Coco Chanel famously once said, “Before you leave the house, look at yourself in the mirror and take one thing off.” Well no offense Ms Chanel, but I disagree (gasp!). Far be it from me to challenge THE first lady of fashion…..but I’m going to anyway. For me, accessories are a great way to showcase your personal style without breaking the bank. And the MORE the merrier.
Now of course if you are wearing a Chanel suit I completely understand that you don’t need to kill it with accessories, it’s a CHANEL suit for goodness sake, but hands up who has one sitting in their wardrobe (Kim R, put your hand down, we know you do but the rest of us don’t OK?). Most of us are just trying to get through life looking stylish in our chain store chic (plus a few designer pieces here and there that we bought on sale) so we need to do something a little bit special to make us stand out from the crowd.
Enter accessories. Now as you many have heard I am a shoe girl (did someone say Imelda?) but my costume jewellery collection is rapidly growing (much to the boys horror – “but where is it all going to fit!”). I can’t believe I didn’t work this out years ago – accessories are the key to individual style. Here are a few easy ways to pump up your every day (and night) look without having to fork out for a new outfit.
I. LOVE. SHOES. So much so that I have three pairs still sitting in their boxes unworn that I just HAD to have (I will wear them eventually, I promise). If you have quite a simple or classic outfit on, add a fun shoes to jazz it up a little (yes, I said ‘jazz it up’). Animal print is big this season, and again, my favs from Tony Bianco (I am desperately waiting for them to go on sale!) are a great example. If heels aren’t your thing, there are plenty of animal print ballet flats around at the moment too and if you don’t do animal print (I totally get that) any shoe that is a little different will do the job. It’s just about making the SHOE the “statement piece” of your outfit, rather than the outfit itself.
On the note of heels vs flats, the sad truth is that generally with a knee-length hemline a slight heel makes our leg look a little better (unless you have legs like Giselle, and even Giselle probably doesn’t have legs like Giselle). The good news is that a wedge will generally give you the same effect but with much less pain! There are a HEAP of wedges around at the moment and looking at the mags out of the US and Europe, they will still be huge for summer so there is hope for us all!
Summer or winter you can use a scarf to add a bit of excitement to any outfit. The bigger and warmer the better in winter – cashmere, wool, even faux fur. Wrap them around your neck for extra warmth and again use as a pop of colour with a black or grey outfit (which we all gravitate towards in the cooler months).
In summer, silk and imitation silk (read: polyester blends) are a great way to add a little extra without boiling to death. Hang loosely around your neck, or tie like a 1960’s air hostess or even twist it up tightly and wrap it around your wrist like a bangle. You can also use a lightweight scarf as a hat band on your summer fedora or tie it to your handbag to individualise your look. Scarves are one of the most versatile accessories out there so don’t be scared to have a go at wearing them a few ways.
This is the obvious way to add that final 10% to your look but don’t feel like you have to spend a fortune on jewellery! Stores like Diva, Lovisa and Collette are great options for picking up some fun, colourful jewellery at great prices. Don’t discount places like Target and Kmart for some cute stuff too.
The trick I have found to buying costume jewellery is that if you are going to buy something with a bit of colour, make sure you buy a few pieces in that colour that you can use all at once to tie an outfit together. I have quite a few pieces of turquoise-coloured costume jewellery that all work well together, especially if I am wearing a solid colour like black or grey. My other new favourite accessory colour is a deep coral, or burnt orange kind of colour. It works really well with the olive greens and greys and browns that are around at the moment. I have a great set of bangles that I bought at a little shop in Whangamata in New Zealand at Christmas time, then recently I picked up a cool flower ring from Lovisa for $4.95! These two pieces work really well with each other, but also work well mixed with the turquoise – don’t be afraid to mix your colours either!
Bigger is better (well I think so anyway) but that is a personal choice. I have fine features (and fingers) so I find that the bolder, chunkier styles of jewellery suit me better. There is a fine line though between accessorising with personality and just wearing too much (sorry to confuse you)! Generally I find if I am wearing big earrings, I will steer clear of a necklace (and visa versa), also, I will wear bangles on the opposite hand to any rings I am wearing. As with most things in fashion, it is about proportion and balance. Make sure your jewellery is spread evenly over your body and the colours and shapes compliment you and your style.
So there, my friends, are a few simple ways to add your own sense of style and personality, don’t be scared to step outside your comfort zone a little.
How do you add personality to your look? Are you a shoe girl or does something else float your boat?