Trend Watch: Belts, Baubles and Bling

In fashion, the waistline is back at its natural level. Women with certain body types, notably those with hourglass figures, are rejoicing. And those for whom low-rise pants or empire-style dresses provided a favored silhouette, now have to consider whether the current trend flatters their figures.


For those who choose to define their waists with a belt, there is an extraordinary range of styles available today. From narrow designs to wide, almost corset-like designs that require long proportions between the bustline and hips, belts are being shown seemingly in every material, shape and style of trim. Consider the sampling of styles in this layout from the February 2008 issue of More magazine:



Any eye-catching belt needs to be taken into consideration in choosing jewelry to complete an ensemble. As the eye sweeps from the face to the waist and back up to the face, there should be a congruence of design, a consistency of scale, and thought given to the placement of adornment on the person.


Indeed, it may be helpful to think of a belt, much like eyeglasses, as another piece of jewelry. Embellished, metallic and bejeweled designs are essentially serving the function of jewelry for the waist.


Some belts work well with necklaces but many do not. An elaborate belt calls for a necklace, if any, with very similar design elements. The longer the necklace, the more so this is true because of the proximity of the necklace to the belt.


Similarly, bracelets should be chosen with consideration of the design of a belt because of the proximity of the wrists to the waist. Of course, earrings, brooches and rings all can and should be chosen with an eye to repeating the design elements of the belt. These elements might include:


  • The width of the belt
  • The shape of the belt – straight around or having angles or protuberances
  • The existence and spacing of grommets or studs on the belt
  • The scale of decorative detail on the belt
  • Color
  • Choice of metal
  • Choice of gemstones and whether they are faceted or cabochon style
  • Characterization of the style
  • Level of refinement of the construction details of the belt

There are other factors you may perceive; this gives you some ideas with which to start.


Thus, looking at the collection of belts from More, the top belt would work well with jewelry of silver or other white metal of medium-scale design. Repeating the circular design might be very effective if done judiciously. I think that hoop earrings of the same level of refinement as the detail on the belt would be ideal.  


The second belt shown in the photo presents an opportunity to repeat the design with rectangular shapes in the jewelry.


Consider which pieces from your inventory might work well with each of the belts pictured in the More photo.


The trend of larger, statement necklaces is beautifully captured in this ad from Lanvin, which ran in the March 2008 issue of Elle magazine: 



Notice how the huge necklace is very similar in size and complexity of design to the belt. The consistency is pleasing to the eye.


If you have a customer who favors wearing statement-making belts, make note of the design elements of the belts. These likely will clue you in to design elements in jewelry that will also please that customer. Learning to notice this and to train your eye is an effort that, frankly, won’t go to waste.

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