This article is part of Shiffon Co.'s What's In My Jewelry Box series, where we visit women we admire to learn about what their jewelry means to them.
Photographed by Shoji Van Kuzumi
Sarah Slutsky is an all-around boss woman. In addition to her job as a stylist for celebrities like Emma Watson, Rachel Brosnahan, and Elizabeth Olsen, she is also the Creative Director for Shiffon and one of our earliest mentors. Since her earliest days at Vogue, she has been a constant advocate for women supporting women. We visited her at work to find out more about the role that jewelry has played in her life, as well as styling tips and advice for her younger self.
Tell us about the pieces you wear every day.
This top necklace is actually Tiffany and was a gift from my uncle for my high school graduation. I’ve been wearing it every day for over 10 years. I was leaving my family to go to college, and I wanted something that I could wear every day, and would really be a part of me. It was the first everyday necklace I started wearing.
My grandfather gave the necklace with the heart shaped diamond to my grandmother as an anniversary present many many years ago. When he passed away, she gave the necklace to me. I had it reset on a rose gold chain, and I worked with this jeweler in Park Slope - I wanted it to look like it was floating, I didn’t want people to notice the necklace at all. I wear it every day under my clothes.
The Shiffon necklace was a birthday gift from last year, and it’s a personal memento to me that reminds me of what we’re building, and the importance of teamwork.
The rings kind of started as a slow collection. I started with this one pinky ring that my grandmother gave me, and it's built up since. I never really buy jewelry for myself...for me, it's important that every piece of jewelry has a memory attached to it. I really love putting on pieces on a day to day basis knowing that it has a specific memory attached to it, or that a person got it for me. I love the personal attachments that come from a gift that someone picked out for you - it's always more valuable for me.
How do you approach curating and styling jewelry for your clients? What do you typically keep in the box?
I try to take an unusual approach when I style my clients. I always think about the story that we're trying to tell, and how the jewelry can complete that. If it's something soft and romantic, maybe I'll add a little edge with an ear cuff. If it's already something loud fashion-wise, maybe I'll soften it with a simple pair of studs.
I like working with beautiful classic stacking rings, and rose golds and yellow golds - they're such warm colors. I tend to look for interesting earrings, because they're up near the person's face, and you want to draw the eye up and keep the attention on the person. The jewelry can really enhance a person's look, just by having a little shine.
What was the first piece of fine jewelry you ever owned? Have you ever lost a piece of jewelry?
Jewelry was always really meaningful to my family and my grandmother. I have this little gold heart shaped necklace that I got when I was born, probably from my grandparents' travels in Italy.
The only thing I've ever lost was a necklace with a diamond that I got from my first ever boyfriend. It was really tragic to lose that - it was one of the first really nice things I owned. I always used to take it to get cleaned every month at the jeweler, and I always took such good care of it, but I lost it during one spring break in college. I feel like losing that early on taught me to be more mindful and careful and to keep track of your things, though.
These days I don't really travel with any jewelry other than what I'm wearing. At home I keep my jewelry in a very classic jewelry box that was a graduation gift from my parents, but I also just try to be careful to put pairs of earrings together, and keeping dishes and little knickknacks all around the house to put my rings in.
What advice would you give to your younger self, or to girls who aspire to be like you?
Keep your eyes open. Focus on what makes you feel full and excited. And as you take steps toward your goals I think it's important to constantly be observing the people around you and see how they handle similar and different tasks. One of my early mentors told me that sometimes the best thing you can do is to listen to what other people think you excel at, because you might not realize that this is a niche for you, that this is a special skill that you have. Allow yourself to be guided by the people who you admire and respect, and surround yourself with people who are reaching for goals that are similar and different to yourself because you never know what you might learn.
Wearing my Shiffon pinky ring every day reminds me of not only my responsibilities to that message but also just to the community of young women out there. When I had my first job at Vogue I was in charge of the internship program, and it really set the tone for the rest of my career. I loved watching the growth and the learning that would happen with the interns, and there is something that I see in Shiffon that reminds me of that time and of that spirit of nurturing.