When dealing with a fashionista, a jewelry salesperson needs to understand what it means to be fashion forward. In their presentation “Selling to the Stylish Customer,” Caroline Stanley, of Red Jewel, and Cynthia Sliwa, of The Image Counselor, defined what stylish means and discussed seven style personalities.
Stanley and Sliwa defined stylish as characterized by or conforming to the fashionable standards of the day; dressed and groomed in a manner fashionably elegant, smart, or chic; and savvy about personal image and style. “Style goes beyond tradition, utilitarian function, and sentimentality,” said Sliwa. “Style reflects self-knowledge, purposeful choices, self-confidence, and, of course, jewelry savvy.”
The first of the seven style personalities was Sporty. Jewelry for the Sporty woman must accommodate an active lifestyle, usually be made with natural materials (think wood bangles), and gravitate toward nontraditional design inspirations such as music, sports, or animals.
Conservative styles define the Traditional personality, with business-appropriate designs and zero tolerance for dangling earrings or jangling bracelets.
Women in the Elegant category are characterized by their taste for refined design, products made with superior workmanship, and designer jewelry.
Flowers, ribbons, butterflies, and bows appeal to the Feminine personality as well as delicate vintage pieces, lacy openwork, and fine details such as filigree and millgrain.
Women in the Alluring group have a “look at me” approach to dressing, projecting a sexy and glamorous image accentuated by movement and undulating jewelry designs.
For Creative women, originality is crucial. Attitude rules and all rules are meant to be broken. There’s usually an eclectic mix of pieces, and these women demonstrate imaginative ways of wearing jewelry, with a flair for the self-styled look.
For Dramatic women, look for a confident style characterized by clean lines and a bold, statement-making piece of jewelry such as large cuff.
“Stud earrings and button-style earrings are fairly universal for each group,” said Sliwa.
Sliwa highlighted the latest trends in jewelry. Topping the list were creative mixes of material that have a big look or a layered quality. A natural extension of the layered trend is what Sliwa called the “tangled webs”—layers of intertwined necklaces.
Look for jewelry that has ribbons incorporated into the design such as a necklace with layers of small pearls in front with a ribbon that’s tied at the back of the neck replacing a finding such as a clasp.
Big, long necklaces characterize the jewelry worn on the outerwear trend. Another trend is defining necklines with strategic placement. First lady Michelle Obama noticeably favors this look with pearl necklaces that closely hug or frame necklines. The fashionable first lady has also brought back the brooch—whether a single, defining brooch, a pair of brooches, or multiple brooches—on dresses as well as outerwear.
Bracelets also are appearing in multiples and have moved up the arm to just below or slightly above the elbow.
Rings have moved off the ring finger to the forefinger, thanks to Hollywood influence. Hair pins and hair jewelry are another celebrity-driven trend, and some are repurposing other types of jewelry as hair jewelry.
Armed with style personality and trend information from Sliwa, Stanley took to the podium to help turn jewelers into wardrobe consultants. Her goal was to take good instincts and intentions to the next level to help jewelers create a unique position in their market as jewelry and wardrobe consultants to their customers.