Accessories can be extremely powerful because they complete a look, often taking it from nice to fabulous. Eye-catching accessories can also make a strong style statement.
When you are considering accessories for your outfit, you should consider the principles of co-ordination. There are 4 main principles of co-ordination – these are:
Level of Refinement
The level of refinement relates to the dressed-upness or dressed-downness of the jewellery and the outfit.
- Level one – evening wear and formal business
- Level two – smart casual or relaxed business
- Level three – casual clothing and active wear / outdoor leisure
Accessories relate to the level of refinement of your outfit. You can wear Level 2 with either Level 1 or Level 3 items, but you can’t mix Levels 1 and 3. As I’m not in Grade Three, I’m not going to put on my tiara with my jeans and my sneakers as their level of refinement are too far apart.
When figuring out the level of refinement of any piece, consider the more delicate and intricate, the more sparkle, the higher the level of refinement. The more chunky and matte, made from natural or ‘raw’ materials, the more relaxed and lower the level of refinement.
Scale is one of the most important elements to consider when thinking about dressing your body and personality. It’s one of the tools we have to create an optical illusion, we can use it to make ourselves or parts of ourselves appear larger or smaller (or just as we are), depending what we want to achieve.
Scale plays an important role in accessories. Although this is not a strict rule, the scale of your accessories should relate to your physicality. Body scale assessment takes into account your height, weight and bone structure.
- If your body is Small Scale, choose small to medium accessories.
- If it’s Medium Scale any size accessory will work for you. However, if you’re short, stick with small to medium accessories since large ones will emphasize your lack of height.
- If it’s Large Scale, choose medium to large accessories (unless you’re short, in which case stick with small to medium accessories).
If you want to increase the scale of an accessory consider layering them over each other to take up more space and create a larger scale appearance. You can layer necklaces and bracelets; stack your rings and group your brooches.
When you’re wearing prints, patterns and embellishments such as ruffles; sequins or embroidery, simple accessories are often the best option. Relate the scale, design and colours of your jewellery to any prints and patterns so they create harmony and balance.
Style Guidelines not Rules
Personality influences what you wear, what you feel good in, and what gives you confidence. It is the number one key to finding clothes that make you look and feel good. Body shape is just one tiny element of the whole puzzle, but nowhere near as important as personality.
Use scale to play up your personality and express your sense of style. If you have a bold streak, then you will want to wear larger-scale accessories and details than someone who likes to blend into the crowd.
Accessories are the icing on the cake – they add the interest and detail, a touch of sparkle or sheen that grab the light or texture and colour that may otherwise be lacking in your outfit. Matching the right accessories for your clothes and body can be a creative and fun exercise. Why not grab your copy of my accessories ebook The Finishing Touch for lots and lots more ideas on how to best use accessories.