Professional Jeweler Archive: How to Sell to the Plus-Size Market, Part 2

November 2003

For Your Staff/When Size Matters

How to Sell to the Plus-Size Market, Part 2

The final part of this two-part story shows how to help full-figured women choose earrings and brooches

The majority of jewelry is designed for smaller frames and is uncomfortable and unflattering on half of your customers, given that 50% of women in the U.S. wear size 14 or larger. Last month, I wrote about how to accommodate larger women when showing necklaces and bracelets (pp. 78-79). This month, we look at earrings and brooches.


Long earrings, including chandelier style, are ubiquitous in fashion magazines. The mantra: “longer is better.” Fashionistas encourage full-figured women to embrace the vertical and eschew the horizontal. But contrary to popular belief, long earrings can do a disservice to a larger woman. Though shoulder-duster earrings can be exquisite on a woman with a long slender neck, the ends of the earrings can draw unwanted attention to a wider neck and drag down a woman’s features. If your customer has a double chin or a heavily wrinkled neck, avoiding the very long dangling earrings is important.

I generally recommend long earrings end at the jaw line. One exception: when the woman has an extremely sharp squareness to her jaw, the earrings should end above the jaw line and have a roundness or softness to counterbalance that strong horizontal line.

Earrings for the plus-size customer should have some width as well as length. A long, thin line running along the side of the face will emphasize its width. A wider earring will be consistent with and more flattering to a rounder face and a more generous form. Adding a bit of sparkle and movement with a dangling stone, as seen in the Paisley Pears Earrings in the Apprecia line (right), will draw attention up to the face.


Don’t overlook the versatility of brooches, especially for professional women. Many plus-size women have learned the benefit of wearing the “third piece” – a jacket, duster or vest that elongates the figure and hides perceived figure flaws. Some professional women practically live in suits and jackets. With evening wear, a dress with a jacket is a classic and flattering look for the full-figured woman. The third piece is the perfect canvas on which to display a stunning brooch.

A woman’s overall body size should enter into a determination of how large a brooch to select. On a full-figured woman, a brooch 1 inch in diameter is worse than no brooch at all because it emphasizes the width of the jacket. Selecting a brooch with more presence – such as Apprecia’s Intricate Elegance Brooch – better complements a full figure. Advise your customers to position the brooch near the face rather than lower on the lapel or toward a shoulder.

– by Cynthia Sliwa

Cynthia Sliwa designed the Apprecia line especially for full-figured women. Reach her at (310) 980-8954,

Apprecia’s Intricate Elegance Brooch features a 0.95-ct. emerald-cut watermelon tourmaline with 2.56 carats of white sapphires in 14k white gold. Approximate dimensions are 2 by 11/4 inches. Suggested retail, $2,150.
Apprecia’s Paisley Pears Earrings combine 1.5 carats of rubies and 1.95 carats of white sapphires in 14k white gold. Suggested retail, $1,999.

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications