A Fashion Designer’s Guide to Accessories

Accessorizing can make or break an outfit. If you wear too many accessories, your outfit can look gaudy and over-the-top. If you wear too few accessories, your outfit can look drab and boring. How do you meet in the middle?

Well, I am here to share 7 tips on how to successfully accessorize and represent your best self.  

1. Add Value

Each piece must add value to your entire outfit. As Coco Chanel infamously recommended, “Before leaving the house, a lady should stop, look in the mirror, and remove one piece of jewelry.” It’s great advice and still holds true. I also recommend checking to see if you need to add another piece of jewelry before you leave the house – over-accessorizing and under-accessorizing are common jewelry errors. Just because it’s pretty or sentimental does not mean you should wear it with every outfit, and just because you’re a serious professional does not mean you can’t have fun with your jewelry.

2. Don’t Over-Accessorize

It defeats the purpose.

3. Each Piece Must be Proportional to Your Body Frame and Facial Features

The trick to the success with every outfit is to control where the eye goes. When done well, the focus remains on you and your outfit complements this goal. Jewelry can support or divert this objective and the size of each individual piece or the overall jewelry layout plays a key role.

For example, layering necklaces can divinely style an outfit, as long as the net effect does not overpower you. Pay special attention to the length of your necklaces too – you do not want to truncate your neck.

Have you ever seen someone wear real or faux diamond stud earrings that were so large they simply overlapped and overwhelmed the earlobe? Avoid this. When you’re talking with a client whose eyes are fixated on your earrings and away from your eyes, the odds of her or him paying attention to what you are saying decrease. A bold cuff bracelet may just be the perfect accessory to your shift dress, simply make sure the cuff width does not visually shorten the length of your arm.

4. Consider Your Body Scale When Accessorizing

It’s always better to choose a size that’s in harmony with your body scale. Body scale assessment takes into account your height, weight and bone structure.

  • If your body is Small Scale, choose small to medium accessories.
  • If it’s Medium Scale any size accessory will work for you. However, if you’re short, stick with small to medium accessories since large ones will emphasize your lack of height.
  • If it’s Large Scale, choose medium to large accessories (unless you’re short, in which case stick with small to medium accessories).
  • And if it’s Grand Scale medium-sized accessories will work best for you. Small or large accessories will emphasize your size.

5. Harmonize With Your Outfit

When choosing accessories, such as shoes and a handbag to wear with an outfit, the most important thing is for them to harmonize with your clothing. By harmonize I mean make sure there’s some common element or theme between the accessory and the outfit. This could be color (either picking out a similar hue or choosing some other color element to echo such as: cool or warm — muted, sheen, or shiny — light, medium, or dark), perceived weight, texture or some other style or design element.

For example, if you’re wearing a light colored, floaty, feminine, summer dress choose light colored, elegant, strappy sandals rather than dark colored, heavy-looking shoes. The same applies for the bag: choose a light colored, elegant-looking bag. Or if you want to wear the brightly colored courts or pumps that are in fashion now, wearing a top in a similar color has an “eyes-up” effect — that is, when someone’s looking at you, their eyes are drawn from your feet to your top. This has a lengthening and therefore slimming effect. Which is a good thing for most of us!

6. Use Your Accessories as Focal Points

Focal points are things that attract attention such as a bright color or a striking design. The aim is to use focal points to attract attention to your good points and minimize or detract from your figure challenges! Clothing lines and design aspects can act as focal points and so can accessories.

Eyes-up focal points are those that make an observer’s eyes look up to the point. And vice versa for eyes-down focal points. To summarize: Eyes-up focal points make you look taller and slimmer. Eyes-down focal points make you look shorter and heavier. A polished appearance is achieved through balance, so don’t go overboard with your accessories and focal points. Too many can appear flashy, overdone or inappropriate. Too few can result in a drab or uninteresting look. As a rule of thumb 3 focal points are the maximum, although less may work better for a particular outfit or occasion. If you’re in doubt don’t wear it.

7. Bring an Older Outfit Up-to-Date

You can make an older outfit last another season by wearing this season’s accessories.

Do you have an accessorizing tip? If so, leave it in the comments! If you want to turn your passion for fashion into a career, check out our Fashion Design program today.

Comments are closed.