Say it with a Necklace 

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If the toys that occupied one's youth are any indication of future careers, it makes sense that my favorite doll growing up was Day-to-Night Barbie. For those unfamiliar with this particular Barbie iteration, the doll featured a daytime wardrobe (a pink and white cream suit!) that reversed into a cocktail dress. True story. Nowadays, the doll comes to mind in those moments where an after-work cocktail party requires a pivotal uptick in one's ensemble between the hours of 6:30 and 8pm-a tricky proposition when one lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan. In lieu of reversible pencil skirts, however, a truly killer statement necklace will do quite nicely.

Whether the new breed of eye-catching necklaces has its origins in recession-inspired dressing (throw grandma's old necklace over that t-shirt!), J.Crew's now ubiquitous madcap styling (layer 16 necklaces and pair it with contrasting patterns!), or the proliferation of vintage boutiques and curated flea markets, more and more one sees a cornucopia of glittering, colorful neckwear on the streets. And in fact, they do make for the perfect day-to-night piece: A simple ensemble, spiced up with a truly dazzling necklace, is instant evening. Now for the good news: Many of the indie jewelry designers you know and love have gone mass market for summer.

Lizzie Fortunato (a line formed by two sisters) jewelry is most often found at worthy indie spots like Stuart & Wright in Fort Greene, and boasts a crafty-meets-sophisticated appeal-think patchwork fabric and gold beading. Alas, one often pays for said originality (pieces can run between $400-$975), so news that the sisters were creating an exclusive, affordable line for J.Crew spin-off Madewell is excellent, indeed. A dazzling "bouquet" necklace with flowers made out of pinwheel-like fabric is $118, while a beads-and-chains offering is $62.

Another well-regarded label, Fenton-Fallon, has also partnered with J.Crew: In this case, Dana Lorenz (recently nominated for a CFDA award) created a special line for the chain that really distilled her antique-looking, all-out glam aesthetic into a series of pieces including a necklace dripping with ropey chains for $195, and a massive choker with huge crystals and bows for $295.

Last, but not least, blogging duo Kristin Reiter and Valerie Killeen of BleachBlack may have quirky taste on their conversational style site, but they have truly perfected the costume-looking necklace with their limited-edition rhinestone piece for Urban Outfitters-available for a mere $38. Go on, wear it over a t-shirt and see if anyone accuses you of being under-dressed.

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