This Season, Accessories Will Be the Key To Putting a Little Spring in Your Step

While bolder necklaces and earrings have become more popular in past years, the time might be nearing to tone it down just a bit.

When Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow in February, for whatever reason, everyone’s favorite groundhog fulfilled his folk forecasting duties to the joy and relief of everyone looking forward to an early spring.
And with spring comes an opportunity to stretch our overly pale winter legs and try new trends for the warmer weather.
In addition to springtime staples like dresses, skirts and shorts, accessories will play a key role in brightening up any and all outfits this season.
While bolder necklaces and earrings have become more popular in past years, the time might be nearing to tone it down just a bit.
Debbie Wallace, co-owner of fine and costume jewelry store Barbara Ellick in Narberth, said we can look forward to seeing a lot of pastels and some daintier jewelry this season.
She’s seeing a lot of “baby colors” for necklaces, earrings and scarves: Think baby blues, purples, pinks and yellows.
While florals are a common sight for spring designs (“groundbreaking,” as Miranda Priestly would say dismissively) animals will also come out to play in jewelry designs, such as butterflies and dragonflies. Reptiles will have their day in the sun as well: It could be time to enjoy
a snake slithering — decoratively — along your ear.
“The biggest trend with earrings are ear cuffs,” she said, which are pieces that kind of sit on the outline of the outer ear. “You could have a snake going up your ear. That’s very hip, very young, very cool.”
Wallace has worked at Barbara Ellick for 30 years with her mother, the store’s namesake.
Barbara Ellick designed jewelry for major stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and appeared in magazines like Harper’s Bazaar before she decided to open her own shop. In the 1980s, when she began, the store was based right out of her own Merion home.
“All the women would come to the house and she would design one-of-a-kind pieces that she found in her travels,” Wallace said. “She would create special pieces and people would come to the house.”
Soon, however, her customer base grew too large for what her home could handle and she opened the Narberth store.
After Wallace graduated from Syracuse University, she joined her mother at the store.
“Most people would say, ‘You’re out of your mind crazy working with your mother,’ ” she said with a laugh. “But we have a wonderful relationship together and adore working with each other — we balance off of each other.”
Since then, Wallace and Ellick have continued to help customers find the right accessories for their lives — whether for a Bat Mitzvah or just a Saturday night. Customers can come in with a dress they’re wearing for an occasion and the duo will help them match the right accessory to the outfit.
“Young girls love to bring their dresses in or take pictures [of an outfit] and they make a wish list. They love to come in, and we accessorize them for their Bat Mitzvahs,” Wallace enthused.
But as everyone’s tastes are different, she offers plenty of trendy pieces to fit the person’s wants.
Many of the younger customers are reverting back to their — or, as befits any classic revival, their parents’ — ’90s closets as chokers make a comeback, but Wallace is also seeing a lot of “fringe benefits” in what’s popular today.
Fringe in earrings and necklaces as well as tassels are huge now, she said.
Yvette Kornfield seconded that notion. Kornfield, owner of the Sweater Mill in Hatboro, said she has noticed a lot of fringe in shirts and sweaters in addition to jewelry.
Fringe “started in the fall and is becoming bigger in the spring,” she said.
The store also carries jewelry and accessories from scarves to ponchos to earrings. The biggest seller for her in the springtime — and other times throughout the year — is bracelets.
“It surprises me how much the bracelet is still dominating,” she commented, while pointing out her own cuff bracelet. “We’ve been selling bracelets for a couple years, but people can’t seem to get enough of them.”
Many people choose thinner bracelets and layer them together, Kornfield added — a style Wallace has noticed in her customers as well.
Layering pieces such as necklaces or bracelets adds a unique look that has become popular, Wallace said, adding that many choose to wear maybe three or four necklaces at a time.
Rose gold and geometric shapes are also becoming bigger staples for the season as well as wearing multiple rings. Wallace has seen a lot of women wearing three or four rings on each hand nowadays.
“Accessories in general are as strong as they’ve ever been,” she said.
Wallace travels to New York and Los Angeles multiple times a year for shows so she can buy jewelry for the store she knows will appeal to their customers. During her travels and conversations, she’s noticed a few things.
“I think everything circles back a little bit,” she said. She’s noticed pins have become a bigger accessory, which they were at one point many years ago but not as much until recently.
One accessory she advises everyone to have: scarves, which always tie an outfit together. And for the spring, she suggests trying something new.
“I would definitely suggest getting a long necklace,” she recommended. “It doesn’t have to be huge, but some kind of long necklace — something different — step out of their comfort box a little bit with doing a bolder necklace or a bolder hanging earring.”
Scarves — infinity scarves, in particular — have also remained a top seller for Kornfield at the Sweater Mill as well.
“Scarves have been our No. 1 accessory,” said Kornfield, who opened the store 39 years ago. It opened from a knitting mill and in the beginning carried everything that was made in local Philadelphia knitting mills. They initially catered first to just men and boys — until she learned women are the ones that shopped, she quipped.
“We put a scarf on every display and people love it,” she continued. “It makes an outfit. You can put something plain black on and put on a pretty scarf, and it’s a different outfit.”
But there is one accessory that you might need in order to even see the jewelry and other accessories before you. It’s an accessory that has grown from a cumbersome necessity to a fashion statement: eyeglasses.
When you think of glasses as a staple piece and defining characteristic, a few names may come to mind — Woody Allen, for example.
With the the help of brands like Warby Parker and Ray-Ban, big, stylish frames have become not only a way to help you see, but also express yourself.
In the last four or five years, Dr. William Troppauer — or as he is better known to his clientele, Dr. Bill — the owner of Eyeworks Plus, has seen kids go from running and screaming about going to the eye doctor to faking their eye exams so they can wear glasses.
People have started becoming more fashion-conscious, he said, and that has led them to make different choices when picking their eyewear.
“They started to buy multiple pairs of glasses to take care of their visual needs and they wanted colors and shapes that were a little bit different,” he said.
The biggest trend in glasses he has seen is lightweight frames. He carries a line from Italy that are made of nylon and very lightweight, which seem to be the most popular choice at his locations in Philadelphia on South Street and in Doylestown.
He thinks that glasses have become a more integral accessory and fashion essential because they are the first thing you, well, see when you look at a person.
“The first thing people see when they walk in looking at you is your face,” he said. “It goes along with your dress. It’s a showstopper.”
As the warmer weather approaches, he expects people will gravitate to lighter-colored frames — reds, blues and greens.
Nowadays, he said, “anything goes.”
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