We’re back! Thanks to everyone for the feedback and comments on our first ever urbanmoms.ca StyleFile. We promised to focus on the topics that interest you, and as there were lots of questions about accessories, that’s what we’re going to review here.
Well, of course there is no such thing as "necessary accessories". Put on a top and a bottom and you’re ready to go, right? But, nothing adds such a punch of interest, individuality and completes an outfit like a fab accessory or two.
And, an accessory or two is what it’s all about.
- Less is more – Less is definitely more when it comes to wearing accessories. So go ahead, add a great belt with a large jewelled buckle to a favourite pair of jeans, but no need to add a chunky necklace too (just some simple stud earrings). Liven up a bare neck, plain sweater or tee with a stunning beaded or artisan necklace, but forget about the dangling earrings. The key is to make that one stunning piece the focal point and not to overwhelm yourself with too much of a good thing, (which is why I never wear my Froot Loops necklace with my macaroni bracelet – just too much.) By the way, also consider your own scale – if you are very petite, large pieces can be over-the-top, and if you are tall, you may need more substantial pieces to create the desired impact. If you wear eye glasses, they act like an accessory in their own right, and rarely work with large earrings. I love this coral-inspired necklace from Banana Republic, but it’s pretty powerful. For a more delicate look, check out this heart pedant from American Eagle. On their own, these cheerful earrings from Banana Republic will add a touch of Spring to many outfits.
- To match or not to match? – This is another common accessory question. Found a funky, brightly coloured bag? A punch of colour is cool, but adding the shoes, gloves and belt all in the same colour is not a match made in heaven. Keep the other pieces in basic wardrobe-building basics such as black, brown or neutrals. And, when it comes to jewelry, my rule of thumb is two matching pieces – max (but, it depends on the type of jewelry.) Take fine gold or silver pieces for example (either the genuine article or dress jewelry) – these often comes in sets and matching necklaces, earrings and bracelets can be worn together because of their small scale. But, as noted above, larger pieces of dress jewelry can be a bit much, especially items that are physically close togther like earrings and necklaces. So try, coordinating one large piece with smaller ones in similar materials and tones. I love these substantial shell pieces from American Eagle. Worn separately, they will look stunning, but together, they’ll be too much.
Here are some accessory trends as we head into Spring.
- Alice in hair bands – hair bands are everywhere. Thick, thin, patterned and plain. Can a mom pull off this trend? Absolutely*, and in addition to being bang-up-to-date, hair bands have practical benefits for us time-strapped moms, keeping stray hair slicked back and adding style to an undone do. I find they add a preppy and sophisticated look for those with straighter hairstyles (here’s an example from Banana Republic), and a bohemian coolness to curly locks (the hair band/scarf is hot this year – this one is from American Eagle.) *However, for some reason, hair bands don’t work for everyone (personally, I’ve never been able to pull off this look.) If you’re not sure if a hair band is right for you, ask an honest friend for feedback and avoid wearing one that matches your five-year-old daugther’s – a bit too cute.
- Jewelry – Fine gold and silver jewlery is back big-time. (Check your drawers for pieces from the past.) Loops and hoops add simple chic- ness. I like these asymmentrical earrings from Banana Republic. Casual dress jewelry is inspired by the beach with shells and small stones in colours to suit all tastes and to liven up every plain tee and tank. I know, I know – you just can’t wear this stuff with a baby in the yanking stage. Large bangles can replace dainty bracelets until this phase has passed and do double duty as a teething ring/toy. These bracelets are from Banana Republic and the agate necklace is from hbc.com. Add a jet necklace to a black or white shirt and you’ve got yourself a great evening look. Hbc.com has added a touch of rich red to this one.
- Fabulous flats – flat footwear is everywhere with ballet-inspired shoes and sneakers appearing in every colour of the rainbow, in leather and fabrics, and in prints ranging from animal to flowers. Once we shed our snowboots they’ll be perfect with jeans, capris and for chasing toddlers. And, with the full toe coverage, that pedicure can be postponed just a little longer. Just look at these colourful Keds and beautiful ballet flats from The Shoe Company. These Sketchers classics are practical, as we transition from Winter to Spring.
- In the bag – let’s face it our bags have to be practical in order to transport a variety of baby/kid needs (yes, we really have to bring a rock collection back from the park) or keep our hands free for no-end of mom tasks. So, are there any cool bags out there that also meet these functional requirements? You bet. Large totes in leather and fabric are pefect. This polka-dot powerhouse from American Eagle can go from park to beach, as can these practical patents from La Senza (also easy to keep clean with a baby wipe.) The Gap Product Red version can transfer from office to everyday with ease. Also consider body bags worn across the torso. Roots has a fabulous flat version in gem-inspired brights (wow, not sure about this yellow) but don’t worry it also comes in red, green and practical black and brown.
- The beltline – spring belts are appearing in braided leather, stripes or solids in red, white and navy blue (yes, the nautical look is back) and add a finished look to jeans, kakis and cords. Multi-coloured cotton, like this American Eagle version, will coordinate with jeans and just about every tee in your wardrobe. Braided belts are everywhere and are lighter than solid leather for Spring and Summer. Have fun with animal prints, but remember one item in animal print is always enough.
Last but not least, don’t forget that accessories are fun! There are so many great pieces in the stores for less than the price of a week’s coffee shop purchases. So go ahead, build a stock of great belts, bags and beads that suit your personality and give you the option to personalize your mom basics, work day wardrobe or add a little glamour on that unexpected evening out (hey, you never know!)
Next time, we’ll honour urbanmoms.ca’s Moms Night Out with ideas for dessing up for an evening on the town.
Katie is host of the urbanmoms.ca Style File. As a public relations professional and a student of style and design, Katie has helped many retail and fashion clients promote their brands. She is mom to two boys (the best anti-shopping devices on the market) and now indulges her love of fashion by conducting wardrobe consultations and personal shopping expeditions for friends and acquaintances, providing advice on everything from wardrobe must-haves to accessories and footwear. Katie firmly believes that high style does not have come with a high price tag and her shopping philosophy is based on saving both time and money.
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