What was once a casual shopping encounter with a friend, eventually made its way into a full-time job for Bek. Bek, who sells her jewelry line CleverGirl on Etsy.com -- doesn't create just every day pieces -- some of her designs are geared specifically for plus size ladies who can't find exactly what they're looking for in a regular department store.
Bek recently took some time from her busy schedule to chat with LoveToKnow Plus Size about her custom jewelry and adjustments.
Finding Your Style
LoveToKnow (LTK): How would you describe your jewelry designs?
Bek: I have always been fascinated with contrasting elements. CleverGirl is:
- Modern and vintage
- Natural and man-made
- Whimsical and sleek
- Light and dark
I naturally tend toward these sorts of contrasts. I rarely intend to show a specific contrast in my work but inevitably that's where it winds up. I now try to balance the use of my metal forming skills with vintage plastic components.
I like the idea of framing these man-made gems in more formal (but versatile and fun!) settings. It's an homage to our mothers and grandmothers who wore Bakelite and Lucite during some of the more difficult, but at the same time, happiest, times of their lives. I want to frame that feeling and share it.
LTK: Are you finding that more plus size women are turning to designers to make adjustments to average size jewelry as opposed to just buying plus size jewelry?
Bek: I think it will always be personal preference. I do think women are more likely to buy a specifically designed plus size piece then ask for adjustments. I think some of that is that most women aren't aware that, particularly when buying from independent designers, that they can ask for what they want and need and also that they aren't going to be judged because of a size request.
I had one gentleman confess to me that he thinks his wife is the most beautiful creature he has ever laid eyes on but he also noted that he didn't want to get her something that screamed "you are big, here's your big jewelry" because he knows she can be sensitive about, in her case, her newly larger figure even though she wears her curves with pride, 99.9 percent of the time. I had him find a necklace that she likes to wear and acts confident and sexy in and I had him measure it. In the case of rings as gifts I usually put a package together with an image and description of the piece and a ring sizer that they can keep, in a gift box. I find that having a piece that fits perfectly more than outweighs the relatively short wait for the piece to be made correctly.
LTK: What are your most popular items you adjust for plus size gals?
Bek: Rings and necklaces.
As a plus size gal, I have always had difficulty finding fashionable rings that fit anything other than my pinky at best. I love that I have made rings up to a ring size 14 and down to a size 3.5, and those folks are walking around feeling extra gorgeous.
Necklaces are a frequent adjustment request, again from all sizes. I have turned long pendant style necklaces into chokers as small as 10 inches and as up to 20 inches.
Jewelry That Works
The Right Fit
LTK: Many plus size gals get discouraged easily when they go to a store and find the necklaces or bracelets too short to wear. What would you advise them to do?
Bek: It is incredibly discouraging when you try on something that one can assume is "one size fits all" and not have it fit or it fits and doesn't look or wear quite right. It feels like someone saying, "One size fits everyone BUT YOU." But it's easy to avoid that completely once you know what to look for when buying a piece - it saves frustration and time if you have an idea of a perfect length and also a minimum length that you are comfortable with. Especially when buying online, it removes the guess work (when you aren't directly handling the jewelry until it arrives in the mail) and it removes that "what if it doesn't fit" panic we have all felt at one time or another.
Many jewelry catalogs sell necklace extenders made of chain for chain based designs. I suggest always having a set on hand. They are easy to use and very helpful when you just need an extra inch or two. If a more permanent solution is desired, I suggest taking it to a reputable jeweler and having them attach a closer match length of chain in a more formal (and less makeshift) manner.
LTK: Do you think jewelry designers in general are doing enough to meet the needs of plus size women seeking fashionable jewelry?
Bek: I think designers are doing a better job of present a variety of designs and proportions in their pieces. Aside from some independent designers and plus size "specialty" stores though the overall sizing, I feel, is being ignored. I've tried on many rings and bracelets that were just too small, and the salesperson typically just puts the piece back in the case or on the rack. That's a lost sale right there and a customer who is probably leaving the store with a negative feeling rather than elated that she found that "must-have" piece of jewelry and once it has an extender put on or is sized by a jeweler it will fit like it was made for her body.
Jewelry to Avoid
LTK: What pieces should a plus size woman avoid?
Bek: If she has fleshier earlobes, lever backs on earrings can be uncomfortable if they are wearable at all.
Personally, I am not a fan of the "I wore everything I love at once" look. Too many competing colors or too much matching makes me dizzy! Even too much of a similar texture makes me think of a paint swatch! Mix and match but the key is to compliment, rather than compete.
My wardrobe is full of basic pieces to act as a canvas for my jewelry and when I wear clothing that is flashier I tone down the jewelry a bit-maybe a coordinating accent of color but not a full on splash. When wearing simpler styles of clothing I'm more likely to go for the real splash of color.
For more information, see Bek's profile or visit her Etsy shop to find her unique jewelry designs. With over 6500 admirers of the jewelry, there's bound to be something you'll love.