Customer Watch: Considering Personal Style

In my last blog posting, I mentioned the style descriptors used in the current issue of InStyle Magazine to categorize various looks in jewelry and other accessories.


Whether or not we assign a title to it, every one of us has a style, a look that evolves based upon what is comfortable and also, in many cases, what is practical, depending upon how we want to be perceived by others. Our stylistic choices determine the visual impression we make. Jewelry plays a significant role in creating this impression.


These choices are affected by all sorts of factors, including, for instance, the family and cultural influences in our lives. How we were raised may affect any number of style decisions – for example, whether and when to wear jeans or shorts and how much jewelry feels right.


Beyond the cultural influences, one’s job or profession is likely to affect his or her choices. For instance, a red carpet gown cut down to there may be equally attractive on the actress and the dynamic woman CEO, but the latter won’t ever be seen in such a dress unless she is going for the shock value of it. Why? Because her public persona is not about sex appeal. What’s expected for one woman would be radically outside the norm for another.


Choosing apparel appropriate for your job or profession conveys to others a sense of your competence and professionalism. And if you’re on your feet all day, comfortable shoes are a must!


In our day-to-day lives, each of us develops a style that works for us. One person may dress carefully and give this a lot of thought; the next person may give this little to none and just put on “whatever is clean” together with the watch and ring he usually wears. One may prefer to wear shirts by a certain designer or manufacturer, or a certain style of sweater or jacket, or a certain brand of shoes. A person may wear a favorite color, or lots of different colors, or maybe prefers subtler tone-on-tone dressing. One may have a signature look or a signature accessory. Another person may prefer to dress creatively and “mix things up” from one day to the next. Some people follow fashion closely and regularly update their choices of apparel and accessories with the latest, hottest, newest. 


Today, and each day this week, do an assessment of what you are wearing. Why did you choose each of the pieces you are wearing? What message do you think each of your choices sends to others? Why are you wearing that watch, that necklace, that shirt, those shoes? What message does your overall style send to others? What does your jewelry say about you?


Do a discreet style assessment of the customers who walk in the door and other people you encounter today. What impression do their styles make? Do some of the people you see regularly have signature looks? What messages do those looks convey?


In doing these assessments, the point is not to be critical. Rather, train your eye to notice the choices each person makes that contribute to his or her own personal style. A person does not need to be stylish in order to have a personal style.


Over the next several weeks, we’ll look at specific style personalities – how to recognize them, and what it means in terms of the likely jewelry preferences of these individuals. Anticipating your customers’ preferences can be a most useful and appreciated skill, and ultimately can help make you a more successful salesperson.