Slipping on a cocktail ring (or three) is a stylish way to lend your outfit a distinctive finish, whether your aesthetic is more opulent or offbeat. When considering how to wear cocktail rings, there's a huge array of options to choose from – with plenty of takes appearing on the SS17 catwalks.
Statement cocktail rings first became popular in 1920s America, a contradictory era of prohibition, extravagance and wild abandon. These decadent origins have ensured that they remain associated with a free-spirited approach to glamour and excess, making them a go-to accessory for actresses in some of the world's most iconic film roles. From Marilyn Monroe to Penélope Cruz, there's a lot of inspiration out there on how to style cocktail rings for women.
A very fine vintage
Given the nostalgic roots of party rings, retro designs make an evocative choice. Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's jazz age classic The Great Gatsby featured decadent bespoke jewellery created for the film by Tiffany. Perhaps most distinctive and inspirational was the pearl ring and hand-piece worn by Carey Mulligan in her role as Daisy Buchanan. Decked out in the typical jazz-darling ensemble of glittering drop-waisted flapper dress and coordinating headband, the design dangles languidly from her hand and perfectly captures the opulent aesthetic that has come to be associated with the era.
The spring/summer 2016 collection by Gucci featured vintage-inspired twisted metallic shapes dripping with pearls. Classic pearlescent shades tend to have a more retro feel than brighter hues; recall Mulligan's Gatsby look by pairing with an iridescent designer gown in girlish florals from Valentino.
What better place to showcase such an ensemble than Paris, a location so closely bound with the raucous and romantic Americans of Fitzgerald’s world? Slide into a booth at one of the city's numerous speakeasy-style bars and sip on a freshly stirred cocktail. And while we're usually all for authenticity, let's avoid the bathtub gin this time.
A girl’s best friend
As Marilyn Monroe taught us, diamonds really are a girl’s best friend. Diamond cocktail rings have a long and glittering history in Hollywood, famously adorning Monroe’s hands in one of her most iconic movies: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. From her character’s instantly recognisable square-cut engagement ring worn with the infamous red glittering skin-tight dress to the statement piece paired with a plunge-neck gold dress, Monroe demonstrates a key lesson in how to wear cocktail rings – with plenty of sparkle and alongside an equally eye-catching dress.
Sequins and metallics capture and reflect the light from diamonds beautifully – as, of course, do pristine white fabrics. White dresses are often synonymous with wedding dresses, so what better place to find inspiration than Oscar de la Renta? The label's spring/summer 2016 bridal show featured models wearing multiple oversized diamond cocktail rings, with delicate bouquets of cream-coloured flowers drawing extra attention to these floral-inspired designs.
However there’s only one place to really go when you’re dripping in diamonds, and it's not to a wedding. Head straight to Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco, the home of all things luxurious, and try your luck on the glittering gold gambling tables.
The golden touch
Gold cocktail rings are another inspired option. The spring/summer 2017 collection by Louis Vuitton featured oversized gold rings that were reminiscent of tangled rope and fit over two fingers. Pairing these rings with a coordinating oversized gold cuff creates an ultra-contemporary effect. Explore the Louis Vuitton Vintage collection to discover gold jewellery emblazoned with the brand's signature logo.
Gold jewellery might evoke images of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, but Penélope Cruz’s character in the Pedro Almodóvar masterpiece Broken Embraces provides a more contemporary muse. Sitting before a huge round mirror, the actress bedecks herself in piles of heavy gold chain necklaces and circular earrings, finishing with a gold cocktail ring from her vast selection. Here, the gold tones are complemented by her black dress and sultry dark eye makeup, but they would work equally well with deep Spanish reds or pristine whites.
Embrace the drama by pairing with a heavily embellished dress in exaggerated proportions from the Delpozo SS17 collection. Dive into the thumping heart of Spain, Madrid, and sample the best of the region's tapas before taking a stroll through the buzzing after-dark streets.
When it comes to colourful party rings the path diverges in two directions: simple and old school or playful and contemporary. Bond girls are famed for their striking jewellery choices, but Teri Hatcher kept it beautifully understated in Tomorrow Never Dies. Wearing just a black cocktail dress and string of diamonds about her neck, her single sapphire David Morris cocktail ring became the focal point of her outfit.
The spring/summer 2017 catwalks offered a different take on colourful statement pieces. Instead of the more traditional deep tones, designers experimented with a palette of soft pastel hues. Versace demonstrated how to wear cocktail rings in an inspired new way by teaming lilac oversized rings with colour-coordinating athleisure ensembles.
This sports-luxe look would work perfectly at a Wet Republic pool party at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Dance, dine and drink the night away in true Bond Girl style, before retiring to one of the hotel's signature skylofts.