Bring Your Outfit to Life: Accessorize!

I was watching Sesame Street with my toddler last week and the word of the day was "accessory". When asked what an accessory was one woman said "It is something you add to your outfit to make you look more fabulous!" Accessories really personalize your outfit and help to give you a finished look. Accessories are the difference between a boring and unimaginative outfit and one that looks like it is straight from a photoshoot! The question then becomes "How do I accessorize properly?" Of course, personal taste and environment is a factor, but there are some basic rules.

1. Jewelry!

We are talking necklaces, earrings, and bracelets here. They really bring your outfit to life. You can never have too many accessories: casual, colourful, gold, silver, long, short. Here are a list of guidelines to follow when accessorizing with jewelry:

Keep it simple:

Unless you are a fashionista/stylist, try to wear a statement piece of jewelry with simple clothing. For example, a simple turtleneck with a really bright, bold necklace or a basic t-shirt with fun hoop earrings.

Mind your Neckline:

There are some tops that cannot and should not be worn with certain types of necklaces. Would you wear a bib style necklace with a halter top? Maybe you would! It is entirely up to you, but just consider what length of necklace goes best with your top. Also consider what you would like to highlight. If you have a plunging neckline and ample cleavage, a shorter necklace may be for you instead of a longer piece that draws even more attention to your breasts (unless that is what you want).

Mind Your Neckline

One at a time:

Sometimes it is best to let one piece shine. As much as you love all your jewelry try to let one statement piece do the talking! If you have a great pair of earrings you want to wear maybe go without the necklace, or choose a simple, long necklace. If you are going bold with bangles and bracelets consider toning down the fashion rings. It is not to say that you cannot wear a statement earring and necklace together. Just make sure they are not competing for the limelight and taking away from you!

Colour Coordinate:

Remember the color wheel we talked about in What You NEED To Know About Dressing For Your Skin Tone : Part 2? Try using that concept here. Choose colours and metal tones that compliment each other. You don't have to go matchy-matchy. Think about pairing lilac and a light yellow together or gold and antique metal.


Layering different lengths of necklaces can really jazz up a white button down shirt or black top. Alternatively, you can mix and match bracelets and bangles. Try between three and seven here. I personally love to use the numbers 3, 5 and 7 when layering. There is something about these prime numbers that really do it for me!


Aldona B a local beauty and street style blogger/writer. Check out her website: Photo by: Paul M. Lee @ Vinegar Designs Lab. 


Frame your face:

Earrings are a great way to frame your face. I find that long, dangly earrings and hoop earrings really do the trick for me. Find a style that suits your face shape and get as many as you can in varying colours. Honestly, when I find a style that suits me I get 5 of the same thing in different colors. At Alora, we are all about maximalism (the word we made up that is opposite of minimalism), being bold, and colour!

2. Shoes!

This goes without saying: Ladies, you need a great pair of closed toe heels and a killer pair of boots (for the sad, depressing winters). Think of it like this. You can be a hot mess under your (fabulous) winter coat, but as long as you have a great pair of boots you look put together.

Compliment, Don't Compete

Your shoes should compliment your outfit, unless of course, you have bought a pair of shoes to specifically be the star of the show. Think about choosing a colour that is within the same palate as your clothing and jewelry. If you are wearing a multi-colored dress look for a color within your dress that you have shoes to match.

Back to Basics

Every wardrobe needs shoe basics. When you are struggling for the right shoe accessory you can always fall back on these. Here Is A Basic Shoe List For Canada: A pair of comfortable, 2.5 inch, closed toe heels that can easily be dressed up or down. Brown Boots Black Boots Neutral Flats

Have fun

You need some fun shoes in your collection. Think colour and pattern here. Bright, bold shoes can really make your outfit. I took a bunch of old shoes and recovered them in African wax print fabric.

Bright bold shoes recovered in fabric 

Buy Quality

This doesn't mean that you have to buy the most expensive pair of shoes out there. Make sure you look for things like material, stitch, platform to heel ratio, and the sole of the shoe. When you buy quality, your shoes will last longer. I make sure I spend the extra cash on the basics.

Buy for Comfort

No matter how cute the shoes, if they are uncomfortable then they will sit in your closet for years (maybe even decades) without being worn. Sometimes this goes back to buying quality. More often than not, higher quality shoes have more attention to detail that makes the difference between being able to wear a pair of shoes for 1 hour versus 8 hours.

3. Bags!

You can never have too many bags. That goes for men too. A bag will really finish off your outfit. Especially in a place like Calgary where you live in your coat. A killer pair of boots + a statement bag = perfect outfit. For women, I recommend three basic bags a clutch for the evening, a carry all, and great structured bag that you wear to leave an impression.


Please, for the love of all things good, do not feel obligated to match your bag and your shoes. Your bag and shoes do not have to match. They just have to compliment everything else in your outfit. Try a warm tone with a warm tone and a cool toned bag and show together.


Joyce J is a local fashion blogger and owner of Joyces Closet (
Joyce J is a local fashion blogger ( and owner of Joyce's Closet


Your bag should be in proportion to your size. No matter how great that oversized tote is you will look like you are being weighed down if you are 5 foot nothing.

Buy Quality

You know you can spot a cheap looking bag from a mile away. That is not to say that the bag was inexpensive. There are many a $1200 bag that look cheap and tacky. Again, look for things like finishings, stitch, and material quality.
This Bag Starts at $1300. It looks like it should be $14.99 at a department store.  Photo care of


This Bag Starts at $1300. It looks like it should be $14.99 at a department store.

What rules and guidelines do you use when accessorizing?


Accessory Basics      

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