Some Thoughts on Accessorizing

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.

Ha ha.

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.

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.

Old Navy palomino duster-length cardigan, size 2x. Very similar here in plus size and here in straight size.

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).

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.

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:

Photos by Robert Mitchell Photography

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you click on them and/or buy something as a result of clicking that link.


22 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Accessorizing

  1. Well,I lose – I’m not good with puzzles so no idea what your DAISNAID is, but it did make me think. 🙂

    You do have some good points here that I hadn’t thought about. I tend to just throw thing on in a haphazard way most of the time, and scarves and too much jewelry just get in my way and annoy me. Don’t misunderstand, they look great on others and I envy their look…

    I appreciate your blog and have learned some really good tips about clothing. So I guess an ‘old dog can learn new tricks’.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I cannot answer the DAISNAID poser, but I can answer why random guy jumped into the shot. Because you look cute and single, that’s why! Duh!
    Thank you for the excellent education, not only on fashion, but now on accessorizing, and for your excellent photos as well. In an effort to take better pics, I went to a class at the Apple store yesterday, and learned a few things. Will be returning next week for a photography walk about, in order to learn more. I am the world’s worst photographer, but am working on it. Too bad the Apple store doesn’t teach accessorizing!
    I will never be a Lady Who Lunches, but I do adore my accessories. My problem is, I adore jewelry so much, I want to wear it ALL, and I end up looking like a STATEMENT! A Dame Edna sort of statement, unfortunately. I know the rule about subtracting stuff, but I don’t want to.

    Thank God, I am not into hats, but I adore yours! I also like your willingness to criticize your outfit in order to make it better. Maybe I should just send photos to you before I leave the house. Couldn’t hurt.

    Great post, Bettye.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I was never a hat person before…my short, coarser hair holds up better under them than my old thinner hair used to. My sweet niece sent me several hats last year while I was in treatment and was supposed to not be in the sun and who knew if and when I would lose my hair…and now I’m really enjoying wearing them. I even take them with me on outings just to shade my face, which I never did before.

      Cute and single, pheh, ha. And that has happened before! I think it’s just a camera thing.

      Ooh, was hoping you’d have a successful photography class (even though I am CERTAIN) you are not the world’s worst photographer).

      I love jewelry but can’t always afford what I like, so I just make do with the few pieces I have for the most part. Though I *am* wanting to get second holes in my ears so then I would need different kinds of and more earrings.

      Dame Edna was FUN!

      Oh, no one can criticize me like *I* can!

      Thanks as always for all the kind words 🙂


    1. Ha ha – PATIENCE, WOMAN! I want to see if anyone guesses it! Here’s another one – an elementary school substitute teacher gave us this little “fun assignment” on a Friday afternoon to do over the weekend. He said, before you go to sleep at night, say these letters to yourself several times and see if the words come to mind when you wake up in the morning: OTTFFSSEN. Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?


  3. I never find you one to over or under accessorize, I think you always do it right because you also work with beautiful, and bright style choices.. I’m also not one for accessories other than a cool pair of stud earrings, my necklace that my husband gifted me on my 25th birthday, and my wedding rings.. that’s all for the jewels lolll.. I do get annoyed by bracelets though. Great post 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, summer is an exception to every dressing rule for me! One item, like a dress, floaty not cinched, linen or cotton or rayon…canvas sneakers, earrings, bracelet, done. I’m excited that I *did* just buy a used rattan market tote off ebay, that will be fun to carry for the rest of the summer into the fall.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jess!


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