I love accessories. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know I’ve included some sort of accessory in each and every post. Why? Because accessories are like the furniture you add to an empty house, the picture you add to an empty wall or the frosting you add to a bare cake. In other words, accessories are the necessary ingredient or final puzzle piece that makes every outfit perfect. As you may have guessed, I feel strongly about everyone (men included) building an accessory wardrobe.
Accessories are defined by wiki as “anything that can be added to something else in order to make it more useful, versatile, or attractive” (and I’m emphasizing attractive). They can include shoes, scarves, handbags, ties, jewelry, hats, gloves, belts, jackets, and tights. Today I want to share what to consider when adding accessories to your outfit, particularly your casual day-to-day outfit, your work or business outfit, and your evening night-on-the-town outfit. You’ll want to keep three things in mind about accessorizing.
1. Choose Your Base – Admittedly there are times that I build my wardrobe around the accessory I want to wear for that day (and you can too), but the easiest way is to first choose your base pieces, your top, and bottom. Below I’ve provided three looks, which may or may not be your style, but it gives you the idea. Use the rule of three to pick the perfect outfit and then go from there. When selecting your base consider the purpose or occasion and your personal style. Both the occasion and your style will also play a factor in your choice of accessories.
2. Choose Your Outer Accessories – Once you’ve selected your base pieces, it’s time to choose your first layer of accessories. Your outer accessories include a sweater, jacket, blazer, vest, and shoes. Your layers will be dependent upon the temperature outside and your own internal temperature (if you tend to run hot or cool). If you’re going to wear multiple layers, which is likely in really cold climates, start with your most fitted and thinnest fabrics then add thickness as you go. When selecting a jacket, sweater, or vest be creative and add interest to your outfit with something colorful or with a unique silhouette. With your shoes, you’ll want to consider comfort, function, and style (which are not easy to find in the same shoe) since they are also accessories. I’m a shoe lover so I often wear solid colors in order to make a style statement with my shoes. Shoes can truly make or break an outfit so consider them as an important part of your outer accessories.
3. Choose Your Intimate Accessories – I consider jewelry and handbags to be an intimate accessory because (a) you wear them close to your body and (b) they can carry special and meaningful sentiment. Accessorizing with jewelry and handbags is usually where most of my clients get stuck. Choosing the right piece or even how to wear that piece can become a confusing and challenging process. What size jewelry should I wear? Should I wear gold tone or silver tone and what about colorful stones? Do I need to match my handbag with my shoes? (Let me just answer that one…NO) Do I need to change my handbag based on the outfit or the occasion? The answers to most of these questions will be dependent upon the individual but using these three outfits below, I want to share a few ideas to think about.
a. Casual Outfits – With casual outfits I don’t often feel a need to go big or bold. Grab an 18-20″ dainty dazzler (a smaller delicate piece of jewelry) to highlight your neckline or try a long piece with a cool pendant dangling at the end (like in the picture below). Long necklaces will create a visual line which will make you look longer and leaner but be careful with the length. The length of a necklace can be tricky if you have a large chest or are petite. You can also opt for a great scarf to add color, but don’t be afraid to layer your scarf with a long necklace. You can finish the look with a set of bangles. Remember layering is so on trend and I believe layering is a fabulous way to go from casual to casual chic. Just be sure there’s one element or color tying it all together.
b. Work Outfits – With work outfits less is actually more, meaning there’s no need for a lot of layering (unless your business or profession calls for a bolder jewelry statement). Although you don’t want to overdo it you’ll definitely want to add an exclamation point to your outfit. With work outfits, I’m all for statement pieces. A bold necklace or cuff bracelet will add something special and provides a subtle sophistication. Don’t be afraid to mix metals or materials with your statement pieces. The necklace I added below is leather and sterling silver. If a bold piece is too much, try what I call a throw and go which is a 32″ necklace, which can be pearls, silver, gold, or made of precious stones. The fabulous thing about these type of necklaces is that you literally throw it on and it gives your outfit a completely new and elevated look! Also, consider carrying a great tote/handbag that represents your personality and style.
c. Evening Outfits – When you heading out for a night on the town it’s all about the bling! Now personally I can wear bling all day long (and if that’s your personality style then go for it!!), but it’s definitely appropriate for evening wear. A bold pair of CZ chandelier earrings or Swarovski studs will do the trick. Think blingy cocktail rings or necklace, depending upon how you want to accessorize the outfit you’re wearing. A blingy clutch bag and shoes will completely compliment your evening outfit. I also love accessories with suede and leather for an added twist.
For men accessories as just as important to the completion of their outfits as women. Your tie, pocket square, socks, suspenders, vests, sweaters, jackets, and shoes will be the items you’ll be able to bring forth your style, sophistication, and playfulness. Do you have a variety of these things in your accessory wardrobe. You’ll want to consider adding a few.
There you have it! Your guide to accessories and how to wear them like a pro!
Do you have other thoughts on accessorizing? Share them in the comments below!
Live, laugh, shine!
Jewelry pieces, scarf, and handbag courtesy of Silpada Designs Jewelry!