If you’ve got a glamorous party, evening work event, or other social occasion coming up, then you’ll no doubt be planning your outfit for the ‘do’ - but what about accessories? The sheer volume of choice, from earrings to silk scarves to handbags, can make a decision overwhelming; but we can help!
The guide below will take you through exactly what you need to know to perfectly showcase your ensemble with accessories that’ll match your personality and overall style, too, so that you can step out in confidence, no matter the event or time of year.
Selecting the Right Jewelry
The key to this is narrowing down your selection so that you end up with a set of jewelry that complements, rather than overshadows, your outfit. Start by choosing your metal; opt for pieces that are all in silver, yellow gold, or white gold for a cohesive, elegant look. Next, select a type of gemstone such as diamond, topaz, or emerald, for example (either the real thing or costume pieces), and the color of this gem should match the shade of your outfit. If you’re wearing an ensemble that is all in one shade, other colors of gems could be incorporated into your jewelry, too, as long as this ‘base’ shade is present.
Next, choose a single statement piece. If you are planning on wearing a blue dress with a low-cut neckline, consider an elegant personalized name necklace in sterling silver with sapphires stones, paired with a set of classic silver earring studs and a simple chain bracelet. Similarly, if you’ll be wearing a sleeveless black evening gown, then you could choose a chunky stack of diamante embellished bangles, matched with some small stud earrings and a thin-chained drop necklace featuring similar sparkles for a gorgeous party look.
Choosing the Best Bag
For an evening soiree or night at the theater, clutch bags are generally seen as the most acceptable form of handbag - and they’re timelessly elegant, too. Clutch bags in velvet, satin, or silk can add an air of luxe glamour, although bear in mind the unspoken rule that this bag should never exactly match the shade of your ensemble itself unless your outfit is black.
If your evening wear is unembellished, then opt for a glitzy bag featuring sequin or seed pearls, for example, while if your dress is colorful or patterned, consider a white, black, or metallic-hued bag; remember to match the metallic shade of the bag, however, with the metal of your jewelry, for a ‘put together’ and classy look.
Belts are a big thing, fashion-wise, this year, so you’ll be spoiled for choice in terms of finding the perfect one for your ensemble. Belts can create interest and drama in an outfit, as well as make for a fabulous silhouette. As with clutch bags, if you opt for a metal belt, this should match the base metal of your jewelry. If you plump for a fabric belt, this should either perfectly match or beautifully contrast the shade of your dress. And if your personal style is a little edgier? Chain belts make a great choice; that’s bang on-trend, too.
A couple of bonus tips: ditch a belt if you’re planning on wearing a long necklace to avoid cluttering your look with overlapping elements; and for the best effect, be sure to wear your belt at the smallest part of your waist just above your belly button.
A shawl or a wrap can amp up the glamor of your outfit while also offering some cozy protection from the cold in the winter months or when you step out at the end of the party. In the spring and summer, opt for silk or chiffon, while velvet and satin make for warmer options once the temperatures drop.
Choose your shawl in black, white, gray, or neutrals to add elegance while not detracting from your ensemble. When it comes to picking the right length, you should be able to hold the ends of a lighter shawl in each hand with your arms spread wide, while heavier shawls should be about double this length to allow for wrapping yourself up snugly.
And if you want something a little different, then a show-stopping alternative is a black chiffon cape or, at the other extreme, a short, semi-sheer embroidered shawl - both offer a unique way to cover up on your way to the party!
When putting together your evening outfit, there are a few additional things to bear in mind when it comes to accessories. Think about how things will work together in a practical sense; for example, could a jeweled bracelet snag on a long-sleeved gown or get caught in a chiffon shawl? Are the statement heavy earrings you want to wear likely to become uncomfortable halfway through the night? Does the metal of your jewelry match your skin tone?
And if you’re still trying to decide on your key accessories, it’s worth remembering that pearls and diamonds are a girl’s best friend: they look stunning with anything.