Accessorising. It’s a tough one, and something that tends to get relegated to ‘afterthought’ status even on the most important of occasions. The trouble is there are very few parts of the body remaining unadorned these days. Once upon a time a clutch, pill-box hat and a pair of white gloves were all you needed to be presentable as long as they all matched your shoes. Now jewellery is all ‘statement’, scarves have to be tied a certain way, tights and stockings must be a specific denier. Clashing is fine, encouraged even, but god help you if you match your bag to your shoes, or your lips to your nails. Not to mention that in the blink of a royal engagement, nude coloured shoes (for several seasons the answer to most shoe dilemmas) became so done that even Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall was wearing them. I almost felt sorry for L.K. Bennett. Of course the ideal would be to invest in fabulously good quality designer leather goods and jewellery and have just a select few but since this is unattainable for a vast proportion of shoppers, most people tend to have rather a lot of cheaper accessories which can be counter-productive. Personally I think the best way to update a classic and well fitting item you love, such as a little black dress, is with current and eye-catching accessories and these really don’t need to cost a fortune. You can triple the worth of even the plainest outfit by choosing current accessories. I have found some amazing pieces this season that will not only bring your look right up to date at a purse friendly price but will be versatile too. There’s no better way to gauge how much use you’ll get out of something than “Will it look good with jeans too?” Here are my pick of the high street retailers who (top to toe) excel in the accessory arena:
Pull & Bear hat, ASOS £9.99
H&M hat £14.99
ASOS has the best choice of hats for all sorts of budgets and tastes. Trouble is it’s tricky to determine how a hat will look and fit and the last thing you want is hat boxes galore delivered to your work address which you then have to lug home on the tube. H&M still have wool and felt hats as well as more summery styles and you can’t beat the price so check out the larger branches.
Necklace Zara £19.99
Necklace Miss Selfridge £10
Miss Selfridge never fails to surprise me with their enormous range of all kinds of jewellery and rarely is anything over £20. The also do lovely hair bits. Zara jewellery is consistently great quality with incredible detail and all for a snip. Statement necklaces have become a modern classic but they’re harder to wear with a more generous cleavage. If this is the case, don’t rule out chandelier earrings which are also the answer if you are wearing a complicated neckline. Just don’t do both at once!
Bucket bag Zara £79.99
Leather bag Gap £79.95
I haven’t been the biggest advocate of Gap generally, but recently their lovely selection of pastel bags and shoes have caught my eye. I’m seriously coveting this soft baby blue tote but fancy the must-have bucket bag by Zara too. Both look way more expensive than they are and will offset a denim or leather jacket perfectly. Decisions, decisions…
Wolford tights from £20
It’s always been Wolford since first I was bought a pair for the Christmas of 1990. Only for a fellow student to promptly put a fag burn in them. No other brand of tights or stockings comes close to their incredible quality. Despite the all weather-bare leg craze, I am still wearing tights and have no plans to shelve them until a) I have a tan and b) I am saving money on heating bills and can therefore use the money for waxing appointments.
Zara shoes £79.99
What’s the saying? “Red shoes, no knickers”? I don’t care, these Zara beauties are fabulous. I agree a red shoe is questionable with a black stocking but with bronzed pins this orangey red will do nicely. Beware of shoe boot styles if you’re not lengthy of limb though as they inevitably shorten the leg.
No wardrobe should be without a pair of classic Adidas trainers and this season trainers are the things to be seen in from cut-offs to pretty dresses. The mouth watering colour made these irresistable to me – feminine and yet still achingly cool.
Adidas Trainers, Office £64.99
In her book ‘A Guide to Elegance’, Genevieve Antoine Dariaux says, “It is necessary to give a good deal of thought to accessories and never buy anything on an impulse that does not fit into your well established program. The saying ‘I cannot afford to buy cheaply’, was never so true.”
Well OK, she might have a point but it doesn’t sound much fun. So here you are, I’ve done a good deal of thinking so you can go and buy impulsively. Enjoy!