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Remember that quote attributed to Coco Chanel that was like, "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off?" When leaving home started to feel less momentous, I found myself stepping out the door without essentials, like keys, a book, or God forbid, a mask. But despite this, I never forgot to slip on the lapis signet ring I bought myself for graduation. It's funny how our accessories become integral to our outside uniforms.
We've spoken to creatives in a number of industries on the accessories they've deemed as mandatory to their everyday looks, from heirloom rings to practical keychains. The common thread? As long as it bears meaning, it belongs. Read on to hear 10 people share the accessory they make a habit of never leaving home without.
"Aside from my phone, keys, and engagement ring, there's no accessory I truly never leave the home without," shares Sarah Spellings. "But lately, there's one piece that I take with me 90 percent of the time because it makes my outfit that much better: my Anne Boleyn-inspired necklace from Dilara Findikoglu."
Spellings accredits Bella Hadid's recent photos in the necklace for cementing the piece as a staple in her wardrobe. "It's the perfect elegant finish to almost any outfit, casual or formal, and always makes me look like I tried just a bit harder than I actually did," she says.
For Telsha Anderson, there's something undeniably romantic about her modern day heirloom: Her engagement ring. "My fiancé customized a Hoorsenbuhs x Spinelli Kilcollin collaboration and proposed it in December 2020," she says. What makes it special isn't just its representation of her marriage in October, but also its style: "It's something I've genuinely never seen before," she explains.
The collaboration is stacked with stunning rings with architectural angles and sophisticated glamour, and Anderson sees her custom ring as a legacy in the making. "I truly believe my engagement ring will be something that's passed down from generation to generation," she says.
Inspiration for practicality without sacrificing fantastic design came in the unlikeliest of places for Lindy McDonough: A bean. The story goes like this: "We were setting up our new studio and dreaming of the bags we wanted to make, and I started sketching thinking of one of my close collaborators who is deeply obsessed with beans." From there, the "aesthetically pleasing, ergonomic, versatile, and distinctive" Faba bag was born.
McDonough rarely leaves home without her Faba. "At this point, it basically feels like an appendage of my body," she says. The bag's beautiful leather tells a story of her everyday life, another reason it has become so beloved. "I love an object that is transformative, that shows patina and all the signs of wear," she says. Plus, the bag's size is ideal for all the essentials, in which McDonough includes, "the occasional dog treat."
When she's decided on wearing a necklace, Kimberlee Rhodes can't leave the house without a very specific option—her essential accessory is "this 'Merde' necklace from Bing Bang NYC." A charming message in the timeless nameplate style is the perfect reminder of lightheadedness throughout the day.
"Merde" is French for "shit," so it's perfect in so many ways," Rhodes says. "It's a universal expletive and it also looks so pretty written in French!" We agree with the editor's statement that, "I think everyone should have at least one cheeky piece of jewelry."
Sara Larson makes an argument for small-but-mighty staple accessories with her favorite Jamie Wolf Emerald Ear Cuff. There's more than meets the eye when it comes to why this gorgeous piece made in New York City is always with her.
"I have a very spiritual connection to the jewelry pieces I wear and believe emeralds hold healing powers," she shares. Larson goes on to explain that emeralds "symbolize love, protection, and wisdom—all elements I love to be surrounded by on a daily basis."
Jewelry and accessories have a way of marking time, transporting us to the places we've come from. For Amy Liu, that place is early in her marriage to her husband of 21 years. "A long time ago, he bought me a Bulgari stack ring, and it only fits on my left hand ring finger," she says. "The Bulgari ring was a real indulgence at the time and my sister helped my very frugal husband pick it, which means a lot to me," she continues.
Today, Liu wears the ring stacked with her wedding band, as a reminder of the relationship she and her husband have built and the "actual promises" they've exchanged with each other. "As a founder and entrepreneur now, I think about that a lot now—it's sexy to talk about achievements like the exit, the rankings, the fundraising... but I'm trying to really enjoy the journey.“
Nidhi Lucky Handa, Founder & CEO of Leune
There is something to be said for the practicality of Nidhi Lucky Handa's staple accessory choice. "The Leune keychain is literally with me everywhere, every day," she shares. Made of genuine leather and featuring three separate clips, it's ideal for organizing the inevitable key pileup.
"It’s perfect because it easily attaches to my purse—whether it's my crossbody Proenza Schouler or favorite Givenchy Pandora," Handa says. "All the little carabiners are not only great for keys but also to attach the keychain to a belt loop or to create a wristlet.”
Jessie Randall, Founder and Creative Director of Loeffler Randall
The accessory Jessie Randall never leaves home without is a treasured gift. "I always used to look at this ring on my grandmother Harriet’s hand when I was a little girl," she tells Byrdie. "When she died, it was given to me. She was very chic and a little bit sassy just like the ring. I love carrying a piece of her with me everywhere I go."
Randall's grandmother's legacy has been a constant inspiration, even in her design work. "The very first shoe I named for my company Loeffler Randall was named after her."
Tyla Lauren Gilmore's personal touch is the final step to every outfit she creates. Her nameplate necklace is more than an identification. "My family gifted it to me when I turned 13, and it was my first real piece of jewelry as a teenager," she shares. Gilmore goes as far as to say the necklace completes her: "I wear it daily, and it’s such an important part of me."
Karen Danudjaja, CEO and Founder of Blume
"I have worn it so long I think it’s fused with my skin," says Karen Danudjaja. While she often opts to "shove a credit card and a lip balm in my back pocket, leaving even a purse behind," Danudjaja never leaves home without her grandmother's engagement ring—a simple gold band that was given to her after she passed.
"We were really close, and she was a huge supporter of mine and my vision for Blume," she shares. "Wearing the ring has become a way for me to carry her and honor her legacy."