If you want to add a spark of unique creativity to the clothes you wear then it’s all about choosing the right accessories. Beautifully cut neutral colored clothes can act as the perfect backdrop for some eye-catching pieces. And in fact, the whole character of a garment can be changed by simply swapping around your accessories. For example, take that little black dress. A classic crepe number will see you through the working day with some low heeled pumps and delicate gold jewelry. But if you have an after-office function you can swap those pumps for a strappy high heel, add some sparkle with some rhinestone drop earrings and wrap yourself in a vibrant silk shawl.
WHAT IS YOUR STYLE?
Generally speaking each of us tends to veer towards one particular category when it comes to selecting accessories. There are four main groups that include the real thing, fun and slightly frivolous, fake and ethnic.
THE REAL THING
Accessories that can be classified under this heading can be seen as investment pieces of an iconic and influential fashion designer’s watch, handbag, or shoes. These style extras are all about cost per wear. If you love designer goods then keep them in top condition and you can probably sell them on if you get tired of them. However if you cannot afford high-profile labels you can still shop for high quality items. A slim leather belt with a pretty clasp can look very stylish, or a delicate solid gold chain need not cost a fortune. And if you buy a good quality leather bag it will last much longer than a synthetic one. And silk scarves stand apart from their polyester rivals because they drape so beautifully. However if you love your labels and you’re on a budget check out vintage shops and fairs and you may spot a bargain!
FUN AND FRIVOLOUS
If you want to embrace a current high fashion look then a cheap and cheerful piece has its place. Accessories in brightly colored plastic are a case in point. Neon colored bangles, oversized gimmicky earrings, synthetic scarves can deliver a powerful punch without breaking the bank. This is all about adding a bit of drama to your wardrobe. Fun accessories work especially well with casual clothes in fabrics like denim, cotton and linen. They are perfect for weekend wear and a hot holiday. As a word of caution do check the finish even on a cheap accessory. Make sure the stitching is neat, that seams are properly finished and that a color finish has been evenly applied. Cheap doesn’t mean something has to be shoddy.
If there is one area in the accessories market where sales have soared in recent years it’s the fake it until you make it looks. Most women want designer pieces but few can enjoy the privilege of paying the price. Today it’s often hard to tell them apart from the real things. The key to doing fake accessories well is taking the time to hunt out the best quality you can afford, and in this day and age that is not too difficult. Like the fun and frivolous category a good fake piece needs to be really well finished then it will be much harder to distinguish it from the real thing.
No matter what decade of fashion we’re in it’s nearly always possible to spot some ethnic jewelry on the catwalks. It is the coupling of the vibrancy of color with some intricate design work that makes them so popular. If you dislike mass produced goods this will be your comfort zone. If you enjoy traveling try to find some unusual pieces on your trip. However a word of caution about ethnic accessories is that you need to be careful of overkill. Because the designs can be loud they need to be left to shine on their own. A gorgeous cuff doesn’t necessarily need a matching ring, earrings and necklace. Worked cleverly ethnic pieces can add the wow factor to an otherwise plain outfit.
SOME EXTRA TIPS
- It’s a good idea to create two separate collections for your accessories – one for summer and another for winter. For example, canvas totes, espadrilles, a straw clutch, a brightly colored bandana are the right weight and cloth type for your hot weather wardrobe. Whereas, leather, wool, tartan, sheepskin should be reserved for the winter.
- To flatter your complexion pick your favorite color in a scarf then even if you have a neutral top you can wear something very eye-catching next to your face.
- Accessories are a great way to highlight your best features. Draw attention to your hair with sparkly clips, dress your legs in top quality panty hose, show off a lovely trim waist with an embellished belt.
- If you are stuck for inspiration about how to work your accessories for the current season study the windows in your local mall for some styling ideas.
FIVE TIMELESS ACCESSORIES
With so many accessories to choose from where do you start if you want to rework your wardrobe? Here are five pieces that are definitely worth investing in.
- A statement necklace can transform the plainest of tops. It doesn’t have to be expensive but it does need to be eye-catching.
- A gorgeous clutch with a touch of glamour. It is so easy to plan for a special occasion and completely forget to have the right bag. Many women have made this mistake and end up taking their everyday bag to a dinner date or a party. One good clutch bag will suffice to have those events covered.
- A pashmina scarf just doesn’t date – it’s a fashion classic. Choose several in strong vibrant colors to spice up your outfits.
- With so many body-con styles still hitting the fashion headlines you can create your own shaping with a wide leather belt. Pick a classic shade like black and it can work with any number of clothes.
- Black patent pumps just look stylish. They add elegance to a simple dress and look equally good under a pair of skinny pants.
Gloria Coleman, is the founder of ProminentImpressions Image Consulting. She is a champion for women who feel insecure about their appearance and helps them to tap into the essence of their authentic personality and unleash it outwardly in a way that is classy and fashionable.
Through her proprietary program, Robe for Righteousness, a systematic approach to help women express a 3-C Style Presence, she has been featured on syndicated radio KISS 104.1 FM and is a sought after speaker for women support groups, retreats, and faith-based organizations.
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