Accessories are all the rage these days. With celebrities sporting rich jewelry and magazines showing expensive handbags, it's no wonder these embellishments look a little intimidating. But if you want to brighten up a boring outfit, using accessories might not be as hard as you think. Stacy London from TLC's “What Not To Wear” has some great ideas on ways to make you shine.
Is the only jewelry you ever wear a wedding band and a locket from your grandmother? Do you only wear solid black or brown shoes and bags and belts? Have you ever worn a scarf for something other than fighting the cold? Building an accessories wardrobe can be fun and easy. Accessories can help define your personal style, and even transform it. Here are a few tips for getting started. And the very best thing about an accessory? It still fits when you're bloated! Until next time, "Work Hard. Dress Right."
Arts & crafts
Accessory tip #1: Start with pieces that are a natural match with your personality.If you already know you love a particular style, try to find similar accessories when purchasing an outfit. The arts and crafts trend uses materials like leather, rope, exotic beads, wood and shells in jewelry and on shoes and bags in exciting new ways. The pieces look handmade, and sometimes roughly sewn. All the materials appear natural.
Remember: bigger pieces work on women with a bigger frame. That doesn't mean you have to pile on oodles of stuff, but always keep the accessory in proportion to the size of the woman. Earrings: Lee Angel, $210; necklaces: Gerard Yosca, $165; Danielle Stevens, $165; Gara Danielle, $207; bracelets: Danielle Stevens, $35; Lenora Dame, $40; Gara Danielle, $46; Gerard Yosca, $165; shoes: Payless, $19.99
Accessory tip #2: Invest in the classics.Always have simple chain jewelry in your wardrobe. Lots of necklace chains in varying lengths make a great statement when worn together over a sleek suit, but they are also a great tool to mix with other materials to add texture and depth to an outfit. Larger chain links are especially popular right now.
Metallic jewelry is neutral. Pair it with any color clothing or any other type of jewelry. It's like stocking up on great camisoles to layer under sweaters — they add a little something extra, and they help your style look polished.
This bag [shown on "Today"] from Matt & Nat is a reasonably priced faux leather in a classic Hermes-style brown. Add a printed scarf for some extra flair, and these pieces will always look chic.
Other old-school classics — a la Grace Kelly, Kate Hepburn, and Audrey Hepburn — include real or faux pearl studs, real or faux diamond studs, and a good watch. You can pair these with jeans, a classic trench and ballet flats for a great look all season. Necklaces: Noir, $110; Sparkling Sage, $79-$98; bag: Matt & Nat, $100; shoes: Stuart Weitzman, $225
Palm BeachAccessory tip #3: Build a flattering color palette.
Choose accessory colors with a little more boldness than the color palette for your clothing. Small, bright pops of color will look beautiful in jewelry or a bag without overwhelming the wearer. Look for colors that complement your skin, hair and eye color for maximum effect.
Enamel and gold jewelry are a trend right now, with pieces that are reminiscent of costume jewelry from the '60s and '70s. Collect a particular type of jewelry over time, and mix and match different color variations for a strong look. Sunglasses: D&G, $135; earrings: Gerard Yosca, $85; necklace: Noir, $110; ring: Kenneth Jay Lane, $90; bracelets: Kenneth Jay Lane, $60-$175; bag: Santi, $215; shoes: Aldo, $79; dog tote: Kwigy-Bo, $210
Accessory tip #4: Give accessories center stage.Accessories can create the personality of your clothes. While you may be in a simple knit top and walking shorts, it's the accessories that can give your outfit that preppy feel. Pink and green are practically the uniform colors for the preppy look. Adding a great bright green patent shoe, wicker bag and scarf belt give the personality of the look.
For a sophisticated style, choose two main colors for your palette and add splashes of a third, to keep your outfit from looking too matchy-matchy. Sentimental jewelry — smaller pieces like charm bracelets and lockets — are also in keeping with this look. In this case, the jewelry acts to highlight bolder accessories. Earrings: A.V. Maxx, $30; necklace: Gara Danielle, $165; Flying Lizard Designs, $60; Rapz, $75; bracelets: R.J. Graziano, $115; Susan Hanover, $25; belt: Rachel Weissman, $75; bag: Putu by J. Maclear, $80; shoes: Bettye Muller, $365
Accessory tip #5: Modernize a retro look — less can be more.If you want to wear a fun trend like this, be cautious. Edie Segwick was an icon, but you don't want to look like you're headed to a costume party dressed as her. Black and white jewelry stands out so you don't need to do too much of it. Pieces in resin, plastic, and lucite can overwhelm the wearer if you wear too much at the same time.
Choose to balance these bigger pieces, like a bold necklace, with a smaller drop earring. You could even do a small stud. Choose a focal point for a bolder piece, and make it the main attraction. Doing too much only looks like you raided your mom's wardrobe.Earrings: Deborah Grivas, $30; necklace: Paste by Tracy Kahn, $188; bracelets: Kenneth Jay Lane, $50; Haskell, $15; Carol for Eva, $20; bag: Aldo, $35; shoes: Vicini, $149