Accessories Change an Outfit: Part I

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.

accessories with outfit

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.

how to wear accessories

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?

Photography credit: Erica Hampton



  • Misty says:

    I don’t accessorize much, really, except for an occasional set of bracelets and necklace when I need to meet some important people.

  • Jennifer says:

    Accessories make the outfit, that much is true! Anytime I feel like my outfit looks boring or dull, I bring it to life by wearing either a scarf or a bolero, and a belt with attractive buckle. And a pair of glasses also do the trick!

  • Taylor says:

    No kidding.. An employee goes to work riding on a skateboard? That is way too cool!

    I don’t have much accessories for my clothes, but I think a nice belt buckle always liven up my ensemble.

  • Tina says:

    thanks for these tips, Heidi! In my case, if my outfit doesn’t scream fashion, I let my stilettos do the talking 🙂

  • Serena says:

    The accessories I use to my clothes are my jewelries – necklace, bangles, bracelets, anklets.. I think those are enough to help make me look better and presentable.

  • Sophie says:

    I’ve got some vests and varied jackets (even leather ones) that I use to accessorize my outfit.

  • Belinda says:

    when I accessorize my outfits, I make sure I got all the bases covered. On my head, I’d either wear a hat or sunglasses, and put on some bracelets or bangles on my wrist, and for my feet, I’d wear an embellished high heels or an adorned sandals, depending on where I will be going..

  • Accessories really do miracles on my outfits. It’s like bringing extra life to a boring ensemble. My favorite accessory is my headband, I collect headbands actually, I like seeing these mini-rainbow band decorating my head 🙂

  • MJ says:

    thanks for the tips, I use accessories too, to bring life to my appearance. I use bag, belt, sometimes a hat or barrettes for my hair, and some pieced of jewelry like earrings.

  • kylie rachel says:

    I also prefer a bag to accessorize my whole outfit, it’s effortless and chic!

  • Kaylee says:

    With the right accessories, a boring outfit can be transformed, indeed. I do mine by wearing anything like belts, scarves, jewelries, head gears and always with a nice pair of stilettos!

  • Erin says:

    Most of the accessories I use are just the basics – belts, glasses, bags and earrings! 🙂

  • Shailene says:

    my sister tells me I don’t have fashion sense, or fashion style, or however she calls it. she helps me out on how to put accessories to my dresses/outfits. I’m so grateful I have your blog, Heidi because I learn a lot about fashion and so much more!

  • Donna says:

    I can’t live without my accessories. And I can’t leave my house without them. Bags, belts, jewelries, they’re all part of my ensemble and everyday needs..

  • arianne. says:

    Accessories play a big part on my outfits. Jewelries & bag may not appear much, but these definitely improve my appearance once way or another.

  • Riley says:

    I like playing with my outfits by accessorizing them. My favorite accessory – my jewelries 🙂

  • What I lack in the wardrobe department, I make it up with my jewelries, actually.

  • Aaliyah Jane says:

    I let my studded stilettos and Prada bag do the talking when it comes to accessorizing my outfit! 🙂

  • Flordeliz says:

    I love accessorizing, I swear I’d rather look like a walking Christmas Tree than be caught dead wearing a boring gray dress with no accessories to match. I go for colored belts when I wear my little black dress, I wear a wide-brimmed hat with a ribbon lace when I wear a yellow sundress, and I make sure I got a tote bag whenever I have to run errands 🙂

  • Susan Armstrong says:

    Accessories indeed play a great part to a boring outfit. Without jewelries or bags or belts, a woman looks plain and doesn’t deserve a second look.

  • Penelope A. says:

    My main fashion accessory is my sunglasses. I’d like people to take a look at my face instead of looking at my clothes on the breast level, especially since I’ve got big busts. Sorry, I’m not boasting or anything, but I’m really getting annoyed sometimes when people usually look down at me instead of my face when talking. I don’t really wear revealing clothes or plunging necklines, but the curves below my chin are somewhat eye-catching, so, I accessorize using sunglasses. I invest in these stuffs, Ray-Ban, Oakley…

  • Angelique says:

    When I need to wear a rather boring outfit to someplace traditional and conservative, I play it up a bit by wearing sunglasses and scarf. That way, my ensemble wouldn’t look dry and bored.

  • Regina says:

    To transform a rather boring outfit, I place my accessories where it will be automatically or immediately seen, so that the attention would be directed to it instead. Usually I use jewelries or scarf and hats.

  • Misa Kira says:

    I think this is what I am missing mostly on my clothes. I keep everything as minimal as possible, so as not to draw so much attention to me.

  • Accessories like jewelries play a big role to all my outfits because these serve as conversation pieces. I go for trinkets and attention-grabbing bracelets to make my ensemble stand-out.

  • Shauna says:

    Accessories indeed play a big part in every women’s (and men’s( outfit. In my case, I play around using scarfs (on cold days) and bangles for my wrist.

  • Carmencita says:

    Oh I love accessories, my outfits aren’t complete with it, so I make sure they’re readily available when I dress up, like the bangles and bracelets and bags

  • Margaret says:

    I don’t accessorize much, I mean, I don’t usually wear accessories with my clothes because I don’t have any to use. Sure I have earrings, but that’s about it. I guess I have to do some changes on my outfit, huh..

  • K Adams says:

    Well, I must say, accessories could make or break an outfit, these little items can make outfits look special, and make a difference in your whole appearance. While there are some outfits that are just outfits, sometimes, accessories like belts or a hat can make you look more appealing and approachable.

  • Nelly says:

    Accessories really play a big role in our outfits. Not only does it add glamour and accesntuates your entire look, these trinkets likes jewelries and bags can be subjects to conversation between friends and colleagues 🙂

  • Leigh Curtis says:

    So far, the only accessories I really use/wear with my clothes are my earrings and my tote bag. I think those are my basic essentials and I’m satisfied with how these accessories make me look good.

  • Gabrielle S says:

    I’ve got a range of accessories stored in my stash which I always use whenever I go out. I believe accessories like cufflinks, belts, hats and jewelries make you more presentable and fab.

  • Nadine says:

    Accessories indeed could either change or break an outfit. With the right items, I’m sure everyone will be a winner. Just like you Heidi.

  • Margot says:

    I love the accessories you use, Heidi. Your posts actually inspire me to do with the baubles I have and use them to accessorize 🙂

  • Jasmine Romero says:

    I love how you use accessories on your clothes!

  • Alyssa says:

    Loving the bag! So lovely! ??

  • Ginger Del Rosario says:

    Thanks for sharing your accessory ideas. Mine would include scarfs or ascots, and some fine baubles like gold jewels.

  • Lucy Bales says:

    I love accessories.. I collect belts, scarfs, bags, even jewelries, these help me accessorize my clothes when I wear mionochromatic dresses/outfits. Accessories really make wonders!

  • Fiona Apple says:

    The accessories I have are just some few jewelries and scarf and purses. I make sure these match the outfit I wear.

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