Dressing for Success

Generally speaking each of us tends to veer towards one particular category when it comes to selecting accessories. There are four main groups that include the real thing, fun and slightly frivolous, fake and ethnic.

Accessories that can be classified under this heading can be seen as investment pieces of an iconic and influential fashion designer’s watch, handbag, or shoes. These style extras are all about cost per wear. If you love designer goods then keep them in top condition and you can probably sell them on if you get tired of them. However if you cannot afford high-profile labels you can still shop for high quality items. A slim leather belt with a pretty clasp can look very stylish, or a delicate solid gold chain need not cost a fortune. And if you buy a good quality leather bag it will last much longer than a synthetic one. And silk scarves stand apart from their polyester rivals because they drape so beautifully. However if you love your labels and you’re on a budget check out vintage shops and fairs and you may spot a bargain!

If you want to embrace a current high fashion look then a cheap and cheerful piece has its place. Accessories in brightly colored plastic are a case in point. Neon colored bangles, oversized gimmicky earrings, synthetic scarves can deliver a powerful punch without breaking the bank. This is all about adding a bit of drama to your wardrobe. Fun accessories work especially well with casual clothes in fabrics like denim, cotton and linen. They are perfect for weekend wear and a hot holiday. As a word of caution do check the finish even on a cheap accessory. Make sure the stitching is neat, that seams are properly finished and that a color finish has been evenly applied. Cheap doesn’t mean something has to be shoddy.

If there is one area in the accessories market where sales have soared in recent years it’s the fake it until you make it looks. Most women want designer pieces but few can enjoy the privilege of paying the price. Today it’s often hard to tell them apart from the real things. The key to doing fake accessories well is taking the time to hunt out the best quality you can afford, and in this day and age that is not too difficult. Like the fun and frivolous category a good fake piece needs to be really well finished then it will be much harder to distinguish it from the real thing.

No matter what decade of fashion we’re in it’s nearly always possible to spot some ethnic jewelry on the catwalks. It is the coupling of the vibrancy of color with some intricate design work that makes them so popular. If you dislike mass produced goods this will be your comfort zone. If you enjoy traveling try to find some unusual pieces on your trip. However a word of caution about ethnic accessories is that you need to be careful of overkill. Because the designs can be loud they need to be left to shine on their own. A gorgeous cuff doesn’t necessarily need a matching ring, earrings and necklace. Worked cleverly ethnic pieces can add the wow factor to an otherwise plain outfit.