Accessorizing to Make Clothes Trendy
I’ll just come clean with it: I’m addicted to shopping. My weakness isn’t stuff for the house, shoes, or even clothes. For me, the obsession is accessories — jewelry, belts, headbands, makeup — anything new and affordable that can make an old shirt, pants, or dress look new, fresh, or trendy. Since I tend to agree with the plurality of Americans (48% in a recent Marist Poll) who favor neutral and traditional colors for Spring, now is the perfect time to liven up those muted colors with accessories. And, the best part is that it’s affordable. Let’s face it, in today’s economic climate, going on a mass shopping spree might be tough. Not to worry though, you don’t have to, and I’m going to tell you how, but first, a personal note.
My accessory addiction is really not my fault (addicts always look for someone to blame, right?). In fact, I’m convinced I have a genetic predisposition to this as evidenced by the Home Shopping Network, QVC receptionists and FedEx deliverers who know my grandmother on a first name basis. Always looking fabulous and perfectly accessorized, my grandmother is my style icon. So, inspired by Grandma Loretta’s timeless look, here are a few of my basic tips for accessorizing.
1. Look in unexpected places. Accessories can be pricey but, if you’re patient and open-minded, you can find a great deal if you look off the beaten path. In fact, I’ve found some of my favorite accessories at drug stores, flea markets, or stores that didn’t even plan to carry “accessories.” What I mean by the latter point is that I’ve found pieces that were intended for one use that also work great for others. Think of a scarf — from the waist, the neck, to your head — they can accessorize an outfit in countless ways.
2. Don’t overdo it. I’m always so grateful that Grandma isn’t one of those women who wear huge earrings and the matching bracelet and the cocktail ring and the even more enormous necklace all together. Instead, choose one prominent, focal piece (or two pieces, such as earrings and a cocktail ring, which are farther away on the body) that complements the style of your clothes. Just remember the saying that sometimes more is less, and you don’t have to spend a fortune!
3. Introduce splashes of color. Since I tend to wear a lot of black — often in a monochromatic outfit — a large, brightly-colored accessory (perhaps a belt, scarf, or jewelry) can make a boring and simple outfit look different every time. If you’re wearing a few colors, pick the one, least-prominent color from your clothes to highlight in your accessory. And, don’t be afraid to use make-up in the same way. Sometimes just a bold, red lipstick can add that pop of color a plain color palette needs.
4. Use your head. This is probably my favorite place to accessorize — especially on weekends or for evening looks. It’s amazing how much the addition of a jeweled headband, hair clip, or hat can do for an outfit. (It can also take a look from day to night quickly!) Or, just change your hairstyle if head accessories aren’t for you.
5. Don’t compete with the clothes. Your accessories shouldn’t take away from the interest of your clothes. For example, say you’re wearing a top with an elaborate neckline, don’t wear a large necklace that will compete and create “clutter” all in one place. Instead, go for earrings and a bracelet or skip the jewelry all together and throw something in your hair.
6. Forget some of the old rules. Somewhere along the way, I remember hearing that you should never wear silver and gold together, that you can’t wear white pants after Labor Day, and that red and pink don’t match. Done tastefully and in the right shades, you should feel free to forgo these dated conventions.
7. Accessorize appropriately, please. I recently bought a thick, metallic gold, glitter belt. Tacky sounding, I know. But trust me, it really looks great with an off-white or black outfit for a fun night out. That said, I think my colleagues would, rightfully so, question if I got dressed in the dark if I wore it to work. Although many accessories, when worn with the right clothes, can be non-discriminating between day and evening, others simply won’t work for all occasions. So, just give some extra thought to whether that fun, leather headband with the enormous pink flower on it will be client-friendly.
8. Have fun! With few exceptions, you really can’t go wrong with the use of accessories. Try new things and, hey, the worst case is after a few funny looks, you can just take it off!
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