Signature Pieces, Signature Looks

Caroline: As I mentioned in our last blog, I love signature pieces! They are one of the building blocks of a great jewelry wardrobe. (Check your April issue of JCK on pages 130 and 131 for the rest of the building blocks, plus a short excerpt from our new book, Jewelry Savvy!)
Cynthia: I agree. A signature piece is a great indicator of personality and style. It speaks volumes about the wearer.
Caroline: Do you have any special pieces you wear often in your wardrobe? What you might call a signature piece?
Cynthia: I like to wear my 14 karat yellow gold oval-shaped hoop earrings. I’ve had them since high school. They suit my face and my features and they’re wonderfully comfortable too. The gold is smooth and polished, and the earrings work with almost any other yellow gold jewelry I wear. 
Caroline: Those earrings sound very versatile.
Cynthia: They are, although when I wear white metals, I substitute matching earrings. In fact, I have a couple of favorite pairs of earrings in white metal – one that’s smooth and classic, and another in sterling silver that is textured, which I like to wear with more casual outfits.
Caroline: But not all of those are what I think of as a signature piece –a special style that you wear often or a special piece you become known for wearing. Is the yellow gold pair really a signature piece?
Cynthia: Maybe because of the sheer longevity of my enjoyment of those earrings, they qualify. I wear them all the time. I would be heartbroken if I ever lost them! The other earrings don’t have anywhere near the same sentimental value to me.
Caroline:  I tend to think of a signature piece as something more unique and eye-catching. You know, like Coco Chanel (see photo) or Jackie O in pearls, which is what I think of as their signature pieces.
Cynthia: I remember Jackie’s famous pearls that were much copied. But I think Coco was known more for wearing multiple pearl necklaces in volume, than for any one piece she wore. So sometimes a person can have more of a signature look than a signature piece.
Caroline: That’s a very good point. Many of our style icons have signature looks, while I’ve gone the other direction. My signature piece is a diamond pin.
Cynthia: I know it – that wonderful starfish brooch. You had it specially made, didn’t you?
Caroline: I did. I spent money on that instead of an expensive wedding dress. Today, I wear it in my hair or on a suit and more and more people recognize it as my special piece. I think everyone should have at least one signature piece. And for a retailer, selling that concept is smart because most people will probably spend a bit more on a nice piece that they wear often and that becomes their signature.
Cynthia: Signature pieces can be worn with just about everything, and can make each outfit unique and special. Think of Diana Vreeland with her signature cuff bracelets. And signature looks work much the same way–think of Madeline Albright with her brooches.
Caroline: Or Frida Kahlo with her chunky necklaces. A smart retailer will also look for opportunities to build a customer’s wardrobe of pieces she uses in her signature look.
Cynthia:  Right! So let’s see… a signature piece or a signature look is one we wear a lot, is distinctive, and has longevity. In other words, no fads!
Caroline: Blog readers: Tell us what YOUR signature piece or signature look is! Leave us a short description in the comments section. And if it’s not jewelry? Tell us anyway!

Today’s Jewel
How many of YOUR customers have a signature piece? Do you? Do your sales associates? Consider introducing the concept to them all and their interest will likely peak. This is also a great idea for the woman who has everything – think of it as the icing on the cake!