Trend Watch: Channeling Style Icons

Style is a very personal thing. An individual may follow fashion closely and wear the latest styles of clothing and accessories. She may want to fit in with a particular social group and may choose to dress according to the standards and preferences of that group. Or she may prefer to dress creatively and put her personal stamp on whatever she wears. Many individuals embrace a bit of all three approaches – fashion-forward/trendy, situational/practical and creative/offbeat. 


If an individual is a trendsetter, other people with whom she associates may emulate her style. For instance, if she sports a set of cuff bracelets, a certain style of necklace or a pair of brooches, others may want to copy the look. She may inspire others to change or upgrade their looks.


Of course, the very best looks for an individual are chosen with an understanding of what flatters her physical features and her personality. The truly stylish woman understands this and does not blindly follow trends in the manner of a fashion victim.


Even those who have a good understanding of what looks are most flattering on them occasionally can use a bit of inspiration from someone whose style has withstood the test of time.


Enter the style icons.


We all have style icons. Perhaps we consciously try to emulate the way they dress, wear their hair, move, speak, and so forth. Perhaps we are happy merely to observe their style and are simply attracted to it or enchanted by it. Either way, we are drawn to personal style that resonates with us.


This autumn, an important fashion trend is nostalgia for the glamour of fashion icons from the 1950’s and 60’s. The November issue of Elle Magazine does a wonderful job of highlighting the personal style of some of the most glamorous fashion icons of old Hollywood and interpreting their looks in current fashion and through today’s young actresses. Among the Hollywood stars whose mid-Century style is being channeled by today’s designers and celebrities are Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Ann-Margret, Grace Kelly, Ava Gardner, Mia Farrow and Jane Birkin.


Each of these style icons had a signature look that flattered her own features, form and personality. And each signature look involved an attention to detail that included choices of adornment with jewelry. It’s well worthwhile to pick up an issue of the magazine and spend some time studying the images. They may give you a fresh perspective as well as some new language to use with your customers.


Consider your inventory. If one of the style icons walked into your store, which pieces might she gravitate toward? Do you carry bracelets that Marilyn Monroe might have slipped over her gloves? Brooches that Grace Kelly might have pinned on her dress? Long necklaces that might have adorned Mia Farrow’s neck? Earrings befitting the bohemian style of Jane Birkin?


[Left photo from; right photo from the 1970 Academy Awards by David Sutton.

The two extremes with respect to jewelry are Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. Aside from her Holly Golightly character dazzling in paste jewels, Ms. Hepburn tended to wear very little jewelry to adorn her strong features and slender frame. In contrast, of course, Elizabeth Taylor knows jewels as few people do. As for carrying jewelry that she might like, remember that you can focus on quality even if the size and volume of the gemstones is the stuff of dreams.


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