Customer Watch: The Elegant Personality

Sophistication, polish, graciousness, dignity . . . these are characteristics of certain individuals who know how to dress with that je ne sais quoi of classic elegance that comprises the Elegant personality, one of the seven personality styles described by Alyce Parsons in the Universal Style™ System, a system of identifying and categorizing styles used by image consultants around the world.


The Elegant personality style, done well, is breathtakingly lovely. This is the woman who speaks beautifully, moves gracefully and dresses impeccably. Everything she wears is timeless and of top quality. Heads of state and top executives choose this style to convey a sense of prestige and formality. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is a perfect example of this style.


This is a style to which many of us aspire. It requires the resources to buy top quality and the confidence to choose classic quality rather than the latest trends.


In jewelry, the Elegant personality customer is a retailer’s dream. She wants only the best pieces of superior design and workmanship. She loves pearls and may mix them with chains a la Coco Chanel, but her pearls are all genuine. (An exception: Jacqueline Kennedy’s famous faux pearls she wore when her young children loved to play with them.) Earrings and brooches will typically be seen in classic shapes such as buttons, shells and Maltese crosses. Styles are generally understated, though the pieces must have enough size to convey presence. Gemstones are likely to be exceptional, whatever their size.


This is the women for whom a suite of diamond and colored gemstone jewelry is a natural for a formal event.


When you have a customer in your store who is all about quality from top to toe, with a formality and a dignity that you rarely see, you are most likely dealing with the Elegant personality. Understand and honor her preferences and you may find that you have cultivated one of your very best customers.

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