Harriet’s studio is full of HER. Her energy, spirit, creativity and wisdom. She is truly an original and we are so lucky to work with her.
Erica & Dustin
New for fall are Lisa Battaglia hats! Based in Brooklyn, New York, Battaglia’s many and varied creations are all handmade in the U.S.! Her designs celebrate and incorporate elements of the past while remaining fashion forward. They all have a distinctive vintage/retro feel that merges seamlessly with modern elements, making them feel timeless and cutting-edge simultaneously. Her hats are of the highest quality and almost function as art works, as many are very sculptural. They have been featured in publications such as Marie Claire, W Jewelry, and Vogue. At Hitchcock, we’ve received several styles in gorgeous shades of grey and brown. These are fabulous accessories that dress-up any outfit and are amazingly versatile.
“Indiana” fedora in camel with brown leather detail.
The necklace that I am wearing is a sneak peak at our fall/holiday collection from Shannon Koszyk. I visited Shannon’s studio on Monday and picked up lots of her amazing pieces that will make their debut at our Fall Launch Party next Thursday, November 15th.
Floppy hat in light grey with silver braided leather detail.
The most dramatic of the bunch – wide brimmed fedora in black with black leather detail.
Look at this ring – I love it! Harriet, designer of Surplus, made these tic-tac-toe rings especially for Hitchcock Madrona. We are so lucky! They are playful, industrial, wearable (I know, you wouldn’t think!) and so conceptual.
I thought my Margiela booties echoed the brims of Lisa’s hats perfectly – this was a total accident; I didn’t plan on posting about the hats today. Love it when things work out!
We only have four of Lisa’s hats in store right now so come in and try them on. If you are thinking about investing in a hat these are original and made with love. I have worn my cheap hats too long! I think it is time to invest. But, which one??
I am interrupting my NYC blog for a quick outfit of the day post and an exciting announcement! These photos were taken a few weeks ago when the sun was still shinning in Seattle (I am NOT complaining about the weather – it has been beautiful!). I cannot stop wearing my MOSCOT frames! Hitchcock Madrona will be the exclusive seller for MOSCOT Eyewear in the Pacific Northwest. MOSCOT is a company that is over 100 years old with a rich history as a family business that has been passed down five generations. We are honored to bring this wonderful product to Seattle. MOSCOT has been on Dustin’s radar since he read about the company in GQ Magazine at the tender age of 14. That was a FEW years ago!
“Meckie” frames in black by Moscot.
Steel necklace by Surplus (bottom). Sterling silver monogram shield necklace by Hitchcock Madrona.
Gold filled bangle cuff bracelets by Hitchcock Madrona. Woven cotton and chain bracelet by Venessa Arizaga.
Sterling silver industrial bracelet by Hitchcock Madrona. Prism ring by Eric Saeter.
More photos to come of Dustin and I at MOSCOT headquarters in NYC. Email me if you would like to know when the frames are in stock. They are all ophthalmic quality – ready for your prescription. We are also getting sunglasses.
We are enjoying the (what feels like) extended summer here in Seattle. It did not rain one day in August – miracle. Today it is about 75 and perfect! I am sporting my beloved gingham shirt and green jeans. I threw in the neon belt to give it some pop.
Necklaces: “Coco Channel Goes to Africa” pearl and African bead double strand necklace by Hitchcock Madrona. Turquoise and rhinestone necklace by Surplus.
I love this shot of my desk after I striped everything off to go home. Jewelry carnage!
Detail shot of my small white and sterling druzy ring. I just spoke to a woman today that wore this ring (with the gold setting) for her July wedding. I love fearless brides!
Sorry about my recent lack of blogging. We are back from New York and I am caught up on everything (for the most part).
Today I am wearing my favorite purchase from our Edmonton trip, my men’s Commes des Garcon polka dot shirt. I purchased it from a wonderful store called Gravity Pope.If you have been to Edmonton (or Vancouver) I am sure you are familiar with this well curated store. Despite being made for a man, it is cut perfectly for me and the slight puff sleeves are a stuffy detail to this otherwise hilarious shirt. Perfect!
Vintage resin bangle bracelets found by hitchcock Madrona. Sterling silver and druzy quartz ring by Hitchcock Madrona. “Big Bang” Necklace by Surplus.
How fun is this piece? Harriet, designer of Surplus Jewelry, attended the Louis Vuitton runway show in Paris in 2000. All attendees got a Louis Vuitton compass-type-do-hicky and that is the center piece of this fabulous pendant. The re-purposed, vintage water faucet knob (yes, that is what it is!) looks so scientific – like an atom. It hangs around your neck with vintage green leather that has been sewn together. The color combination, patina of the old knob, conceptual nature, and whimsy of this piece are all indicative of Harriet and her creations. This is quite a conversation piece!
We are gearing up for our next interior transformation with a Dustin road trip next week. He will be scouring the countryside from Seattle to Salt Lake City for treasures befitting the shops next incarnation. Stay tuned!