Our life span is short and our attention span is shorter. Still, what never ceases to catch people’s eye decade after decade and century after century is the irresistible glimmer of the gems and metal that we have come to call jewelry. Just like any other item of fashion that has remained in style for so long, part of what keeps jewelry youthful is the ever-shifting trends that take each generation by storm. For this generation, that trend is called stacking.
If you were to wander into a coffee shop tomorrow, I guarantee it would not take long to guess what stacking looks like. Gazing around, you would most likely find customers reaching for their coffee with fingers decked out in rings of all shapes and sizes. At the tables, the clientele may be talking with friends and if you were to listen closely, you may be able to hear the sound of clinking from the many bracelets on someone’s wrist as they make wild gestures with their arms, deeply immersed in the telling of a story. What I am describing, to be more clear, is people adorning their bodies with multiple pieces of jewelry on their fingers, wrists, and necks. The term is called stacking in reference to how one portrays the look of “stacking” or layering many jewelry pieces together. A stacking arrangement could be achieved by wearing three bracelets on one wrist, four on the other wrist, a few rings on each hand, and maybe two or three necklaces of different lengths on one’s neck. In a climate where minimalism has been prevalent for so long,
through stacking, we are seeing a shift in jewelry to a sense of more being, indeed, more.
The best part about stacking is that the approaches and interpretations are limitless. The intention behind it is to create a narrative that depicts anything one wants it to. Because of the maximalist aspect of the style, there is no shortage of options in any regard. One is encouraged to mix textures, stones, time periods, metals, etc., until they feel content with the creation. Depending on preference, you can create a stack of three to five bracelets on one arm, adorn your hands with one to three rings on each finger, intermix chains and pendants around your neck, and play around with symmetry and asymmetry for the piercings in your ears. Even with the overall intent being more is more as mentioned above, the look is so open to interpretation. By choosing small dainty pieces, the maximalist style can appear minimalist if done by choosing small and dainty pieces.
Giving space for so much creative freedom in expression through jewelry adds a new layer to luxury by transforming and progressing the product into an ever growing art form. Stacking evolves the process of picking out the day’s jewelry into an artistic creation by people everywhere. Each piece is carefully selected and paired with intention, not only with the consideration of the other pieces being worn, but of what message each piece conveys. Instead of a singular statement piece, stacking allows for a whole story to be told by the wearer, communicating emotion, memories, and different energies all based off of the combination created by the stack. The message can be made very personal by picking extremely sentimental pieces, conveying an internal story filled with memories by the pieces chosen to be worn. At the same time, it can become more outwardly apparent by picking pieces that have an externally obvious theme. If somebody wanted to convey a sense of playfulness, they may pick pieces with a lot of color, size variation of big and little stones, asymmetry in piercings, and possibly even pieces with stars or other symbols in reference to youth. With endless possibilities, all of the different revenues of meaning only strengthen the sense of stacking being an artform as it becomes increasingly interpretive.
The artistic application of this trend does not end with interpretation but also includes the ability to blend so many different items together. The ease in which a thrifted old watch or a vintage pendant passed down can fit into any look is especially revitalizing when before it might have proven difficult to integrate these pieces. Stacking allows for different jewelry of all different decades to be brought together to create a conventional piece of expression. The shift of jewelry to a form of personal art removes the worry of what is specifically “in-style” as the artist’s main concern is to create something that evokes emotion. This perspective allows for new life to be brought to pieces like never before as the impression that each piece possesses evolves based on the items they are paired with each day.
Part of the beauty and elegance that surrounds jewelry is the way that each piece becomes part of a larger collection for its owner. Its careful curation throughout a lifetime of experiences is part of what makes it impactful. The youthful aspect of the current style of stacking brings about the ability to breathe new life and provide new stories for jewelry pieces long since attained. While giving a gracious nod to past styles, the trend simultaneously demonstrates new ways to express oneself. Through this, jewelry truly models out its ability to prevail through all as even in our ever changing world, it finds a way to persist in the most tasteful yet relevant ways that suit the needs of the time.
By: Siena Seps