Advice Columns: Supplementing an Expert’s “Wear Whatever You Like” Response

An opportunity for jewelers and jewelry designers occurs
each time an inquiry that concerns jewelry appears in a fashion advice column.
Consider: How would you answer the customer who approaches you, seeking a
response to that very question?

The question might be published in a magazine or newspaper,
appear in an online column, or be included in an electronic newsletter or blog.
In the case of an online column or post, you may be able to write a response or
comment and to share it with the world. A thoughtful, well-worded post signed
with your name and brand name can not only market your jewelry or store brand
but also demonstrate to customers and potential customers that you know of
which you speak.

While posting a response online can be a bit intimidating
for many people, nevertheless the question itself can provide an opportunity to
exercise creativity and to do some jewelry wardrobe strategizing, as well as a
subject for a lively discussion with your staff. 

A recent example of a jewelry-related question in an advice
column appears in Tim Gunn’s column in the December 2010 issue of Marie
Claire
magazine. The question reads:

“I love classics like striped shirts, polos and chinos. But
I can never incorporate these pieces into my everyday style without looking
like a J.Crew catalog. Can you suggest some pieces I can wear with these
classics without abandoning my more eclectic side?” 

Illustration: J. Crew catalog style

It’s not clear from the question what the writer’s “more
eclectic” style preferences might be. Gunn, after charmingly stating that he
aspires to look like a J.Crew catalog model, and noting that he finds it
“difficult to conjure what you can pair with a polo other than chinos or denim”
responds:

“I suggest that you channel your inner eclecticism through
the use of accessories, especially jewelry. Consider one-of-a-kind pieces that
really speak to you and resonate with who you are. The same is true for shoes,
handbags, and other accessories like scarves…”

What information might you seek from the writer who posed
the question to allow you to provide specific jewelry suggestions? Remember, she asks for recommendations of specific pieces.
A photo of the writer would be most helpful, of course. It will give you
an idea of her coloring and the design features of her face and form. Even
without obtaining any additional information from her, what hints are provided
in her question—what jewelry styles might be suggested by her love of stripes
and the look of casual, “preppy” sportswear—a classic sporty personality
style? If the writer walked into your store today, what jewelry might catch her
eye? What jewelry would you want to show her?

Every jewelry-related question in an advice column provides
the potential for a learning moment.