The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize. ~ Steel Magnolias
I don’t generally do a lot of accessorizing because I’m
lazy a beacon of minimalism.
But do I like it and am always admiring others who do it well. Honestly, it’s expensive to accessorize well! Bags are costly, belts, hats, shoes, even little slips of fabric (aka scarves) are not inexpensive! Don’t even get me started on jewelry! So, what happens when you have a limited clothing budget is, you buy as few accessories as possible, and all in neutral tones so they go with as many outfits as possible. You can always tell someone with $$$ (or at least savvy shopping skills) because they have unique, extremely NON-neutral shoes on or a wild print bag. You know that is not their only one. If someone could only have one bag, they’re probably going to go with black. Or something equally neutral (relative to their wardrobe). I certainly can’t speak for everyone, but overall I think that’s a safe statement to make.
All that said, I do think about outfits and accessorizing a great deal. And I wanted to share some of my thoughts – I don’t want to call them “tips,” because I’m no expert…but these are just my thoughts. Do with them what you will. We all know there are no hard and fast rules in fashion…but I do tend to follow some guidelines (remind me to tell you the story about my high school boyfriend and “guidelines” sometime).
The more neutral or monochromatic the outfit, the more you can accessorize. Conversely, the more colorful or patterned (or textured) an outfit, the less “extra” you need. Every outfit does not need shoes (well, yeah, you probably do need shoes, ha), bag, scarf, hat, necklace, bracelet, etc. Even if “it goes.” It’s the same concept as “we don’t need to own everything we like.” You don’t need to put on everything that “goes” just because it does.
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Let ONE item be the focal point or statement piece. Just one. If you have pops of color or statement pieces all over the place, NOTHING really stands out. It’s like highlighting EVERY line in a text book. EVERYTHING can’t be The Most Important Thing. It’s just up to you to decide what IS.
The days of matching bag to shoes is over but if you want to have one accessory really stand out, you can spotlight it by letting everything else “disappear,” by keeping them in the same color, tones or pattern. For example, you want to show off your new mustard yellow bag. By keeping the rest of the outfit and accessories either monochromatic or a coordinated range of neutrals, the one thing that’s different – the mustard bag – is going to become the focal point. For example: black dress, black shoes, olive green utility jacket – mustard bag – POP! Or blue denim with a white tee and leopard print flats (a neutral in my book) – mustard bag – POP! Conversely, mustard yellow floral dress with natural wedges….and the mustard bag just blends into the overall color scheme. Which is fine – and I’ll talk about that in a minute – but if you want that bag to be the focal point, that is not the way to do it.
Okay, a minute’s up, so now I’ll say this – when you’re putting an outfit together, you’ll want to decide if you want a focal point, or if you want the entire outfit to work together as a cohesive whole. A monochromatic look can be beautiful! Think cream on cream on cream or grey on grey…I always think a solid color outfit done well is so chic and classy. You don’t always need (yes, I’m back on that again) a “pop of color.” And monochromatic doesn’t have to mean every item is exactly the same color, all the pieces can be slightly different but in the same color family – like coral, muted orange and barely-apricot cream. The same but different.
The more I look at the pictures of my outfit here, the less happy I am with it (DAISNAID*). I had wanted the black and white pattern mixing (the stripes on the dress and hearts on the bag) to be the focal point. So (at the time) I thought that wearing everything else in neutral tones – the soft beige cardigan, natural hat and white sneaks (would have preferred a beige flat but) would be a good disappearing foil to the graphic black and white items. In reality I think they’re too contrasting. If I’d worn the black cardigan instead, then the black and white items would have been the statement part of the outfit. But wearing a black cardi on that hot sunny July day just seemed unbearable, so…this is what I ended up with. And as such, it’s a good “what not to wear,” ha ha.
I also thought I would like the orange scarf tied to the handle of the tote, but now I just find it distracting, pulling my eye right to it. Likewise my bracelets – coordinating with the scarf. There were just too many things going on. I’ve learned that lesson by viewing these pictures. Maybe the orange pop of color on the black bag would be good with an otherwise all black outfit…or a black tee over white jeans – because in such a simple color scheme, the orange scarf on the graphic tote would be the “star of the show.”
I think that’s the point. Decide what you want The Star of the Show to be, then find a way to spotlight it…rather than just pulling multiple colors out of an outfit – bag one color, shoes another, print with more colors, etc. The eye doesn’t know where to go! Like with graphic design or home dec or garden design, the best design guides the eye to where you want it to go.
All that said, these are just my thoughts about accessorizing. Everyone has a different take on fashion, but I thought I would just put these ideas out there as food for thought. I’d love to hear how you decide how to accessorize!
Ok – random guy jumping into the shot. Why. Why. Why.
What I Wore:
- Old Navy black and white striped tee dress, size 3x. Old. Similar here and here in plus size and here and here in straight size.
- Old Navy palomino (color) duster-length cardigan, size 2x. Very similar here in plus size and here in straight size.
- Kate Spade graphic tote, old. I can’t find the heart one anymore, but there are a couple other black and white designs here and here and here. Just a note – my sweet niece gave me this bag for my birthday last year – Thanks, Jenn!
- Orange scarf, vintage. Similar here.
- Raffia hat, no label. Similar here.
- White Keds
DAISNAID* – extra bonus points if you can guess what this is!
Today I’m linking up with:
- Emma at her Style With a Smile linkup
- Shelbee at her Spread the Kindness linkup
- Jess at Turning Heads Tuesday linkup
Photos by Robert Mitchell Photography
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