In Maupassant's "The Necklace," the necklace itself represents the surface-level nature of social class. The necklace is made of fake jewels, but Mme. Loisel perceives it as beautiful because she believes it to be real. Similarly, Mme. Loisel is perceived as beautiful at the party because of the confidence and status that dressing like an upper-class person gives her.
Maupassant often mentions the clothing of people as a representation of their social status. Mme. Loisel is described early in the story as "not being able to adorn herself"(p.31) and yearns after having "two great footmen in short trousers"(p.32). Her greatest fear when attending the party is that she will not have an appropriate dress and jewelry; even at the party, she is embarrassed by her cheap wrap. Significantly, once brought to a low social class by the necessity of paying off the replacement necklace, Mme. Loisel is described as being "clothed like a woman of the people...her hair badly dressed, her skirts awry"(p.36-7).
The Necklace Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Necklace is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
The necklace which they gave Mme. Forestier was actually replacing a piece of costume jewelry. They paid for ten years to replace something that was hardly worth one or two days of Mme. Loisel's husband's salary.