Accessories can do a lot of “heavy lifting” to add personality and visual interest to your outfits. You don’t have to pile on; a few well-chosen pieces are all you need. Here are some tips on how to accessorize for effortless style, and some of my go-to accessories.
If your style is simple, accessories can be the “secret sauce” for personalizing and making your outfits look finished. Shoes, bags, scarves, hats, jewelry, and makeup can all count as accessories. If your style is “the more the merrier,” that’s great…go for it and enjoy. But if a more effortless look is your goal, you’ll want to be restrained and selective in your choices.
Accessorizing for effortless style
During my Color and Style training at Red Leopard in London last year, we learned that you should aim for 7-10 “points of interest” in an outfit. That doesn’t mean 7-10 accessories! Each color you’re wearing counts as 1 point, than add 1 point any of the following:
- details on clothing such as contrast stitching, rivets, ruching, embroidery, unique buttons or fastenings, patterns, texture
- each type of jewelry (earrings, necklace, watch, bracelet, rings, brooches)
- glasses or sunglasses
- patterned or colored tights or hosiery
- details on shoes and bags such as: pattern, buckles, color-blocking, hardware, bows, other embellishments, color or metallic finishes
- makeup: lipstick, colorful eye shadow, nail polish
- hair: color, hair accessories
As you can see, it can add up quickly! The more color, pattern, or detail in your clothing, the fewer accessories you need.
My suggestion for creating an effortless look is to prioritize those accessories that have personal meaning, or that most express what you want your style to say that day. Then add selectively from there.
I’ll also add that your Style Personality will also factor into how many and the types of accessories you add. Someone with a mostly Bohemian style personality can still look effortless while wearing more accessories than someone who is Classic or Natural for example.
Some budget-friendly ruched sleeve blazers:
My go-to accessories
These are the pieces you’ll find me wearing most days, or that always work “in a pinch.”
I usually don’t change my earrings from day to day, and find a pair of small gold hoops coordinates well with almost any other jewelry. I can no longer tolerate heavy earrings, so stick to lighter pairs.
After having lost quite a few earrings over the years, I now stick to costume/fashion pieces for my everyday hoops. (Fortunately I don’t seem to be particularly sensitive to most metals.)
Here are a few more styles that can work for everyday wear:
Link or chain necklaces
Most days I wear one or two shorter link or chain necklaces. A simple link necklace is one of those pieces that just seems to work with everything. Here are a few versatile link necklaces (the long ones can also be worn doubled):
A classic watch
I love watches and have never stopped wearing them. The one I wear daily is a Cartier Tank Française, which I purchased second-hand several years ago. (Similar) But there are many styles with a similar look available at more budget-friendly prices. Here are a few…
Neutral bags & shoes
Over the years I’ve purchased a few bags and shoes in fun colors. And I do wear them…occasionally. But for no-brainer, effortless style, I find myself reaching for simple pieces in neutral shades (usually in a range from saddle brown to tan to nude to ivory, or warm metallics).
The styles I wear most often:
I know some of you will ask about scarves. I haven’t been wearing them as much while at home, but in the past couple of weeks have begun experimenting with my silk scarves again. If you wear scarves as part of your everyday look, they’re a great way to incorporate color and detail, and absolutely can work with effortless outfits. Look for a post soon…
What are your never-go-out-without-’em accessories?
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