There's no better to way to spice up a plain outfit than adding bling, said Maggie Dosch, assistant manager at Dillard's at Hamilton Place.
"And the trendiest way to do it is with a bib necklace," she said, explaining that these adornments, typically made of layered jewels, rhinestones and beads, are the "ultimate statement piece."
Though the Cleopatra-inspired necklace has been around for centuries, its popularity comes and goes. In recent weeks, it has skyrocketed and is a "full-fledged fad" in Chattanooga, Ms. Dosch said. "We're having trouble keeping them in stock."
Ranging from oversized rhinestones to big pearls and beads, the striking piece of jewelry adds pizzazz to an otherwise dull outfit, she said. "If you have a plain dress and you want to do something fun or make it look very different, add a bib necklace."
The updated bib necklace hit the market in early fall, but sales exploded in recent weeks, Ms. Dosch said. "Women love the bold look. Wearing one of these pieces is like playing dress-up."
The fad will not let up soon, she said, noting that pieces for spring will feature flowers and butterflies in addition to pastel stones.
"You can wear the necklace with a little black dress to a nighttime event or to work with a sweater," said Angel Crane, a personal shopper.
Among the designers manufacturing the bib necklace are M. Haskell, Natasha, Erica Lyons and Catherine Stein.
The necklaces, which typically tie in the back with a ribbon, retail for $30 to $55, Ms. Dosch said. "It's a bargain, and I believe that's a factor in why the necklace has become so popular. Because of the economy, women aren't spending as much money on accessories, but with this necklace you're getting a lot for your money."
For women seeking a more relaxed look, Ms. Dosch suggested the pearl bib necklace.
"I like layering different colors of pearls and tying them together," she said.
Bib necklaces can be worn by all women of all sizes, Ms. Dosch said.
"It doesn't matter the neck size," she said. "The necklaces are completely adjustable and flattering. The necklace can be worn as a choker or midlength."