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Ideas for Jewelry & Accessory Businesses

Archive for June, 2008...

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More and more retailers are being pressured by the economy as the financial picture in the United States gets gloomier.  Oil prices are soaring, along with the unemployment rate and home foreclosures. Squeezed by money problems, consumers are pulling back from buying. At the same time, banks are tightening up on credit.  All this makes for tough times in the Industry.  Still, the old adage that “when times get tough, the tough get going” would be well remembered here.  Yes, this is a challenging retail environment.  But, is it impossible?  No way… 


Just look at a lot of news coming out of the field.  Goody’s Family Clothing, Inc. is filing Chapter 11. Not Good. But, couturier Tommy Hilfiger is making more money than ever.  Very Good.  Retailers, designers, and manufacturers all across the country are breaking into comparable groups.  The losers.  And the winners.  The big question is, “Which side are you going to be on?” Because it is your decision where you want to go and your decision on what your attitude is going to be that will make all the difference.


Here are a few ideas to help you maintain a plus-side record on your journey through the present economic fog:


  • 1. STAY POSITIVE: This doesn’t mean putting your head in the sand but it is important to remember that while you are dealing with consumer weakness, the American buyer is still buying. Competition, however, is a lot rougher when people are buying less, so get on your toes. Work on the Law of Attraction. Read books about beating out business competition. Know that you can do it.


  • 2. STAY NEW: “This is not a moment for boring assortments,” says Andrew Jassin, managing director of the Jassin-O’Rourke Group, fashion consultancy. You really need to keep inventory as fresh as possible. You can’t afford to cut back now. Old product doesn’t bring in new customers.


  • 3. BE CREATIVE: Don’t give up on anything. Buy new, of course. But at the same time, you can refresh your present inventory by presenting it to the customer in new, exciting ways. Create jewelry sets; combine hats with handbags for a more riveting product statement. Romance your product with sales material that describes its character: A Bohemian necklace is more attractive than a just a necklace.


  • 4. BE ALERT TO OPPORTUNITIES: Become vigilant. Know your market, and know what is happening with your competition. Can you capture more of your present market by putting new ideas into effect? Is there a niche market out there waiting for you to get involved? Are you appealing to all the possible customers in your retail environment? Train yourself to start thinking big. To start thinking outside the box.


  • 5. CREATE A BUZZ. Thomas Burns, senior vice president of The Doneger Group says “If you start creating an environment that isn’t exciting anymore, the customers see that. The customers are not stupid. They’ve got a lot of alternatives today.” And Glenda Bailey, editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar reminds us, “Always remember you are in the entertainment industry,”




 ON THE CUFF:  Look at all those cuffs being worn by fashionistas!  Chanel’s famous double-C logo metallic cuff sets the standard for many makers, who merely express the letters with circles for an even more trendy look.  But that’s not all.  Leather cuffs make a terrific look for cooler weather, especially done up with big, bold buckles.   Cuffs don’t even have to stand alone anymore.  Now, with the more is better mystique in full swing, cuffs are seen with charm bracelets, and other colorful wrist jewelry for a whole array of lower arm activity..  Big cuffs with gems embedded in them are also making news.  Usually, the gemstones are set in the center of the heavy gold or silver (often 18K electroplated) cuff, and either worn alone or in duplicate, meaning on both wrists, a la Wonder Woman of comic book fame.  Don’t try warding off bullets with these beauties, though, they’re strictly for show.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, June 30th, 2008

Filed under Brooches
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RUNWAY MAGIC:  The House of Fendi sent one of its top models down the runway in a stunning tan belted dress, little clutch bag, and a big sparkly gemstone brooch at the center of a fur neckpiece. Not to be outdone, designer Nanette Lepore added a flashing circular white crystal brooch at the center neckline of a semi low-cut purple evening dress. And, in a sportier mood, the House of Ruffian gave its young red-headed model two brooches to wear on the lapel of a short, satiny jacket over low-cut jeans. Ruffian also used a small crystal pin to embellish the model’s skinny musician-style tie. 


Vintage style brooch

 A strong move toward ladylike fashion -dresses, sheer stockings and pumps — is putting new attention on traditional jewelry, especially brooches with a traditional aura. These beautiful and often magnificent pins can dress up an outfit like nothing else. They look terribly rich, and with their faux or real base gold metal and spectacular faux or real gemstones, they are!  Real brooches can carry a Romanoff-level price tag, but costume brooches give all the glamour without the cost.  


flower brooch

BROOCHES ARE PINS:  To be strictly correct, brooches are specifically pins where the attachments are completely hidden when the objects are being worn.  But to most of us, a brooch has generally meant a very ornate, traditional-looking pin frequently embedded with exquisite gemstones and often nature themed.  That’s how they still are but…the times they are a changing!  A new generation of brooches is giving a modern feel to a traditional design, and the result is dynamic! 


The Duchess of Windsor had a huge collection of brooches reflecting her remarkably sophisticated fashion sense. And Gucci offers a wide selection of spectacular brooches, many featuring emerald green snakes with sinister, flashing ruby-red eye.   This is a collection to behold, and it is often sent on museum rounds, understandably.


Large and heavy large brooch can be difficult to wear, so showing your customers how to use them will go a long way toward increasing sales. They simply don’t work on fragile materials.  They are ideal, however, on coats, jackets, and suits and can be worn in many different ways.  Traditionally, brooches have been worn on lapels. But high at the shoulder is another elegant way to wear a brooch, as did England’s former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.  Displaying a brooch on a strapless evening dress is always demurely beautiful.  And, if you’ve got a plain hat or beret in need of some drama, try pinning on a colorful brooch.  Voila! You’ve got first class headgear fashion! (This also works well on headbands and head wraps, too.) Brooches also look wonderful on knit or crocheted scarves and shawls. Not only do they decorate, but they take on the functional aspect of keeping the shawl or scarf closed or attached to your outfit.  

 giraffe fashion pin

DELICATE THEMES:  Some brooches are small, however, represent charming themes, and can be worn in a wide variety of ways, on a dress, an evening outfit, or even a blouse. Just a quick rundown on some of those seen in the market now are little love birds, small leaves, animals, such as kittens and dogs, bows, fish, and florals. Dancing dolphins are a delightful theme. There is a certain delicacy to most of these brooches and while they can be modern, they do simultaneously reflect a traditional character.

 Art Nouveau style brooches

Vintage brooches are always popular, but they are gaining sales interest now. We aren’t talking about real antiques here; we are referring instead to newly made brooches based on vintage designs.  One big theme for brooches way back in the 1800s was toys:  tricycles, sleds, little wagons and dolls.                                                                


crystal brooch

RHINESTONES, crystals, CZs. and glass are often used profusely in brooches, and they always mimic real gemstones.  Pave hearts and stars are two hot numbers!  One manufacturer is showing a plump little faux pave ruby heart that is a sales natural for almost any age.


Because so many brooches are large, they mimic a lot of the jewelry emphasis being built in to dresses by designers.  Look at all the bejeweled necklines, for example, or rhinestone spaghetti straps.  These designs bring jewelry-attention to the upper body.  Well, so do brooches.  And they can shine both with and without necklaces, as you please.  Consider them for a quick update on a plain black dress.  Dynamite!


 BOLD NECKLACES:  Bejeweled necklines are getting plenty of press as designers like Mark Badgley, and Miuccia Prada hype up their outfits with large, almost wondrous necklaces and earrings.  Prada’s dark stone necklace with center pendant drop is set off against large drop earrings, actually becoming a focal point of an otherwise quiet skirt and blouse ensemble.  Badgley’s necklace is a multi-layer drop of large circular stones set inside the neckline of a tan shirtwaist dress. Adding to the sophisticated outfits:  Big, dark sunglasses.  Hollywood reigns! Look for necklaces to get an infusion of sales power as photos of the designers’ shows circle the globe.

 HATS ON THE RUNWAY, TOO:  Look at all those tight-to-the-head little cloche caps on designer runways.  At Proenza Schouler, a tight little white head wrapping hat tops a 1940s-style raincoat over a slouchy grey jump suit.  At Douglas Hannant, a super big brimmed yellow hat glamorizes a pink print day dress accessorized by a moderately long bead necklace and a very big tan and white tote. Think of it as part of that ladylike mood infusing the fashion industry.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Filed under Cowboy Hats
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Wholesale cowboy hats pick up steam every summer, but some wonder if fashion has passed this American icon by.  Not hardly!  Statistics still have wholesale cowboy hats leading all headwear categories for the summer. 


Think about this.  Major brands spend mega bucks on Fifth Avenue advertising agencies to promote their products.  The advertising agencies know what’s cool and they’re showing lots of models in this sassy headwear because it makes a statement.  What other hat can deliver the individualism and attitude of a cowboy hat? 

 distressed cowboy hats

The main cowboy hats to pay attention to this summer are distressed straws with rolled brims.  No doubt this headwear gives instant personality to a look.  Raffia is the first choice in straw because it’s light weight and flexible.  Distressing gives the well–worn look like people want in faded jeans.  Beaded bands are gaining in strength this summer and the favorite style is a pinch front. 



straw cowboy hats

Natural straws are a close second in cowboy hats.  The word “country” carries some emotional impact that people love and natural straws puts the emotion into a look.  These cowboy hats suit a lot of personalities with all the styles available.  Rolled brims, frayed brims, pinch front, or cattleman shape with pinch top-any way you do these cowboy hats they scream with rugged individualism and personality. 



cowboy hats with color

Next cowboy hats in colors give a real edge to retailers because competition is probably short here.  Sales reports on wholesale hats shipping show black and white lead the colors.  Next in popularity are pink and red.  Ladies that love their red hats find the youthful look of red pinch front cowboy hats irresistible.  Women of any age can find fashion colors in these hats that include turquoise, lime, and fuchsia.  Colors are great for groups also like cheerleaders or dance groups. 


cowgirl hats with roses

Cowgirls can also find unique styles to fit their personalities–fashion colors that fade from dark to light, rose appliqués, and sparkly cowboy hats with sequin studding.  Imagine these on a dance group, cheerleading squad, or girls out for a bachelorette party. 



urban cowboy hat

Then there are the unique cowboy hats that deliver the urban cowboy look or ruggedness of leather cowboy hats. 


Summer is the time for this American icon and nothing –no nothing– can deliver this kind of personality to an outfit.  Even outside the country retailers are buying and selling wholesale cowboy hats because of the rugged Wild West spirit they romantically inspire.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Friday, June 27th, 2008

Filed under Fashion Trends
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LOOKING AHEAD:  Autumn in the fashion world, 2008, is a blinding orchestration of color as a seemingly endless array of tints and shades, intensities and saturations wash across clothing and accessories with unstoppable zest and enthusiasm.  Has color ever been so dramatic?  What color is not in?  This is every choice, every taste OPEN, and it offers both the consumer and the manufacturer remarkable choices and difficult decisions.

bright color fashion jewelry

 Should you go with green or blue?  Light or dark?  Pastel or jewel tones?  Youthful or sophisticated?  Yes, the seasons play some part in weighing one color a bit more important than the other.  But time moves fast, especially this year, when summer colors are hanging in there, adding their fun and lightness to the fall fashion atmosphere. And overall, it is one big playground   where everything goes.

 Still, you ask, don’t colors always get deeper, more saturated, once the cool weather edges in?

 Our answer:  Usually.

 In many ways, this year is no different.  Warming colors can be expected to top out as extremely popular when the temperature drops.  It is just that cool colors like blue and green are poised to take on new assertiveness, extending the summer color rush into autumn. What this means to you is all good, because this year, unlike other years, leftover summer inventories will still be viable and salable even as we move toward the Christmas holidays.

TREND REPORT:  One of the industry’s leading color predictors is Pantone, an Institute that boasts remarkable forecasting completeness as well as a record of unbeatable accuracy.  The Pantone Fashion Color Report calls autumn 2008 a season of change.  “Fall ’08 is defined by rich, elegant hues that offer a vibrant selection.” 

 The Report goes on to note that New York’s fashion designers emphasize cooler blues (this is a maverick for fall!) and greens (another fall rebel), and purples in the top five tones used in their collections, followed by variations of warm red, orange and yellow.      

yellow necklace set

OTHER VIEWS:   Michael Fink, Saks Fifth Avenue women’s fashion director sees more intense jewel tones coming into the fashion field this fall, with flashes of fuchsia and marigold yellow, purple, deep forest and hunter green.  In clothing, he predicts a continuation of a polished and poised look, but with more relaxed tailoring.  He also expects a return of the bohemian spirit to fashion.

 Helen Job, a trend forecaster with Worth Global Style Network, expects lots of iridescent fabrics this fall.  In color, she sees lipstick reds, warm yellows, intense violet blues, heathery purples, and tonal browns all in the top demand list.

animal brint bracelet

 Constance White, eBay style director, expects to see lots of gray and red tones along with Russian-style-influenced elements.  And Ken Downing, women’s fashion director for Neiman Marcus, looks to florals and animal prints in deep fall colors. 

 BLACK IS BACK:  Black is frequently left off trend charts, probably because it is assumed that everyone knows black is the aristocrat of colors, it never really goes out and it is always IN.  But, sometimes it is more IN than at other times.  That time of IN-ness is NOW.  Granted, black is sparked up with bright colors this year, and seen alone only in rare instances, such as terribly sophisticated New York City society gatherings. Or funerals.    


 A pop of color is what makes black really come alive.  Like a little purple handbag.  Or green patent leather shoes.  Or a wonderfully designed graphic-print scarf.  Remember, however, that while a whole outfit of black may look great, it has to be the same black, otherwise, the effect is destroyed.  Even the best black tends to fade out. This can work well for retailing.  Remind your customers that the easiest way to assume black continuity is to buy all new pieces, all matched. 

black glass bracelet

 But…jewelry doesn’t fall under this category.  Black jewelry is black jewelry.  A great onyx pin.  A jet bracelet.  A necklace of black pearls.  They all look fabulous, urban, classy, and there’s no matching involved!

 DID YOU KNOW?  Color has only become democratized in modern times. In the distant past, many dyes were too expensive for the average person to afford.  Black was one of the most costly colors. Deep-black dyes involved double or triple dyeing of cloth so, as a result, only the rich wore black.  Today, the fashion world still identifies black with aristocracy. That little black dress, for example, is always sooo correct!

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Filed under Fashion Business Trends
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Mary McGarry’s post on the celebrity factor in fashion accessories prompted an interesting comment on how designers can get celebrities to wear their jewelry.  No doubt, this would have a huge impact on business. 

 My sister-in-law experienced it almost by accident.  She manufactured a high quality line of leather handbags in Korea and one of the top Korean movie stars at that time purchased the bag and appeared several times on TV carrying the bag.  Sales skyrocketed in her handbag line and that particular style went through the roof as women rushed to find it.

 In the US it is far more difficult and unlikely to happen.  The only slim chance would be to send an item as a gift to the celebrity and hope she wears it and is photographed while doing so.    A more realistic scenario would be to send jewelry to a popular female newscaster in your area with a note providing information about the designer.  There is a much better chance she will wear it on TV and hopefully mention the designer. 

 In New Orleans, Angela Hill was an attractive newscaster and very classy dresser that wore a different necklace every night.  This had a very positive impact on retailers in the city.  I’ll bet many women tuned in more for ideas on style than for local news.  This is a realistic starting point that can be very positive. 

 Actually, the relationship between top designers and celebrities was not always so cozy.  According to Teri Agins in The End of Fashion, Christian Dior refused to provide a wedding dress for a movie in 1955.  The reason-“There was no way Dior would risk the displeasure of some of his most elegant clients by allowing his dresses to be put in a vulgar display on the screen.”

 How that has changed!  By the nineties designers were wooing Hollywood and the impact was huge.  Teri Agins says “In the 1980 movie American Gigolo Richard Gere was a walking Armani fashion show”  and the next year saw a huge boost in sales.  Armani had previously worked for Cerruti who Agins quotes as saying “The productions used to pay for the clothes we made for the movies, but now we get a credit [at the end of the movie] in exchange for providing the clothes for free.”

 The game has reached a new level and unless our products are very, very special, we probably need to start on a lower step and try to work our way up.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Filed under Fashion Accessory Trends
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RESORT is breaking on the fashion field in fine fettle and wow! What a season breaker it is going to be!  Too far in advance?  No sweat!  Resort comes onto the fashion stage expressing brand new ideas for the last days of summer just as much as for vacation days under a tropical sun later in the year. Like all fashion, these designs rely heavily on accessories. 


What’s really hot?  Dresses.  At the House of Saint Laurent, an ultra-feminine line of carefully sculptured dresses shows the beginning of a new wave of girlie fashion coming on strong.  Many of the dresses are embellished with bows, feathers, and ruffles, and done in super soft colors, pink especially.  From Narcisco Rodriguez comes a collection of dresses in shiny, slinky materials and graphic prints.  And from Donna Karan, more classic-Karan, carefully tailored and sophisticated, such as her warm-weather sleek sheath in soft white.     

 faux pearl necklace set

…Ahh, but none of these come to life without the proper accessories.  Multistrand pearl necklaces are a big number on the new romantic-look design board. Some are high up on the neck; others drop down, Chanel-like, to swing as long as the waist.  Some pearls are colored.  Many are classic white or off-white.


BEADS AND BELTS:  Belts play an important part in the summery dress picture.  Many of the most popular belts are thin, at the waist or dropping slightly at an angle off it.  The new belted look takes impetus from several sources.  Think small-to-medium leather belts, cotton sash belts, corded belts, and sexy and thin satin sash belts

 bangles with floral prints

Color is a vital part of the Resort collections.  Blues and greens are hot.  So are reds and yellows.  But nothing is hotter than prints.  Some of the prints are graphic.  Others are big FLORALS.   Some have a decidedly retro look, such as Lela Rose’s very 1950s white-and- rose print dress. (Incidently, Rose puts a long, modern and playful necklace of multi-colored circles on this dress for a dynamite look!)


HOW MINI?  Skirt lengths on the newest dresses either stop just above the knee or are cut up into various mini-skirt lengths. Most of the looks are demure, ladylike, even elegant. But for the very far out, you can find some shocker mini-minis (in place of skirts here, just think panties, because that’s what they look like).  A certain amount of long dresses are on call, too, but they are less important it seems.

 African inspired necklace sets

Wonderful gold and silver belts with same-material buckles are making news.  So are necklaces that echo Africa, high at the neck, mostly gold, but some bone.  And here’s a charming surprise:  scarves, long, wispy, wrapped around the neck and left to fall sensually down to the hip.  Use them with everything, even bathing suits!



bright colored evening clutches

Handbags drive onto the dress scene with power.   Think CLUTCHES, primarily.  Make them charming, brightly colored, relatively small.   Catering to the big bag crowd are plenty of massive, expensive totes, as well as big fabric bubble bags and luggage-like carryalls.  Deep red is a good color here!


SWEET AND GLITTERY: Little sequin dresses come in for evening wear.  So do cute little shimmery sweaters.  Silver is a hot color.  Pompom handbags in shiny print materials make excellent carryalls. Play with feminine touches here and everywhere.  Use themes like roses and cherries in pink and red.  Put bows on everything.  Pins are gaining in popularity, especially Lucite pins softened by feminine ideas.  Hearts are super-big!  Fragile chain bracelets and necklaces check in here, too. 


LITTLE CLOCHE hats a la the Thirties are very chic, especially those with a zig-zag striped design in several colors.  For a comparable look, try using a long scarf wrapped around the head, but you might have to teach your customers how to do this. The right head wrap isn’t easy, but it’s worth taking the time to learn. 


METALLICS ARE HOT: Look for silver and gold metallic handbags, for evening and for daywear.  Metallic clutches are very big, but so are small metallic handlebags with a girlie feel to them.  Also check out the great looking gold and silver necklaces that make the outfit for summer into fall.  Gold hoops (with slight variations on the circular shapes) are absolute necessities for summer wear…make them big, big, big!


BRITISH GIRL SMART: Get the trendy Brit look with a pair of jeans, a smart T and classy linen scarf.  Part funky, part aristocratic, the Brit look is hotter than ever!  Brits tend to spend a little more money, on average, than Americans, so look for accessories that carry a higher price tag and promise excellent wear.  Brits also love that funky look, like big and colorful plastic-rimmed sunglasses. Teens will adore the look.

 ladies fedora

DIRNDL SKIRTS ARE BACK:  Hey…we haven’t seen these since the 70s, but here they are.  Dirndl skirts in great colors, from bright yellow to purple plaid to navy, all with just an edge of embellishment…a ruffle, cording, ribbon.  These classic skirts go well with classic tops, especially white blouses, and practically demand necklaces for excitement.  Also, add a nifty fedora or newsboy hat to give the whole look completion.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Filed under Fashion Accessories
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DENIM is the true-blue foundation of wardrobes for the young and young-at-heart.    For decades it has starred in most American closets: there you’ll see more denim garments than any other type; more kinds of denim garments, often in a wide range of price points.    Think about it:  even though torrid summer days call for lightweight, loose garments, denim never misses a beat:  kids simply slip into denim short-shorts to keep cool.  Denim is king: it spans every season.

So, since accessories have to relate to clothing, it is worthwhile considering what items will add panache to current denim trends. 

 HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW:  Because it is a hot commodity, denim is an overcrowded field.  Add to that the squeeze that energy prices have been exerting on our economy, and jeans makers feel they have to offer sizzling fresh looks just to maintain current sales levels.

 The industry is going gangbusters with fabulous fit, ga-ga styling for every figure:

 Fabric:              Washes, stressed, new metallic finishes, Spandex, Lycra all-direction stretch, organic cotton, “seasonless” lighter weights with a soft hand, cotton blends for easy care

 Colors:             Wilder and blue-er than ever,  neon-bright electric colors, deep tones, stripes and  florals galore, deliberate faded shades, “wet” looks

 Hardware:        And lots of it!  Heavy zippers, flat and 3-D studs, rhinestones.

 Embroidery:   Zany new age and traditional, wicked placements

 Jeans Plus:        Denim dresses with gathered skirts, some with overall prints;

                        Vests – some mini, but very big in fall fashion; denim

                        Jackets, basically sporty, but edging on classic tailoring;

                        Denim skirts, shorts, skorts, micro short-shorts.  Retro rompers along with country overalls.  And hats too.

So.  What to deduce from all this?

 silver plated fashion jewelrySILVER is The Metal Accessory, The Chains, The Rings, The Earrings, The Necklaces, The Bracelets.  Combine Silver with anything – it works for Denim.  And while Big/Bigger/Huge is IN, with the young, small works as well.  Color choice now is very personal, and many customers will center on the one color they feel is their emotional match-up.      






gemstone fshion jewelry

Another trend that continues to grow in jewelry design is materials mix-precious metals with baser metals or organic materials like wood or feathers.  Silver dominates, of course, but with street chic there’s always room for the full range of metals, colors, finishes, stones and beading.





silver plated bracelet

No need to go far afield with pendant or charm designs-you won’t beat Stars, Skulls or the ever beloved Hearts.  And: even though denim manufacturers are larding on garment  embellishments, your customers will want still more-silver or color bangles, enough chains for a chain gang, set at the neck or at the waist.  Key chains and clip-ons dangle something sparkly from denim belt loops.  Silver hoop earrings, perhaps worn in a cluster.  Don’t forget the grunge gang-try oxidized silver plated chains, exotic and startling pin designs.  Bold, big face watches make for good times at the counter.  Other strong looks:  Vintage, Ultra-Feminine (especially with pearls and bows), and Luxe Punk.

Oversize sunglasses.

 oversize sunglassesDenim jean waistlines are all over the place…at the waist, hip-huggers, hip-droopers, even some high-waisted numbers perfect for knockout belts/buckles.  (The new crop of double-buckled leather belts are moving well.)  Jeans’ pant legs offer the same range:  super tight, long legged jeans; bell bottoms; crops; wide legged numbers; cuffed, shredded hems, embellished.   Each gives a certain silhouette, and accessories should balance or exaggerate the look.


–NO MYSTERY:  Get your best clues from your own customers.  Whatever they’re wearing, they’re going to want more of, with subtle variations or stark contrasts.  Assess how far-out or conservative your regular customers are, and be guided by that reality.


With denim, everyone wants to “belong” and wear the hottest stuff … only each person still wants to look special, wear something in the mood, but different enough to telegraph “This is MY personal style.”  There’s a slouch atmosphere, and the laid-back denim communiqué is “I’m not really trying” – when serious fashion effort is being made!


“Winning is a habit.”   — Vince Lombardi

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Saturday, June 21st, 2008

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SHOW BUSINESS IS BIG BUSINESS FOR ACCESSORIES!  Celebrities, celebrities.  Where would the fashion and accessories world be without them?  As David Popenoe, researcher and author at Rutgers University, says, “Celebrities have become role models. They are far more influential today than ever.”  USA Today points out that when Blake Lively dons a new headband, she can set off a virtual race to the cash register. The newspaper says it shows how retailers can capitalize on trends in popular culture.


EXPERTS AGREE:  Latch onto what you see celebrities wearing.  Or promoting.  London sensation designer Henry Holland is hot on rock star handbags made in blinding patent leather brights like hot pink, brazen blue, and red.  Check out bags with plenty of outside pockets, buckles, and shoulder straps, too.   Another hot look in the patent field:  small and dainty handle bags in yellow, red, and a slice of lime.  Very girlie.  Oh, my….  And for lots of fun on the circuit, try cartoon-y sunglasses, very big, red and black.  Hey, Superman is a celebrity, too, you know.


MORE TRENDS:  Not that long ago, trend spotting was done a year or more in advance, leading to a lot of guess work.  But today, thanks to new computer systems and hardware, months have been shaved off what university-wear retailer Steve & Barry’s calls “concept to cash.”  Quicker turns mean quicker money. Stores can see what is selling best, in what colors and at what price levels, making them much more competitive.  “If you want to be more productive, you have to turn merchandise faster,” claims retail analyst Jennifer Black of Jennifer Black and Associates. That’s especially true if you want to attract trend-conscious young shoppers.

 gemstone necklaces

THE JEWELRY FACTOR:  Jewelry is by far the hottest item in the celebrity-worship field.  Gemstones and beads lead the field, as does the look of super-rich, no matter what the price.  Right now, beads are a phenomenal field, in all sizes and in styles rarely thought-of in the past.  Like fabric covered beads.  Or crystal studded beads.  Or animal print patterns.   Or agate slices on silk. Big beads! 



multi-strand necklace sets

Many of the hottest jewelry pieces are necklaces, long, multi-strand, moving.  But bracelets are hot, too.  Like gilded pieces with a gold feather design by Mexican-born designer Gabriela Artigas, who says her jewelry is inspired by Jesus and Mary Chain’s music. To get the feel of this arena, think black chain and pearl necklaces, and sweetheart bracelets, all with a touch of Hispanic innocence.


–One big reason all these accessories are selling so well is that young people are far more interested in fashion today than ever before.  They are incredibly influenced by what they see on TV and what celebrities are wearing. “Celebrity inspired fashion has definitely been amped up,” says Gossip Girl costume designer Eric Daman. There’s even talk at stores like Barney’s of displaying clothes in a way that helps shoppers get the Serena or Blair look.  Daman says the girls have become like labels.  “It’s almost kind of crazy to see how great the reaction is to it.” 

 aviator sunglasses

 — HOT STATISTICS:  Consider this:  Penney will carry more of the color pink because of how important the color is in the new movie Sex and the City.  It will also beef up its selection of such hot celebrity items as aviator glasses, and ombre prints.  Pink?  Ummmm.  Think pink handbags, pink watches, pink pearls and pink gemstones.  This is not yesterday’s pink, by the way.  Sometimes it is hot.  Sometimes it is muted.  But it is never saccharine, always 21st Century Plus.


ADD-ON:  The celebrity impact isn’t just on kids.  While young shoppers might want a purse that looks like the one Miley Cirus has, more mature shoppers are looking for items they see older celebrities sporting.  It crosses the ages, says Los Angeles retailer Jaye Hersh, whose boutique is a hotspot for Desperate Housewives fans.  “If women can buy something a celebrity is wearing,” she says, “they can pretend they have a piece of some shiny life and feel theirs is a little more exciting.”

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

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“I’m open to everything.  When you start to criticize the times you live in,


your time is over.”               KARL LAGERFELD


ALERT!  ALERT1 Electric summer colors are already penetrating denim offerings, exploding on the youthbright color bracelets scene in vibrant tones of sunny orange, lime green, lemon yellow, baby blue and pink.  And you can bet these jeans aren’t likely to be paired with drab tops and jackets.  What this means is that all the colors of summer jewelry, with maybe the exception of pure white, are, surprise! now online for Fall as well. This exceptional season’s jewelry. however, has to be heavier, bigger, super colorful and imposing…at the neck, on the arms/hands, on the ears, and accenting the waist.  So mark summer styles and color down as majors this year, both for hot season and influencing the later, cooler months, as well.


RIGHT NOW, there is plenty happening under the sun.  Check out this hot list for Summer 2008:


  •  Flip Flops – Higher price points for flip flops ultra models, plus special features like cash stash hideaways, drainage holes for beachgoers. Lots of costly designs here, gemstone embellishments, and the like.  
  • Hair bands for asymmetrical, flattering silhouettes, and spiky feather hair clips  
  • Hip silver jewelry to raunch up teens’ summer denim outfits. Look for plenty of movement, even biker styles. 
  • Fabric totes – unusual sales appeal: Many done in vibrant floral patterns.
  • Others sporting fun statements and graphics.  Color is huge here. 
  • Sunglass wardrobes: more IS more. The big idea now is to offer specs to match every ensemble, the right lens size, the right colors, the right look. All polarized of course. 
  • Wide brimmed floppy hats, some with SPF sun protection woven in the fabric. Don’t forget those adjustable chin straps for beach breeze security. 
  • Ornate oversized tassel necklaces, huge chunky rings, hoop earrings in graduated sizes, from small through huge.


 ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Election selection!  It’s the big season that comes once every four years, andAmericana jewelry plastic 2008 Obama and McCain pins are popping up everywhere.  Go a step beyond, to handsome Americana pins/clips,  American flag lapel tack pins, jubilant donkey or elephant pins, colorful  red/white/blue Americana bracelets, pendants, earrings-lots to choose from!


REINCARNATION:  Punk looks return in luxe, smoky gauze, chiffon, black tights, lots of zippers, chains, silk blouses, leather miniskirts, lace gloves, pearls, beads, diamonds, Swarovski crystals and sterling silver.  Yes, punk!  It’s an attitude.  This time around, it’s lavish.


CHARM BRACELET APPEAL: Prepare to be charmed, once again.  The traditional charm bracelet is back, incharm bracelets newly fresh form, and more popular than ever.  While charms dangled from a link bracelet in the past, today’s models are threaded bracelets with exquisite charm beads, spacers and locks.   Some of the bracelets are in gold or sterling silver and include charms with embedded precious and semi-precious stones; others are silver or gold plated, with equally enchanting gemstone-embedded charms, albeit of the faux variety.


One fine jewelry manufacturer bills his charm bracelets as original works of art, and makes them out of only the best materials such as  Murano glass, natural pearls, amber and a variety of semi-precious stones. But whatever the price category, the new charm bracelet idea is  to look rich and have a certain cache.   



GETTING HITCHED…OR STAYING FREE:  Is the huge Bridal Market in trouble?  A recent study by the National Marriage Project says that marriage in the USA declined almost 20 percent from 1995 to 2005, which doesn’t sound good. .  But don’t get too upset.  The report also points out that while cohabitation has become an accepted alternative lifestyle, the United States remains the most marrying country of all western European and Scandinavian nations, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.  So strike up “Here Comes the Bride.” This is a lucrative market – ringing in at $71 billion annually, with jewelry representing $14 billion of that total.  Not bad! 


MAJORS NOW IN THE BRIDAL MARKET:           Chandelier earrings, in pearl and rhinestone.  Still plenty of rhinestone earringssilver here, but with an emphasis on tradition, the Bridal Market is veering back toward gold.  Themes are strongly nature-oriented.  Also look for freshwater pearls in multi-colors, as well as plenty of filigree work in all jewelry pieces. 



Vintage styles bring in a strong traditional tone to the wedding collection.  Think bracelets and necklaces in silver and gold, embedded with gemstones – faux or real – giving lots of flash to the wedding march.  Rhinestones are a wedding must, in exquisite dangling earrings and in signature necklaces that give an aura of Russian nobility to any modern-day bride.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, June 16th, 2008

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SHOW TIME:  We were thrilled by the big Accessorie Circuit and AccessoriesTheShow exhibitions that ran to rave reviews in New York City in mid-May, proving that while price consciousness may be high, there is still a lot of business out there for those who know the value of fashion and trends.  


One accessories executive noted that his business was up 20 percent over last year, and credited the jump on making the right product choices.  “Our jewelry ranges from $10 wholesale to $300,” he declared, and “at that that level, the business is on fire.”   Nothing, it seems, is keeping customers from buying hot trendy items that cleverly catch their attention.  What are the “hooks?”  Great design.  Knock-‘em-dead color. And a look that is new, different, and classy.


NOT TO BE MISSED:  Mark these down as fabulous trend setters from the Accessorie Circuit Show:


  • Clutch bags, big, small, and in-between, all in brightly defined colors such as sizzling yellow, Hilfiger orange and brilliant blue.  Look for them in croc, patent leather, and silk. Gorgeous and functional!
  • Real-to-life posie pins, like Alexis Bittar’s sexy orchids with insects, done in Lucite acrylic and metal. Daisies are big, too, but then so are all florals.  Some are so big, they become graphically surreal.
  • Signature rings in aquamarine, amethyst, and citrine, wildly oversized but still real looking,
  • The color purple!  Wow!  This is an accessory winner NOW!
  • Silver. Silver, Silver.  Done in interesting ways, like resin and silver bracelets and silver-plated brass ball necklaces.  You just can’t go wrong with this metal!
  • Lucite bangles (nothing gets much hotter!), clear and colorful, modern and sleek. What could be better for summer wear?   Even your most sophisticated buyers will love them.




RETRO BOMB SHELLS:  Look for costume jewelry pieces referencing the thirties and forties,” says designer Alexis Bittar. That was a thriving period for both costume and fine jewelry, despite the depression and the war.  Major designs included charm and link bracelets and bangles, and very ladylike brooches. Themes were strongly nature-oriented, including fish and floral styles. Chinese influences were also important.  Expect to see plenty of these themes in summer and fall accessories. 


WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY:  Handbag hotshot Sondra Roberts sees sales success leaning heavily on novelty items and diversified prices. And Tesa Totengco of accessories company Rafe agrees, noting that novel items in a wide variety of colors are selling like hotcakes.  Think about some really scorching colors, too (like wild violets and yellows that are breaking sales records). But don’t leave out softer hues, such as heather greys, which make a nice alternative to black. If your customers go for these hip colors, think about stocking up on some of the newest, elaborate neck pieces in bright colors. They can transform an outfit! 


GREEN PLANET:  There is a strong eco-trend picking up momentum around the country, and you can make good business use of it! Your customers are sure to love eco-friendly canvas totes for carrying their everythings, including supermarket fare. Don’t worry about the price level, totes are selling from a dollar to thousands of dollars, they are that popular.  Really inexpensive totes are the hot new wave for grocery shopping.  So bye-bye paper and plastic waste: these green fabric totes are picking up real status!


HAIR NOW:  Hair accessories are revving up sales momentum at Colette Malouf, Susan Daniels and Joomi NYC. Look for herringbone hair clips and crystallized headbands to hit high popularity ratings this summer. You can also put your money on headbands of bright color, often used two at a time.


                                                    * * * * *


We add our condolences to those of the rest of the world as France bids a fond farewell to one of the Century’s greatest designers, Yves Saint Laurent, who died in Paris last week at the age of 71. He was eulogized as  elegant, well-mannered, cultured, and gentle.  “He changed the face of fashion and made a mark on the world that can never be forgotten.”

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Saturday, June 14th, 2008