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Accessorize Like a Pro – 10 Tips

July 13, 2020

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!

10 Tips to Help You 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:

  1. To pull an outfit together. Accessories are like the bow on a pretty package. They make our outfits look complete, finished.
  2. 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.
  3. To direct the focus. Ideally, your accessories should highlight you! They shouldn’t detract from your face, but should draw attention to it.
  4. 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.

Quintessential Summer Dress
Sea Life Bib Necklace For all other details see the post here.

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.
short and linen shirt
Similar necklace // silver earrings // for all other details, see this post here.
  • 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.
elegant & effortless summer neutrals
Earrings // similar necklace // embroidered gauze top // For all other details, see the post here.
  • 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.
Chic Spring Outfit Topped 2 Ways
customized Elisa Multi Strand Necklace // For all other details, see the post here.
  • 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.
Silver Jewelry
silver earrings // compass coin pendant necklace // Parker chain necklace // For all other details, see the post here.
  • 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.

Spend the Day with Me
red & white toile scarf //For all other details, see the post here.

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.

white poplin popover
similar bandanas // For all other details, see the post here.

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.

Black & White Summer Outfit
Here, I pulled my hair back into a soft pony tail at the nape of my neck to accommodate my hat. Similar hat // For all other details, see the post here.

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!

How to Wear Tie Dye this Summer
For details see the post here.

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:

  1. elongate your legs
Black Jersey Romper Two Ways (5)
Nude flats // For all other details, see the post here. Nude shoes – whether they’re sandals, flats, heels or even booties – will elongate your leg every time. But so will shoes that are in the same color as your pants, if they meet.
  1. and/or add a splash of interest to your outfit.
Seersucker Pants
geranium pink multi strap sandals // For all other details, see the post here.

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!

Viv Wedge Sandals // other colors on sale // For all other details, see the full post here.

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.

Distressed blue jean skirt
leopard print Slide Sandals // For all other details, see the full post here.

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.

straw clutch // For all other details, see the post here.

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.

How to Select and Wear Shorts with confidendence
Reversible Faux Leather Tote // For all other details, see the post here.

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.

Spring & Summer Wedding Guest Dresses
Veronica hoop gold earrings // For all other details, see the post here.

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.

Teal Kimono for a Date Night
Nothing here is available. See the full post here.

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.

If I Were You by Lynn Austin
If I Were You by Lynn Austin // prescription readers // For all other details, see the post here.

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.

Silky Cotton Lantern Top
similar Sunglasses // For all other details, see the post here.

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.

linen blazer // similar blazer // For all other details, see the post here.

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.

Transition Into Fall with a Textured Kimono
See the full post here.

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.

Lantern Top
black reversible belt // For all other details, see the full post here.

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.

How to Wear Shorts with Confidence
Similar leopard belt // For all other details, see the full post here.

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

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xoxo, Kay
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20 thoughts on “Accessorize Like a Pro – 10 Tips

  1. Wow! Such great tips/advice today Kay… them all.

    Love the photo with your navy/white checked shirt with the red scarf, I would’ve never thought to do that but it looks so preppy.


  2. Such a fun post…now to learn to incorporate some of your tips. The picture that caught my eye the most was the one of you wearing the red scarf with the navy and white outfit…the perfect touch.

  3. Thanks so much for your wonderful posts. I learn something new everyday and my heart is always encouraged by the Scripture verses that you provide. I turned 50 recently and my body shape has started to change over the last few years. I’ve never quite known what my shape is, but now I’m really not sure!!! As I read through today’s post there was a link to finding your body proportions and body shape. I read through those posts and you mentioned some “handouts.” Are those still available? If so, could you possibly email them to me or send a link? (I’m a daily subscriber.) Thanks so much, Kay?.

    1. Hi Kristen. I’m so glad you enjoyed the posts. The handouts are all in the Freebies for Subscribers page. You’ll find that page through the menu at the top of the blog. Then use the password that is always in the daily emails at the very bottom of the email. Thanks so much for subscribing!

  4. Great tips, Kay! I really like the way all of the different elements contribute to a total look. I have been trying to be more mindful of accessories. I have a tendency to wear what is most comfortable, especially in footwear. Your explanation and analysis of each of the components of dressing appropriately is enlightening. I am learning to think in terms of total look as opposed to my previous randomness.
    I really needed the BFMD today and look forward to your future posts.
    Have a beautiful abs blessed day,

    1. Great. It sounds like you got plenty of take away. I’m so pleased. Of course, I’m no expert and these posts are always a result of my research, so I’m working on implementing these tips too. Thanks for being a regular reader! ?

  5. I’m one of those 4 women that like hats…haha!! Maybe because it’s the way to save a bad hair day (which is almost daily). I do think it’s all about getting used to seeing them on ourselves. It was the same with my hubby. But they are key in the sun (at least here in AZ).

    1. Yes! You definitely rock a hat, Jodie! Thanks so much for chiming in. You’re right. Hats are such an important factor in sun protection. And they’re much more chic than sun damage! ?

  6. Great tips, Kay. I know for years I didn’t pay much attention to accessories, but a very stylish friend of mine helped me see they really do make the outfit. Laughed out loud at your comment about the tired, stressed, overloaded handbag. You always make me smile. Especially in your videos. Keep up the good work.

  7. Thank you for sharing so many great tips today! Shoes are a very important accessory and most of all they must be comfortable. Finding the perfect shoe for my narrow feet is always a challenge, through the years I have become quite talented at padding my shoes in order to have them fit. Kay, I need help with winter footwear. I never know which style to wear with pants and skirts, especially when socks or tights are needed for warmth. Maybe you could include a blog post on winter footwear later this year. ☺️

  8. I really appreciate this post, and have noticed I tend to get more compliments when I make a point to accessorize. Your comment on footwear was right on. I developed foot problems about 8 years ago and even had foot surgery. The doctor was firm that I had to wear supportive footwear and even no more barefoot around the house. At first I panicked and didn’t want to wear dowdy footwear. But supportive footwear has changed so much. Now I wear Dansko, Clark’s, Earth, etc and they have such cute styles. You just have to look around. I even found a cute Sketcher sandal in a style similar to an athletic shoe bottom complete with arch support, but so cute that I wear around the house. Thanks for all your how-to’s, Kay. I have learned a lot from you.

  9. What a great post and so helpful. I am just getting the hang of how important well chosen accessories are. I’ve never paid much attention to shoe color, just worn neutral. Having great fun with that. Pink sandals coming Thursday. What navy with red scarf? Got to go back and look.

    1. Hahaha! No i think they’re referring to the black gingham shirt and red scarf. I didn’t correct them but I guess they thought it was navy. Thanks for reading Eve.

  10. Hi Kay, Great summary of accessorizing basics. And good variety of focus on different kinds. Thank you. I think my favorite was the lime green shirt with the turquoise beads. What a great color combo. The beads really pop!

    I’m also responding to your previous request for ideas for the next challenge on the DFMD Facebook page. Here are a few possibilities: Besides florals, other patterns like stripes, paisleys, dots, plaids or pinstripes? Tropical colors, prints or looks? Late August might be a good time to post transitional outfits. Skirts? Midis or Maxis? Jeans Jacket? Summer blazers? Statement necklace? A retro look? With all the amazing sales, an example of a really great deal? An item or outfit inspired by the great info and images on DFMD?

    1. Wow, Lael! Those are all wonderful suggestions! Thank you so much. I’ll definitely refer back to your list when I make the challenge calendar. Perfect!

  11. Thanks Kay for another timely post and for reminding us to put a little thought into our appearance during these hot months. My favorite photo is your animal print blouse, so classic edgy!