How to Accessorize
Accessories are like the cherry on top of a perfect outfit! They add that extra something special to an ensemble and can be a very unique and personal way of expressing yourself.
Whether you are dressing for everyday or an evening occasion, there are plenty of accessory options to consider.
- For colder months: Scarves can double as blankets and ponchos for additional warmth in the winter months. Look for pashmina, chunky knit infinity, and wide wool scarves — they are perfect for introducing texture, color, and even pattern to your look.
- For warmer months: Look for floaty, thinner scarves in materials like silk and chiffon — a large printed silk square scarf, for example, is extremely versatile. It can be worn in the hair as a headband, around the neck as an improvised necklace, or even threaded through belt loops for an interesting touch.
Metal: For an easy everyday pairing, silver or gold watches are ideal. A popular way to wear metal watches these days is to wear an oversized men’s watch, first popularized by Rihanna in her music video for the song Take A Bow. Pick rose gold or jeweled oversized watches for a more feminine take.
- Leather: A leather-strapped watch is classic and is always appropriate. Pair with flashier jewelry as part of a statement stack, or dress them down with thin bracelets that keep the look understated yet put-together.
Elastic waist belts: Stretchy belts work well for cinching shift dresses, shirtdresses, and even dresses that are just a little too large. The cinched waist is an evergreen trend, and suits women of all body types. Go for contrasting colors and textures – for example, pairing a white belt with a navy dress adds a hint of nautical chic.
- Thin belts: Skinny belts with bows, patent, or sparkle detail are a great way to dress down your evening wear for a more casually chic look. Your belt should sit at your natural waist. Many belts are meant to be worn at the hips, so look for belts in a smaller size that you typically wear, and get holes punched in for a better fit. The remaining length of belt can be looped and tied into the belt.
- Personal: Small, dainty pieces have come back in fashion. A simple gold bar, a tiny midi ring, and a thin gold bracelet are all very stylish without being over-the-top. Websites like Etsy offer handmade pieces that can be personalized with monograms, names, and even location coordinates, which is a lovely way of keeping loved ones close to your heart.
Traditional: One can never go wrong with a pair of pearls, diamond studs, or a simple silver cuff. Look for high quality pieces that will last for a long time. These are often pricier and are investment pieces, but will always be classic and will never go out of style.
- Vintage-inspired statement pieces: Designers like Dannijo and Lulu Frost incorporate mixed metals, vintage pieces, and chunky gemstones into their collections, making for a very unique piece. More affordable alternatives in a similar aesthetic can be found at J.Crew, which in recent years have upped their jewelry offerings.
- Neon: Especially popular in the spring and summer, brightly-hued pieces in Technicolor neon have become very popular in recent years, with designer Tom Binns leading the crowd. More affordable alternatives can be found at mass retailers like H&M.
Hats: A hat is a useful accessory whatever the season. In the summer, a wide-brimmed, floppy hat shields the face at the beach. In the winter time, a 1940’s cloch hat is a chic way to keep warm, or even a beanie for dressed-down days.
- Headbands: Brought back into prominence by Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf, headbands are an easy way to inject preppy style to any outfit. Try bows and plaid for an everyday look, and glitter and fabric floral elements for more dressed-up days.
How to Edit
Coco Chanel, dame of minimalism, once said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off” – a cautionary statement against over-accessorizing that still holds true today.
Lena Henao, Chief Creative Officer at Bijoux Terner, advises “To keep your look polished, think more about balancing your accessories rather than the actual number you put on. If you’re wearing a statement necklace, don’t add a pair of chandelier earrings, stick to studs. If you’re stacking up the bangles, keep it minimal around the neck.” The size of the jewelry is also important – if you’re wearing a chunky bracelet, it doesn’t mean you can’t pair it with a ring, but pick a dainty piece, like midi rings or thinner stackable rings.
For other types of accessories, consider how they work with the rest of your outfit and how functional they are as accessories. For example, choose appropriate materials for scarves (such as thicker knits in the colder months and floatier chiffons in the spring), and consider the overall effect of the prints and colors on you. Scale, proportion, and colors that work well with each other are all examples of things to consider.
Matching Your Accessories
Many fret about the right way to accessorize, but these simple tips will have you accessorizing like a pro in no time:
People are often afraid of mixing metals (for example, wearing gold earrings and a silver bracelet), but that rule, according to Henao, is “one of those rules that went out with not wearing white after Labor Day.” Mixed metals are an easy way to add texture and interest to a look. A simple way to mix metals is wearing a stack of rose gold, gold, and silver bangles on one arm. Many watches also combine mixed metals for an elegant two-toned look.
An easy way to ensure that your accessories match your outfit is to pick a color from your clothes as the color to base your accessories off on. For example, a patterned blouse with red and blue flowers can be paired with a blue scarf or a red bangle.
Layering patterned pieces is fun and can be easy if you’re aware of what to look out for. Pattern size is important, as is color. It is much easier to mix differently-sized patterns together (for example, a bold checked shirt with a scattered polka dotted trouser) and patterns in a similar color (for example, green and blue plaid against blue florals).
In general, accessorizing is an easy way to try out new trends, add a pop of color to your look, or even to keep extra warm. Have fun with the accessories you pick and allow them to show off your personality.