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How to assemble a chain stack

“Don’t be afraid to do odd jobs.”

As the fashion pendulum continues to swing between sophisticated minimalism and total maximalism, it’s clear that some trends are here to stay. Understated customization, inspired by brands like The Row, leads nowhere. At the same time, fashion creatives at the other end of the spectrum continue to love tongue-in-cheek graphics and more-is-more jewelry.

Melbourne content creator Elsa Mullins describes her style as ‘French ballerina cowgirl’ and is a proponent of fashion that doesn’t take itself too seriously. She leans more towards maximalism and has a penchant for colorful knitwear and artfully curated necklace stacks. It is the latter for which we are interviewing her today.


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Usually consisting of a mix of different chains, chunky gemstones and her signature initial charm, Elsa’s stacks have become something of a signature. Here she shares her top tips for stacking jewelry so you can start stacking.

For those who haven’t done this before, what are your starter tips for mixing and matching jewelry?

My number one tip would be: look for variety. A great stack consists of multiple types of chains, lengths and thicknesses. I would also recommend starting with a simple mix of plain textured necklaces and pendants on thinner fine chains.

Don’t be afraid to DIY either – I always take the pendants off the chains they are on and swap them out to mix and match! Sometimes the unexpected combination of a large link necklace with a large pendant is just the ‘wow’ piece you need to complete your stack.

How do you choose the pieces to layer without clashing (not in a good way)?

To avoid collisions, I am super meticulous when it comes to the distances between chains. I find it helps if you leave about an inch between each chain in the stack so they look like a neat cascade rather than an awkward stack. It’s hard to determine exactly how I choose the pieces I want to stack. Honestly, half the time it’s what’s at the top of my jewelry pile and the least messed up.

What are the basic pieces in your jewelry collection that you use when layering?

My staples are definitely my textured solid chains (the ones I don’t use for pendants). I have a mix of rope, Figaro, herringbone and snake chains that always form the base of my piles.

I’ve also recently started adding a tennis chain – classic or framed – to my everyday stacks for a bit of bling! I would say my main pendant is definitely an ‘E’ type. I like a bit of self-branding.

Can you tell us some of your favorite stacks?

I tend to alternate between three types of stacks: a chunky gold, a simpler silver, and then an extremely OTT mix of everything with pearls, colorful charms and such. One of my favorite stacks ever has to be this one (image above) because it has everything I love: an oversized beach motif, a pop of pink, different types of chain links, and of course my signature ‘E’ pendant. On the contrary, I also like the simplicity of this stack (below image). It’s hard to go wrong with a simple box chain, a tennis chain and, once again, a statement ‘E’.

How do you store your jewelry/layer without it getting tangled?

I don’t – eek! It’s an exhausting process putting together my stacks, especially when I’m inevitably late for something. I’d say I’m now in the habit of untangling my pile every half hour so it doesn’t get tangled. at all tied up. But my jewelry storage is a bloodbath, something I’m definitely trying to get better at!

What are some of your favorite jewelry labels?

I always try to buy Australian brands as we have so many incredible jewelery labels here! My favorites are Bonito Jewelery, Alix Yang, EF Studios, Slow Burn, Reliquia, Elsie Jewelery and Kaarme Jewels. I also buy a lot of my unique statement pieces from eBay and Etsy – they have some incredible hidden gems!

For more tips on layering jewelry, go here.

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