The Key to Accessories

Jul 05, 2011


Shopping for accessories has been for me a learned skill, but as I gradually became aware of what items each of my pieces of clothing could use and what would balance and complete a wardrobe, I eventually have become much more adept.

A few of the ways to learn what works best for you when it comes to which accessories to purchase are to first, experiment – try it on in the store and imagine it with pieces you have in your closet at home; second, let fashion magazines be your guide – notice how stylists have put together ensembles as they not only are skilled professionals, but they are working with items that will be available in stores at the current moment; and third, ask a store sales person to advise how they might accessorize a particular outfit (Keep in mind that most of them are paid on commission, but this doesn’t mean you have to buy what they suggest. Having worked in a retail store and being a lover of fashion myself, I just assumed most customers knew how to accessorize or organize a particular look for themselves, but what I learned was that even if they did, I knew the store and its merchandise better than they did, so I was more equipped to direct them toward something that would be flattering quicker and eliminate frustration.) So don’t be afraid to ask for guidance.

Here are a list of accessories to always be looking for whether you are going shopping at your favorite boutique, yard sales or consignment shops that will provide the finishing touches to any wardrobe you pull together.

*belts – skinny, large, corset
*scarves – large silk scarves in prints or solids depending on your dress, blouse or coat, and cashmere and/or wool scarves for winter.
*earrings – have fun with chandeliers, but also have simple earrings (diamonds and pearls) and stylish hoops as well.
*watch (feminine or boyfriend style)
*broaches – perfect for changing the neckline of a blouse or dress (Oprah and Sarah Jessica Parker seem to have mastered this technique), or arranging a scarf, or placed on a jacket or coat
*necklaces Think proportions and statement pieces. A simple black sheath dress can look different each day if you pair it with a different large necklace each time.

*tights – during the winter and fall months, tights are a wonderful accessory to have on hand to add texture, warmth and keep the ability to show off your beautiful gams

*hats – fedora, straw sun hats, newspaper boys, berets – have fun trying them on and notice which one’s make your facial structure pop.

*cocktail rings – always fun as a statement piece that grabs attention

*cuffs or bangles again, a simple way to make a classic solid dress or look rise to the next level is to add a gorgeous oversized cuff to your wrist.

*reading glasses (with or without corrective lenses)



*sunglasses – purchase a pair that works well with your facial structure. Not sure which shape to gravitate towards? Venture to your local department store (Nordstrom always provides good service) and ask the salesperson for advice on which shapes work best with which facial structures. You are under no obligation to purchase, so just consider this a information seeking session.

*handbagsWith each year of my life and after having donated or tossed too many cheap handbags to count, I am more convinced than ever that quality is the key to the handbags we bring into our lives. If you are purchasing a classic, stylish piece, do yourself a favor and investigate the design and color you want and save up for it. The three handbags you will need to always have at the ready, all the while looking effortlessly stylish are a tote for work, a clutch for night, and top handle handbag for day to day. Another quality item to keep your eye out for is a luggage tote for your weekend getaways.

I’ve always been of the opinion that two or three accessories were my perfect number. I typically choose to wear something that will highlight what I am most confident about regarding my body – either my waist, long neck or eyes.  In saying that I wear a lot of belts, feel almost naked without earrings constantly and always throw on my Michael Kors boyfriend watch. Now you may be more inclined to want to accentuate your neckline and décolletage with beautiful necklaces or gorgeous broaches, along with a conversational cuff.

What you choose will help distinguish your signature style from everyone else and help you to reveal your most confident self.  Have fun while shopping for accessories as it is a constant process and one that is so much fun because you don’t have to go into the dressing room. 🙂

Always remember to find the balance between not wearing any accessories to wearing too many accessories.  It is a skill, but one that you can easily acquire with practice, reading fashion magazines and style books as well as having an eye for what looks best on your body. And most importantly remember that the most important accessory is exuding your healthy self-confidence.

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the shoes: 10 Essentials Shoes Every Woman Should Have or the 10 Essential Wardrobe Pieces to complete the foundation of a stylish wardrobe no matter what the occasion.

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7 thoughts on “The Key to Accessories

  1. Great post Shannon. So agree with you about getting the balance just right. Seen too many women walking around looking like Christmas trees in the middle of August!
    Lovely images too 🙂

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