Why are Accessories so Scary?

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For some reason or another, so many women seem scared of accessories, or don’t have the confidence to choose accessories. Interestingly I find so many women would rather not wear any than wear something that they’re not confident works for them. Some others blame laziness, just can’t be bothered to make a choice.

Why are they so scary? What do you think will happen if you get it ‘wrong’?

What are the issues you have with accessories? What do you really want to know about them?

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I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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31 Comments

  • Do you mean by accessories: bags,belts and jewelry ? If you do, then I´d say that I don´t find them scary. I l o v e bags. After your post about the short waistline, I ´ll have to reconsider my feelings towards belts. Without one, I kind of feel naked, but maybe I still can wear one. It will just have to be somewhat narrower, and the color matching the clothing. And jewels.. I do like them. They have to be real. I do like pearls( big ones), diamonds and white gold. I don´t want to wear lots at the same time. If I wear my big pearls, then I go easy with everything else. I wear my rings only on the ring finger. To keep things in balance, I´ll have a bracelet on my right hand. I can not step out of my house without my earrings,that thing is certain. So, in short- earrings and a big great exotic bag, and I´m ready to go :).

  • I wear a lot of necklaces – mainly from Diva. Amazing what you can get for $5 on sale. At first I felt self concious wearing them but now I feel fine. I think it adds something extra. I don't feel comfortable with scarfs – any advice there would be great.
    Love shoes, love bags (but don't change them often as I am always in too much of a hurry)

  • That's so weird… I've never found accessories scary. In fact, I think I enjoy shopping for them more than for clothes. They can completely transform an outfit, and add so much versatility to your wardrobe. Now what I do find scary is shopping for swimsuits!

  • I love accessories! 🙂

    Sometimes I stay away from the jewelry for work thought because I have facial features that seem to work with big earring and other less modest stuff. But a scarf , I think, works as well for work.
    /Laura

  • I love accessories, and always wear a necklace or scarf; also like belts, gloves (in winter), bags and shoes. I also have some brooches, although probably wear them less often.

  • I like acessories and can see that they complete an outfit.
    What really bothers me is that you pay for am acessory as much as you pay for an item of clothing.
    In general I think acessorizing is what can make us stand out and some people are just afraid of that.To show what they are and be critised because of that.

  • I think the guidelines for wearing accessories have changed, and that alone may frighten women. I met with a client yesterday who said she had no idea how to do jewelry, and defaulted to buying matching earring, necklace, and bracelet sets … even though she knew it wasn't the way to go. But she didn't trust herself to decide on her own and, once upon a time, matching all those things WAS fashionable.

    I'm amazed to find how many vestiges of bygone eras influence my instincts, stuff from my mom's generation, and even my grandma's! Some women may believe there are hard and fast "rules," and worry about looking foolish by breaking them without even realizing.

  • I actually LOVE accessories, but I did used to be too lazy to wear them. It was the compliments on this scarf or that necklace (plus the nagging of a good friend) that finally turned me around.

    I think, because they really are all about what flips your switch – very much about one's own personality and flair – they might be scary for some who aren't exactly sure about what image they're trying to project.

  • I love accessories but sometimes have to force myself to take the time to choose and put them on. I always seem to have some that are in "heavy rotation" and others that are forgotten. The good thing is that I can shop my own closet and find "new" stuff all the time.

    I think you can look like you're trying too hard if you don't get the mix right, and that can intimidate some people.

  • I am surprised to hear this. Not that I don't believe you. I just find it surprising because I find accessories the most enjoyable thing to shop for. They can make a big impact on a small budget and you don't even have to worry about fit, or if your size is in stock.

    If I need a pick me up from a bad day, I would rather shop for accessories. Shopping for clothes has the potential to make me feel worse if I don't find anything that fits or flatters, but accessories always do the trick. They also really perk up an otherwise mediocre outfit. It's a win-win situation. I can't imagine why anyone would be afraid of getting it wrong. I think it's a lot harder to go wrong with accessories than it is to go right. I guess there are certain issues that come up like over-accessorizing (big chunky earrings with a big chunky necklace). I think I am lucky enough to just have a natural intuition about things like that though. Maybe others don't.

  • Please do write posts about this question! This is the WORST part of getting dressed. I have not problem finding perfectly fitting, elegant clothes – but terrified to ruin all that hard work and the clean lines with accessories. Also, totally confused about the colors of bags and shoes – should they match? Or not? Should they blend? Aahh! More often than not, I skip the accessories and wear the most basic shoes and bag. I would like to learn how to expand more – but without ruining the symmetry I've already created with my clothes.

  • I think many of us who constantly battle our weight LOVE accessories because they (almost) always fit!

    I have embraced them all except belts and square scarges, and I think I'm OK with skipping those two.

  • I've never been scared of them, exactly, but it's taken me forever to get a sense of what accessories work with which wardrobe pieces. (I still don't get it.) It's been difficult for me to tell what is "too much" or "too little", or how to match a necklace with the right neckline. (For example, today I felt like I might have worn too many "girly/cute" accessories, but if I took off the floral pin I felt too plain.

    From examples and suggestions I'm "getting it" a little bit at a time, but still have quite a ways to go – I still mull over accessories *forever* when I'm getting dressed before I settle on something that goes out the door.

  • One – accessories are often more expensive than real clothes which serve to cover one's nakedness (it's much more embarrassing to go out without a shirt or a bra than without a necklace).

    Two – what anonymous said.

    Three – fear of looking conservative, traditional, or overdone.

    Maybe more.

  • It's clothes than can confuse me, not accessories. I do see some overaccessorized women, and over-designed accessories.

    I always laugh when I go to a (good) craft show, the jewlery booths are mobbed while the potters look forlorn. Chanel said there is not a woman alive who does not know how to wear jewelry. Maybe she exaggerated slightly. When I see a woman with no jewelry she is usually scrubbing in for surgery 🙂

  • I have trouble with scale and color–coordinate with my outfit or contrast? What flatters my face and hair?

    I have trouble with quantity: I wear glasses. If I'm wearing a headband (or other hair implement visible from the front) earrings sometimes seem like too much. And of course it depends on neckline.

    I have trouble with necklaces: I'm large busted with a short neck and shoulder-length dark curly hair, and I favor open necklines (not deep, not showing cleavage, but wide and showing a lot of upper chest). Scale again here too. I like brooches!

  • What a great question! For me, I shy away from many accessories because I actually prefer the style of a woman wearing simple, well-cut clothes and one great piece: like a wide belt or one large bejewelled cuff. That's just my personal aesthetics.

    I also notice that if a woman is wearing lovely clothes that suit her well, I am much less likely to think her outfit is ruined by too few accessories; at worst, I might think it looks a bit austere or dull. But all too often I see a woman and I say, "too bad she ruined an otherwise great outfit by adding —-." So maybe some of us are held back by fear of messing up.

  • It was Coco Chanel who famously stated, "Before you leave the house, remove one thing." I wish more women whom I see out and about would follow her directions.

  • my only question is about handbags.
    I have sometimes read that the amount of structure in a bag should be opposite to one's own degree of fleshiness – very buxom would equal highly structured bag and vice versa. On the other hand, I have read the exact opposite advice, that the handbag sleekness or pouchiness should echo your figure. Love to know your opinion and reasoning.

    A second handbag question is where to position it? I've read that it emphasizes wherever it lands, particularly if in an accent color. If that's so then what would someone do who had large hips and/or bust but a smaller waist? If you carry the bag so it hits the waist aren't you just broadening the visual field there?

  • Great post! I have generally been pretty nervous of accessories – not having a waist, I have learnt to avoid belts particularly. Until about a year ago, I was terrified of scarves, but I took the plunge, bought a few, and spent some time looking at how people wear them, experimented, and now I am a happy scarf wearer! They are brilliant for adding colour/interest/balance to an outfit. Next step jewellery. I agree with those who've commented on the dangers of over-accessorising – I'm very minimalist, but I do think that maybe I need to learn to wear more than one pair of earrings every six months … All advice gratefully received!

  • Well, now that I know I shouldn't wear belts (short waisted/H-shape), that's one less thing I have to worry about. 🙂

    I've only recently become interested in accessories (hmmmm…about as long as I've been following yor blog…). I have a couple scarves/wraps that I bought because they compliment my clothing – I'm getting much better at only buying things that work with what I already have, rather than just picking up something that catches my eye.

    But…yeah…I could definitely use some more pointers. Proportion, colors, etc…I'm still pretty clueless.

  • Yes, accessories totally scare me! Jewelry scares me the most. When I walk past the jewelry counters in a department store I am so overwhelmed that I never buy anything. But then I see how others use jewelry to add dimension to their outfits and I wish I knew how to do that. How do you know what matches what? How do you know when something is too much? Too old-fashioned looking? Too young looking? Are there basics everyone should have? What kind of quality should I be going for? I love this blog and your take on fashion, you have a great way of putting things that make personal fashion, a subject so hard for me to grasp, easy to understand. It is truly my favorite. Thanks!

  • I'd like to own a few versatile pieces and feel like I can make them work. However, accessories can easily make me feel too dressy for my small casual town, or simply stand out too much against my simple, classic style. I'd rather save money and go accessory-free (except for a watch and some scarves in winter) than put in the necessary time and effort to try to find pieces that are truly me.

  • An accessory question: how does one wear a scarf without looking either bohemian or lady who lunches (nothing wrong with those looks, per se, but neither is my style of choice.)

  • I am a lazy accessory avoider. I barely seem to have time to get dressed and I gave up earrings even when my daughter was born. It was just too dangerous. I do love glasses and sunglasses though.

  • I have a ton of accessories…I especially love bags and bangels!!! The one accessory I have a tough time with is scarves…they never look right on me. Is it because I have a short neck and a very large bust? Also, what is the right length of necklace for very busty gals?

  • After years of barely accessorizing (partially out of laziness and partially not wanting to spend the add'l money), I came to realize that although I had good individual pieces, it is the accessories that make the difference between merely looking nice and wearing a really smashing outfit. The really stylish women are the ones who know how to use accessories to really amp up that look and add polish.

    So I've learned over time to use shoes, scarves & jewelry to change the mood and dressiness quotient of an outfit.

    This evolution came rather slowly, but really hit me a few months ago when I bought a coral statement necklace. I was amazed at its ability to transform a simple outfit from blah to head-turning. And adding a turquoise sweater to that combo really made the coral necklace pop.

    What a revelation! However, I do agree with nurmisur that accessories can be outrageously expensive and sometimes I hate to shell out the $$$ when I've already spent so much on buying the quality clothing. Most inexpensive accessories do look cheap. Though I can also see, looking back over my collection, that the good accessories can stand the test of time and are still very wearable 5-10 yrs later.

    My biggest accessory challenge is bags. I LOVE bags, and the ones I like (check out Belen Echandia bags — they're amazing!), with the buttery leather and smart design, are upwards of $600+. So I'm very picky about my handbag purchases and tend to buy neutral bags. For my next purchase, I'd like to find a bag in a color that I can wear year-round (to maximize my accessory investment), to add punch to my neutral outfits. Haven't found one yet as I'm trying to decide what bag color would work best for my wardrobe.

    Can you help with this, Imogen? I wear a lot of purples & grays in winter (and coral & turquoise in summer) but it seems that instead of buying a purple bag I ought to get one in a complementary color. Any guidance in choosing handbag color would be much appreciated.

  • I think accessories ARE scary! Perhaps because they project the image that you are "put together", which is hard to accomplish elsewhere — hair, makeup, clothes, etc. I am always worrying that my jewelry is too fancy for my mostly casual wardrobe or flat, comfortable shoes. I'd rather take off the jewelry and look like I'm not trying too hard than wear the wrong combination.

    About jewelry, how many pieces are too many? Should you ever both wear earrings and a necklace? How do you coordinate the pieces?

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