Building a Ladies Accesories Collection

March 20, 2010

HANDBAGS, JEWELRY, SHOES, SMARTS, STYLE, WOMEN

I’m a big believer in investment pieces for a wardrobe. Collections in a closet are not about quantity – because quantity can be a bunch of crappy pieces. Collections are about quality – and because of that I’ve always operated under the mantra of “buy the best you can afford, even if it means less of it.”

Does that mean everything must have an exorbitant price tag or it’s worthless? No. It merely means spend wisely, look for quality, make sure it fits and make sure it makes you feel extraordinary when you wear it.

Here are some pieces I believe begin to build a solid accessory collection:

Pumps Collage

Shoes: Pumps
Own one black pair, one neutral pair and one evening pair. Make sure they flatter your legs and are comfortable. If you want to think outside the box a bit, the neutral pair doesn’t have to be boring beige. My favorite pair happen to be a snakeskin with beige and black tones. It’s neutral on ‘roids and I love them. And remember: neutral shoes elongate the legs. Bonus.

Flats Collage

Shoes: Flats
There are all kinds of options here from ballet flats to pointy-toed skimmers. Own a pair in black and a colored pair. Alternatively a pair of leopard flats goes with just about EVERY classic outfit (I live in mine) and gives added punch without looking like you walked right off the strip in Vegas. (Just keep the rest your outfit toned down)

Diamond Studs Collage

Diamond (or Diamond-like) Studs
Does this even require explanation? Pure classic elegance. Although I grew up in the South and there was typically an old school rule of “no diamonds before 7pm”, I don’t adhere to that one. Just keep ‘em clean. There’s nothing like a sparkle on your earlobe to enhance the hair flip move.

Pearls Collage

Strand of Pearls
These don’t have to be your grandmother’s style pearls, but pearls are unequivocally a symbol of elegance and they can go with anything – tshirt and jeans to Little Black Dress. Throw ‘em on and go.

Daytime Handbag Collage

Handbag: Daytime
Styles change every season, but for the most part you can’t go wrong with either a structured bag with solid handles or a great shoulder bag in either black or brown depending on your preference. I’d also look for bright colored bag for the spring and summer months or even well-made straw bag to accompany all the lighter colors and fabrics.

Evening Bag Collage

Handbag: Evening
A small evening clutch is essential. These slim jewel boxes carry very little, but, hey, that’s what your date’s pockets are for, right? Look for either a black one with an interesting beaded clasp, a multi-stoned number for a punch of color or a silver or gold find is another evening neutral that can take you far.

Cocktail Ring Collage

Other Jewelry: Evening
Find yourself one fantastic cocktail ring. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just make sure when you look down at your right hand there’s something staring back at you that makes a statement and makes you smile.

Watch Collage

Other Jewelry: Daytime
Get a metal watch. Silver, stainless or gold is your choice, but get something with good quality and classic in style. I’m a big fan of the tank style because I like interesting links.

Also pick up a pair of hoop earrings – nothing so big that you look like a gypsy fortune teller, though.

Belt Collage

Belts
I will admit that for me these are the hardest thing to choose. I believe you should own all three sizes: thin, medium and wide, but a lot of this depends on your body type. Get a good black one, brown one and a chain link style. I also like to have one print for a quick punch of interest – currently I’m living in a zebra patterned one with a silver buckle that is showing up with everything from jeans and a white t-shirt to a black pencil skirt and cardigan.

Sunglasses Collage

Sunglasses
There are innumerable options for sunglasses and it really depends on your face shape as to what you should choose, but be sure to own a good pair. They not only protect your peepers but often add a hint of power or mystique to an outfit and, as I am fond of, become a makeshift headband to keep your hair out of your face. Buyer beware, metal frames heat up in the sun and freeze in the winter – so that headband strategy can backfire a bit when you go slide them back down on your face.

Ask me how I know.

Scarf collage

Scarves
Ok this is entering the Advanced Placement level of accessories to many, but they are not as scary as you think. I’m kind of on a scarf kick right now. Get a long skinny one (linen for the spring), a huge silk (or silk-like) one in an outrageously wicked print and a medium sized one. That huge one miraculously turns into a killer halter top in a pinch, a spectacular evening wrap or sexy sarong for the pool, beach or, you know, your backyard.

Remember, you are building a collection. Buy pieces you love that will carry you through adventures in years to come – and don’t waste the pretty.

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