It’s a big night out. You’ve got your new little black dress all ready to go. You reach for it in your closet … and realize you don’t have any jewelry to go with it.
You’re going to have to fake an evening bag, too, apparently — because the only one you own is for summer, and it’s now well into Fall. And, darn it, you just realized the shoes you wore with your old LBD are looking a little, well, down at the heels.
Sound familiar? You bought a new dress and put the accessories on the back burner. And maybe you do that not just with that one outfit, but maybe with your whole wardrobe.
But accessories are what makes the different between “I have no style” and the compliments every woman wants to hear. (And they get you a whole lot more mileage out of the clothes already hanging in your closet.)
Here are 5 ways to transform your look with accessories:
1. Find a signature accessory. Find a necklace with a stone in the same shade as your eyes and could be worn every day. Or pull out your grandmother’s watch for cool retro look. (Note that this signature doesn’t have to be expensive! It could be something from an inexpensive mall store … it just is something that really flatters you and expresses your personality to a T.)
2. Add a scarf or shawl. The extra detail of a scarf at your neck will add color, pattern and even texture, which are great for adding interest. (Plus, it will keep your neck warm when it’s cold.) This blogger’s style may not be yours, but she is a master at color and pattern, and here she offers two scarf-tying tips.
3. Step into great shoe style. A shoe in an unusual style or color can alter an outfit in two seconds by turning a day outfit into an evening one or a serious outfit into a playful one. Shoes and boots have personality and can upgrade a ho-hum outfit into something special and uniquely you. Why settle for a plain pump when you can get one that is ruffled, studded, beaded, sequined, wrapped with buckles, or in a print?
4. Find the right bag. Maybe you’re into recycling and that’s a great thing, but you won’t be showing off your great style if you shlep your lunch and extra shoes in an unbleached-canvas bag you got last year at a conference, or a nylon version in a garish print. Those bags should be at the ready to perform their duty — holding groceries. As for your purse: It’s as much a part of your outfit as your skirt is. Most of us always have one with us, so it should be in great shape — no scuffs, no worn edges, and no broken stitches in the handle. Does yours need updating?
5. Make it personal. You might be lucky enough to have inherited some wonderful accessories from a grandmother, aunt or mother. What better way to honor them than to wear these unique treasures? If you can work them into an outfit, you’ll enjoy them twice as much as something you bought new at a department store. It’s fun to look at your wrist and see the Bakelite bangles that were popular in the 40s and worn by your grandmother.
If you’d like help finding your signature style, let me know. I can’t wait to help you discover it! (Or maybe you have a friend who would like help — make sure to let her know!)
(Ketura Persellin is an image consultant and personal stylist in Washington, DC. She’s pretty sure she was wearing earrings before she could walk. Contact her for a complimentary strategy session to help get you out of your style ruts.)