If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably spent the last few weeks obsessing over Normal People — and Connell’s iconic chain necklace in particular. Jack Jahan, from Ramsdens Jewellery, stopped by to explain why this simple chain has taken the fashion world by storm, and shared his top tips for stealing Connell’s style.
The BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel Normal People has captivated audiences in recent weeks, with millions of viewers tuning in to follow the story of teenagers Connell and Marianne as they navigate an on again, off again relationship against the backdrop of Trinity College in Dublin. And, while the show’s two young stars have won a great deal of praise for their performances, there’s one thing that fashion fans can’t stop talking about: protagonist Connell’s simple silver chain, which he wears in almost every scene.
The internet has gone wild for the look, with many fashion mags touting the neck chain as the must-have accessory of the summer. The necklace even has its own Instagram fan account, @Connellschain
, with over 166,000 followers and counting. The show’s costume designer has compared the necklace to James Dean’s iconic white T-shirt in the 1950s (Guardian
), predicting that it would become a game-changing trend over the coming months.
Paul Mescal, the actor who plays Connell in the show, recently announced that he was putting the original chain up for auction to raise money for Irish charity Pieta. But, your chances of winning the real thing are quite slim. So, your best bet is to try and find a chain that looks similar to the one in the show. In this article, I’ll explain how to find a dupe of Connell’s necklace, and give you some tips on how to style it.
Stealing Connell’s style: What sort of necklace to look for
In the novel, Rooney describes Connell’s necklace as “an unadorned silver neck chain”, and that’s a very good description of the piece of jewellery we see in the show. If we take a closer look, you can also see that the chain in the show looks to have fine, small links, which give it a smooth, fluid look, and a simple bolt fastening that blends seamlessly with the rest of the necklace. So, be on the look out for necklaces like this when shopping.
As for the material, the chain worn by Paul Mescal is definitely silver in colour, with a subtle shine. Connell is seen wearing it in a swimming pool and in the shower, so I’d guess that it’s made from a high-quality sterling silver, as this doesn’t tarnish in water. So, for a look that’s true to the show, you’ll want to go for a real silver piece, rather than a rhodium-plated or nickel style, which will tarnish more easily.
Connell’s chain sits just above his collarbone, so I’d guess it’s around 18 inches in length. This means it can be worn over a T-shirt, or tucked underneath the collar for a more subtle look. If you’d prefer your necklace to always be visible, then I’d recommend going for a slightly longer chain — around 20 inches is ideal.
How to style Connell’s chain
One of the many reasons Connell’s necklace has been such a hit is because it’s a timeless piece of jewellery that’s very easy to style. It’s the ultimate “throw it on and go” necklace, and can be worn with virtually any outfit. Silver is a very versatile metal, which means it works with outfits in almost any colour. And, because it’s a fine chain, it won’t overwhelm your outfits, or look tacky. The length is also very practical: you can wear it over your shirts when you want to show it off, or tuck it away for a more subtle look.
Connell isn’t really the sort of character who likes to stand out from the crowd, so it makes sense that he’d wear such a simple piece of jewellery. But, if you want to make your necklace a bit more eye-catching, you can always add a pendant, which will make it more of a statement piece. You could also pair it with some other silver jewellery, like a ring, or a matching wrist chain.
If you’re the sort of guy who really likes to stand out, you could try layering and mixing and matching several necklaces at once. Layering has been a really big trend for the last year or two, and it always makes a bold fashion statement. For the best results with this, pick chains in varying lengths and thicknesses, which will give you that authentically mismatched look.
Connell’s simple silver neck chain is set to be the must-have accessory this summer, and it goes with almost anything. So, you’ll definitely want to invest in one of these versatile pieces of jewellery.