Many of my clients have the beginnings of a great wardrobe before they contact me. Their closets already contain versatile wardrobe staples, unique pieces that express their personality and generous doses of pattern, texture and color. But what’s often missing is accessories.
Just last week, I had a client whose go-to everyday uniform was a nice blouse and jeans. She had jeans in various fits and colors, and a bunch of stylish tops to work with. But then we got to her shoes – all she had was black! I have other clients with tons of fun clothes to choose from, but they haven’t even thought about jewelry. And this isn’t uncommon. Many people put all their efforts into finding cute clothing, and then wonder why they never feel fully put together. They forget all about the finishing touches – shoes, bags, scarves, jewelry, etc. Even your eyeglasses can add some pep to your outfits!
And the amazing thing is that when you focus on accessories as a means to bring life to your outfits, the clothing you start out with can be simpler. So if you’re looking to take your outfits from drab to fab, from so-so to stellar, or from plain to pop, check out the three looks below and how I turned up the style volume with accessories.
Black and white – you can’t go wrong with that, right? This business casual outfit starts out strong, with a balance of tailored and trendy. The black linen blazer is a summer wardrobe workhorse, while striped t’s are timeless classics. And of-the-moment mules and white flared crop jeans add a bit of fashion-y flair. But that’s where the fun stops. With just solid black accessories, this outfit’s style potential is far from realized.
Here, I started with the exact same pieces, but I’ve done a little trading out, and one addition. Yes, a black bag hypothetically goes with everything, but doesn’t really add much – so I’ve upgraded to a neutral color block bag that’s just as versatile. Then I flipped out the black mules for gold ones (which go with so many outfits, believe me) and even switched out the clear eyeglass frames for tortoise. And then for a final style shift, I added a leopard print scarf.
You may be thinking to yourself, “three patterns in one outfit?” And that’s what actually makes this look amazing. I didn’t use any real color to enhance this look, I depended on print, with one hit of shine.
GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT
Skinny jeans + fun blouse + heels = girls’ night out. It’s an ideal outfit formula to begin with, but you’re not done yet. Nude pumps and a brown crossbody bag are extremely useful, but they aren’t contributing anything to this look – and either is the super basic gold jewelry.
To take this outfit from lackluster to luxe, I focused on color. A bold geometric necklace acts as the blueprint for all the other accessories – green stud earrings, an orange structured bag, blue cage heels and a gold cuff – and everything has a stronger presence that adds something special. And even without the ‘blueprint’ necklace, you can easily combine pop colors (like an orange bag) with neutrals (an all blue outfit) for major impact.
How can you add dimension to a basic t-shirt and shorts? Accessories! And it’s not about changing what you’re wearing, it’s about upgrading each item. A yellow top and sage shorts are already an interesting color combo, but completely neutral accessories don’t do them justice. I chose to add some texture and color to rev up this look.
I traded out the khaki nylon tote for a rainbow striped straw one, elevated rubber flip flops to leather and snake print sandals and switched a simple metal watch for a multi-toned leather and chain wrap style. And the end result is just as easy for weekend running around, but much more stylish.
So, when you’re looking to evolve your outfits from boring to brag-worthy and from common to covetable, don’t immediately go shopping for new clothes – head to the accessory department!