A Tomboy Femme’s Dream Come True: Jewelry You’ll Actually Want To Wear

I grew up in a family of very feminine women. My grandmother wears as much bling as possible at all times, day or night. My mother wears jewelry flawlessly, her hoop earrings and hands full of rings fitting into every situation from barbecuing in the backyard to going out to a fancy dinner. My sister prefers matching sets of things to keep it simple – her earrings and necklaces coordinate to pull her entire outfit together in two seconds.

Me? I once made a necklace out of fishing line with plastic lizards and snakes and I also used to wear eight watches at a time. I’m what we call the eccentric one of the family.

Granted, this was for a Halloween costume but please be impressed with my plastic bugs necklace.

Granted, this was for a Halloween costume (I was “Awkward”) but please be impressed with my plastic bugs and reptiles necklace.

Thankfully, I’ve grown up a bit (bug necklace forever) in my taste and style, and as I’ve kind of come into my own as a tomboy femme with short hair, and if there’s one thing to realize with short hair, it’s that every piece of jewelry is three-thousand times more obvious, so less becomes more. Like, way more.

I like to keep it simple when it comes to fashion but also jewelry in particular. I have a personal rule in which I only wear a maximum of two pieces of jewelry at a time and never on touching body parts – if I wear earrings, I do not wear a necklace. If I wear a necklace, I do not wear a bracelet or watch. If I wear a bracelet, I do not wear rings. Make sense? Earrings + rings = good; necklace + rings = good; bracelet + rings = no go. My body feels cluttered easily and this simplification has kept me from being extremely overwhelmed by the femme of it all.

My other rule when I’m picking out jewelry is to make sure I can envision myself wearing said necklace/earrings/ring with a button-down shirt and a more feminine kind of blouse and a white v-neck, because I’m not made of money and jewelry has to translate into many different styles to be worth my money. This keeps my jewelry pretty androgynous, never straying too far from center of center, just like me!

To me, tomboy femme means playing with ideas of presentation, and blurring the lines between what it is to be purely on one side of the feminine to masculine spectrum, and pairing traditionally masculine designs with traditionally feminine designs and having fun with it all. Tomboy femme means I’m more comfortable pairing a casual dress with chucks than heels, and if I’m going to wear heels, I’m most likely pairing them with an androgynous normcore sweater. This isn’t an exact science, because sometimes I wake up and just want to go super femme and curl the fuck out of my hair and sometimes I want to be mistaken for a twelve-year-old boy with breasts (there’s just no hiding these suckers). If jewelry isn’t convenient, why bother?

Here are some of my own tips and ideas for accessorizing with jewelry for all of those cute humans wearing Tomboy Femme shirts out there.


Geometric feels like a breath of relief for me. I like the hardness of the lines mixed with the simplicity of the clean lines. Geometric is very androgynous, even in dangly earrings, so you can get away with pairing it with more of your outfits.

 Matte Stones

Sometimes I do like a pop of color in my jewelry, though, and my favorite way to incorporate a little color is through matte stones. Shiny Swarovski crystals do not work for me, because they look fussy and out of place on my body. Matte stones (okay, and occasionally druzy stones for a little sparkle because glitter is fun sometimes!) add a new level of interest to your jewelry without being so femme they change your outfit. One of my favorite places to find these pieces is Etsy, and lately I’ve been really feeling Jess Westlake‘s From The Coast shop.

Simple but Unique

My mother and sister rock jewelry because they stick with their own styles — for example, my mom owns probably three hundred pairs of gold hoop earrings. The best thing to developing a jewelry style is to experiment, find something you like and run with it. For me, I like pieces with unique but inherently simple design. Simple is key here: if you’re wearing a big necklace, make that your only piece of jewelry. Because I don’t wear a lot of jewelry at one time, having my jewelry be more of a statement piece feels fresh and exciting, like an addition to my outfit I’ve thought out without having to actually think about.

Thinking of new and fun ways to pair your jewelry with your outfits is the best part of trying it on. Here are a couple of my favorite looks at the moment:

Tucking that thick gold chain inside the bulky collar of a sweater pulls together a look way better than you’d imagine.

Layering your necklace outside of your button-down collar instantly polishes a look, as well, and downplays a large necklace to be more wearable if you’re not used to wearing statement jewelry.

Most importantly: These aren’t rules. There are no rules. Tomboy femme is its own collage of styles, which gives us the most freedom when it comes to presenting and dressing however we damn well please. Go experiment.

Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of Autostraddle.com and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 190 articles for us.