Accessories for Beginners

A while back I took a Style Help Survey asking for your top 1-2 style questions.  That’s led to posts on ankle boots (HERE and HERE), how to choose shoes (HERE), and clothing budget (HERE), to name a few.

Now we’ll be chipping away at another batch of questions–all on accessories!  There were several questions about basic accessories for those who are just starting to experiment with style, and ones about go-to accessories that will make your outfit more interesting.  I thought I’d showcase some of the options out there, and when applicable, I’ll throw in my personal go-to’s for some of the categories.  In future weeks, we’ll focus specifically on necklaces since there were lots of questions about them, and then do a miscellaneous accessory Q&A to cover the rest.  If you’ve got style questions, whether specifically on accessories or anything else, please ask away HERE!

There are tons of accessories out there.  Some of them add very little to an outfit, and some nothing at all.  Some accessories need to be combined with 50 other accessories to make a difference.  But some can stand alone and pack a punch in a way that pulls together your whole look.  That last category is the one I want to focus on because those require the least thinking for a meaningful impact.

Let’s get to it!

Statement Necklaces
These have typically been my accessory of choice.  They come in various sizes, colors, and levels of “statement,” so to speak.  My can’t-live-withouts are my teal teardrop necklace for everyday wear, one with black jewels for dressier occasions, and a gold one for either everyday or dressy.  My teal teardrop nearly goes with any of my casual clothes, and I especially love it over a striped shirt or a jersey dress.  I inevitably grab my black jeweled necklace for dressier occasions, or opt for the gold one if black doesn’t fit with the colors.

statement necklace outfits

Another option is a crystal statement necklace like THIS or THIS, which works well to dress up a t-shirt or gingham/chambray/plaid/any button up, or would probably work in place of the black AND gold one for dressier occasions.

Any of these are basically fail proof!  More statement necklaces below that would totally do the trick:

statement necklace
Links to Shop:
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If you’re not into statement necklaces for any reason (too flashy, don’t like them with your figure, too heavy, etc.) a simple pendant can also make a huge impact.  My absolute favorite is my drusy pendant (sold out long ago, but a super similar one popped up HERE).

I’m also super partial to colored pendants, like my mint/green one (similar HERE) and yellow one.  However, the drusy pendant I named above is my #1 choice because it’s a color that goes with most things and it’s subtle, making it an easy go-to for almost any outfit.

pendant necklace outfits

Links to Shop:
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Earrings were my accessory of choice before I started blogging, and I was NEVER found without huge metallic or bold colored earrings.  I stopped wearing them as they grew heavy on my ears, plus I discovered statement necklaces which compete with huge earrings.  While I don’t wear them much anymore, I LOVE Nickel & Suede leather / metallic leather earrings.  I’ve shown before how they can pull an outfit together HERE.  Being leather, I feel like they are fantastic for a casual outfit without looking over the top.  Plus they are super lightweight compared to other earrings their size.  Find them HERE.  (Not sponsored, BTW.  N&S accessories are just awesome.)

“Arm Candy”
I don’t wear a lot of bracelets, so I’m not going to pretend I know what to tell you here.  During my huge earring phase I always wore a colorful cuff or bracelet, but I had a different role at work back then.  (This was like 5-10 years ago!)  I do a lot of computer work now, so it bothers me to have stuff on my wrists clanging against a desk.  However, I love how they look!  Though I don’t wear them, I think a stack of gold and/or colorful bangles can do wonders for an outfit.  I also like the leather cuffs at Nickel & Suede (HERE).  They don’t slide around and don’t make noise, and they’re soft!

Last year I renewed my addiction to knowing the time every minute of the day.  Oh and hey, what do you know?  That little timepiece on your wrist can also polish up your outfit!  My two favorites are the Daniel Wellington watch and the JORD watch.  Daniel Wellington polishes up an outfit, and can be worn in a professional setting or in a dressier look.  JORD is a wooden watch that’s pretty lightweight for how huge it is, and I like that it has a sportier look compared to DW.

Below are the DW and JORD watches, plus #2 and #5 are way less expensive at $20 and $22 respectively.

Links to Shop:
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These work in colder months as well as spring.  I used to almost ALWAYS wear a scarf before discovering statement necklaces.  A patterned scarf can totally give life to an outfit of all solids, or a knit scarf in colder months can give provide texture and color to make an outfit more interesting.  And they keep you warm!

scarf outfits

Different scarf options for various temps.  All $10 to $30, mostly under $20, from Old Navy, Target, Nordstrom, and Etsy.  

Links to Shop:
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Hats / Headscarves / Headbands
It’s weird to think that before my blogging days I wore beanies and scarves in my hair often.  Like, imagine me with a scarf wrapped around my head like a headband with huge metallic earrings.  I had a little more boho style going on back then than I do now.  😉  Anyway, these can all add a cute element to an outfit, if you are willing to keep them on your head.

Over the last couple of years I’ve really been appreciating how hats can change the look of an outfit, whether we’re talking about floppy hats, fedoras, baseball caps, or beanies.  I love how they look on other people!  I just have a hard time finding ones that looks good on my big, misshapen head!  Haha.

By now I have a ton of accessories, but if I absolutely had to boil it down to my can’t-live-withouts, they’d be:

  • an everyday statement necklace to pull together casual looks
  • a black, gold, or crystal statement necklace for dressier occasions
  • a simple pendant 
  • a sleek watch that goes with almost everything
  • a patterned lightweight scarf (like a striped, leopard, or floral one)
  • a neutral thicker knit scarf (grey, taupe, or maybe mustard–definitely mustard if I got a +1 here!)
For me, all else like hats or earrings or bracelets are excess.  However, I know people who would include those in their can’t-live-withouts and who would never put on a necklace.  As always, it goes back to what works for you and what you think you’ll actually wear, but hopefully my list at least got the wheels churning for you!
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