Where do you start when putting together an outfit?
I always start with accessories. I first choose the bag, shoes, sunglasses etc first, based on my mood. And then I start thinking about the actual outfit to go with my accessories.
Yes, that’s how I approach style: I build an outfit around my favourite (of the moment) accessories. My spending habits also reflect this: I have no problem spending (way too much) money on a nice bag, but I would never buy a designer dress. Why? Well, in my opinion, a bag is for life, and it always looks good, whatever your weight. A designer dress, on the other hand, is often not a very practical item. For starters, it usually requires dry cleaning. And that’s just silly (= costly, annoying, and not very environmentally friendly).
Besides, I wear mostly simple basics (so much more comfortable), so I need my accessories to make an impact.
Or, rather, I need my accessories to make the outfit, and create the style I’m after.
Because accessories can change the look. Yes, it seems like an easy way to update an outfit, doesn’t it?
But it isn’t cheap. At least that’s the case when it comes to my wardrobe. A nice bag usually costs a lot more than a new t-shirt… But then again, a nice bag goes with at least 80% of my clothes, and can be worn in summer or winter. So, it’s actually a smart way to spend your clothing budget. That’s what I say to myself, anyway. Not that I have a clothing budget…
How do you choose your accessories?
Many people stick with either gold or silver when it comes to the hardware in their accessories to make sure everything goes together. That’s a good starting point: silver sets a very different tone than gold.
I wear both gold and silver jewellery, and I have both gold and silver (or gunmetal) toned accessories. And sometimes I mix them. But typically I prefer silver (or gunmetal) in winter, whereas in summer I like gold.
But there’s more to it: colour is also important. For example, I like silver or gunmetal with black or pink / fuchsia, but gold with navy or red.
And then there’s the style of the accessories in question. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something cool and edgy; sometimes I want glam and retro… Obviously, silver and gunmetal work better for edgier outfits whereas gold ups the glam factor.
So, given that accessories tend to be quite pricey compared to clothes (at least in my case), I want to make sure I get my money’s worth. I have (almost completely) stopped buying anything cheap and cheerful (give or take an occasional necklace or something similar). As I said earlier, a bag is for life, and I only buy one if I love it. I’d rather have one quality bag (that goes with anything and lasts forever) than a dozen cheap one season hits. This also makes sense because very few of us have the space to store dozens of bags (or shoes)…
Anyway, to make sure I get more wear out of my accessories, I’m very picky. They need to suit my style perfectly, and they need to work with accessories I already have. To ensure this, I allocate my accessories into categories according to style: edgy, cool, glam, minimalist… Of course, some accessories might fit more than one category. And the categories are not fixed, either, but temporary and functional. But the point is, as far as my accessories are concerned, there are no ‘orphans’; they always have like-minded friends to play with.
But this is all very theoretical. Let’s see how this works in real life, OK?
If I was a very organised person, I’d probably have lists or photos of my accessories for reference. But I’m not an organised person, and that sounds like way too much work. So, I just give a nice working title to whatever style I’m after, and then see which accessories in my wardrobe fit the bill.
Now, for the purposes of this post, I decided to create two categories of accessories. I found a sample of items to group together (and these are by no means the only items I could have included in these categories) and took some photos to give you an idea of what I mean.
The first grouping (or category) is a bit edgier, cool and urban. Let’s call it
I could create any number of outfits around any combination of these accessories: whether cool or glam or quietly chic. But to make my point about how accessories can change a look, I’m only going to use one outfit as an example throughout this post. The same dress; different accessories. And this is the edgy and cool version:
This might very well be my favourite dress. It lends itself so easily to different interpretations, don’t you think?
But, let’s get to the next category of accessories:
I have two outfits here: one is a bit quirkier and the other is old-school retro glam:
As you can see, making sure that my accessories all tell the same story, so to speak, I can give a simple outfit the look I want. In my opinion, a girl really doesn’t need a huge wardrobe; she just needs a lot of accessories…
How do you choose your accessories?
Linking up with:
Not Dead Yet Style, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, Garay Treasures, High Latitude Style, The Pleated Poppy, Style Elixir, A Labour of Life, Doused in Pink, Curly Crafty Mom, Fashion Should Be Fun, Rachel the Hat, Sincerely Jenna Marie, More Pieces of Me, Color and Grace, The Wardrobe Stylist, Not Dressed As Lamb, Style Nudge, Coco et La Vie en Rose, Living on Cloud Nine, A Well Styled Life, Elegance and Mommyhood. Posh Classy Mom, Nancy’s Fashion Style, Shelbee on the Edge Over 50 Feeling 40 A Pocketful of Polka Dots Style Splash, The Fashionista Momma, Tina’s Pink Friday, Fake Fabulous. Lazy daisy Jones, Vanity and Me, Sheela Writes, Jodie’s Touch of Style, Glass of Glam
I choose accesories by the outfit! That dress is also still my favorite of you!
I knew it: I got it all backwards, choosing the accessories first…
I love how you've recapped your accessories into cathegories, love the silver/pewter in the edgy urban style, and love red and leopard and gold in the more classic glamourous one. And I totally agree with you, accessories make an outfit, and quality bags are a good investment!besos
Thank you. Yes, categories make it easier to match the accessories to a particular style. After that I just need to find some basics to go with the category of the moment.
Great post, Tiina! I think it is interesting you begin styling your looks with your accessories in mind. I usually go the other way with my accessories being the last items I decide on. I completely agree they can transform a look! Thanks for linking up with Fabulous Friday!Jennie – A Pocketful of Polka Dots
Thanks Jennie. Maybe it's because I often wear simple basics, so I really need the accessories to add interest to the look.
I will choose my outfit first and I seldom mix the metalshttps://lookingfabulousat50.blogspot.com.au/
That sounds like a good plan, too