How To Style Your Engagement Ring — A Non-Jerk's Guide

comments

unnamedPhotographed by Jennifer Trahan.
Laura Ruof is a fashion and beauty blogger at Call To Style. She Instagrams at @Call_To_Style.

When I got engaged a few years ago, I posted a picture of the ring on Facebook, and right away I felt kind of weird about it. It just wasn’t the type of thing that I usually did, given my aversion to bragging on the Internet. On the one hand, I was just excited. My fiancé and I had been through a tough year financially, so when we were finally able to get engaged it signified the end of a difficult time in our lives. Before that, people constantly asked why we weren’t engaged, or pried about when it would happen, so by posting that picture I put all of the questions to rest — including the inevitable ones about the ring. Even though marking a life event with an expensive piece of jewelry felt strange, sharing that photo felt like what people did, so I went for it. Then, I never did it again.

In general, I think boasting about material possessions online is really boring, and when I see that sort of thing, it cues an eye roll so deep it can be registered on the Richter scale. I file constant ring-selfies in that category, so I keep them to a non-existent minimum. If my fiancé were an insecure guy, he’d probably think I was trying to keep my options open. But, the truth is, I just don’t like showing off. Posting the obligatory proposal pic is one thing, but constantly documenting The Ring on Instagram can get a little obnoxious.

What complicates my aversion to Internet braggadocio is that I'm a fashion blogger (kind of comes with the territory, right?), and I also really like nice stuff. I have an appreciation for quality, and work really hard to be able to invest in well-made things every once in a while (please don’t tell my student loan company, I still owe them a pretty sizable chunk of change). Blogging is often just used as a platform to wealth-brag, something I go out of my way to avoid doing. And, even if I wasn't writing about my ring its existence presented a bit of a challenge.

Click the arrow below for more of this story.
unnamed-1Photographed by Jennifer Trahan.
I mean, finding someone who wants to hang out and take your bullshit forever is exciting in its own right. I didn’t buy a car when I got my first job out of dental school (not that I could have); the job was the reward. And, when I do pay off those student loans, I won’t be tweeting a picture of the final check. I’ll just be glad that it happened. How come when two people decide to get together for eternity one of them expects a nice piece of jewelry out of the deal? Specifically, why did I care so much about mine? Call it traditionalism or consumerism, but the ring did matter to me. I wasn’t going to beat myself up over loving it, but I also wasn’t going to make it a constant occupier of my social-media feeds. I vowed never to be tacky about my ring. But, it took on a life of its own.

Two years later, my ring had become the conversation piece its conspicuous absence was for so long before — I would find myself explaining why I wasn't married yet (we just haven't gotten around to it), to the disapproving many who asked. I felt my ring was too noticeable, and I began taking it off for photo shoots.

When it comes to accessorizing, engagement rings are usually only paired with a wedding band, if they're not left entirely alone. And, maybe that's why any photo that features a hand wearing a ring comes off like a shameless promotion of your fortunate relationship status. But, I didn’t see why I couldn’t mix mine with other jewelry that I loved. There's no good reason that the ring couldn't meld into my style rather than standing alone like some kind of trophy. So, I played around with my jewelry to find a low-key, and decidedly "me" way to sport the hardware.

Rings by Vita Fede and Bauble Bar; Bracelets by Vita Fede, Bloomingdale's, and Aqua.

Click the arrow below for more of this story.
laura-ruofPhotographed by Jennifer Trahan.
I put different metals and finishes together, and all kinds of accessories: regular rings, midi-rings, bangles, and wrap bracelets. The engagement ring takes on a different look depending on what you wear it with. You can choose to highlight it more or bring other pieces to the forefront. One day, you can don stacks of cubic zirconia bands to make it look like you’re dripping in diamonds, and the next you can go for an edgier look with matte, black rings.

Adding stacks of bracelets only ups the cool factor. The bracelets and rings pictured range from $5 finds up to $500 meaningful investment pieces. For the latter, it doesn’t get better than Vita Fede, a jewelry brand I wear every day. Its designs are special and edgy, but classic enough to easily stack and mix. Some of the rings I’m wearing are from Bauble Bar, a great resource for anyone who likes keeping up with accessories trends, but doesn't want to spend a fortune on something that won’t be in style forever. Mega Mega — a brand that makes rings that are interchangeable with any type of engagement piece — works well, too. The point is: It's easy to find beautiful pieces to style your engagement ring in a unique way.

Since I’ve started wearing my ring with other jewelry, people have stopped asking me when I’m getting married or wondering (aloud, at least) why I haven’t done it yet. I also don’t feel like I need to take it off for pictures on my blog; and when I snap a photo of my manicure for Instagram, it’s really just a photo of my manicure.

I found that this mix-and-match styling is more me, and it's a way for me to feel more comfortable wearing my diamond. I can wear it in pictures without feeling braggy, or dishonest about what the focal point of the photo is supposed to be. (Sometimes I really am just excited about my manicure, you know?) To some extent, this experiment has encouraged me to go deeper with the rest of my look, adding layers to an ever-developing personal aesthetic. But, most importantly, it's taught me that I'm okay in feeling that my ring, like my relationship status, doesn't define me. It's just one part of all the things that do. Just please don’t ask me when that part is getting married. I don’t have a clue — but I promise when it happens, I’ll post a tasteful picture to Instagram.