When we decide to decorate our warm weather wear with summer jewelry we tend to turn toward the natural, the unfussy, i.e. shells, coral, turquoise, even wood. Why is it we rarely think of piling on pearls when the temperatures soar? What's more natural than pearls? And what looks more real than pearls that aren't? And who taught us that masses of faux pearls are the ultimate in chic? Bien sûr: Coco Chanel.
My take on this, completely arbitrary, but nonetheless not without merit I believe is: Choose above mentioned naturals for day and in the evening switch to pearls -- and lots of them.
Next point, wear them with white. No matter what color your skin, nothing is more feminine, fresh and flattering than white and pearls in the summer. If you have the real deal, good for you. If not, run out to Target or its equivalent and grab a handful, the longer the better for multi-strand creation. And remember more is the operative impulse -- more, more, more.
Don't be prejudiced or prissy about how you wear them. They look equally stunning with a simple "marcel" (tank top) from Landsend or Eddie Bauer or any other pristine white T-shirt, with the exception of any short-sleeved styles. Think bateau, scoop, V necks. You're a grown-up now. If you have the good fortune to find a white summer dress, lucky you and remember a classic linen blazer with a white camisole or marcel plus pearls equals a night on the town -- just add sandals to your already pedicured toes.
Important note: As mentioned above, no short-sleeves with pearls, the one exception -- depending upon your personality -- is a polo with that single strand of cultured pearls you received on your sixteenth or eighteenth birthday. Maybe for luncheon at the Country Club? (Curious how that concept doesn't really exist in France -- country clubs, I mean, because for the truly traditional, polos and that single strand definitely does.)
From the top: Mother/daughter white from Comptoir des Contonniers (if you want to see one of the strangest, most creative sites -- there is wonderful music so be careful -- click above); a maillot de bain from Celine, my thinking -- it stays tucked in, it holds you in and if the evening turns out better than expected you can throw yourself into the pool; pearls; a flitty, flirty blouse By Zoe; Mamie Gummer (you know, Meryl Streep's daughter who took over the Darel contract after Charlotte Gainsbourg) in a floaty, cotton gypsy voile number; pearls; two looks from Akris -- don't panic about the second one, put a white three-quarter or long-sleeve T-shirt underneath and push up the sleeves, then add pearls; more pearls; Laura Clement for La Redoute, buttonless jacket -- dump the gray, add white shirt or tee; extra- special asymmetrical linen blouse by Claudie Pierlot and a perfect break-apart, wear-together, wear-forever suit by Diane Von Furstenberg (subtract flowers, add pearls).