What's a good "rule of thumb" for accessory matching such as belts, shoes, necklaces, bangles, etc...Belt to match shoes? Accessories to all match? etc.? I am trying to add more pizzaz to my outfits... and my first step was to try the "high waisted belt" look, and beyond that - I'm lost!
Short answer: Well, there isn't a magic "rule of thumb", unfortunately.
Long answer: Let's take 3 of your recent outfits, Katie, and accessorize them! I'm going to copy your outfits from my wardrobe (as best I can) and show you some options and explain along the way.
Outfit #1:Differences: My sweater has a higher neckline and doesn't have the rose detail, and my long cardigan (black, not brown) and sweater have longer sleeves so they're bunched up. I'm also wearing higher heels since my brown pants are long. I look rather droopy and shapeless.
Your outfit: Your colours are excellent. Red and brown are awesome together - don't forget: brown is a neutral! It goes with everything! I love that you've pulled a pattern for your bag - that's a great first step to adding visual interest.
1. Your waist needs to be defined. I know you have a black soft belt, so try wearing that over the red top to help cut down on the wrinkliness of the top adding visual weight. You could also try it over the cardigan.
Belt over the red top.
Belt over the cardigan.
Note: Be careful with the positioning of wide belts, especially if you're booby (I am too, and I'm 3 inches shorter than you). Wear them lower, rather than higher or you will run the risk of looking pregnant.
2. You need jewelry. I see that you have a watch on, but if your sleeves are short, wear a bracelet or cuff. Earrings are standard for me, too. Your top doesn't require a necklace since it has a gorgeous neckline and that nice rose detail - but I would wear a necklace with mine, since the neckline is rather plain. You could do a more dangly earring to help draw the eye up.
Differences: I don't have a sparkly grey top, but I do have a grey cami with sparkle at the neckline. My black jacket is not quite the same shape. I'm wearing a rigid wide belt instead of a soft one. I feel very self-conscious about my boobs and tummy in this, and the jacket is making my shoulders look super-wide (I think I might need to consign it).
Your outfit: You are on the right track with adding sparkle, texture and trying to play with the shape of the outfit by doing the belt higher than your natural waist. Your red shoes would really pop in this colour combination!
1. Your top is not meant to have this much of it showing - treat it like a camisole and use it for layering underneath other items...like the white button-down shirts I know you love. Tuck the underneath layer into your pants - it's not doing you any favours by hitting right at the widest part of your hips.
2. If you're long-waisted, you have all kinds of acreage between your boobs and your hips, so accentuate it by wearing belts at your natural waist to create an hourglass. A thick belt works best when it's not cinching everything in, but sitting naturally over top of clothing that already accentuates your waist.
Also, a cropped jacket is not right for this particular look, as it accentuates the width of your hips - see how it's making an inverted V and drawing the eye downwards in your picture? Look for a classic fitted suit jacket that stops just above the hip; make sure it's fitted in the waist to really give you that "dip" along your sides. Your legs will look miles longer and you will look sleeker overall.
3. Add another layer (the white shirt), and add a necklace to draw the eye up. Now, I'm not a white shirt fan since I hate ironing (please ignore the wrinkles in the picture), but I'll admit they look classy and professional and they are excellent for layering. This will make you look longer and sleeker. Adding a short necklace (mine is vintage - start scouring the thrift stores!) will draw the eye up to your lovely face.
Without a belt.
Wide belt added over the jacket.
Outfit #3:Differences: Not sure what shoes you have on. I'm wearing a black turtleneck with the sleeves scrunched up.
Your outfit: Two classics (grey pants and navy top) that are excellent wardrobe pieces on their own, but when paired together are just a big ol' blah. You're doing really well with finding classic pieces, but are struggling a bit with finding ways to really make them reflect your personality. You felt very Audrey in this, which I love (who doesn't love Audrey Hepburn?), so play that up.
Here are a couple of options for this outfit:
Add a scarf, a bangle, earrings and do a coloured shoe. I've tied the scarf so that the ends hang down in front (yes, this does obscure the buttons on your shirt, but really, they're just navy plastic buttons). Any coloured shoe would add some zip to this outfit - either your red or your green would look amazing. Put the ends of the scarf hanging down your back - nothing like having a little "back interest"! A brooch at the neck would also look great.
Another look altogether to jazz up the top: Grey pencil skirt, red belt and black kitten heels, and a different bangle. This is still completely professional and an easy look to do. The belt adds a pop of colour - and notice that I'm keeping the belt slim for this look because of the top's length.
Overall suggestions for adding accessories:
- add a patterned shoe for creating instant visual interest (eg. leopard flats or pumps). The more coloured shoes, the better (I have over 8 pairs of red shoes/boots).
- belts: black (skinny (under 1"), medium (up to 2" and wide (over 2")), brown (medium), coloured (I like red or grey, in medium).
- necklaces: long: 1 silver and 1 gold, mixed with a coloured stone or bead, including black; short (not choker) detailed in silver or gold.
- bracelets: silver and gold medium bangles (less than 1"), cuffs in gold, black or silver. A charm-style bracelet with dangly bits (listen to how noisy it is before you buy).
- earrings: I like basic hoop shapes, but with nice details. Eg. filigree hoops, hammered texture, double hoops.
- brooches and pins: look for vintage.
More suggestions and thoughts welcome for adding accessories to outfits! Does anyone actually have a "rule of thumb"?