JUST ADD ACCESSORIES: part 2

In Part 1 I discussed how to accessorize solid colored garments, how some accessories are linked to a season or time of day and how to create a mood with accessories. This time we’ll go a step further and discover how visual weight harmony matters, how to dress up pr down an outfit with accessories and lastly, how to accessorize a patterned/printed garment.     

Visual Weight

Like the timing of accessories, selecting an accessory that harmonizes with your outfit in weight will create a pulled together and appealing result.

This is not the actual weight if the accessory but it’s perceived weight and is based on a combination of factors.

In general terms, visual weight increases with the following factors:

  • Size: the larger.
  • Opacity: the more opaque.
  • Color: the darker.
  • Structure: the less structured.
  • Surface: the more matte the surface.
  • Texture: the more textured.
  • Embellishments: the more embellished.

In addition

SHOES:

  • Exposure: the less open the shoe/less foot it exposes.
  • Sole: the thicker.
  • Heel Height: the lower.
  • Heel Style: the thicker/ chunkier. 

JEWELRY:

The following necklaces are large which may cause some to believe the scale is inappropriate for them however, if the color of the beads are light or the beads are transparent the visual weight decreases and the necklace will be more easily worn by those who are short, petite or over their ideal weight.   

Likewise the more light reflects off the surface of the the necklace (shiner) the visually lighter the necklace will appear to be. 

Also the finer the detailing the less weight (visually lighter) the overall design will appear to be.  

Combining accessories with a visual weight that matches your garment will also result in a harmonious design.  In this set the accessories on the first dress are too heavy for the lightweight dress while the 2nd and third examples coordinate well to create a stylish and harmonious look.  

FORMALITY

Accessories are perfect to dress a garment or outfit up or down or update it, with relatively little cost. This is stretch the usefulness and life of your garments.

One of the critical factors is to start with a dress or outfit that has a simple yet flattering style to effectively work as a blank canvas to allow for the maximum number of different looks.  These dresses from Dorothy Perkins are perfect examples,
  • solid colors,
  • classic unadorned necklines
  • elegant semi fitted styles

Each allows for a multitude of possibilities and none can be pegged to a particular fashion date making them worth extra dollars, as they are likely to wear out or you get sick of wearing them before they have to be tossed for being out of fashion. 

In general terms, formality increases with the following factors:

  • Size: the smaller.
  • Style: more classic, less trendy
  • Opacity: the more opaque.
  • Color: the darker.
  • Structure: the more structured.
  • Surface: the more reflective (polished/shiny/sparkly).
  • Texture: the less textured.
  • Embellishments: the less embellished.
  • Print/Color: solid colors.
  • Fabric: natural.
  • Condition: good to excellent.

In addition

SHOES:

  • Exposure: the less open the shoe.
  • Sole: the thinner.
  • Heel Height: the higher.
  • Heel Style: the finer and more classic. 

 

Accessorizing solid colored outfits and garments is relatively easy but when it comes to accessorizing patterned garments some women feel a little lost. Like most things it’s not that difficult with a few tips and a little practice.

The following dress has all the basic traits of ‘The Versatile Dress’ talked about in Part 1 with the exception that it’s a graphic print.  No don’t be scared, it’s not that hard.

Breakdown the Style

  • Color Temperature: Cool
    Wearing accessories on the same side of the color wheel as the colors within the garment is the easiest option and will always result in a harmonious look.
  • Color Hierarchy: Black, Yellow, White, Grey. 
    ~ By hierarchy I mean the color that is the most dominant.  In this dress black is the most dominant followed by yellow, white and grey. 

    ~ While you could accessorize this dress with any of the four colors, balance is more often created when you use the dominant colour.
    ~ When it comes to shoes, neutral colors like skin tone can also be used, and in cases of garments with unusual colors neutral shoes are a God send. 
  • Design and Structural Shapes: Mainly curved shapes.
    ~ Echoing the shapes within the garment creates an insync appearance. The top half of the dress is very curved making the selection of similarly shaped earrings the best option.  
    ~ The lace pattern at the neckline makes adding a necklace or pendant un necessary and unless very fine may create a cluttered or overly busy appearance.
    The design angles at the base of the dress allows for pointy shoes to be worn.
    The scooped neckline allows for a short pendant and the rounded shape of the pendant harmoniously echoes the shape of the neckline.
  • Theme: Graphic Print + Color Blocking Trends
    Print based on lace.
  • Image: Strong Femininity 
    ~ The strength comes from boldness of the black against the lighter and softer colours of white and lemon and the delicate lace pattern.
    ~ Being able to look at a garment/outfit and determine its perceived image will give you the advantage of knowing when to select a look that will work towards your daily goals.
  • Size of Print: Large
    ~ As a general rule, the larger the print/pattern the larger you will appear. If you are petite, the larger the print the higher the risk the design will overwhelming your frame.
    ~ The color contrast within the pattern will increase or decrease the effect.  A large print of similar depth colors that softly blend into each other has less enlarging power and a print (any size) of bright contrasting colors has more power to enlarge.
  • Neckline: Scooped (medium depth)
    The shape and height of the neckline determines the type and length of neckline accessory. Some necklines and collars are best left unadorned (see below).
  • Sleeves: Sleeveless
    ~ The type of sleeves (or lack of) helps determines the type and number of arm and hand accessories.
    ~ The shorter the sleeve the more you can add
    .
  • Occasion: Dressy
    ~ The base formality level of a garment will determine how far it can be dresses up and down.  This dress being dressy in its unaccessorized state is unlikely to be able to be dressed down enough to wear on casual occasions. However, the second dress is basically casual and can be dressed up for business casual or down for the weekend but it will always appear too casual for a evening dinner.
  • Timing: Day+
    The dressiness of this dress means it can be accessorized to wear to work as well as evening events such as a dinner.  The second dress is suited to day wear only.    

Accessorizing Necklines and Collars

  • Necklines Best left UnAdorned

Any neckline or collar that is ornate or already impacted by strong pattern are best left accessorized.  The addition of beautiful earrings are all that is required to complete the neckline.

  • General Necklines:

While there are plenty of Google and Pinterest sites with examples of what accessory to place with which neckline, my opinion is that what you place at the neckline has more to do with getting the harmony right with color, style and formality rather than shape.  Mirroring the shape of a neckline does work but being restricted to that idea is very limiting.  My advice is to experiment; accessories are so inexpensive and abundant that you should allow yourself to experiment and play until you find the styling that works with your personal style.

In the meantime here’s some inspiration:    

End of Topic

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