Jewelry Trends

How To Style Fine Jewelry With The Preppy Trend

Seeking the perfect jewelry to pair with polo-shirt collars and all-white tenniscore ensembles? CHARLIE BOYD suggests embracing the classics, from diamond studs to a wear-forever watch…

Zendaya sporting a chic Brunello Cucinelli tenniscore look and sparkling stud earrings at this year’s Monte-Carlo Masters tennis tournament in France – for her Challengers movie press tour

Whenever a major fashion trend rolls around, it takes fine-jewelry obsessives a minute to readjust – to work out which gleaming things we can pair with the runways’ cult pieces. It has always been thus – in bygone centuries, when sleeves rose up or necklines plummeted down, or when waistlines nipped in or flared out, popular jewelry styles would evolve and follow suit. Our latest challenge? Pairing fine jewels with tenniscore chic and Wimbledon whites – because preppy fashion is back.

On the SS24 runways, rugby shirts, track jackets and polo shirts were hero pieces reimagined by Dries Van Noten, Gucci, and Loewe, while trackpants and blazers, ballet pumps and boat shoes were ubiquitous. Luca Guadagnino’s latest movie, Challengers, starring Zendaya, is also in part responsible – the film is a veritable prep fest, awash with country-club chic. Marrying tenniscore with collegiate staples, Zendaya’s outfits are accessorized with Cartier’s bangles and necklaces, but it’s her watch that truly stands out – the ‘Panthère de Cartier’, in gleaming steel. Preppy watches require a bit of thought, though. Alongside the Panthère, we love the ‘Santos de Cartier’ – its square dial, chic blend of steel and 18-karat gold, and Roman numerals tick all the trad-classic boxes. Styles with diamond-strewn bezels are a perfect fit for modern prep, but anything blinged out will steer things towards a more ‘mob-wife’ jewelry aesthetic.

The beauty of the tennis bracelet, is that it can be worn anytime, anywhere – from clubhouse to cocktail party – and there are limitless versions to choose from

Sitting alongside your watch should be its obvious companion – a tennis bracelet. Originally called a ‘line bracelet’ and dating back to the 1920s, sleek rows of diamonds around the wrist only garnered the name ‘tennis bracelet’ in the 1980s, when popular tennis pros were spotted wearing them on-court. The beauty of the tennis bracelet is that it can be worn any time, anywhere – from clubhouse to cocktail party – and there are limitless versions to choose from. Shay’s 18-karat white-gold design showcases dainty emeralds, including playful heart-shaped ones – a slight update on traditional round stones – while still feeling classic at its core.

Unsurprisingly, a tennis necklace is another key piece for nailing the trend. Suzanne Kalan’s ‘Fireworks’ design, set with baguette-cut diamonds, offers a contemporary take on a traditional string of stones – each diamond is set jauntily beside its neighbor, creating a frenzied stream of scintillation. Don’t, however, be afraid to layer – while large chains will feel too ostentatious, mid-sized chains such as Jennifer Meyer’s ‘Double Dome’ can be paired with a whisker-fine chain or two.

Pearls, meanwhile, are inescapable. It’s important to stick to white hues and to not go too large, as enormous orbs will feel dated and twee. Be sure to consider the length of pearl necklaces, too, as polo-shirt collars won’t accommodate long swinging styles – Loren Stewart’s design can be looped twice to achieve the perfect positioning.

Hair swept back into a rally-friendly ponytail will allow earrings to hold court, so consider carefully which pieces will complement white and neutral ensembles. Mikimoto’s pearl-drop earrings are ultra-versatile – but for an evening event, consider a more dramatic length, such as Sophie Bille Brahe’s ‘Corinne’ design. If pearls aren’t your thing, then any prim and proper studs will achieve the same effect – pair Yvonne Léon’s mixed-metal design with a silk hairband to ensure they shine front and center.

The final flourish? A signet ring. While you might not have one in the family, crestless designs such as Mateo’s 14-karat gold can be engraved to hold personal meaning – and popping one onto your pinky finger will increase your prep factor tenfold. In terms of color palette, it’s important to stick to elegant metal tones and white or yellow gems – the preppy look is all about polish rather than pizzaz, after all.


Cartier’s ‘Panthère de Cartier’