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Archive for August, 2008...

Filed under Costume Jewelry
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Did you know that costume jewelry was started by the late, famed French haute couture designer, Coco Chanel, who wanted jewelry that would specifically go with her costumes?  Thus…the birth of costume jewelry! Contrary to what many think, these pieces were not inferior in craftsmanship in any way.  In fact, some were easily equal to the best fine jewelry on the market, both in the way the stones were cut as well as in the metal working. 


  • The actual difference between costume jewelry and fine jewelry has nothing to do with art, but rather with material.  In fine jewelry, real gemstones and real silver or gold are used. 


Right now, we are having a renaissance of interest in all types of costume jewelry, with many vintage pieces selling for thousands of dollars.  That may sound steep, but auctioneers insist the price is still way below value. So, collectors be alert!  Many say this field is a natural to buy into now…the prices will never be so low!  In the meantime, just compare costume prices with those of fine jewelry: 


  • A vintage piece that sells for $4-5,000 in costume jewelry

      would probably sell for $60-70,000 or more in fine jewelry.  


Some of these costume jewelry pieces were originally very inexpensive and sold in all sorts of public bazaars, from farmers’ markets to the five-and-ten.  A truly spectacular necklace or bracelet with fine craftsmanship could have gone for as little as 25-cents!  Imagine!        


PENDANTS REIGN:  Today, we have all sorts of special materials and manufacturing techniques to allow us to recreate in an inexpensive way some of the best jewelry ever made.  Few jewelry categories have benefited more from this advance than pendants, a traditional jewelry form that goes back to antiquity.  Beautiful pieces made from magnificent stones with fabulous gemstone embellishments can today be made from worked, common stones or new plastics…and the results are amazing!


Some of the most intriguing pendants originally came from Asia, or were associated with specific tribal groups in Africa or the United States.  American Indian pendants, often in turquoise, are a good example.  All of these pendants benefited from magnificent carvings, often in jade, or another semi-precious stone.


An old Humphrey Bogart movie set someplace like Morocco, complete with exotic shops and calculating characters would certainly be the perfect setting for such exquisite jewelry.  Can you imagine one of these pendants to be at the center of an international jewelry theft investigation? .  Ahhhh…the romance and fascination of it all! But…that is often what this jewelry is all about:


  • Pieces that look one-of-a-kind, are outrageously expensive,

              and are surrounded by mystery and intrigue.



The antique rage goes deeper than retro and is in full force where pendants are concerned.  Many antique-looking circular pendants in smooth or hammered silver are very popular right now. Antique American Indian pieces are likewise very hot.  Pieces that express a European medieval inspiration, especially those with filigree work, are also big. 


One Gothic piece particularly worth mentioning has a rose window design, based on the Roman wheel-inspired windows of medieval cathedrals such as the Cathedral at Chartres, France. These make an amazingly handsome and very updated look when hung off a medium length chain and  teamed up with a medieval-looking cross on a shorter, choker-length chain.


RUNNING IN CIRCLES:  Circles are, of course, the main image for pendants, East and West.  Their symbolic representation of spiritual completion is just one of many reasons this geometric form has always enchanted designers and the public, alike. Circle pendants   come in all sizes and in a wide variety of materials, and run the gamut from Oriental to Southwestern styles. 



A very handsome Southwestern faux turquoise circular pendant is a focal point for outfits with a casual, Arizona-to-California look, looking as great in Las Vegas as on Rodeo Drive. Circles also move into modern design territory in pendants.  Consider multiple circles hung off a long chain:  Moving dynamite!



Of course, all pendants aren’t historic.  Many are fun, hot, up-to-the-minute now.  Many  are small sculptural representations of animals, like dolphins, crabs, Scottie dogs, cats, and the like. Others replicate the more popular jewelry themes of the day. For example, hearts make very beautiful pendants and are very big sellers. Puffy red hearts, big polished silver hearts, even a symbolic broken heart can all take pendant popularity to new heights.



FLAG WAVING TIME AGAIN:  Now that we are in a political convention week, how about pendants to stir the hearts of America?  American flag pendants are just one idea. Hobbies also come up strong on the hot trend list for pendants.  Here you’ll find little sewing machines, all sorts of sports from soccer to hockey, golf bags and clubs, and more.  Sometimes these pendants double as pins, in which case the buyer gets double duty return on his or her money!


There’s just no question that pendants are one of the most fascinating jewelry items on the market now.  And, they apparently have always been, if we take their spectacular history into consideration. Plain or faux gemstone embedded, they are classy, bold or simple, they make ideal gifts for yourself or another, and are remarkably well priced.  In true Coco Chanel fashion, they finish a costume and still manage to stand out themselves as artisan-worthy signature jewelry designs.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Filed under Fashion Accessories
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PURSE HOOKS:  What wonderful, brilliant, practical little gizmos!  Every woman who owns a handbag and goes to restaurants needs one – in fact, she needs several, one for each bag.

The retail price tag on these little guys is low, but with multiple sales just about guaranteed, each sale itself becomes more than comfortable.


What are purse hooks all about?  They are a relatively new, attractive fashion accessory that protects your handbag. The anchor side of the hook attaches easily to a table top, while the purse hanger hook hangs down below to hold your handbag comfortably off the floor, clean and sanitary.  This is a dream market, because once women understand what purse hooks are all about, they all want one.  And, right now, very few women own one. So…the story is simple: 


      This is a virgin market and purse hooks promise major sales.      

The side of the purse hook that slides onto the table ledge is usually ornamental, but designed so as to make no mark or impression on the table itself. Themes include butterflies, hearts, apples, pirates, tennis balls, even little handbags…and that’s just for starters. 


Is your clientele religious?  Then you’ll really appreciate the variety of spiritual purse hooks available, running from crosses to angels.  Some purse hooks include inspirational passages from the Bible, or from popular spiritual stories, such as the famous “Footprints.”  This is, incidentally, a great item for church fairs or giveaways related to church fund raising.


POUCHES:  Many purse hooks come with their own little pouches, so they can be comfortably kept in a handbag when not in use.  And, hey, here’s where we really ought to mention some of the real problems women encounter with their handbags in a restaurant when they don’t own a purse hook. 


Are these things familiar?  Your handbag is on the floor.  It gets dirty, stained, or scratched.  It’s on the chair next to you, and in the way of other diners who might want to sit there.  It’s on your lap, and very uncomfortable (especially with today’s luggage-sized bags).  It’s on the table, and in the way of everybody, not to mention how messed up it can get there. It’s slung over the back of your chair but…oh!  What an attraction to a thief this is!  The universal answer to all these problems? A purse hook!  Rarely does an item come along that is so smart.


IDEAL GIFTS:  Purse hooks are ideal gifts, especially when your customer is looking for something to just say “thank you” or “I was thinking of you,” but does not want to overspend and then create an obligation.  They also make delightful favors for parties.  They make charming little add-on gifts; i.e., you’re giving somebody a handbag?  Add on a purse hook.  There is no way you can wrong with these products.  They are pretty, practical, unique, and needed (even if most women don’t know that yet). Once your customer has a purse hook, however, she will forever know how much she needed one!



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HOT PROGRAM FOR SELLING:  South Coast Plaza is a 275-unit collection of luxury shopping emporiums in Costa Mesa, California, in sunny Orange County, practically alongside of Disneyland. The interesting thing here is that the many jewelry stores in the complex have recently hit on a “golden” program for major sales:


                               Focusing on oneofakind items.


Even with all the economic problems hitting the state, the exclusivity system is working wonders. 


Tiffany is enjoying increased traffic ever since it added a diamond salon to its Plaza store (think CZs and rhinestones for a less costly product that can be expected to respond to the same selling idea). Cartier is literally “cashing in” big time with its enlarged bridal selection.  And even Rolex is getting in on the action, touting its rare Ice Watch as “the most expensive Rolex ever made.”  Talk about one-of-a-kind specials!  Baccarat has further helped its sales soar by adding exclusive products and enhancing its jewelry displays. 

—People, it seems, like to feel special, at all levels of the economic ladder. They want products that are different, unique.  And they respond to the way those products are shown off, with elegance and taste.

Capture the look of one-of-a-kind items by following the category links from Wholesale Jewelry–Classic Styles.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Filed under Hats
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Look to the stars for proof that hats are super fashion once again!   Superstar Beyonce tilts a rakish newsboy cap to set off her sporty Chanel-styled outfit for her daytime “easy elegance” look  But don’t stop with Beyonce, celebrities galore – even Paris Hilton –are into newsboy caps.  They are soooo wearable!  Just look: hats are all over the designer runways, and featured in glossy magazine print ads by famous names like the French Connection, Vera Wang, Juicy Couture and countless others.


Hats just naturally frame the face with drama as well as flattering form and color.  You can’t deny the aura of sophistication and chic that stems from the simple act of putting on a hat as the finishing touch before leaving the house. You can almost hear someone saying:


                    “Here’s your hatand ain’t you something!”


With the changing of the seasons, now is the time to consider the double benefits of chapeaux – utmost style, combined with cold weather comfort.  They look great, and they’re cozy warm. 


LITERARY ECHOES:  While the newest looks are innovative, the basic styles of the most popular fall hats are gloriously traditional.  Take the classic Fedora, now fitted with panache for today’s well-attired woman.  Made of 100% wool felt or crushable deep-pile corduroy, most feature a flirty brim and grosgrain band, often embellished with a small cluster of feathers. Think of a scene from a Hemingway novel, and a 1930s siren complete with a “liberated” woman’s smart fedora hat. You’ve got the idea!


We saw a very trendy Fedora with a band of very-now brass nail heads underscored by a thin leather cord which ties jauntily on one side. Also seen in the best places:  a Tyrolean Fedora of wool felt – it’s super trendy and adds an international flair of Alpine elegance to women’s sports ensembles.


Another “name” hat borrowed from another era (and actually, from the opposite sex) is the Bowler, one strictly crafted for ladies.  It mimics the venerable men’s derby, but has a somewhat flatter, more feminine brim.  Grosgrain band, of course, and a tuft of feathers give a very finished look      



ANIMAL MAGNETISM:  Close-fitting faux fur hats closely imitate the real thing in looks and warmth, and oh…! Are they ever gorgeous!  Choose an overall leopard skin print or a combination of black faux mink fur cap and deep leopard pattern trim. This is really elegant, with no small touch of British hoi polloi. 


Other faux fur hats offer different colors and patterns to match or contrast with winter coats.  Many feature satin or quilted linings and eyelet air vents for all-day comfort.  Some are small, chic little Chanel-like caps; others are Russian-winter big, glitzy in their own rich way, and flattering to almost everybody.


CAPPING IT ALL OFF:  The Kettle hat, modified cowboy hats, even military hats and “helmets,” all have their place in the current high rankings of headwear for women.  But perhaps the winning basic design, available in everything from faux fur and sumptuous velvet to wool, is the perennially popular Cap.


Here’s a quick rundown on some of these favorites:  The Ivy League Cap is often designed in a prowling animal print, and frequently satin lined. Look for this on the streets of Princeton, New Jersey, where Preppy looks reach a high point every Autumn as the new school year begins. . . 



The Newsboy Cap in fabulous faux fur looks great in any of a variety of colors, from trendy brown to sky blue. Some even have sequin or rhinestone embellishment for extra sparkle.  A Drivers Cap often combines the luxury of angora wool with nylon or polyester to create a becoming soft shape for the woman who projects luxury.  It is slightly larger than the traditional newsboy cap.



Then there’s the Cabbie Cap.  Inspired by the famous character cab drivers of Manhattan or Philadelphia, these hats are big brimmed and jaunty.  They are usually seen in charcoal black or grey on definitely take-control women. 



The Jockey Cap is one more variant on this now familiar theme, a sumptuous creation usually in black velveteen. Get it studded with clear rhinestones! Featuring an impressive high dome and short bill, this is all you really need to be ready for Churchill Downs!

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, August 25th, 2008

Filed under Fashion Jewelry
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RINGS continue to grow more important as new designs flood the marketplace and demand for these extraordinary pieces soar. While some designers revert to the ornate and intricate designs of antique jewelry, others are going full-blast into new design territory, stressing organic materials, modern ring sculpture and, of course, color and more color.


The word heard a lot these days is “edgy”. These rings are hot, fashion forward, young and sexy. And even though they frequently reach into the past for inspiration, they are anything but boring or dated.  The newest points to note in the wave of idea-packed trends:


    1. Use of  lesser-known mineral materials for the body of the ring
    2. Size – ‘way up there!
    3. Color – throughout the ring, not just the mounted stone
    4. Sculptural, innovative modern designs
    5. Rough-appearing, chunky shapes


One new-concept ring is a veined block of sky-blue malachite-geometrically grande, an idea designed to rivet attention on the wearer’s hand.  Another is the organic new collection by John Hardy, where exotic Balinese shells make up the entire ring body.  Rings are fashioned with a gold-lined through-cavity for the finger, with the curve of the shell projecting a bit under the finger as well as extending above, the upper encrusted with inlaid multicolor precious gems in a variety of patterns.  Unique … and sure to inspire others to go organic.


Murano glass is proving more versatile every day-now some colorful rings have a Murano glass shank, topped with opaque stone slabs. But you don’t need Murano art glass for a gorgeous effect – watch as designers pick up on this one and make glass one of the hottest ring materials around.


Another maker offers a heavy golden ring body cradling an opaque cabochon (a domed gemstone without any facets), with a surprise overlay of channel diamonds forming the outline of a star (stars are big, too – wow! this is almost trend “overkill” except that it looks so great).


There’s also increased use of moody black diamonds, real or faux, combined with white stones in heraldic-type pave formations. Pay attention here to the medieval look – it reminds you of Masonic rites and ecclesiastical medieval pieces. 


A French import seems to have been inspired by brass knuckles.  It is unadorned white metal, in the form of the infinity symbol, with both far ends open.  The ring slips over not one, but two fingers, the open ends easing fit.  Again, different, but we can’t imagine how successful this will be, since it is really uncomfortable looking.  But, hey, it might be better than mace! 


Another designer involves three fingers in her design-a traditional gold shank fitted on one finger, with a narrow horizontal bar extending over the two adjoining fingers.  The bar is fitted with a row of mini pyramid projections along its length.  Do these strike you as fads?   Well, not yet: these are mostly precious-metal entries.


—So, what’s the message here?  Just this:   Fads are yet to come.  Right now, we’re showing you source material, designs that put forth styles and techniques that are sure to be picked up and run with at lower-priced levels. Remember how the plastic cancer charity bracelet spawned a zillion charity copies a few years back?  That’s the idea and….it’s not a bad idea, at all!


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THE START OF SOMETHING BIG?   Miuccia Prada has designed a dress with impeccable tailoring and big – no, huge – jewels draped over the shoulders and falling down the front like a Romanoff special.  These are really large chunky crystal creations (the size of soft balls) interconnected around the neck.  Adding to the glitz:  Matched and big drop crystal earrings. Blinding but…also an opportunity!  Jewels embedded in clothing put heavy emphasis on jewelry in general, so don’t think one erases the other.  Big jewels around the neck, that’s the runway message. — And that means jewelry sales! 



CELL PHONE SWANK: If you think cell phones are too functional to qualify as fashion accessories, think again.  Now Dior has created its own Dior-branded mobile unit, called the Diorphone. The French couture house, which says it is taking a luxury approach to cell phones, has set the price at 3,500 Euros, or $5,100 in US dollars. A deluxe model studded with 640,000 diamonds will carry a retail price tag of 18,000 Euros or $27,000.  The phone has impressive sound, but that’s not all!  It has a mirrored display screen that can double as a compact. The company’s chief executive officer says he expects cell phones to move upscale, the same way watches and handbags have.  And what about cell phone carriers?  Hey, that’s a whole other retail sales opportunity for accessories retailers.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Filed under Fashion Accessories
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CONVENTION FRENZY:  The zany hats, huge signs and painted-face antics of political conventions are in focus once again, as the United States moves into its once-every-four-year extravaganza aimed at producing two major candidates for President.  Expect this year to be particularly emotional, with high stakes and battling delegates fighting every inch of the way to countdown.


Even in the mildest of times, this is a time of loony behavior, and intensely emotional outbursts. This year, things will no doubt reach an even higher pitch, as we grapple with a truly historic Presidential run…not so different from the pre-convention months we’ve already gone through. Wild and wacky but amazingly workable!

Right now, things are getting into full swing.  The conventions are starting. The huge convention halls will soon be brimming over with representatives from every state, and all kinds of creative (even silly) ways of expressing candidate choices will be on display, as delegates vote, argue, and mug for the TV cameras..   

 EVERYDAY ANTICS, TOO:  Back home, the action won’t be much quieter.  Politics will be the topic of the day.  In offices, school rooms, restaurants, you name it, Americans will be sporting  candidates’ name buttons, and wearing red/white/blue jewelry, ties or other accessories, trying to show that they are more American than the other guy because their candidate is the right one to choose.  Later on, Americans come together but for now it is strictly partisan politics, all the way.

Solet’s have fun with it!


Get out the paraphernalia; look at the Parties, and the Party symbols.  The donkey for Dems, the elephant for Republicans, are must-haves and guaranteed big sellers.  They make for ID pendants, pins and earrings that proclaim party allegiance to the world.  These party animals are made up in exuberant poses, and project a winning attitude. Look at some of them for sheer entertainment value — that donkey can really kick its heels up!  Just what partisans want and need to ratchet up excitement.


DON’T FORGET FASHION:  For women of the party, choose a rhinestone flag pin, festooned with red, blue and clear stones in an elegant gold or silver plated setting.  This handsome pin is 1-1/2″ high x 0.75″ wide, and makes a strong Americana statement on a garment, scarf, hat…or even pinned to a shoulder bag or tote.  Other metal-craft pins duplicate the U.S.tricolors in cloisonné stripes and stars, and convert simple designs of, say, an apple, or a floppy hat, into a U.S. election emblem. 



And the same heart-stirring color mix of red, blue and white beads create on-point bracelets in a current fashion mode as well as a win-the-election mood.  These are Election-Day favorites, and new bead combinations and sizes have ever-fresh appeal.

Don’t miss the beaded charm bracelets, with lots of meaning in those dangling charms.


TIES TO THE PARTY:  Americana ties are wonderful color splashes of the waving flag, or red and white striping offset by blocks of white stars on a royal blue ground.  Many different tie designs are keyed to this rally-round-the-flag motif, and instill an actively positive, patriotic mood.  These ties are all standard length, with a smooth, silk feel, made of wrinkle resistant durable polyester. 


Other visual details used with the flag image are dramatic full-color depictions of our national emblem, the Bald Eagle, as well as inspirational phrases such as “In God We Trust.” 


WHERE’S YOU FLAG PIN?  Mini flag lapel pins, like those worn by President Bush and members of Congress, come singly or in a trio of designs.  The single flag pin measures ¾” x 1″, and the smaller trio of pins are ¾” x ¾”.  The 3-D color finish for all of these pins is quality cloisonné.  The trio makes it possible to set a pin in place on each of three garments – so you don’t have to move the pin as you change clothes.  And the price is so right.  (There was a lot of controversy over the flag pin earlier this year, but now everyone is wearing one, despite Party affiliation. Consider lapel pins to be a BIG market.)


Another favorite is the Americana flag Visor – great for parades or gatherings, it sports an artful montage of American flags.  The visor keeps the sun out of your eyes and is held securely in place by a comfortable, coiled elastic band.  And it looks terrific.


MORE AMERICANA:  Patriot’s pride pendant/pins also include tricolor ribbon bows with clear stones set into the deep blue stripes.  Simple cross-over ribbon pendant/pins feature rhinestones set in Americana colors…or, to indicate support for our troops, in golden background and yellow rhinestones.  These metal jewelry pieces will retain their colorful good looks for many elections to come.  Each measures 1-1/2″ in length.


Customers may choose to simply display the American flag itself – available in sizes ranging from 6″ x 8″ on a stick (good for hanging in the home or office), to a full 34″ x 61″ flag in lasting polyester, outfitted with 2 eyelets for outdoor display.  For economical purchasers or promoter give-aways, stock the 6″ x 9″ full-color plastic flag on a stick.

Great for flag-wavers of all ages!


Are you ready? Here come the 2008 conventions! 

              — Hey, buddylet me tell you why my candidate is the best guy….

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Filed under Fashion Jewelry
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Is there anything more fitting the Romantic Look in fashion now than a small black velvet ribbon tied gently around the neck, set off by a center cameo or gemstone?  With all the bling and glitz and glamour, this traditional jewelry item actively competes with them all!

Chokers of course are not all so traditional or down-played.  But they all hold a special place in a woman’s wardrobe, being remarkably flexible in what they can be worn with.  A choker looks great with a high necked outfit or a fashionable, big sleeved white blouse, or a hot low-cut T-shirt.


Chokers often over-ride (that is to say, are higher than) the neckline of an outfit; therefore, they really don’t compete or conflict with it.  What’s more, human anatomy plays into choker popularity with panache:  consider just how terrific a small or medium sized choker pendant looks positioned at the hollow of the neck. A Parisian couturier couldn’t have designed the combination better!


COLOR INTENSITY:  Small, delicate little chokers made up of colored beads bring verve to the face.  Glass beads are dynamite color reflectors, and this season is particularly good for them since many of the more intense color waves are coming back on stream.  Yes, summer colors are still fashionable and will remain so through the winter months as a new year-round color consciousness sets in, but deeper colors add to the mix right now and are a comfortable addition to the popsicle hues you may already have in your inventory.

     –Wines, purples, black, darker blues and greens, along with amber rather than bright yellow, all mix well in the gemstone or beaded choker story.  A multistrand seed bead choker in black is a high fashion statement just right for this time of year. 



Single strand beaded choker necklaces come in a wide variety of designs, but one of the best looking is a choker of freshwater pearls, both traditional and hip.  White or dyed freshwater pearls are terrific, and can be chosen to fit any outfit. 





METALLIC MAGIC:  Of all the chokers available, metallic designs are probably the most important, particularly plated gold and silver. You can achieve a very feminine, delicate look, as the choker gracefully sweeps over the neckline, or you can opt for a more updated look, with big, “I-spent a-lot of-money-on-this” single or multistrand metallic chokers filling in the neckline of an outfit. You can get omega chokers, or hammered silver-plate chokers. The options go on and on…


The hot thing about these metal chokers is that they open worlds of pendant play.  You can hang almost anything on them, and the look is dynamite. Some already come with pendants, like little CZ circles.  If you aren’t into metal, you can go the hot cord look, and choose, perhaps, a woven leatherette choker which is equally open to embellishment with pendants.


A major pendant theme now is the heart.  How about a puffy silver heart with open work?  Or a Victorian style vintage heart?  Or a gorgeous little red crystal heart?  These are all fabulous heart pendants just made to be displayed on a choker necklace.  



Religious chokers are always in demand and the more you inventory the better your chances for turning this specialty sector into a very successful niche market. Crosses and angels are just a couple of many pendant themes that are handsome with chokers. But, depending on your market area, you might also want to consider religious medals to round out your offerings.  


CHAINS VIBRATE:  Of course, there is always the young and dangerous corner of the fashion field where hot chains vibrate and high energy gives a rebellious edge to designs.  Chokers fit into this arena with ease.  Consider almost any style, especially metallic, to go with Biker Looks.  Choose anything black for the Goth or even Bondage story.  Think about dog collars of several years ago, still selling now, and the even more timely and trendy (if weird looking) pointy spike chokers rocking the field.

                                            –They shake you up?  Hey…that’s the idea!



Beijing’s late night scene, estimated at about 20,000 revelers and growing, is creating a   new club scene unlike anything Communism has seen before.  Here a mostly young crowd can be seen gyrating and drinking until the wee hours of the morning. The clubs are spectacular, the music is wildly synthesized, and fresh ideas (except on politics, which is a no-no) are freely bandied about in a western-oriented experience that has come into existence almost overnight. 

       “Beijing is everything you want to see,” says Henry Lee, an offbeat entrepreneur who, in his early forties, is considered by many to be the father of the city’s late-night scene.  Lee has already opened nine after-hours spots and isn’t shy about his attitude toward the Chinese capital. “Beijing is the best,” he declares.  Lee wears a goatee, white shirt, black sweater and … a bracelet made of red beads!  What a look for men!  Could it become international?  Hey, why not? As in Beijing, so in South Beach.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Filed under Bracelets
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FORGET ABOUT RULES:   One of the fabulous things about fashion today is that looks matter more than rules.  What you like, what you think looks good, is where it is at.  White can be worn after Labor Day, and who would ever limit their shoe wardrobe to only black?  Direct this modern day psychology of freedom and abundance to jewelry and it opens up worlds of fashion possibilities that didn’t exist just a few years ago. More is more and…everything is flexible! 

Consider bracelets. Wearing only one at a time could be downright boring.  What’s more, bracelets don’t have to be worn only against the skin. They can be put on top of a long sleeved sweater or T, effecting a gorgeous look! Pile them on, the more the merrier. 


With flexible bracelets, as most beaded bracelets are, the fashion choices are especially BIG.  Put a yellow beaded bracelet against a black or blue sweater and wow!  Instant drama.  Let a delicate beaded bracelet fall down below a long sleeved white blouse, gracing the hand with color, and you begin to get the feel of the:

new jewelry dynamics.     

You can always go with classic fashion expressions, but why limit yourself?  Think about these charming bracelet beads and give them the creative uses they deserve!


CERAMIC AND ANTIQUE:  Beads are wildly popular right now, as they have been for several seasons.  The variety and choices here are almost endless, running from archeological-looking varieties to modern, transparent glass or Lucite beads with a Bulgari sensibility.  Shapes are as myriad as colors. Some are oval, some are faceted, some mimic cabochon gemstones.  Many are carved, such as ceramic and antique beads available with an old American Indian appearance.


The age of the wearer is never a factor with beaded bracelets, either; they work for everyone.  And the stretch quality helps them bridge a variety of body types, from very thin to large. What could be better for gift-giving?  — No worry about fit!


Have a classics enthusiast as a client?  Bring out some faux pearl bracelets.  Or show off the elegant plated bead bracelets that give voice to the luxe metallic rush moving across the industry right now.  These beautiful pieces go well with other gold plated bracelets, too, on the same or opposite wrist.  They also make a great fashion play-off against each other!


CELEBRITY POWER: The celebrity impact on beaded bracelets can’t be over-estimated. Gwyneth Paltrow wears a blue-toned multi-strand beaded bracelet on one wrist, and a wide rigid silver bracelet on the other for a beautifully subtle, attractive look.  Charlize Theron also wears bracelets on both wrists at the same time, one notably a double strand large beaded bracelet, the other a more rigid beaded design in matching color.  Artsy.  Classy.  Bohemian.

                  — But, don’t forget the color.  Beaded jewelry brings color to the wrist in a special way and color always (yes, always!) adds a special dimension of fashion and beauty to the wearer.  And you just don’t get better color than with beaded jewelry.


Color, of course, is one of the most desired qualities of beaded bracelets.  Think about a big black glass beaded bracelet set against an outfit expressing the incisive and sophisticated black design look so strong now. This is both hip and urbane, working sales motivation across market segments.  Mardi Gras colored beads are fun for a pre-Lenten expression of wild abandon, or as an everyday connection to the extraordinary individualism that is New Orleans. 


COLORWORKS:  Multicolored beads are leaders in the present fashion field.  Multicolored stretch bracelets are easy to wear and great for all seasons.  They run the gamut from small, dainty and often multi-strand varieties to big, bold single strand balls of colorworks.  Clustered beads on stretch bracelets can be single or multicolored; either way, they are rich and impressive.  The multi-color direction can also be expressed in two or more different colored bracelets worn together:


Seen dancing this week in a Beijing nightery…a beautiful Asian girl in

Western attire wearing two double-strand beaded bracelets tight to the

wrist, one in ivory, the other amber.  Very hot! 


But … beaded jewelry isn’t limited to hot spots. Night clubs are one thing, but beads are as much at home in church, on the beach, in school, or at work.  Indeed, small beaded bracelets have been used for centuries as prayer beads by people worldwide. High schools often order a collection of bracelets in school colors for their students.  Beads fit every and any situation, dress up or casual. And, the fun is, the more you learn about beads, the more intriguing they become. What great conversation starters…!

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, August 18th, 2008

Filed under Dress Hats
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Wow!  Where has the year gone?  New wholesale ladies dress hats are arriving and retailers are buying the hats that will carry them through the rest of the year.  Felts this season include new colors in elegant styles.  

 Classic fashion continues to rule and that means retro looks are in.  The cloche of the 1920s returns reinforced by movies like The Changeling set in the twenties with Angelina Jolie looking elegant in a cloche.  Felt cloches with trim provide conservative church hats as well as homecoming hats.  Satin and feather trims add some pop to the simplicity of the felt bodies. 


Black promises to be big in the fall so expect plenty of black dress hats to go with apparel.  Matte trims like faux suede tone down a look for pure elegance.  The hat shown uses sparse decoration with brim up for a kettle shape.  Flattened crowns continue in popularity. 



Lampshade shapes provide sophistication for church hats.  Think Audrey Hepburn here with a style that goes back to the sixties.  These wholesale dress hats have a wider brim that makes more of a statement and an excellent color selection for fall will grab customers’ attention.  Lavish satin decoration creates the special look church ladies like without sacrificing elegance. 



Widebrims were the exciting design for summer and continue into the fall with felts.  Satin decoration embellishes dress hats for church wear while simple felt swingers provide a fabulous accessory for business apparel.  Five and six inch brims were the show-stealers for summer and will also continue for fall.   



Turned up brims in kettle shapes provide the favorite look for homecoming hats.  Homecoming hats are often hard to find, which gives your business an advantage in a needed item.  Satin decoration and even covered crowns add a stunning flair.  These wholesale hats also serve the ladies that want a more conservative look in church hats.  Color selections are excellent for the fall palette. 



Also new are red felts with purple trim for the ladies that love their red hats.  The one shown is a squared crown with widebrim that rolls down for a stunning look.  Satin trim with a sprinkling of feather biots steps up the look.  These ladies never seem to get enough of red hats. 


It’s August and steamy hot, but fall dress hat business starts early because consumers realize that many wholesalers sell out and don’t reorder, which limits retailers.  .  The main reason is most hats are imported by sea and the season doesn’t have enough time for reorders.  So stock early because customers will be shopping early.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Filed under Fashion Accessories
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ELECTION SPECIAL:  Love her or not, Hillary Clinton’s historic campaign to win the democratic nomination for president is just one more indication of how women’s roles in our society have shifted mightily in a very short period of time.

 Today women are heads of huge corporations, entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, electricians.  There is hardly an industry or a profession that isn’t open to today’s woman.  Many women still prefer to be homemakers – and that’s just great: every woman can choose for herself exactly how she wants to spend and enjoy her life.       

 SPECIAL NEEDS:  Still, the fact is, most women work today, and they have many special needs. Some needs are particular to the type of work done. Others are more generalized.  In any case, the accessories industry has a handsome and functional answer to practically any need encountered! 


For example, few items are as helpful to the working woman as a tote. It might carry high-heeled office shoes while she wears sneakers or loafers in commuting. It might also act as a fashionable lunch box, just right for a sandwich and soda.

                                 — Some totes are unusually luxurious, with couturier branding and expensive fabrications. But all totes don’t require a moneyed treatment.  Reasonably priced, lighthearted designs fit most work-a-day situations.


THE UBIQUITOUS SCARF:  Another essential fashion item for the working woman is a scarf, preferably a patterned scarf with an updated design. A patterned scarf adds a vibrant touch to basic clothing.  A scarf can fill in a low neckline for work, creating a conservative, politically correct office outfit. Yet, remove the scarf and voila! daring evening attire in an instant! 


Scarves are so versatile and are available today in a heady array of arty patterns and marvelous colors, from animal prints to florals, to abstracts.  Fall fashion collections were rampant with scarves used in dozens of ways: as belts, around the neck, draping the shoulders.  One ultra-chic cloth head wrap, for example, spiced with bejeweled long, stand-up feathers, literally glittered on the runway.  It was brilliant and it was …a scarf! 


FASHIONABLY SECURE:  Many institutions and manufacturing sites require employees to wear easy-to-see IDs to maintain security.  Lanyards were introduced some time ago, and these make for ease and comfort. 


Usually, lanyards are simply a long cord or ribbon necklace with a spring or lobster claw clasp to hold the company’s formal identity card.    These can be glamorized with a beaded or pearl chain which can replace, or mix with, the standard required lanyard.  After hours, the jeweled lanyard can be used to hold an iPod or cell phone or, more simply, keys. 

 — WOOF-WOOF: This last use is especially favored by dog-walkers, who simply throw on the lanyard when they hitch their dog to a leash:  it’s so much better to bring the house key, rather than hiding it under a rock!


And speaking of keys, can the working woman ever have enough key rings?  Try personalizing the key ring with an initial.  Better yet, make the initial rhinestones!


LET THERE BE LIGHT:  Big key rings eliminate the key-search, make them easy to locate in those huge luggage-size purses so popular with fashion-savvy females.  Attach a small flashlight to make it easy to set the key in the lock at night.  A clip will hang the key ring from a belt or secure it somewhere in or on the handbag.


King rings are no longer just functional items; they are beautiful, fashion pieces often regarded with the same appreciation as a piece of jewelry.  Women show them off all the time, everytime they reach into their handbags and take them out.  So…play the women’s game, and make them something worth seeing, touching, using!  


MONEY HOLD-UP:  Of course, the primary attachment for the bag is the Purse Hook.  What this decorative hanger does is suspend the handbag from, say, the tabletop in a restaurant.  This gives greater security for the bag, but it does much more than that.  According to Readers Digest, “a woman’s carryall gets parked in some nasty spots beneath the restaurant table…in a test for microbes, up to 10,000 bacteria per square inch were found on purse bottoms.”  

               —Yikes!  Never just drop your purse on the floor. Never. Never!  Purse hooks keep them microbe-safe and close at hand.  And these clever little holders come complete with a snug cloth container that fits easily in your bag without catching onto anything.


GETTING BETTER AND BETTER:  Another fun work-related gift is the motivational pin or bracelet.  One that says “Top Sales!” or “I’m the Best!” – or, for the homemaker, “#1 Mom,” – will give that extra lift to make her day sunshiny.  Make it a good day!

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Filed under Bracelets
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TIMELESS FASHION:  Back in ancient Egypt, it was ethnic, trendy, and aristocratic to wear many bracelets running up the arm at once, often on both arms. Today, it is just as popular and IN, as many different types of bracelets are combined and worn together running up to the elbow. Cuffs are hot.  Bangles are hot.  Link bracelets are wildly in demand, in silver and gold, real and plate. Bracelets are selling and with them, the larger fashion jewelry market is gaining sales momentum. 



Beaded bracelets have taken off big in recent seasons, taking impetus from the many beautiful and unique beaded necklaces on the market.  Charm bracelets have never been bigger. Bracelets of all sorts are rapidly becoming royalty in the world of fashion blue bloods.


An almost endless variety of bracelets presently infuses the market, keeping an intense emphasis on bracelets in general.  Most of the bracelets are fashion-oriented, but some are used for identification and medical purposes, such as allergy bracelets, and the like. Pink bracelets indicate support for breast cancer research. Practically every week we find a new celebrity is supporting another charity, identified by a special bracelet design.

Few, however, are as important as the pink breast cancer awareness bracelet.





ITALIAN GLASS SPLENDOR:  Just look at some of these wild and wonderful bracelets!  Murano glass bracelets are just one category of gorgeous, colorful glass bracelets with an elegant, artistic appearance. And what, after all, is more entrancing than Italian glass? Think of just one item:  An amber Murano style glass bracelet with large amber stones enhanced by Baroque glass pearls…spectacular! 


Other quality glass bracelets include millefiore designs.  Here, the bracelet is strung on coated wire to further enhance the traditional millefiore craft that produces beads with unique little floral designs. This is a real gift delight for anyone with artistic leanings.  She likes to visit museums?  You’ve got the perfect gift! Then there are more glass winners popular right now.  They include, among other styles, chunky glass beaded bracelets that look like jade or jet.  But…be careful.  These are not faux anything….they are real glass.


The history of bracelets is fascinating.  In the Georgian time (1910-1936), women not only wore many bracelets at once, but they also wore a number of unusual styles which are coming back into the fashion picture today.  Wide ribbon silver mesh bracelets, for example, are getting a great deal of attention now, as are silk ribbon bracelets. 


BLACK LACE:  Lacy wristlets are delightfully new-looking bracelets, running a couple of inches above the wrist, and then extending another couple of inches down over the hand in a pretty flounce.  In white lace, they are perfect for the bride.  In a pretty pastel, they add wonders to a prom outfit.  And in black lace, they add a sexy, sensual dimension to the hot black leather look that is making headlines now.


More Georgian designs garnering attention now include diamond or rhinestone bracelets in handsome geometric patterns.  Consider that geometric factor for bracelet designs; i.e., etchings and gemstones and enameling on the bracelets.


Bangle bracelets are a lot like hoop earrings right now:  they are hip, comfortable to wear and popular with celebrities everywhere, to give some indication of just how IN you can be wearing them. Sarah Jessica Parker, for example, wears a gold and gemstone puff bangle bracelet with a thin gold bangle for a dynamite look.  Sarah also trends-up her looks with matching cat’s eye bracelets on both arms.


BANGLE MANIA:  Bangles come in practically every material, from shell to metal, to plastic.  They are also available in many different widths and in an almost endless design variety. Some are circular, some are hexagonal, some are free-form oval.  Many are embedded with gemstones, and others use enameling for a colorful and design-smart look. 


Once you get past a certain width, of course, the bracelet is no longer a bangle. It becomes a cuff, which is simply a wide bracelet.  And wow!  Are cuffs ever popular now.  Wide metallic cuffs are just the start of it, although they are design front-runner here, especially in sleek modern styles.  Consider embellishment on cuffs, too, like a wide silver cuff bracelet with a center rose design.  It is feminine, colorful and charming. It also makes a wonderful gift for any age woman on your holiday list, so remember it!


And while we’re mentioning celebrities, did you ever see anything more eye-popping than the fabulous multi-strand diamond cuff bracelet worn by Queen Latifah recently?  Make it up in rhinestone and you get all the glitz and glamour without the price tag. Of course, if you are more conservative, you can still get a great look with just a single strand rhinestone tennis bracelet.  The good thing here is that you can wear just one.  Or two. Or seven, depending on your mood.  Call it mathematically progressive fashion. Terrific!


FLAPPER FANTASTIC:  The Victorian Era saw many changes to jewelry styles, as bracelets became more rigid and the vogue was set for wearing them in pairs.  A few years later, bracelets became more flexible again and, together with bangles, were fashionably worn, mostly in multiples, on the upper arm.  These flapper-bracelets as we might call them, were often adorned with gemstones or diamonds.  Again, we might be talking history but all of these styles are very IN today.  Think of this as an era of bracelet magnanimity.  Everything goes!


Gemstones on bracelets are always handsome.  So are pearls, on the bracelet or strung as bracelets themselves. Nothing really beats an ivory, socially-proper pearl bracelet!  But let’s get back to gemstones.  What’s big here?  All kinds of faux and semi-precious stones, from garnet to amethyst.  Think also about coral, which makes for a beautiful bracelet as well as an all-year reminder of the sea, and sea life, and the need for eco-consciousness. 


DOWN BY THE SEA:  Shells are ideal materials for bracelet designs.  Consider an abalone shell stretch bracelet, easy to fit anyone, easy to wear, and really good looking.  Some of these bracelets can be found interestingly embellished, as with silver plated filigree beads for an exquisite dress-up look.


White clam shells are also dynamite for bracelets, as are shell chips used in many different styles. Some shells take dye well and can be found in wonderful summery colors of aqua, pink or orange.  Think of Trochus shells here;  they come in white and can be dyed many beautiful colors. 



Vintage bracelets, like much that goes under the vintage banner in costume jewelry, is not only greatly in demand, but prices tend to be soaring for the category! Practically anything done in vintage-style mother-of-pearl can be expected to excite interest.



KID STUFF:  Children’s bracelets are a special jewelry group that always brings a smile to both the buyer’s and recipient’s (and her family’s) lips. Pretty stretch bracelets in delightful pastels are just right for little girls wanting to dress like a grown up. Another bracelet guaranteed to bring squeals of delight is an animal charm bracelet with a gang of little animals, from elephants to tigers, hanging off. 



Children’s charm bracelets with a whole variety of sports-oriented charms work well for grammar-school youngsters: Consider bracelets with hang-off football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, and baseball charms.  A wonderful gift for mothers and grandmothers is the photo bracelet that has room for little pictures of little people.  What a great way for a proud family to show off their most prized possessions!

     –This is also a great gift for teenagers, who can put in pictures of their boyfriends or their latest celebrity idols!  Hunks on the wrist!  Almost sounds like a fast-food special!

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, August 12th, 2008