By Cynthia Sliwa
As an image consultant, I’ve had the question put to me to what extent an executive or professional woman should adorn herself with jewelry. My response: the woman should wear powerful jewelry and do so consistently.
No doubt about it, jewelry can enhance a woman’s image and make her feel confident wearing it. Jewelry, chosen well, lends authority. It finishes a look and indicates the wearer’s attention to nuance and detail. It renders additional sophistication to an ensemble. In adds to the wearer’s credibility and heightens her presence.
The key is choosing well. A powerful woman should wear powerful jewelry.
What do I mean by “powerful jewelry”? I mean jewelry that:
- flatters the woman’s face and form,
- suits her personality and
- reflects her professionalism and level of authority.
This means that the jewelry should not be small and unassuming (with the exception of stud earrings, which are perfectly acceptable). I encourage my clients to wear jewelry of sufficient size and scale to complement their faces and figures, and to err in favor of slightly larger pieces. Larger jewelry generally “reads” more professional and powerful.
At the same time, an executive woman’s jewelry should play a supporting role to the message she wants to convey. The jewelry must not overshadow the woman. If people are staring at her jewelry, they are not listening to what she has to say.
What this means is that huge amounts of bling-bling are not appropriate for the office. At all costs the executive woman should avoid:
- Earrings that swing merrily.
- Necklaces that plummet into her cleavage.
- Jangling bracelets
- Anything else that audibly announces her presence or visually shouts “look at me!”
Powerful jewelry is tasteful, elegant, classic. It’s jewelry that registers in the mind of the viewer as being all about quality. The wearer’s message comes through loud and clear.
Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House regularly wears excellent examples of powerful jewelry. Her signature necklaces are strands of large millimeter pearls, seen in both matching strands and in combinations of hues. She is a petite woman, but her jewelry is all about power.
If your clientele includes executive and professional women (and whose doesn’t?), consider having a display of “powerful jewelry” labeled as such. Have pictures of powerful, chicly dressed women (Nancy Pelosi in pearls, Madeleine Albright in brooches) ready for reference. Consider having a “Power Jewelry” shopping event for your female self-purchasers.