There are so many options for styling your outfits with accessories; whether to bring colour, warmth or panache, or indeed a combination of all of those things. I share some of my favourite ways to bring variety and fun to your outfits, and save money in the process.
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Styling with hats
Let’s start at the top with hats. My journey into wearing hats is a relatively new one. Of course I have for years worn caps for sun protection, but I am now enjoying wearing hats for style. Whether it be a broad brimmed sunhat, a squashable hat for travel, a fedora, a panama or a good Aussie Akubra, you might want to create a selection in your wardrobe. Of course what you choose will depend on your lifestyle, for example I don’t have much in the way of fascinators because we aren’t racegoers, but they too can bring a lot of fun and style and can also be adopted for a formal occasion like a wedding or a cocktail party.
A beautiful wide brimmed hat like the one in the image above brings such elegance to an outfit and reminds me of a more elegant time, but a hat can also bring style to a casual outfit. I have a hat from the brand Cherry Red that I bought at a local pharmacy, it is great for travel as it can be totally squashed without damage and provides good sun protection. I also have a couple of Akubras, both in the Traveller style, one in red and one in a neutral colour, I love them both and wear them regularly. At a lower price point you might like to check the options at KJH Surf. I have their Fingal Beach Fedora in white and it’s fabulous. The range of colours to choose from is huge and they also sell some accessories such as bands.
Also look for hats on sites like Etsy or specialist hat makers, or in more general fashion stores like Myer, David Jones and one of my favourites Blue Bungalow/ . Make sure you know your hat size use this handy guide to determine how to measure your head and match it to hat sizes. Try lots on too, to work out what styles suit you, matching style not just to your head size but also to your body size and shape, and your style type.
And don’t forget to play with personalising your hats, by replacing the bands or adding a brooch or perhaps a feather to match your outfit. That’s where the real fun starts
Styling with glasses
I started wearring presciption lenses at the age of 12 and have worn them ever since, with an interlude of contact lenses in my 20s, 30s and early 40s. The fear of damaging my eyes and the vast improvement in frame choices saw me returning to wearing spectacles and now I love them for the style and variety they bring to my look. They can do the same for you.
So if you have to wear prescription glasses you will definitely want to make sure they are as stylish as possible. In some cases women will choose to wear a pair of spectacle frames with clear glass – just for fun. I cannot tell you how often I have been asked what brand the red frames above are, they are the Bailey Nelson Isabelle frames and are available in sunglasses as well. The red is no longer available but a funky tortoiseshell or a matte black frame are current at the time of writing. It’s great that these days specs give us so many options.
I’m always looking in windows at opticians checking out trends and colours, and I recommend that to you. Take the time to work out what shapes best suit your face and what colours and styles will complement your clothes and personal style preferences. I have frames in green, purple and tortoise shell, and different shapes as well, and I love to mix and match them with my outfits. And of course a couple of different pairs of sunglasses – my most recent from Oscar Wylee. I have also recently discovered, but not shopped at, Vision DIrect an online store stocking brands such as Ray Ban, Gucci, Tom Ford and Polaroid. To shop online it is essential you know your sizes and shapes. Vision DIrect does have an online try on facility that I played around with, but did find a little weird. I would however try this store for frames and brands that I already know.
But a great place to start is to visit one of the smaller optical dispensers, in my experience they stock more interesting frames than some of the majors. Let’s make our specs fun rather than just a must have.
Styling with jewellery
There are so many great jewellery options to add style to your outfits and there is definitely something for everyone, be it necklaces, beads, earrings and bracelets.
Necklaces and beads
Necklaces can run the gamut from fine silver and gold chains to chunky wooden or metal beads. There is so much to choose from in this particular type of jewellery. Although I wear chunky beads a lot less these days (due to our warm climate) you will always find a selection in my jewellery box because they bring so much fun to an outfit. The right choice of necklace can be a great way to draw the eye away from a muffin top too. For fine jewellery search out specialist jewellery stores, and perhaps leave some notes around the house at Christmas time and near your birthday :-). For more chunky necklaces a couple of great Australian brands are Elk and Ruby Olive.
Earrings are my very favourite jewellery to wear and if I leave the house without earrings I pretty much feel naked. There is such a wonderful variety of available these days; everything from tiny studs to elaborate drop earrings and everything in between. Whatever your style personality and your shape and size, you will find earrings to suit you. You might even have multiple piercings to allow you to wear more than one set at a time. I typically wear larger earrings because I am tall and a size 16, but you will find me wearing pearl studs from time to time. As always, decide what works best for you and if you find a brand that works for you get on their mailing list to know about specials and sales.
Both Elk and Ruby Olive (above) also sell earrings, as do chain stores like Lovisa . Don’t neglect more general stores like Blue Bungalow who stock a great selection including my current favourite Moe Moe.
My hot tip for buying earrings that are not pure metals like gold or sterling silver, is to paint the posts or hooks with clear nail polish – that will stop any staining of your earlobe and also minimise the risk of infection.
Bracelets and bangles
I’m always jealous of women who successfully and stylishly wear a stack of bangle or bracelets. It just isn’t me, I find them annoying when I am trying to do something. If that is you too then consider an arm cuff instead that sits snugly against your arm and away from your wrist. For me it’s a watch (or maybe a FitBit) on my wrist and that’s it.
But like I said, I always think that bracelets and bangles look so stylish and if you are able to wear them comfortably then do embrace them – match them or clash them with your outfits and have fun with them. You will find bracelets, bangles and cuffs at the brands listed above.
Another jewellery typs that can bring that bit extra to your outfit is rings. Just like necklaces you have a choice of traditional silver and gold rings or more modern funky styles. I wear the same three rings every day, a Russian wedding ring I purchased for myself years ago, my Mother’s engagement ring and a beautiful sapphire ring that Rowan had made for my 60th birthday.
That doesn’t leave a lot of room for costume jewellery type rings but I absolutely love them. When a friend was recently here to stay I was reminded to find a space on my fingers for a beautiful silver and ceramic ring that was a personal gift from. It is out for cleaning this weekend! A great source for beautiful rings – from precious metals to resin and a number of other materials – is Dinosaur Designs, also retailers of earrings, bracelets and bangles and necklaces.
Styling with scarves and wraps
Scarves and wraps are one of my favourite accessories to wear. Yes it gets too hot for them in mid summer but the rest of the year you will often find me wearing one. They come in such a variety of widths and lengths and fabrics, there really is something for everyone. And the styling options are almost endless whether around your neck, tied to a handbag or wrapped as a turban or around your waist. You will always find several in my travel packing lists and a wrap is an absolute on board essentail for me when flying; a good cashmere wrap or pashmina can add so much warmth and if necessary be draped to cover any spils or creases after a long flight. And even in hot weather a light silk or cotton scarf can be a great way to protect you from sunburn.
Choose your fabric – silk, linen, cashmere…… and snap up several to work back with your wardrobe. A favourite brand for me is Cara Cashmere who offer beautiful scarves and wraps – some in 100% cashmere, others in blends like cashmere and silk. Annie, the owner of Cara Cashmere is also a fount of knowledge on ways to style your scarves and wraps; so many more ways than I realised.
Styling with handbags
Handbags are so much more than a functional necessity for carrying your bits and pieces, they bring a wonderful finishing touch to an outfit. The choices are endless too with different size and functions from a tote to an small evening bag. There is a bag for every occasion. I tend to buy bags when I spot them, that is, I’m not that strategic about my purchases. However, I always have my lifestyle, and my current wardrobe in mind, and you will find more cross body bags in my colllection than other styles. I find them great for every day but also for travel as I can keep them close to my body with a hand on them. Smaller bags like clutches are more likely to come out with me when going out at night.
For travel a cross body bag with some built in securitiy can be a great buy and I like the look of this one. We always take at least one secure back pack for travel too, Rowan usually carries it when we are out and about with anything of importance for both of us locked away in it. Both these are from Strandbags a long time favourite of mine, also don’t discount them for an incredible variety of handbags and of course luggage, there is a reason this store has been around for many years.
Other ways to accessorise your outfits
Of course these are only some of the ways to accessorise your outfits. I haven’t, for example, covered belts, and in a separate post I have discussed shoes.
There are so many ways to have fun with accessories and they can be an inexpensive way to bring new life to your wardrobe. I encourage you to find some new options and enjoy them.