Make or Break
Prior to this blog, I wasn’t a huge fan of accessories. The only accessories I wore were big earrings, and once in a blue moon a necklace. And I wore scarves when I was cold. But as I studied style bloggers, I read Kendi say that she believed accessories could make or break an outfit, and I was utterly intrigued. As I then paid close attention to accessories on people, I began to recognize how true that statement was.
I marveled at how, whether with a subtle touch or a loud statement, accessorizing really could do wonders for an outfit. They can take a boring combination of basics and turn them into a stylish, put-together outfit. They can make the same dress go from work-appropriate to a casual weekend to a wedding. They can make an outfit totally work when, without the accessories, the outfit doesn’t seem to work.
Now, I don’t think accessories are the only way to complete an outfit, and I don’t think every outfit needs to be decked with accessories. For some outfits, accessories are arbitrary and don’t make that big of a difference. However, sometimes they really, really do. For that reason, I’ve come to appreciate accessorizing as one tool among others in my tool belt that I can use to create more versatility in my wardrobe. (The other tools being things I’ve written about in past posts: layering, colored bottoms, reimagining clothes, etc.)
This post was daunting to write because the world of accessorizing is vast and some consider it kind of an art–one that I still feel like a beginner at. But I decided that I’ve delayed the post for too long, and that I just needed to get this over with. If you’re looking for an accessorizing guru to break it down for you, you’re looking to the wrong person! Instead, what I’ll attempt to do is talk about accessorizing as it pertains to creating more versatility and outfit options with your wardrobe. How you do it is up to you, but hopefully this post will give you a framework for changing up your outfits with accessories!
Your Basic Accessories
First thing’s first: let’s just go through a list of basic types of accessories. This might seem trivial, but like I said, not even a year ago my world of accessories was limited to earrings.
- jewelry: earrings, bracelets/cuffs, necklaces, rings
- statement necklaces
- scarves (for all seasons!)
- hats: beanies, sun hats, fedoras, etc.
Provides a Focal Point
Putting aside the “art form” of accessorizing, on a functional level I think the addition of even just one accessory can make an outfit “work” when without it, the outfit didn’t seem to work. I find this to be true most often when I’ve put together an outfit that seems to be missing a focal point or an anchor.
I don’t know how best to describe an outfit that’s missing a focal point except to say that for me, it’s usually when I think my outfit looks droopy, unpolished, or like I’m in pajamas or shapeless clothes. The best I can do is illustrate for you:
Top Left: I remember being amazed when I first discovered the difference a belt could make. I’d always worn that brown dress by itself, and when I tried to put a cardigan on it looked sad and droopy. I don’t know what stroke of genius caused me to put a belt on, but I’m glad for the moment because it opened me up to a whole world of possibilities!
Bottom Left: This outfit was a product of learning to use belts to make an outfit work, as mentioned above!
Top Right: Without the accessories, I felt like I was wearing pajamas in this outfit. Adding the necklace gave the outfit a focal point and an anchor and gave the outfit the extra oomph it needed. It was subtle, but important.
How this applies to remixing and working your closet: Sometimes an accessory can save an outfit that otherwise appeared not to work, thus giving you more outfit possibilities!
Make a Normal Outfit Special
I think the point of accessories is to make outfits special, but I also think it’s fun to see side by side what the difference can be. There are some outfits that are just outfits–they’re fine on their own, or they’re almost there, but an accessory can make it something special.
I found that to be true for some of the outfits below:
Top Left: I think the outfit is fine by itself, but that little tiny rosette necklace makes the outfit pop! It still blows my mind to think about how a tiny thing can have such a big impact.
Top Right: I remember seeing a picture of Hilary Duff in a magazine wearing the complete outfit with a similar scarf. I was in awe. Why? Because the base of the outfit is a tank top and jeans–something I’d probably do manual labor in. But the simple addition of a pretty scarf magically made it a cute outfit that you wouldn’t dare do manual labor in! Amazing!
Bottom Left: Again, the outfit is fine on its own, but I think the addition of a colorful statement necklace pulls together the look. I love statement necklaces for that!
Bottom Right: This example actually adds a jacket, a scarf, and glasses. However, even without the jacket the outfit was fun. The scarf added visual interest to the outfit and the glasses created an entirely different feel. I never used glasses as an accessory before this blog, but it’s pretty fun!
How it applies to remixing: You can take the same base (use any of the outfits in the pics above, for example) and add a different accessory to give you a new look. Either adding a necklace instead of a scarf or vice versa, adding hats or bracelets, or simply using a different scarf will vary your outfit possibilities.
Change the Feel of an Outfit
And finally, accessories can completely change the feel of an outfit. With the same outfit base, accessories can help you dress it up or dress it down, make it work in the summer or the winter, make it preppy or boho, and so on.
And yet again, I’m using this olive dress to illustrate some remixing:
All in all, I’ve totally come to appreciate even just a tiny bit of accessorizing to maximize my wardrobe. I invested in a few statement necklaces, some good belts, and a few lightweight scarves and felt ready to go. Since then my collection has grown simply because accessories are shiny and colorful, and I have a hard time staying away from those types of things!
And I’m proud to say that this concludes the series on Building a Remixable Wardrobe! Yayyyyyyy!