What is 3 Ways or the Highway?

When considering a new purchase, it is important to set some ground rules. The rules apply to anything we add to our closet! As a reminder, the rules are as follows: (1) Style the item in question 3 unique ways. (2) 15 minutes to create each look (3) Weigh all the looks and the store/brand/cost and decide if the purchase is versatile enough to be worth it. Start the clocks.


It is 9 AM and you are running out of the door to catch the bus to arrive at work for a 10 AM meeting. Tensions are high as you hurricane through your house/apartment/room/cupboard under the stairs (honestly, if you can’t easily call your living space a “room” at the very least, you need to re-examine your life), grabbing your keys, work badge, a breath mint, a water bottle, and whatever else happens to jump into your backpack as you shut the door. You make it to the bus, congratulate yourself, look down and appreciate your outfit but then immediately think, “Shoot. It’s not a big deal but I should have worn an [insert accessory here].” This is my life constantly and I started keeping a small kit of items in my backpack — tampon, roll-on perfume, eyedrops, concealer, and even a “neutral” accessory for regrets on the bus.

I recently found this necklace and my interest was piqued:

The Item 411

Source/Brand: Machete Jewelry. It is a female-run business, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and the jewelry is produced there, France, Italy and other studios around the globe. The company ships the materials in EVA film, which is a biodegradable green material, that is clear and can be used as a zip bag to store your jewelry but still be able to see it through the material. They also have a Jewelry Recycling program which provides a return address to send your Machete jewelry to them and customers receive $10 store credit for doing so.

Cost: $225 for essentially 3 pieces. They ship worldwide.

Materials: The necklace is made out of recycled brass with 14k gold and is handmade.

Design: The most crucial part of this necklace that attracted me was the fact that it is interchangeable. All the pieces fit together to create a necklace but you can also separate the links to create two smaller bracelets, anklets, or hair accessories. The chunky chain necklace has been quite trendy for the past couple of years, and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

So! Should I buy this?

"3 Ways or the Highway" Rules

Before adding items to our closet, each one has to go through these 3 rules:

  1. Style the item in question 3 unique ways (call me out if I cheat)
  2. 15 minutes to create each look
  3. Weigh all the looks and the store/brand/cost and decide if the purchase is versatile enough to be worth it.

Start the clocks.

Outfit 1

Thoughts while creating this outfit:

  • My first thought when I saw this necklace was Italian mafia. A combination of having just watched Goodfellas and having seen this photo of Ashely Olsen, I knew I wanted to create an rendition of that.
  • Initially I went with a leather, straight cut shirt but I realized since the necklace is chunky, putting it against bare skin is a great way to make it read more delicate and confident at the same time.
  • Thought about an all white outfit with a button down and white jeans but that immediately moved in the opposite direction to bromidic.
  • Went back to the mafia roots, found a tailored blazer and this is where the look started to fall into place nicely. The best blazer for this is slightly oversized, not too revealing, and can be a standalone top. That way the neck is exposed to show off the chain, making your top half strong.
  • I paired this with leathery cargo pants to contrast the fabric of the blazer. Pants with interesting shapes and textures liven even the most basic outfit up instantly, and can be used as an easy go-to “hack” when trying to make an outfit more unique.
  • These pants tucked into combat boots culminates this modern AND versatile outfit for me. The combat boots offset the business associations with a blazer and change the outfit from professional to daring, punk-y, effortless signals.
  • I would definitely wear this outfit if I was traveling (plane or train) and wanted to look put together when I reached my destination; a meal with an ex-coworker to display your new thriving life; days you will be sightseeing, thus walking a lot, but also taking lots of photos to post online when documenting. your day.

Outfit 2

Thoughts while creating this outfit:

  • After the first outfit took a bit of a more formal tone, I thought about days where I want to be casual but avoiding devolving into the I-haven’t-washed-my-face-all-day-and-I-am-still-in-pajama-pants realm.
  • I want to feel good about what I am wearing but that isn’t the focus of the day. I need to get things done and nothing should come in the way.
  • In order to do this, details are the key. When you wear small items like rings, little dangle earrings or studs, simple necklaces, and/or bracelets, it conveys that you are stylish and practical, all at once. Imagine that!
  • Breaking the chain up into the bracelets to create simple, bold, gold chains is perfect for this intention. It is a trendy detail that isn’t hard to maintain, doesn’t make noise, and is a cool touch when someone does happen to see them on your wrist as you are reaching for the cereal during grocery shopping. Details are the divider between coming across as putting effort into clothing versus not.
  • Gold looks really good with colors that have yellowish/warm undertones to them like purples, pinks, greens. Blues are cooler toned and too stark.
  • Because I had an everyday, basics outfit in mind for this look, I wanted to bring neutrals together since they are multifaceted additions to a closet that can be paired with anything, making them super reusable. But neutrals don’t always have to be grey, white, and black! They are colors that are almost lacking in a sense; unsaturated, almost without color, visually restful. Beige, Papaya Whip, and Oat are all great examples of neutrals that still serve their purpose as a flexible color and have character to them. That’s why I picked these millennial pink jeans over basic blue denim to spruce up the outfit.
  • Situations I would wear this outfit in are running errands, going into work tired (hungover or recovering from a cold), going to class on a fall day when outdoors is a little chilly and the A/C inside is variable.

Outfit 3

Thoughts while creating this outfit:

  • The last look I wanted to create was pushing myself to see if this chain could be used in a professional setting. Some of you may think this necklace looks like a goddamn bike chain and I want to prove you wrong!
  • I started with the situations I would wear this future outfit in: conferences, a job interview for a creative role or any role working in the tech industry, and even happy hour right after work with coworkers. While I understand adapting to the formality and appropriateness of a situation, I always think there is a room for your personality to come through. It is an asset in professional settings if you can show sensibility mixed with uniqueness. Amy Smilovic, founder of Tibi, calls this person the “creative pragmatic”.
  • This patterned jumpsuit is exactly how you do that — you are completely covered and don’t need to pull and tug at any part of this through the day. The print and silhouette will stand out amongst the boring pencil skirts and generic button-down shirts. The loafers are dark and closed-toe, a recipe for formality, but the maroon pops. The bag matches with the shoes for consistency and now you have a great outfit for the workday.
  • The necklace is the perfect addition to top it off because it is probably one of the most neutral jewelry designs that also makes a statement. It transforms instantly from a casual item in the second outfit to a chic piece with character in this outfit.

Final verdict

Seeing these outfits together:

  1. Versatility: These three looks address very different scenarios for me. As I see them all lined up, I am actually seeing close to a full week laid out — Monday presentation with the third outfit, work from home (so obvious I live in SF) Wednesday and finish my to-do list in the second outfit, and drinks and a concert on Saturday with the first outfit.
  2. Would I wear all the outfits created?: I would wear all the outfits listed above. The third outfit is probably the most “stretch” for me, only because it is a little more tame than I like but that preference comes from my very specific situation of living in a coastal city, working in tech, and having a work environment that is more lax with outfits. It is a very practical outfit for everyone who does not fall into these boxes. For each of the outfits, the necklace adds a different element, sometimes quite literally turning into a different elements with the bracelets.
  3. Is the price worth it?: The price is a bit high but I have convinced myself it is worth it. The simple fact that the product can turn into bracelets or a necklace, without any major visual difference is amazing. It is recycled material, good quality, and a simple design that goes with so many outfits. I would keep it for a while and it won’t go out of fashion.

I am a officially making the purchase! Come to mama.

P.S. Some additional tips for gold chains