Archive for July, 2008...
Filed under Evening Bags
Filed under Religious Jewelry
New arrivals in wholesale evening bags make us stop and think how important this formal accessory is. Hardly a month goes by without events that call for evening bags. They are must-have accessories for countless occasions and yet they are in short supply in most retail locations. So that adds up to ripe opportunity for you.
Recent arrivals include elongated evening clutches with the sophistication of the golden years of movies. One style has accordion pleat flaps that provide a rich contrast of textures against the matte bodies. Colors reinforce the elegance with black, wine, light beige, light grey, and chocolate brown.
Shiny soft leather continues to be a hot look in evening bags. Leatherette makes it affordable with the look and feel of lambskin. New evening clutches apply leatherette to the popular elongated shape for 21st century design. This material loves the metallic colors so gold, silver, and bronze are choices along with the fall season’s popular black.
Beaded evening bags introduce a new “wow” factor with fully beaded flaps in floral motifs. Best of all, these wholesale evening bags have a black and white combination along with a very appealing soft pastel on an ivory background. Wholesale prices are unbelievably low when you consider all the bead work–something that has to impress your customer.
Recently we divided wholesale evening bags into sub-categories to help retailers locate their needs faster. Now there are sub-categories for wholesale evening bags, wholesale evening clutches, and wholesale prom and bridal bags. Some evening bags cross lines so if your needs aren’t filled in the specific category, search the others because all together there are a few hundred options when you consider styles and color choices.
The market for evening bags is more year round than most realize, but the peak of the season is approaching with holiday followed by all the events of spring. So begin preparation to capture this market , which is high demand with low competition.
SACRED HISTORY: No symbol in history has been more revered than the cross. It is found in ancient cave drawings from the Stone Age. It was a symbol of life and fertility in Ancient Egypt (the Ankh). It was considered sacred in practically every religion long before Christianity came on the scene. Many crosses often thought to be Christian, such as the Celtic Cross, were originally pagan.
There are literally hundreds of different cross designs, and they have been used in countless ways throughout the centuries. St. George’s Cross is used on England’s national flag. The Maltese Cross (which looks much like a Celtic Cross, with its splayed arms) is, among other things, a holy symbol of the Masons. The Rose Cross is equally revered as a symbol with the Rosicrucians. Many people even collect crosses.
Of course, the cross we are all most familiar with today is the Christian cross, a geometric figure made up of two lines perpendicular to each other. Based on minor changes in dimensions and design, the one cross becomes many, each with a different name and history. But for our purposes here, we can easily and accurately enough group them together as one sacred sign of Christianity. Like the circle, the cross is immediately identifiable by peoples all over the world.
EARLY CHRISTIANS: The cross represents the death of Jesus on what is often called the True Cross. The interesting thing is that because of its very meaning, Early Christians didn’t use the cross in their religion. It was considered a sign of the executioner. The fish, which we frequently see displayed (i.e., on automobiles), was the symbol of Early Christians and it wasn’t until the 4th Century, when the Roman Emperor Constantine became Christian himself that the cross was adopted as the sign of what was then a new faith.
The cross is today carried by more people than any other religious symbol in the world. When shown with the figure of Christ on it, the cross is considered a crucifix. The most popular way to wear the cross is around the neck, hanging as a spiritual pendant from a chain. Rhinestone crosses are particularly beautiful, and show up charmingly when done in silver or silver plate. Crosses of this sort are often worn 24 hours a day. Larger crosses, worn for special occasions, include more elaborate cross styles, many with colored or clear stones or enamels.
LOVING GIFTS: Crosses make ideal gifts for Christians. Small, dainty crosses are a delightful gift for a young girl making her First Communion. Slightly larger or more ornate crosses work well as Confirmation gifts. Of course, crosses are wonderful gifts for more than children: They are thoughtful and loving gifts for mothers, and other relatives, as well as friends, especially a friend who may be just now receiving Baptism. A cross given to someone who is ill or in the hospital is a caring gift.
In recent years, crosses have been worn in many diverse ways. Crosses dangling from little button earrings are very popular. They are often paired with necklaces for a set. Christian key chains with heraldic crosses are very handsome.
SECULAR USES: Some uses of the cross are now secular, particularly when rock stars, not trying to proclaim religion, include them in their necklaces, or earrings. Some compare this to the use of the name Madonna by a contemporary star with a penchant for sexy, semi-nude costumes.
So…is this use of crosses profane, or just a more relaxed attitude toward an ancient symbol? Whatever, the irony is that non-religious cross enthusiasts have helped make the cross not just spiritual but very hip. As a result, more and more young people are wearing crosses, and for many of them, the cross remains serious, spiritual, and sacred.
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NOT TO BE MISSED: Christian Lacroix is showing off a charming big white newsboy cap with a white silk flower attached on the side. It looks just great! With it, he shows a floral dress, a dark blue little jacket, red leather shoes and a small, light blue leather bag with silver shoulder chain. More evidence that designers are pushing for the eclectic look; i.e., meaning things don’t have to match.
WHAT THEY’RE WEARING: Some sighting of celebrities and the monied set in recent weeks included: Marla Bello in long single strand rhinestone/diamond earrings. (Real or faux? We couldn’t tell!) Lauren Santo Domingo wearing Barack Obama pins on a brilliant, shiny green print dress. Ginnifer Goodwin in a charming black strapless dress with multiple strands of medium length pearls and beads .around her neck. (Pay attention to that one single circular pendant!) And Julia Restoin Roitfeld in a little black dress with wide black leather belt…all very tight, tight, tight!
Filed under Fashion Jewelry
Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
Suddenly, chains are super-popular, whether worn singly, worn in layers, or worn in multi-strand cascades, almost as upper-body glamour armor. With today’s exciting styling, metal chains are physically and fashionably cool, and suited to all age categories.
Goodbye to the demure practice of wearing a single strand of gold or silver chain, or matching rings and other jewelry to the same, single metal. Now there’s an explosion of chain types, chain lengths, many finishes and materials-all worn in concert!
Few accessories are so fluid, elegant and moving as chain necklaces. New chains are not only longer, but links are much larger than ever before. One designer has a mere six open, oversized links forming a modern gold choker. Swarovski’s long necklace entry is its “blossom lace chain,” with dark daisies spaced along a smoky but glittering, lace-like interwoven chain. All-in-one multi-strands are also noted, often with one strand bearing a single pendant, with other strands often sprinkled with mini-discs, crystals, rhinestones, tinted pearls, beads, and multi-color stones. All styles are “in” – Y necks, tassels, lariats, chokers, bibs – as well as every length, from very short to ultra-long (these drop down to the waist or, on the walkways, some actually dipped below the waist.)
But don’t think the simple gold or silver necklace is being eclipsed. These are often the base adornment, with complementary or contrasting necks added in what would in other eras be regarded as excess. Not any more!
TOP PICKS: Yes, longer chains, larger links, more variation in chain design and finishes, imaginative combinations with stationed beads of all sorts and sizes, as well as fly-away charms and centered pendants: these are all leading sales incentives in the chain market. Silver and gold continue as the most popular materials/plates, but bronze, gunmetal gray, and blackened silver chains are actually preferred often, for special effects. Chain customers often know exactly what they want, and ask for specific lengths, thicknesses or chain types, such as rope, snake, open link, box, Figaro or curb chain.
Quality in fabrication is always important: you want a smooth, well-finished surface. Diamond or angled cuttings in the metal catch the light and add extra sparkle while being worn. Spring ring or lobster claw clasps dominate, but there is a good variety of other clasps, too: fold-over, box or barrel. (Note: magnetic clasps are especially ideal for older, less dexterous patrons.) Clasps must always be easy to connect and of the proper weight for the fashion chain.
There’s a silver lining to the sluggish economy! In today’s market, with the skyrocketing price of gold, many fine jewelers are for the first time introducing special silver lines for their clientele. And David Yurman, who rose to national fame with his signature silver jewelry collections and then upscaled to pricier gold, now is returning his major emphasis to silver.
Fashion is always changing, always evolving, always giving new opportunities to those quick enough to spot, and profit from, incoming trends. You are probably used to your younger customers wanting only the latest IN thing. But today all customers want the old-but-new, cool product that’s sizzling hot in jewelry: metal necklace chains.
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POWER TO THE GIRLS: Power suits are back in fashion, promising major impact, especially for working women. Don’t mistake these new “I-am-the-boss” outfits with the power suits of yesterday, however. Today’s idea of power may not have changed, but the way of visually expressing it certainly has. Not that the look is “girlie,” it is just more casual than we’ve seen before, apparently without losing any of its serious authority.
Alexander McQueen’s new power suit pairs a somewhat conventional navy blue suit jacket with matching super-tight long pants. Booties and a white T-shirt complete the slightly unorthodox look, which is sort of punk, sort of traditional. With it: simple, large silver squared hoop earrings.
More showings on the trend: a tan mini-skirted dress with a long black jacket, or a gunmetal mini-skirted dress with ¾ length sleeves and a wide, bright orange-red corset belt. Booties! Lots of unisex straight, slicked-back hair. Great accessories: A big, chunky, no-glitz black ring. Medium-length rhinestone earrings. Or plain black slivers of stone earrings. Not-too-big shoulder bags. many with chain straps. Or a shock of color in a little bright green or yellow clutch bag. Don’t forget though, if the main bag is too little, all the paraphernalia necessary for a day at the office or in the field has to be separately carried, preferably in one of today’s wildly popular big totes.
Got the idea? Get the look, and the right accessories naturally follow!
Filed under Rhinestone Jewelry, Uncategorized
Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
BRILLIANT CONTENDERS: Is there any category of jewelry more integrated into our American folk history than rhinestones? These dazzling, brilliant stones have appealed to generation after generation, from sophisticated, mature woman to rebellious punk rockers.
Liberace’s star-studded show costumes were literally built on rhinestones. Glen Campbell’s top hit song “Rhinestone Cowboy” brought rhinestones into a new era of “pop”ularity way back in 1975. Today, rock stars glorify these sparkling diamond-esque stones in outfits both on stage and off. Prom queens adore them. Even refined, reserved women add glamour and glitter to their wardrobes with special rhinestone jewelry. These aristocrats of glitz continue to mesmerize and delight.
Simply put, rhinestones are simulations of diamonds, made of rock crystal, glass or acrylic. They have a spectacular history, and while the story goes that they were rock crystals originally plucked in the 1800s from the shores of the Rhine River in Austria (thus their name), the truth is, they probably go back a lot further than that. Many claim they were originally known as Czechoslovakian or Bohemian glass and that they dated back as far the 13th Century. In the 18th Century, they say, when Czech glass began being used as jewelry, this fabulous glass became known as rhinestone.
HOT COLOR FLASHES: For a long time, all rhinestones were clear, but in the 20th Century, colored rhinestones appeared, greatly expanding the use and appreciation of these magnificent stones. In 1953, the aurora borealis rhinestone was introduced, and with it, color erupted onto the rhinestone market with all its dazzling magnificence. In the 1970s, punk rock latched onto rhinestones, making them an intensely popular part of the youth movement.
Today trends come and go, but rhinestones remain serenely unmoved at the center of the fashion jewelry world. Their multifaceted ability to flash light across a ballroom assures their buyers of a modest (if not inexpensive) alternative to diamonds themselves. Often, they cannot be detected from the real thing.
You can find rhinestones in rings, necklaces, brooches, pins, bracelets, on hats, belts, handbags, clothing, you name it. But few accessory categories are as riveting as rhinestone earrings. In special instances, such as bridal wear, the earrings may be coupled with necklaces for a set. But rhinestone earrings still stand on their own as well, as beautiful accompaniments to almost any outfit.
Not that long ago, rhinestones were used only for dress up occasions. That’s no longer the case. Rhinestones now cross over all occasion dressing, and can be used in the most casual manner, mimicking the “diamonds and jeans” look, for example. Put rhinestones with shorts, with slacks, with office wear, with evening dress — in each instance you have a dynamite look!
WATERFALLS OF LIGHT: Long, dangling or cascading rhinestone earrings are a particularly modern and trendy look that shows off the earrings themselves, and brings light to the face of the person wearing them. They remind of those fabulous mountain waterfall slivers seen in the South Pacific. Long, single strand drops are the most common, but for a really glamorous look, shoulder dusters can’t be beat. This is a long linear look and it is very hot! While any rhinestone will glisten elegantly here, Austrian rhinestones are generally the highest regarded for clarity and brilliance.
Rhinestone earrings are available in a variety of styles and designs. Pear shaped drops are more traditional, and work beautifully with classic bridal wear, for example. Rhinestones with pearls are dressy and elegant. One handsome look involves small floral-shaped button earrings of clear rhinestone, surrounding a colored rhinestone center. Then there are little rhinestone ball earrings that go anywhere and are especially suitable for the office.
Pave rhinestone earrings give a rich, society look. Larger, faceted rhinestones can be worked into a modern chandelier earring, for example, or designed as a single diamond stud look. Most rhinestones are put into a white setting; i.e., sterling silver or silver plate. This plays up the glamour and shine of rhinestones and gives them a very rich, finished appearance. Sometimes rhinestones are mixed with other stones, such as CZs, for a mixed play on light refraction.
TASSELS AND TRENDS: What about trends and rhinestones? This is a whole, exciting story! Think hoop earrings. Also, tassel designs (just look at the accessories market to see how big tassels are right now), and fringe styles. Rhinestones are just remarkably flexible; they make up into wonderful designs that will go practically anywhere! They can be very traditional. And, they can be very trendy. Rhinestone stars and hearts and butterflies dangling down from little rhinestone buttons make for fun, youthful earrings.
Colored rhinestones are a special part of this large jewelry cache. Think turquoise and clear rhinestones, for example. Or jet and clear. Color has allowed jewelry designers to greatly expand their rhinestone offerings, creating earrings that cross over many different age and social categories. Colored rhinestones, for example, are often charming for prom wear, as they make up into sweet and lighthearted earrings that are ideal for teenagers.
Filed under Gemstone Jewelry
Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, July 28th, 2008
Filed under Hats
Classic trends ushered in an intense interest in gemstone jewelry and there seems to be no let up as fall approaches. Sales statistics show that wholesale turquoise jewelry leads all categories of gemstone jewelry shipped to retailers. The affordable price prompts the question-Is it real and how can it be so cheap? The question is legitimate because gem quality turquoise sells for $1,500 per pound and The Allure of Turquoise states gem quality accounts for less than 15% of the world market.
Treated and reconstituted turquoise make up most of the remaining market and this is the turquoise you see so reasonably priced that makes up turquoise jewelry for the fashion industry. Treated turquoise uses soft, chalky turquoise and impregnates it with resin and dye to enhance color and achieve hardness.
Reconstituted turquoise pressure forms soft chunks or more often grinds turquoise and mixes with resins and dye to form the gorgeous beading and pendants found in gemstone fashion jewelry. From small fashion businesses to major department stores, this is usually the turquoise on display that grabs customers’ attention with stunning designs.
Another process dyes howlite, which is an off-white semi precious stone that has natural matrix spidering. Howlite makes beautiful semi precious jewelry in its own right. It is porous and can accept dye while retaining the matrix for a realistic turquoise look. Our feeling is if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it so leave howlite alone and let it make its own gorgeous fashion statement in semi precious jewelry.
Classic fashion trends bring a renewed interest in gemstone jewelry and designers incorporate reconstituted turquoise into fashion creations arranged with other semi precious stones and fashion components like faceted glass and plated metal. The reconstituted turquoise bracelet shown alternates with faceted glass beads.
Reconstituted turquoise creates striking contrast with other semi precious stones such as picture jasper. Picture jasper generally has a beige color, which is a wonderful neutral that showcases the turquoise as in the semi precious necklace set shown. A variety of semi precious stones mixed with turquoise make dramatic changes in a look and offer color to go with nearly anything in the shop.
But this season’s favorite seems to be turquoise and coral combinations-especially good with red so important in the season’s fashion palette. Dye usually also enhances the coral to achieve the rich red color whereas the natural color is often a far less appealing grey. Without the enhancements such gorgeous looks of turquoise and coral jewelry would not be available at such affordable prices.
So when customers ask if t is real, you can tell them yes and explain how it is so affordable. They will appreciate your honesty and you will gain their trust.
Filed under Fashion Accessories
Hat business can be glamorous, sophisticated, or trendy. This is exciting business for headwear that makes a statement and we keep coming back to super widebrims, sophisticated sinamay hats, and trendy newsboys and fedoras on the blog. But today we’re going to talk about bargains or practical straw hats that might seem boring. Boring until we consider the high volume of sales these hats generate because they are so necessary in the summer heat.
First think about functional hats that protect from the glaring sun. These are not celebrity fashion, but needed hats for outdoor work and events. Work can mean lifeguards, meter readers, highway crews, lawn service, or just doing your own gardening. Most of these summer hats are straws that are even more durable than stylish hats and much cheaper. The hat shown is bamboo and the shape is a lifeguard. The wide brim provides abundant sun protection and durable construction means they can take a beating on the job. Retailers for these wholesale hats go beyond fashion to convenience stores, lawnmower shops, boat launches, and garden shops. Actually any business with customers that work in the sun can retail these straw hats.
Rush straw is another durable hat that protects from damaging sun rays at an inexpensive price. Gamblers with a 4 inch brim even add some personality to a tough functional summer hat. Chin straps keep the hat on the head in windy days. This hat crosses the line to cover both work hats and casual headwear for fishermen, tourists, and outdoor company picnics. The 4 inch brim changes the statement and sun protection provided by the hat. Hardly anyone offers this headwear so take advantage of functional hats that really looks good by adding these gamblers to your inventory.
Rush straws with under brims increase the sun protection and still offer attractive headwear. The crown and brim have fabric on the underside that blocks sun rays that creep through the weave. Pinch front design has a safari shape that expresses rugged individualism in functional headwear.
Beyond functional hats is stylish headwear that is bargain priced. Fashion colors in crocheted toyo provide cowboy hats with feminine appeal that retail for under $10.00. Wow! Here are hats loaded with personality priced to blow out of accessory stores and tourist locations. Gals from cheerleading squads to girls-night-out will find the sassy look and cheap price of these cowboy hats beyond buying resistance. Add to the value shapeable brims that let everyone personalize the headwear and you have a winner.
What about the young market wanting trendy headwear? Ivy caps rank in the top three hats that sell to the MTV crowd. Ivy caps aren’t big on sun protection, but how cool they look on the heads of young adults! Solid color or two-tone with that sportswear look so big with this age group really get attention when you add a bargain retail price. A wholesale price of $3.75 gives retailers room while still providing a nice profit.
For the girl that likes a look with less risk, ball caps in the same materials and choices of solid color or two-tone make everyone feel comfortable without sacrificing style. Is any headwear easier to wear than ball caps? Now add style that matches active wear and you have something with a pricey look, and surprisingly low cost. These hats and the ivy caps came in on a special buy that slashed the wholesale price nearly in half. Retailers pay $2.75 for these cool caps so they can sell them at a price so low, it will look like a loss leader.
Now for cool men’s headwear-the Godfather for summer! This debonair hat oozes with personality and has color choices that are conservative or get wild for the most daring. Twisted toyo construction lets a breeze flow through the hat fro comfortable summer wear and the classic design can even step up to groomsmen headwear. The big selling point is the $5.50 wholesale cost that give you room to provide a bargain and still make a profit.
But don’t think this hat has to sell to only men. Historically women’s hats have been have been adaptations of men’s designs. So place the red option on one of those fun-loving ladies that party in red hats and you have a sassy look they will love.
With these kinds of values in headwear, you can forget about gas price woes because the cost of a couple of gallons can have customers leaving your shop ready for the summer heat in hats loaded with personality or straws that provide relief .
THE POWER COLOR: When it comes to fashion, you just can’t go wrong with black. And never has black been so right as it is now. Put on a black turtle neck sweater for an imposing 1950s French couture look. Use black jewelry to quietly enhance a Bostonian black power suit. Glitz up an all-black outfit with black sequins and crystals, embroidery and beads. Black makes everything a little better. A little richer. A little more intense. Black sets the tone for many fashion stories this year, from jeans to evening gowns, necklaces to evening bags. Black is everywhere!
For example, Punk or Grunge is back, and isn’t it fitting for a season of black extravagance? Think black belts with silver buckles, silver watches with black straps, high black boots, black tights or black lace stockings, long shimmery black tanks over black and red plaid pants. Play up the Brits, with remembrance of the Queen of Punk, Vivienne Westwood, and all her wild and incorrigible street ensembles.
You see, the look is multi-faceted, but always black. You can go Punk, or Biker, or you can go elegant and classic. Maybe you want to play up the Batman modality, with black ties, black sequined jackets, black crystal evening bags and – absolutely! –black stone bracelets galore. Don’t forget to add on pointy spindly low black booties and a shortie jacket to mimic a black cape. Fast and dangerous! Very IN, but not for everyone.
Not all black is solid and uncompromising. Black is also effective as a base color with brights (or smoldering darks) worked into it. Think about a black T with an eye-stopping orange-red skull design on the front. Or black and red shortie boots. Black sunglasses are an absolute with this look, along with black-based scarves with multi-colored designs. Black jazzed up with silver studs also makes it big this season, especially on sharp Italian leather jackets. Don’t miss out on the fingerless black gloves here.
SILVER SCREEN STYLE: Feathers filled the runways for spring and they are still there now, for fall and winter, only this time they are mostly sexy, old Hollywood black. Whew…! This is really some look! Add on shoes and clothes with discrete cutouts that suggest…! We’re talking about black feathers around the neck, used on short skirts, on hats and purses, you name it!
Even though this is basically black refined and not black scary, there are some dark points in the present black infusion into fashion. Black spider pins, for example, are hot, hot, hot!! (Think of Armani’s marvelous black spider pin with emerald green head.) Black crosses and crucifixes are also big, especially worn in multiples and hung off long, swingy silver or gold chains. And black stone spiked rings. Surprisingly, there isn’t much bondage out there, even though the look has designer Helmut Lang influences.
The basic fashion lines used for much of the black rush for fall are spiked, too, and sharp, like long, skinny triangles or diamonds. — Watch it! You could get hurt here.
TOP OF THE LINE: For both ladylike, refined black (the black of the International Set, the classic black of New York) and the wilder, almost blacker (if that’s possible) black, one jewelry item is KING now:
Think money and intrigue. Think James Bond. This is what swash-buckling pirate movies and exciting novels about aristocratic jewel thieves are all about. Drama. Fascination. Riches. Millionaire matters. Red diamonds, yellow diamonds, clear diamonds: None of them quite make it when compared to black. That’s probably why Swarovski calls its top level black crystal stone black diamond.
But black crystal is just one form of black jewelry hitting high notes on the fashion circuit. Also think black rhinestones. And Onyx. Even black stone jewelry or man-made beads. Black crystal brooches are elegant and can be riveting on a little black dress. Multiple strand black glass seed beads make a dynamite fashion statement now. Dangling black bow earrings are charming.
TIME MACHINE: Black crosses time lines with ease. Consider the use of black to make things look old: vintage or even ancient. And all black materials are particularly hot when shined up to a slithery wet very modern look. Beyond that, black crosses over markets, young and old. For example, even playful jewelry has been commandeered by the black brigade this year. Designer Giles Deacon, a Brit with a sense of humor, uses black to glorify childhood television characters – Orville the Duck, Nookie Bear – in wonderful Swarovski crystal bracelets and necklaces. His Swarovski crystal choice: you guessed it, black diamond!
Mixing color with black is a big item now. Julstin Giunta is an outstanding modern jewelry designer accredited with almost changing the face of jewelry design with layers of chains, old beads, charms, and the like. Now he is working with an intense color palette of black and winter green for what he calls a “new macabre edge.” Giunta uses Swarovski crystals to create jewelry that looks at home in a ballroom or at a rock concert. His long chandelier earrings in black and green with black crystal hang-offs are beauties.
A variant of black, and one that makes for extremely handsome jewelry is hematite, in a deep, dark graphite color. Genuine hematite necklaces with black gemstones accessorize black and other colors in a very updated fashion manner this year. Look for them in a mirror finish for even greater trendy effect. Black hematite balls, chips, and tubular beads are all stunning. Important now: Hematite crosses, earrings, and charms, such as little hearts. Also look for popular themes in hematite, like dolphins and butterflies.
Filed under Scarves
Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008
In Milan, in Paris,
In New York:
Scarves enliven runways!
Even though necklaces dominate at the neckline this fall, scarves are coming in a fast second, picking up designer attention with gusto. Other accessories are what the word means-they accessorize clothing. Only the artful scarf can actually integrate with, say, a dress, and impress a whole new personality on the basic dress design.
And that is exactly what scarves are doing this season: giving clothes a fabulous and feminine new look. Remember this when dealing with customers, who can not only benefit from a new scarf in general, but they can often bypass the cost of an entirely new outfit by updating an existing one with a good scarf.
HOT TRENDS: This season, it is important for retailers to theme their choices to incoming fashion trends: Animal prints are bigger than ever. Stripes and geometrics are particularly in demand for fall and winter, in black and white as well as in bright, exciting colors. Artful florals may suit your customer base; think Georgia O’Keefe flowers here – big, brilliant, dramatic. And paisleys are back in a big way, with all their classic elegance. Bling continues: silver or gold thread and satiny looks keep glamour, and customer demand, high.
Designer Ralph Lauren has long been an advocate of scarves, starting with his signature ascot, gracing the shirt collar of his equestrian-style sportswear ensembles. This season he imaginatively wrapped a wispy scarf around the neck several times, creating the look of a bulky, soft choker. It set off a full-length evening dress magnificently, and showed just how much can be done with scarves when you put your mind to it! In another example, Lauren used an ultra-long scarlet tissue wool scarf to circle the neck and then drape down, as a gorgeous red column, right to the floor. Running the full length of a strapless metallic evening dress, the scarf was bold and imposing.
BUYING CHOICES: An important point about this year’s scarves is that every length is popular. Dolce & Gabbana, for example, used a subtle, soft grey/white/charcoal/gold, short neckerchief as the focal point atop a luxurious cream dress at their recent “Seventies” show. It looked terrific!
Almost every material and weight is also IN for scarves this year. Think about that stunning black, wide floral crochet scarf set almost like a mantilla on Alexander McQueen’s beguiling model! Wool is a hot scarf choice, but so, too, is polyester, often the Number One choice material for scarves. Polyester is generally moderate in price, and it takes dyes well for beautifully clear designs. But don’t ignore silk, either. It has traditionally been the premium choice for designer scarf wear.
One of the truly knockout scarves for fall is a silvery metal mesh short scarf, given special runway attention by designer Paul Gaultier. This great looking scarf was encrusted with a low border of cream pearls set in multiple horizontal lines. Dynamite! Gaultier placed this stunner on his severely tailored, grey woman-executive skirted suit. Wow.
GOOD LESSONS: Helping customers learn new ways to use scarves will unquestionably help increase your sales. It will also make for many happy buyers. Working with any of the fresh concepts the top designers come up with is an easy way to expand the design flexibility and even basic functionality of your scarf inventory. But of course, while you play with new ideas, it is good to remember that some of them will take hold and some will not.
Actually, the tried-and-true, simple scarf, worn in the traditional manner, continues as a winner and probably will stay that way for many years to come. And while newness sells, what woman does not have a wardrobe of scarves in chosen colors, chosen fabrics, to suit different moods? But the new scarves, the latest designs…they entice! A new scarf can give a splash of vibrant IN color to enliven any outfit. And nothing so easily transforms a dress from yesterday office proper to this-moment evening sizzle as the addition of a wonderful new scarf.
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WHAT’S SELLING: Sandra Wilson, accessories fashion director for Neiman Marcus, says her firm has done very well with clutches with unique styling and color. She also thinks it is important to offer great trend choices for well-priced exotics.
NOT AGAIN!!! Well, we’ve said it before but we still can’t say it enough. The color purple is hot, hot, hot this year. From amethyst to violet and every shade in between purple is taking honors as the super stand-alone color on the designers’ circuit. This is a strong statement color, but don’t be afraid to move away from safer looks (like purple with tan or black) to wilder combinations. Among the dynamite looks now: Purple pitted against gold, or paired with bright green.
Filed under Americana
Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008
RUNNING FOR OFFICE: The race for the White House has been in full frenzy for months now. Obama and McCain will soon be anointed official presidential candidates and then the fight and fury will really break out, complete with buttons and pins, bumper stickers and T-shirts, hats, ties, scarves, and more. Their purpose: to advertise political points of view with names and slogans, sneers and bravado. This is the big Campaign 2008, and it is going to be different from every other campaign that has gone before it.
To start with, expect souvenirs and memorabilia to be in hot demand this year. Not that that is something new, campaign memorabilia has long been the motivation for the start- up and expansion of numerous retail businesses. But this year, interest is expected to soar as the nation considers the possibility of electing its first black President less than 150 years after the repeal of slavery.
Buttons are the most popular and most collectible electoral paraphernalia. People wear the buttons to show which candidate they plan to vote for. Historically, the most popular was the Eisenhower “I Like Ike” button from 1952. Going back further, we find that the first buttons to surface in the United States commemorated George Washington’s inauguration and carried the initials GW, with the statement, Long Live The President. Today, these other-era collectibles are much in demand, with an average value of about $1,000. The buyers, like former President Bill Clinton, are usually people who love history.
ELEPHANTS AND DONKEYS: Collectors of election memorabilia usually focus on specific subject matter. Some collect pins representing the two different political parties, such as elephant and donkey pins. These can be extremely well crafted and full of personality. If you are looking for 2008 buyers for these captivating pieces, think about more than just individuals. Clubs and other organizations often purchase political party pins in bulk! There are also buyers who choose memorabilia about specific presidents. The most popular are Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy. Once this year’s election is over, you can expect to see a major uptick in demand for buttons promoting whoever is the winning candidate!
Slogans are always hot for electioneering. This year, the word CHANGE outruns all others, so look for it on buttons, pins, you name it. Obama started the concept up, Hillary latched on to it, and now even McCain is proclaiming his candidacy in those terms.
Patriotic motifs like swords or eagles represent another highly collectible area. Certainly the biggest of these (since 9/11 especially) is the American Flag and wow! Is Campaign 2008 ever big for this pin. Big and, we might add, wildly controversial. McCain has always worn a flag pin, using it, among other things, as an anti-terrorist symbol. But Obama has only worn the pin on and off.
FLAG PIN FRENZY: Back in April of this year, a voter asked Obama why he wasn’t wearing a flag pin on his lapel and he said that he had noticed “people wearing lapel pins but not acting very patriotic.” It was a response that didn’t go down well. Republicans lambasted him, and right-wing voters across the country called him unpatriotic The upshot of it all: Obama now wears a flag pin on his lapel every day.
Filed under Fashion Jewelry
Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, July 21st, 2008
In 1991 the US was in a recession and Estee Lauder made an interesting observation. When high ticket sales fell off in department stores, lipstick sales increased. The observation became known as “the lipstick effect” and the logic behind it is women don’t quit buying; they just buy lower priced items.
There’s a “feel good” experience about buying something new and the right items at reasonable cost become irresistible. Is this bad? Hardly! A little happiness comes from buying small things as well as gift giving. Even The Great Depression couldn’t stop this. Anyone remember O. Henry’s Gift of the Magi?
Well this is al good news for retailers and here are some trendy items that bring happiness with a retail price under $10.00. First consider Murano style necklaces with pendants of striking beauty on trendy shear ribbon and waxed cord. Wholesaling at $3.50, this fashion jewelry is irresistible as an impulse item. The appeal extends to all age groups and the “feel good” experience comes from the customer buying something new for themselves or the happiness of buying a gift for another.
Something else new in Murano style glass jewelry is rings. Gals love to pick through rings trying them on, and when the retail price is $5.00 or under, they’re hard to pass up. A dozen rings with a tray is $24.00 wholesale and you have an instant display ready for business. Everything you expect from Murano style glass including vibrant hues, suspended color, and sparkling islands of metallic particles is in these rings.
Anyone that frequents outdoor events like flea markets has seen booths full of hematite. Many believe hematite has a healing quality (including my wife) that relieves pain, especially arthritic pain. Hematite has something for everyone. Trendy hematite necklaces with pendants appeal to young trade while healing quality appeals to mature shoppers. Nearly everything in hematite wholesales for $2.50 and under-which means impulse sales with a healthy profit margin.
Next, who would believe gemstone necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that retail under $10.00? Most of these semi precious stones rank 7 on the Mohs scale (glass is about 5.5) so they are hard to cut and drill. Yet numerous necklaces, bracelets, and earrings have wholesale prices that allow you to retail them with an unbelievably low price tag. Tiger’s eye, rose quartz, carnelian, crystal quartz, and even reconstituted turquoise are among them. What a value for customers!
Finally theme pendants and earrings tug at customers’ hearts with an appeal they can’t resist. “Best Brand” creates most in our line-this company is a leader in fashion jewelry quality. Imagine this kind of work going into fashion jewelry-themes are stamped from thin sheets of metal and the backs are sealed for hollow, light weight fashion jewelry with impeccable detail. Next they are plated, and sometimes antiqued and two-toned. Wow! And most retail under $10.00. Some shrewd retailers have used this fashion jewelry to make a healthy living every summer. How can they provide this kind of quality at such a low price?
Relax! Provide some “feel good” fashion jewelry that will help others relax. Turn off the nightly news and rest confidently knowing that fashion jewelry and accessories sailed through every recession for the last 25 years unscathed. For blow by blow details see Fashion Jewelry, Fuel, and the Economy.