Accessorizing Tips

One of our favorite ways to spend the weekend is to throw some things in the car and get out of town. I am getting lots of practice packing for these little trips, and I enjoy sharing what my experiences teach me.

I often get questions about how I decide on the accessories to take or wear on these weekend getaways. It is always my goal to make a few pieces work in different ways. The starting point is often a pair of comfortable pants and a tee or tank nearly the same color. A texture difference ensures that even though the colors are not precisely the same, it will look like I meant to do that. For evening or in winter, those colors will be darker, most likely black. On warm sunny days, those colors will be lighter, often white. From there, I will add a jacket, kimono, or cardigan, depending upon the event and the weather. These pieces are my starting point. I never feel well dressed without my accessories.

Accessorizing is a little like cooking in that if you add too many spices, the flavor of the dish will become muddled. A pair of shoes that extend the line of my legs, a necklace and or a scarf, and a good quality handbag are often the only noticeable accessories I wear. If my top’s neckline has interesting details, I may skip the necklace and wear more dramatic earrings. Typically my earrings are small crystal studs set in silver that cover the holes in my lobes. I always limit my jewelry to no more than two impact areas per look. I limit myself to one focal point per area. If I wear a stack of bracelets, I will not wear a necklace, but I may wear larger earrings. There is no perfect recipe for accessorizing. If you feel you have made your look too busy, my tips may help you decide what to remove.

My look often includes a scarf. I may tie or drape it around my neck, or I may tie it around the handle of my bag. Scarves are my favorite way to add a pop of color and pattern to my looks. I always put two or three scarves in my travel bag because I know they can keep me warm, change my looks, and help me look well dressed. They are the spices that add that brightness, much the way a squeeze of lemon before serving makes vegetables taste so fresh.

As I continue to assess my wardrobe and shoes that no longer feel like a good fit for my sixty-year-old self, I am discovering that there are lots of things that I don’t feel comfortable wearing now.

This look included a layered tank top and a bracelet sleeve jacket, both from White House|Black Market from last year. The white straight leg jeans are from Chico’s earlier this year. The dove gray bag is by Michael Kors. The scarf is an older one by Versace. The shoes are by Sofft Shoes via Dillard’s. I will not wear black shoes with anything other than long black pants. I do not understand the trend of wearing black shoes with a dress or shorts because this always makes our legs appear shorter and stockier.

  1. There is one additional “accessory” that completes your look – red toe nail polish!

    After reading your blog for a while now, I have gone out and purchased #680 Revlon Red nail polish. I am now painting my toenails red. Not only does this seem to add a finished look to my summer sandals, it also reminds me of how my Mom used to paint her toenails red back when I was a little girl growing up.

    I’m enjoying the look.

  2. Wasn’t it Coco Chanel who said whenever you have finished dressing and accessorizing, look in the mirror and remove at least one accessory? You’re in good company! I love the military inspired jacket. It looks good with white and could be worn in the fall and winter also.

  3. It is good to see how and understand WHY you put outfits together. Please keep these coming.
    About choosing shoe colour, what would you wear with navy or dark denims? – Is black OK as it continues the darker look.
    Also if wearing stone or grey trousers what colour she or sandal to go with it? Would tan or metallic mix colours in between seasons, say for spring.
    In the UK White trousers tend to be for sunny days in summer or holidays, So lighter stone colours are easier to use generally.

    1. I try to match the color of my skin if I am wearing white pants or pants that don’t come down to the top of the shoe. A metallic color shoe in more of a muted neutral than a bright color can be a great shoe to wear with almost anything.

  4. I see you’ve found a great looking shoe that is comfortable and stylish!! Sofft is a great choice!

  5. Like this outfit Susan. You look great & you are wearing one of my favorite accessores..the pearls from your FK collection. The shoes are a great height & cute as well. Are you wearing Dutch Tulips on your toes this summer? Best wishes & thank you!

  6. You are a smart woman. I am actually packing for a two-week trip right now and I am going to swap out some of the black shoes I packed!!! You are absolutely right about the black shoes cutting off my legs with a dress. Keep the tips coming!!!

  7. I just looked at your kimmos. You have a beautiful orange one but it only comes in L. Do you also get xl? Thanks for all the tips. You are right about the French Kandee. Instead of all the inexpensive necklaces I would probably have enough saved for one nice necklace.

  8. Great tips as always Susan. I am also sixty, frump free and intending to stay that way. You look amazing and are an inspiration! Thanks much.

  9. I like your sandals. I recently purchased a pair of Comfortiva sandals that look almost like them.

  10. We just did an overnighter during the week and accessories let me take a small tote…only! Such good tips. -Laurel Bledsoe

  11. Hello Susan
    My friend Chris and I are currently in Hawaii and after reading your blog we have been inspired to shop at several of the shops mentioned in your blogs. This has made our shoppi g so much easier fun and interesting. We have been inspired by your suggestions, making shopping for cloths so much more fun and exciting. Keep up your good work.
    Kind regards

  12. Hi Susan,
    I love your style. I will be 60 next year so I really enjoy seeing how you deal with the changes we face at this age.
    I recall you saying you don’t like to wear dresses. I love dresses but don’t wear them because I can never find anything that works with my mature figure. Do you have suggestions for neckline, sleeve length (I find it difficult to find warm weather dresses with sleeves at all!) and where it should fall.
    Thank you for sharing all your tips. I love your blog.


    1. The only dress I own is the black tank style from my site, but I always add a jacket, cardigan or kimono over it. If I wore them often, I would look for sleeves and hems that ended at the most narrow part of my arms and legs while covering all the bits I do not want to show. The neckline that flatters my face shape most is scooped or a V without showing cleavage. I hope these tips help you to determine what will serve you well.

  13. I have the same Sofft shoes you are wearing here. For a wedding I will be wearing dressy black ankle pants. Would you wear these sandals or would you go with black?

  14. I went out to dinner tonight & I tyed a beautiful square scarf on my purse handle. Everyone thought it was a great idea. I was able to use it in the cold restaurant also. I wonder where I got that great idea???? Thanks. Tomorrow we are taking a trip out to the country. My outfit does not look as good as any of yours. I would look and feel too dressed up and out of place. It seems everyone up north is way casual. Also, today on a clothing show they said not to wear white during autumn and winter. Made me think of your blog.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.