I am the Queen of Accessories. I believe that accessories can take an outfit from blah to brilliant. Even a plain ole t-shirt and jeans! Accessories are one of the lowest cost ways to make the biggest impact. Never underestimate what the right handbag, shoes and jewelry can do. And don’t forget belts, scarves and sunglasses. These items define and inject personality into your personal style.
How many handbags do you own? At one time I probably owned over 50! After a few moves and keeping only the ones that I wear and absolutely love, I have pared down considerably. There are a number of blogs and websites out there that will tell you how many and what types of bags you should own. I don’t believe that you “should” own a specific number of handbags and that they “should” be of a certain type. However, you probably should and will most likely want to own more than just one! Let your lifestyle dictate the number and the type.
Here are some things to consider when shopping for handbags.
- Length – There is only one simple thing to remember. Wherever the bottom of your bag falls will be accentuated. If you have big hips and don’t want to make them look even bigger, find a bag that hits your waistline. Likewise, if you have some excess belly fat, choose a handbag that hits below the waistline. In general handbags that hit at the waistline will flatter most figures.
- Size – If you are a tiny, short person don’t overpower yourself and get lost wearing a huge handbag. Taller, curvier girls can opt for a larger bag.
- Shape – As they say opposites attract! You want a handbag that compliments your shape. Think of your overall shape. Then choose a bag that is the opposite. Are you round and curvy? If so choose a handbag that has structure and angles. If you are tall and slender a round slouchy bag will look great on you.
- Style and Usage – Are you more casual or formal? Will be you be carrying your bag every day to work? Does it need to be able to hold your laptop or wallet? These are just some of the questions you may want to ask yourself. This is also why you will probably want to own and why you may need more than just one handbag.
One last note. Most likely you will have a handbag that you will use almost on a daily basis. This is the one that you can consider an investment. You should always buy the best that you can afford. A classic style, leather and neutral color is a safe bet. It will last for years. If you invest and choose wisely you will love wearing it years to comes just as much as you did the first day you bought it!
Scarves are a must have accessory. Or at least they should be. This hasn’t always been the case for me. I am sure, like I was at one time, you may be a bit overwhelmed about not only what kind of scarf to buy but also how to wear it. A scarf will not only take an outfit from ho-hum to extraordinary, but can also keep you warm and protect you in inclimate weather.
You don’t need a wardrobe of scarves, you just need a few to make your tee-shirt and jeans, your little black dress or your winter coat look as if you own a dozen of each of these! Oh, did I mention that a few scarves are way less expensive than a few coats?
Now that you are convinced that you should add a few scarves to your wardrobe. Where do you even begin? The most versatile scarf you will want is rectangular, wide and long. You want a scarf that you can wrap around your neck at least once that will not be too short or thin once you do so. Fabric is one consideration. As when buying most anything, you want to buy the best fabric you can afford. Personally, I buy natural fabrics as much as possible. In cooler weather, think wool, cashmere, and fur. During warmer months think lighter fabrics like silk, cotton and linen. A combo of the aforementioned works too! I shy away from polyester, rayon, nylon and especially acrylic. Even though you can find some high quality synthetics.
Color and fabric are another consideration. You can never go wrong with neutral, solid colors. Black, gray, navy, beige, ivory or white are always chic, classy options. Please do not wear black with black! You do not want to be matchy, matchy not to mention BORING! If you have a solid color outfit or coat try pairing a neutral color, complementary color or patterned scarf with it. Does your outfit or coat have a pattern? Opt for a solid neutral or color scarf. I know it’s done, but wearing pattern with pattern can be tricky. The best choice is to just avoid doing so!
I once read that Nicole Richie owned over 100 pairs of sunglasses! Granted you certainly don’t need that many. But you will want at least one pair if not a few. The right frames can make you look younger, thinner, and even smarter if that is the look you are going for. Seriously, you can knock off some pounds and wipe away a few years with the right pair of shades. Contrary to what designers would like you to believe you don’t need to spend a small fortune on an incredible pair.
Most importantly in choosing a pair of frames you will want to consider your face shape.
If your face is square shaped defined by a strong jawline, broad forehead and wide cheekbones look for frames that are slightly rounded at the edges to soften and balance angular features. Choose ones that sit high enough on your face to downplay the jawline. Some good choices are round, oval and aviator styles. Skip sharp, geometric shapes.
If your face is oval shaped lucky you! Oval faces are longer than they are wide with relatively balanced features. You can get away with most any style. But, you don’t want your frames wider than the broadest part of your face. Cat-eyes, wraparounds, square and oversized frames will work fabulously.
Round faces are characterized by full cheekbones with soft curves having a similar width and length. Find frames with angular lines. Make sure your frames are equal to or slightly wider than the fullest part of your face. Dark or tortoiseshell color can minimize fullness. Higher temples and details on the brow bar can create a longer face shape. Some great frame options for you are wide, rectangular frames including square, and cat eye styles. Avoid round frames and colored lenses.
Heart shaped faces are broad at the forehead and cheekbones and narrow at the chin. The goal is to broaden the chin and give the appearance of proportion to your face. Look for gradient lenses (darker at the top than bottom). Some styles that will work to downplay a broad forehead and narrow jawline are cat-eye, aviator and wayfarer styles. Skip styles that are overly embellished.
Along with looking for frames that flatter your face shape, consider what color frames look best with your complexion. In general warm complexions (yellow undertones) work best with khaki, copper and peach color frames. While cool complexions (blue or pink undertones) work best with black, plum or dark tortoiseshell frames. Lastly take a look in a full length mirror. Do you like how your sunglasses affect your head-to-toe look?
Besides the obvious accessories of shoes, handbags and jewelry there are many, many more that can amp up a so-so outfit. Accessories get noticed! Why not cinch your little black dress with a wide leopard print belt? Waa-la it looks like a brand new dress. Key chains are not only great for holding all your keys but make swanky little purse charms to add color or “charm” to your everyday black purse. A brightly colored square scarf can do the same. Headbands make fashionable hair accessories while doubling to keep your hair out of your eyes while exercising. Gloves and hats can add a pop of color to a winter coat on a grey day and brighten your spirits.
Never forget the accessories. Accessories complete the look. Accessories can give minimal clothing pieces countless different looks. Accessories define your signature style. Accessories cost little compared to a new dress or designer jeans. Accessories are slow to go out of style, sometimes lasting forever. Best of all accessories will always fit!