How to Accessorize: 8 Tips for Accessorizing Like a Stylist
Now that you know why you should accessorize, the types of accessories, and the top current accessory trends, it's time to learn how to put that into practice. With a little effort, you can learn how to accessorize your outfit just like the stylists to the stars do.
These eight tips for accessorizing an outfit can help you take your wardrobe to the next level and help you shine for any occasion.
1. Consider What You're Wearing
The first place to start when you learn to accessorize is to consider what you're wearing. How you accessorize jeans and a t-shirt will differ from how you accessorize a formal dress! To get the accessory inspiration flowing, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the occasion?
- What do I need to bring with me? (E.g., phone, wallet, keys)
- What statement do I want to make?
- What will outfit accessories will enhance my look even more?
Pay attention to specifics, such as the neckline, overall silhouette, and color of your outfit. These factors can help you choose the right accessories to send the message you want to convey.
For example, if you’re heading to Sunday brunch with the girls, you’ll likely want to look effortlessly casual but cute. If you opt for a pair of high-waisted shorts and a billowy boho blouse, you can use accessories like an oversized hat, a straw tote, a pair of brightly colored sunglasses, and chunky sandals to complement your look. Each accessory will make a statement, but you're not overdoing it.
On the other end of the spectrum, maybe you're attending the wedding of a close friend and are wearing a timeless little black dress. To avoid pulling attention away from the couple, choose an understated pair of black heels, but add some personality by wearing an heirloom necklace or a statement hair accessory with a complementary clutch to hold your things.
2. Focus On What You Want to Accent
For any outfit, casual or formal, picking one aspect of yourself that you want to accent – like your cinched waist or beautiful smile – can help you accessorize. (P.S. You can learn more about accentuating your best features in our guide to dressing for your body shape).
For example, to flaunt your hairstyle, you can draw attention upward with a stylish headband that accentuates your ‘do. Or, if you want to show off your gorgeous curves, adding a skinny belt to a dress can accent that part of your body. And by learning how to accessorize with jewelry, you can strategically use necklaces, earrings, and the like to draw attention to your face while accenting your clothing too.
3. Choose a Statement Accessory
We know that accessorizing can feel overwhelming, so one quick tip is to pick just a single statement piece and use other subtle elements to add layers to your look.
For example, if you have a pair of fun candy-colored sunglasses that you want to show off when you're at the beach, focus on those by pairing your eyewear with a chic bikini or two-piece in a neutral color that complements your skin tone. Add a straw bucket hat to enhance your sun protection and keep the focus on your face so your statement sunglasses will be the star of the show.
If you’re wondering how to accessorize an outfit while keeping things understated, you can do the same thing with a pair of incredible shoes. Elongate your frame and show off a pair of fabulous heels by keeping your other accessories simple and understated.
4. Create Balance
Another essential trick is to create balance with your accessories. For example, if you choose a large statement necklace, pair it with smaller accessories to create balance.
Let’s say you have a pair of killer hoop earrings that you love. If you want to accessorize more while still keeping your earrings front and central, try pairing them with a simple chain necklace to create balance. If you choose a bold pattern for your outfit, you may not need bright accessories to finish the look; pick something understated like a silk scarf in a solid color.
Balance in terms of accessories is an art. You can create bold, daring looks or maintain simplicity depending on how you style your accessories – it’s all part of the fun!
5. Pair Bold Accessories With Neutral Outfits
If you choose a simple, neutral outfit, don't be afraid to go bold with your accessories. For example, if you're wearing casual blue jeans and a fitted white t-shirt, play around with colorful, trendy accessories like a pair of pink sunglasses or a pair of studded pumps.
The same is true if you want to wear a little black dress to a cocktail party. While your dress may be classic and understated, you can pair it with a bold rhinestone necklace to add a touch of glam. It’s a good idea to have a few statement pieces in your accessory arsenal whenever your simplest outfits need an extra dose of color or style.
6. Pair Understated Accessories with a Bold Outfit
Of course, the opposite is true when you're wearing bold outfits. You can use understated accessories to balance out a bolder look. This is the perfect time to combine form and function.
If you're wearing a bold print dress, but you still need a purse to carry your things, a classic leather bag in a solid color is a great accessory. Or try a simple silver chain to accent your neckline without drawing attention away from the dress itself.
Do you love graphic t-shirts and want to make a literal statement with your outfit? You accessorize with a delicate chain bracelet or wear a belt with your jeans. Both options will draw attention to the message you're sending without overwhelming it.
7. Know When to Edit
French designer Coco Chanel famously said, "Before you leave your house, look in the mirror and take one thing off." Editing your accessories is as important as choosing things you love to wear.
The idea behind this statement is that accessorizing doesn't have to take the attention from your outfit. If you’re wearing a hair clip, sunglasses, a chunky necklace, bracelets, a belt, and sandals, removing one or two things can actually enhance your outfit rather than overwhelming it.
8. Alter Accessories to Personalize Your Look (and Have Fun!)
One of the best things about accessorizing is that you don't have to use accessories off the rack in their exact form. You can get creative and find ways to alter certain accessories to give your look more personality.
For example, did you inherit a broach from your great aunt but don't know how to incorporate it into your modern look? Try adding it to a hat or turning it into a pendant on a chunky chain.
Do you have a plain scarf that doesn't have much personality? Use bleach or fabric dye to create an exciting pattern that will spice up the accessory and the outfit you pair it with.
Take Any Outfit to the Next Level
Now that you know a few simple tricks for choosing accessories, let's put them into practice. Our next chapter will discuss accessorizing for specific occasions and provide ideas and tips for accessorizing nearly any outfit.
We're excited to see what you can do, so join us in the next chapter for more practical and specific tips for how to accessorize.