Shakespeare may have written "clothes make the man," but I am here to tell you that accessories make the outfit. I have an amazingly versatile Gerard Darel suit that I have adapted for numerous occasions. All I do is change out the shirt and accessories and, voila, new look.
On this day, I had a project meeting with a multinational, internet-related company. The employees here are known as relaxed, clothed in hoodies and jeans, post-grad-school-style sorts. So I knew I needed to convey a laid-back feel while still maintaining a business-like appearance. Which is why I grabbed my trusty Darel jacket and pants and planned around it.
I chose a cotton-blend shirt instead of a more traditional, conservative, button-down. This also allowed me to remove my jacket if the room was filled entirely with t-shirted individuals who probably wouldn't want to work with someone who looked like their parent. I added a variation on the traditional pearl necklace, opting for a multi-strand, creative, modern look. I paired my black, peep-toe sling backs with a slouchy large leather tote. This enabled me to carry my iPad, media kits, business cards, and all in something other than a briefcase.
Style note: the more structured a piece is, the more formal it appears.
I was able to walk the line between casual and formal here by wearing a well tailored, structured outfit and pairing it with somewhat casual accessories.
I'm not going to lie, though - I still had a moment when I felt like a mom because at one point, walking through the quad I wanted to yell "pull your pants up!" to one of the employees riding his skateboard to a meeting in the building next door.
How do you use accessories to transform an outfit?