Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to Accessorize and the Jewelry Artist

One of the things I don't see written about very often is accessories and how they can make or break an outfit. Jewelry is a prime example of what can happen if you choose the wrong piece to go with your outfit. I'm sure some of you, by now, are saying "Hmmmm...so what does that have to do with making jewelry?". I say "Everything".

When I make jewelry for myself, I find that most of the time, I am making jewelry to match a particular outfit. The same goes with your customers. Many customers are looking to update their wardrobe with interesting pieces of jewelry while some even want a conversation piece.  If you are well versed on what will make or break the look of an outfit, then you are better able to expertly guide your customers to making a satisfying purchase.

Find out what affect your customer is looking for. Do they want a bold or a subtle statement? Then use your knowledge to help steer them in the right direction. Just be sure to offer the right jewelry for the right outfit because if the jewelry is wrong, then your customer is sure to draw the wrong type of attention. Ask the customer to show you the outfit they want to match, that way they can see for themselves, how a certain piece will look.

It's not always possible to have the outfit there so you have to use your skills of design when making accessory recommendations. While this can be difficult to do without actually seeing the outfit, you should be able to get enough information from your customer to offer suggestions. Show them several options then let them choose what will best fulfill their needs.

  • Get a feeling for your customer's personal style. What length of necklace do they prefer? What colors and materials do they like?
  • Generally you would want to add a thick, colorful necklace to an outfit that has a simple neckline with a solid color. By doing this, you keep the look from being too busy. This is always good for a more professional and polished look. However, if your customer wants to add some flare to that beautiful paisley print top, then by all means, recommend a bright chunky necklace to highlight that fun print. Choose one of the more subtle colors of the print as an accent. Maybe the shirt has pale purples, blues and yellows. Will that gorgeous chunky turquoise necklace you just made match that blue in the paisley print?
  • Some things to consider when matching colors: Ruby earrings and a red top always looks classy just as a sapphire necklace goes great with a blue dress. These are safe choices that never go out of style however, they can be boring. So why not make a statement? Monochromatic dressing makes a statement, and if executed well can be a powerful choice. One of my favorite combinations is a deep sapphire blue with a bright yellow.
  • Try matching with non jewelry accessories like a pair of sandals with an animal or jungle print necklace. Or, if they can't decide whether to match with casual or elegance, why not suggest something that will work for both? A chunky crystal necklace worn with dark denim and a dressy T-shirt could be just what they are looking for. That same necklace can also be worn with a simple black dress and paired with a beaded purse. Just right for that cozy dinner for two.
  • The most important rule to going with a bold and chunky style is, less is better. Too many accessories take away from the stylish look. Try to limit the jewelry to the chunky necklace. A not so dramatic ring that goes with the general feel of the outfit would also work with the outfit but try to keep away from chunky earrings and bracelets when matching with a chunky necklace.
Of course, each person's taste is different. You must listen to your customer to discover what they like. Then give them several examples to choose from. In the end, you want the customer to make the decision. You as the artist, are there to give them the means to choose that perfect accessory.