5/22/2009

Answer to a reader question

So I have an accessories question for you, since you always seem to have just the right accessories and just the right number of pieces. Do you have any rules that you follow when picking your accessories each day? For instance, Coco Chanel said to "always remove one thing before going out of the house". I see a lot of women who over-accessorize with earrings, rings, necklaces and bracelets all at the same time, and I find it distracting. I have loads of accessories! I like a clean and simple look, but I love bold pieces. If I wear a bold necklace, should I forego earrings? If I wear a chunky bracelet should I wear a ring on the same hand? I hate matching sets of jewelry and I have a lot of mixed pieces. For instance, I have a Jackie O style chunky pearl necklace that can be worn long (single strand) or short (tripled)...do I wear it with diamond studs, because I think my pearl earrings would look too "Barbara Bush" with it, or no earrings at all and let the necklace stand alone? I have a chunky vintage red bead necklace that is long. I love to wear it with black and white outfits...what other (if any) accessories would you wear with that? I'm sorry for the novel...I guess that's what you get for looking great every day! LOL....Thank you so much!

This certainly is a hard question to answer because the answer is so subjective. I don't believe people usually agree on what is the right amount of accessories, since I've seen one gal portrayed as having the right amount in one fashion mag, and the same gal portrayed as having the wrong amount in another fashion mag.

I will try to give you an idea of how I choose my accessories, but of course, it is by no means the right way. Everyone should have their own version of how accessories should be worn to match their own personality, and of course, I agree with Coco Chanel that less is more. If you aren't absolutely confident that it looks great, then just forego it altogether. If you have the confidence, you can pretty much pull off anything.

So to answer your first question, Do you have any rules that you follow when picking your accessories each day?

1. I pick and choose by instinct or by my mood.

I used to think that everything had to match exactly. I still think that is a nice classic look for professional occasions. But now I know it isn't necessary. Sometimes I wear large silver hoops with a chunky necklace because the silver in the hoops bring out the silver pieces in the necklace, or because the look I'm going for is a bit more trendy or urban. I try to experiment and just pick items that I think work based on my mood for the day.

2. I try to keep my look balanced.

If I'm going to layer necklaces worn as bracelets, then I usually pair that with statement earrings, or large hoops to add bulk on top to balance out the bulk on bottom. Or, if I'm wearing a statement belt, I don't wear a necklace so that the necklace doesn't take any attention away from the belt.

3. I get ideas from fashion mags or catalogs like J.Crew and Anthropologie.

I love the way stylists for J.Crew and Anthropologie fashion their models for their catalogs. Genious. I try to copy the looks with make-do versions of what I have in my closet. By reading fashion magazines I've started to catch on to what actually works and what doesn't. I subscribe to In Style and Glamour.

4. I stock up on cheap accessories.

Why pay a lot for accessories, when you can buy them on clearance for a $1 or less at thrift stores, garage sales, Claire's, Wal-Mart, or Target? The more you have, the more options you have for creating your own combinations. My goal is to buy several trendy accessories to update my classic wardrobe items. I intend to keep buying new cheap trendy pieces so that I always have something to make my look modern. I have a few pieces of quality/real jewelry, shoes, and bags to fall back on, but I love stocking up on cheap items to keep my wardrobe looks rotated and fresh.

5. I keep my accessories organized and showcased.

You won't be inspired to wear your accessories unless you can open your closet and see them all. There are several classy ways to showcase accessories, but all I did was hammer large nails into a board in my closet where I hang all my necklaces and belts. I have my shoes stacked on the shelves on one side, and my scarves I hang over the hangar rod. My purses are lined on the top shelf. When I open my closet I can see all the options I have for what necklaces, scarves, bags, or belts I could pick to wear with my outfit.

Now to address the specific questions you had:

If I wear a bold necklace, should I forego earrings?

You don't have to, but you certainly don't want your earrings to distract from your statement necklace. Small stud earrings that coordinate with the necklace will always look great. If they don't quite match perfectly the better, but they must compliment. My rule of thumb is if my hair is up, I wear earrings no matter what. I just wear small studs if I am wearing a statement necklace. If my hair is down and I'm wearing a statement necklace, I forego earrings. But that is just my preference. I've seen women pull off bold earrings with a bold necklace.

If I wear a chunky bracelet should I wear a ring on the same hand?

Definitely! I would layer the bracelets too. You're making a statement by loading up in one area. I just would forego a necklace, but balance the bulk out with large earrings. Again, this is just my preference. I would certainly agree that it is safer to just wear the bracelet or the ring.

I hate matching sets of jewelry and I have a lot of mixed pieces. For instance, I have a Jackie O style chunky pearl necklace that can be worn long (single strand) or short (tripled)...do I wear it with diamond studs, because I think my pearl earrings would look too "Barbara Bush" with it, or no earrings at all and let the necklace stand alone?

I agree - matching jewelry sets are quite old-fashioned these days. Nevertheless, if I'm going for a vintage look, or wearing a statement pearl necklace (chunky or several strands), I usually wear small pearl studs. If you are worried about looking too stuffy, just forego the earrings and let your hair cover your ears.

I have a chunky vintage red bead necklace that is long. I love to wear it with black and white outfits...what other (if any) accessories would you wear with that?

If you wore it with a longer tunic and skinny jeans or leggings, I'd pair it with some mismatched silver bracelets with one or two red pieces(bangles and/or cuff). A simple tunic can handle the bulk. Or, if that is too risky for you, I would pair it with a large cocktail ring in an accent color (aquamarine would be my pick). I would wear a red chunky necklace with any print that had red in it, or any neutral print. I would wear it with just about any solid color except for greens. You don't want to look Christmas-y. And lastly, I'd layer it with delicate long chains or regular pearls. I probably would either wear diamond studs, or no earrings at all with it. It would look great peeping out from under a colorful scarf if your outfit was simple enough.

I'm certainly no expert on accessories, so please leave a comment with your own words of wisdom!

2 comments: