Over the last couple of years, an obvious theme has emerged from my closet: the set.
I’ve no doubt overdone it, something that tends to happen when I really, really take to something. I’ve got matching sweat suits (hopefully one day to be considered relics of a pandemic), matching actual suits, twinning tops and pants, skirts, and tanks. If it looks like a set, chances are I’m interested.
And the fashion world sees no reason to shake me of this proclivity to pair: A scroll through the latest arrivals on many sites, and you’re met with the opportunity to do just that (though many pieces are sold separately, if that helps).
So what about jewelry?
I remember a day when matching sets were cool (or maybe they weren’t really cool, they were just what 13-year-old me could afford from, like, Kohl’s or Boscov’s?). It was common for department store jewelry to be sold as a set, often as necklace and bracelet. But somewhere along the way, it became passé to be too matchy-matchy with one’s accessories: To color coordinate a purse and shoes or belt would be to lack creative expression, originality.
I guess it makes sense. Everyone loves an unexpected shoe that dares to contrast. But jewelry is completely different. The thing is, when a piece of jewelry is really good, don’t you just want more of it?
It would only be right for the perfect chain necklace, one that glistens subtly on the décolleté, to continue its magic on the wrist. A beautifully patterned gemstone piece will catch attention as a necklace, but the wearer won’t always get to see it, save for looking in the mirror. Why not wear it at the wrist, too, for stealing glances at throughout the day?
Of course, most designers won’t be selling their pieces as sets—and that’s OK. A retailer will likely display an entire collection together in one showcase, offering a suite of sold-separately options to their customers—necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings. But how many customers will take it upon themselves to purchase more than one piece (at least at a time) from the same collection?
We see our jewelry as a form of expression (which it is), and that’s never been more evident in the way we collect and wear it. Charm bracelets and necklaces, stud earrings sold as singles and styled happily on the ears. The options consumers are presented with to curate what really speaks to and for them is wild—and wonderful too.
But because of that, a streamlined pairing of matching jewelry (I just so happened to focus on necklaces and bracelets here because it feels most natural, but any category counts) seems fresh, an easy departure from what has become the norm.
As for sales, if a retailer feels in a position to do so, how about offering a discount to consumers who purchase in pairs? Love this as a set? Great! Here’s 15%, even 10% off (who can resist a good discount?). Shoppers who may have otherwise resorted to selecting only one piece come away with two, and they’ll love the opportunity to wear them together or separately.
Mother’s Day is on the way—surely mom would love a special bracelet, but a matching set? That’s the extra something special she deserves this year.Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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