Whether she’s conducting a daily press briefing or participating in a TV interview, the 34-year-old — who replaced Sean Spicer after his sudden departure earlier in July — is rarely photographed without the same strand of pearls. They’re a dainty add-on contrasting with her youthful floral patterns, bold pops of jewel-toned color, and flared hemlines.
“Pearls are iconic, classic, and traditional — they’re not exactly stylish — but on Sanders they’re fun and modern,” Marion Fasel, founder and editorial director of The Adventurine, an online jewelry magazine, tells Yahoo Style.
Just like any other style trend, pearls have fluctuated in popularity since the turn of the last century, when they were considered the most valuable gem. “Back then, pearls were for the 1 percent, who waited years to have their necklaces assembled by divers [who recovered them from oysters],” Fasel says. “Once commercialized, pearls disrupted the natural market in the mid-century; they became mainstream.”
Pearls have always been a staple in the White House, popular among first ladies Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Jacqueline Kennedy, Barbara Bush (who famously said of her oversized ’80s trademark necklace, “The pearls are to cover the wrinkles, which they no longer do”), and Michelle Obama.
That said, it’s unlikely that Melania Trump will opt for pearls. “She’s a real New York woman with a fashion background, and pearls are too dusty and prim for her,” says Fasel.
For a press secretary, whose job is to convey information to the public, pearls send a subtle but powerful message. “They convey trustworthiness, consistency, and authority,” says Fasel, adding that pearls are a smart piece to showcase, since Sanders is often viewed at the podium from the waist up, and she often wears her hair down, obstructing any view of her earrings.
It’s also likely that Sanders wears the same strand repeatedly (“You can tell it’s the same necklace in every photograph,” says Fasel), and they’re the real deal. “Her pearls have a luster that’s apparent on camera.”
Bottom line, according to Fasel: “Sanders’s stylist is doing a great job.”
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