Yesterday my daughter sent me a funny Instagram post that she had come across. It read: coronacoaster – noun: the ups and downs of a pandemic. One day you’re loving your bubble, doing work outs, reading books and baking chocolate chip cookies and the next day you’re crying, eating said cookies for breakfast and missing people you don’t even like. Can you relate? Yeah, when I received this from Abigail, in fact, I was sitting on my sofa eating my third slice of the banana bread I’d baked the day before…in my happy bubble! Well, at least I wasn’t crying, so there’s that!
Well, wherever you are on the “coronacoaster” today, at least you’ve stopped in for a little style inspiration. So I want to encourage you to throw your hands in the air, feel the wind in your face and ride this thing out, baby!…in style! Let’s talk about how to accessorize like a pro!
Undoubtedly, the bulk of the questions I receive from readers have to do with accessorizing. And while I won’t answer ALL of your questions here today, I thought I could at least offer 10 broad tips that will help answer many of the quandaries we run into when trying to accessorize our outfits.
The Goals of Accessorizing
But before I give my 10 Tips, let’s remember why we accessorize to begin with. In my estimation we accessorize for four main reasons:
- To pull an outfit together. Accessories are like the bow on a pretty package. They make our outfits look complete, finished.
- To showcase our personality. Accessories should be personal. Similar to the things that hang on the walls of your home, your accessories should tell a little bit of your story. Not all of it at once, mind you! But they should definitely share a little of your personality.
- To direct the focus. Ideally, your accessories should highlight you! They shouldn’t detract from your face, but should draw attention to it.
- To refine our silhouette. Yes, you can actually use accessories to elongate, shape, conceal or highlight. So your accessories are not just aimless decorations; they are design elements that can actually change the “architecture” of your frame.
So, keeping those four goals in mind, here are my top 10 tips to help you accessorize like a pro.
10 Tips to Help You Accessorize Like a Pro
Pro Tip #1 – Let one piece of jewelry have the spotlight.
It’s perfectly in vogue to simply wear a collection of dainty, delicate necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings. But if you want to wear a statement piece, choose just one and let it shine. That doesn’t mean you can’t also wear other sizable pieces. You certainly want to create a balanced look. But if you want to be on the safer side, when it doubt, let one piece steal the show.
In the photo above, I’m wearing sizable, noticeable earrings and bracelets, too, but the show stopper is definitely the necklace.
But you could also let bold statement earrings have the spotlight. Or you could stack a number of bracelets on one arm. And yes, you absolutely can get by with more than one star in your show. But when in doubt, let one bold statement piece have the limelight all to itself.
Pro Tip #2 – Place your necklace strategically.
Especially if your necklace is a showstopper, make sure you choose one that draws the focus where you want it. Usually, I’d say the closer to the face, the better. But there are times when you’ll want to balance out the look by wearing a longer pendant.
Here are a few guidelines to consider when it comes to necklace length:
- Oval shape faces can wear most any necklace length, while round faces should avoid choker length necklaces and opt for longer pendant styles instead.
- A choker length is great for a heart-shaped face because it will round out the sharp edges of your silhouette. Long, rectangular faces also look great with a showstopper choker.
- If you wear an open neck collar, such as a scoop neck tee or tank top, then a shorter necklace that lies within the collar will help direct the focus toward your face.
- When wearing an open v-neck tee or shirt, you can either have your necklace fall within the V or fall below it.
- If your shirt has a lot of detailing on it, don’t wear a necklace that interferes with the design. Instead, position your necklace, if you wear one, above the neckline.
- When wearing turtlenecks or other high collars or button down shirts, a long pendant will help balance out the look.
- Remember that people’s eyes will stop at the point where your necklace ends, so choose your jewelry accordingly. If you have an ample bosom and want to draw focus toward your face, wear a shorter necklace (but not one that falls into your cleavage!). Also, if you are in this category, make sure you don’t wear a necklace that stops right at the bust line. That will look awkward. For women with a smaller bust, a long thin chain or long layered chains would look great on you.
- If you don’t want to draw attention to your waistline, make sure your necklace ends well above that point on your body. And if you wear a noticeable belt, you’ll also want to make sure your necklace is higher.
- While colored beads are pretty, you’ll draw more attention to your face and even highlight it with the addition of pretty silver or gold necklaces close to your neck.
Pro Tip #3 – Use a scarf to add a sophisticated splash of color to your look.
Especially when you choose to wear neutrals head to toe, a splash of color from a pretty scarf can be just dazzling.
Too hot to add a scarf around your neck? Wear one in your hair, as a belt or looped into the strap of your handbag instead.
Pro Tip #4 – Learn how best to wear a hat for your hairstyle.
I only know a handful of women who think they look great in a hat. Seriously, like maybe four. The rest of us feel awkward and out of our comfort zone…at best. But that’s just because most of us haven’t spent enough time wearing hats to become accustomed to the feel or the look.
If you want to accessorize like a pro, learn how to wear a hat in a way that accommodates your hairstyle and face shape. While you could probably find some articles on this through Pinterest, the bottom line is you need to do what the pros do…play around with it!
For more information on how to wear a hat during the summer, check out my post, How to Wear a Hat This Summer.
Pro Tip #5 – Learn the two tricks your shoes should perform.
Sure, you can buy shoes just for the fun of it if you want to. But if you want to accessorize like a pro you’ll insist that all of the shoes in your wardrobe perform at least one of the two tricks all shoes should do.
Your shoes should:
- elongate your legs
- and/or add a splash of interest to your outfit.
That, sweet gal, means no more frumpy dumpy, worn out shoes! Get rid of them. And don’t say you have to have them because you have foot issues. These days there are plenty of beautiful shoes that accommodate every issue you could have – from odd sizes to bunions to arches to back problems to ankle support to you name it!
The truth is, your shoes are one of the first things people see when you walk toward them. No joke! So make your shoes perform.
Likewise, make sure they behave. Steer clear of shoes that don’t elongate your legs. Especially when you’re baring your legs be mindful of the vamp of your shoe. The vamp is simply the top of your shoe. A lower vamp will help create a longer leg and it won’t accentuate thick ankles, a problem that many of us older gals have.
Pro Tip #6 – Carry a handbag that does more than carry your stuff.
Your handbag or shoulder bag tells a story. It’s a statement piece whether you mean for it to be or not. So make sure it communicates what you want it to say.
Do you want your handbag to say you’re casual and fun and carefree? Or maybe oh so sophisticated? Maybe you want your bag to communicate that you’re feeling feminine and pretty. Or chic and contemporary? But you definitely don’t want your bag to say you’re feeling tired and worn out and stressed and overloaded.
What is your handbag saying about you? Choose wisely and toss that bag that is just carrying your stuff…because it also may be spreading nasty rumors about you!
Pro Tip #7 – Select earrings that add pizzazz without weighing you down.
Let’s turn our attention back to jewelry, this time earrings. First, choose earrings that literally don’t weight your ears down. Nothing looks worse (or feels more uncomfortable) than a drooping ear, weighted down by a heavy earring.
But also choose earrings that lift the focus to your eyes. This is why hoops are generally a safe choice. They give an airy, light look (as long as they are truly light) and they don’t drag your focus down, elongating your face. My Veronica hoop gold earrings, shown above, truly are lightweight. But they also add light to my face because of the airy design and the iridescent crystals that line the hoops.
Of course, you can wear bold statement earrings, too. Just make sure they also do not drag your ear down or pull the focus down. So, especially as we age, I’d recommend steering clearing of earrings where the focal point is below your chin.
Pro tip #8 – Mind your eyewear.
If you wear glasses simply to read, I know they can feel more like a tool than an accessory. But honestly anything we put on our bodies becomes an accessory. And as much as we older gals have to wear our glasses – whether they’re prescription glasses, readers or sunglasses – we need to factor them in like accessories.
That means choose wisely. And beautifully! It also means choose glasses that work for your face shape. Check out this previous post for selecting sunglasses that flatter. And here’s a much older post about choosing readers that flatter, too.
Pro Tip #9 – Use your third piece to create a flattering silhouette.
I realize we’re not wearing a lot of third pieces right now – blazers, jackets, cardigans and such. But when you do, choose one that actually helps you create a flattering silhouette, not just one that keeps your warm.
That means you’ll need to know your body shape and body proportions. But you have to do more than learn the information; you have to use it to select the right blazers, denim jacket, cardigans, kimonos and utility jackets that will accentuate the positive and camouflage the negative. So be sure to also learn how to dress your body shape and your body proportions.
Pro Tip #10 – Belt it!
I can hear the chorus of “Ugh!” through the Internet! And I know that not every woman needs to wear a belt. If you are an apple or oval shape, no, do not belt your midsection. But most every other shape should and can wear a belt if you learn to wear it appropriately for your body shape and proportions.
A belt adds structure, interest and detail. But it also can help create a more pleasing silhouette and/or proportions. And remember, if you don’t want to accentuate the width of your waist, you can always wear a long cardigan over the belt, which gives the illusion of a smaller waist while giving you the proportions you’re seeking. (See two photos up.)
Or you can just do a front tuck with your belt.
Well, did you learn something today? Or maybe just gain the courage to try something new? I’d love to hear about your take-away. Thanks so much for stopping in. Now, go and ride that Coronacoaster with your hands in the air and the wind in your hair. Here’s to a beautifully, stylish day!
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Blessed for My Day
I’ve been thinking recently on what it means to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. I think I’d like for us to really sit on that verse this week. So if you’ll indulge me, we’ll take it slowly and chew on it all week together.
To be quick to hear… James isn’t just suggesting that we listen. He’s urging us to lean in. I think to be quick to hear means we stop talking long enough to really hear what the other person is saying. And we stop formulating our replies in our heads while they’re talking, but really give them the floor instead. That’s hard. Let’s ask God today to help us to ask the questions that help others open up and share their thoughts freely with us. And then let’s listen.
But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.. ~ James 1:19-20