By Cynthia Sliwa
Just back from a trip to my hometown, Chicago, I find myself musing about various people I spotted en route. I am often struck by how much information people provide about themselves by the way they dress and adorn themselves with jewelry when they travel.
When someone is well dressed, whether in professional apparel or simply in sportswear, looking put together and well-groomed, I notice him or her. It’s not that the person necessarily looks affluent or successful; it’s that the person looks as if he or she cares about the image presented. Accessories are what add that bit of panache, that final touch of creativity. And no other accessories present as compelling a message as jewelry.
For a woman traveler, an ensemble doesn’t look finished without jewelry. At the very least, earrings bring a bit of polish to her look. To see an ensemble finished with a necklace or a set of gold or silver bracelets puts the wearer in entirely a different league from what, sadly, seems to be the default level of casual sloppiness typical of too many travelers.
What I see again and again is that the level of respect and attention given to the well-dressed traveler is higher than that given to someone whose attention to style is non-existent. There are no guarantees, of course, but I find that my seatmates are friendlier and that sometimes even upgrades materialize when I look like someone who belongs in the cabin up front. It’s as if the care taken by the person in putting together a travel ensemble is reflected back in the care received by service providers and fellow travelers along the way.
A good working wardrobe includes jewelry that travels well. This might include earrings that are comfortable to sleep in, bracelets that conform to the wrist, and necklaces that are not too fragile. Textured surfaces might endure travel better than highly polished smooth ones. Rings selected might be those of stones that are less prone to damage when being knocked against – thus rubies rather than emeralds.
An important issue is security, of course. During travel is not the time to be flashing mega-carat bling. Dialing down the wattage doesn’t mean losing the panache. The jewelry-loving traveler has plenty of options for retaining the polished look he or she prefers with more modest but equally stylish selections more appropriate for travel.
Not all jewelry travels well, and this is an area where you might be of assistance to your customers, especially for the road warriors among them. Offer to assist them in developing jewelry wardrobes of appropriate pieces that travel well. In advance of travel is also a great time to have clasps tightened and prongs checked so that those favorite pieces that “make” the travel ensembles are in peak form and ready to hit the road.