Adding accessories has always been a favorite part of getting dressed. For example, the shoes and bag can set an elevated tone for jeans and a white shirt. On the other hand, a black pair of slacks with a plain cashmere sweater can be boring, even if the pieces themselves are elegant. However, if we treat these combos as foundations to build upon, we can create endless looks for any occasion.
Accessories can elevate any look and make it more appropriate for a festive occasion. So, today I’m sharing some suggestions for accessories that can set the tone for outfits, starting with a plain white button-up shirt and plain black pants.
People often ask me for suggestions on what to wear for special occasions. Of course, I may wear the same clothes for various events, from dressy to casual. However, I accessorize differently and build more formal looks from elegant fabrics. For example, I would never wear a cotton sweater with corduroy pants and brogues to a cocktail party since those fabrics and textures are inherently casual and more appropriate for country life. Instead, you could wear high-end examples of a cashmere sweater, dress slacks, and heels. (I’ve shown you the pieces I own inspired by these items but within my budget many times.)
This post will show you how I use accessories to elevate the basics from casual to dressed for dinner. In addition, I hope these examples give you ideas for fresh ways to use things you may already have.
Leather sneakers, a denim jacket, and a black leather tote bag have long been a favorite casual combination. Even if just running errands and going to the Post Office, I prefer to look like I made a little effort to get dressed. All of these pieces have a relaxed, casual vibe.
Do you have a set of accessories reserved for evenings or special occasions? You may wear other accessories only in the most relaxed and casual combinations. Building a wardrobe or set of accessories to complement a particular look can save money, time, and effort.
The Puma sneakers are here. The leather Coach tote bag is vintage. I won it in a sales contest about forty years ago. The tweed and pearl cap is here. A similar denim jacket is here. Similar sunglasses are here. The Nordgreen watch is here. Similar hoops are here, and a similar ring is here.
I might wear a coated denim moto jacket with animal print loafers to join friends for lunch. The colors and attitudes of these accessories are slightly edgy to tie in with the style of the moto jacket.
The moto jacket was from White House Black Market about three years ago, and the Dooney & Bourke bag is two years old. Here is a similar jacket. Here is a similar bag. Pointed-toe animal print loafers are here. A similar belt is here. Similar earrings are here. A similar ring is here. My watch is here.
I wear business attire when I go to the bank and my accountant’s office. The bag is roomy enough to hold what I need for the day, and the blazer adds professionalism. The jewelry is subdued, but the tones complement the blazer and the bag.
Similar items are linked when what I am wearing is no longer available. Blazer – Belt – Bag – Shoes – Watch – Ring – Earrings. The necklace is here, and you can use the code SAS10 for $10 off any one item at Beauty in Stone Jewelry.
Dressing for a special occasion can be much easier if you have a small wardrobe of elegant jewelry, including ornate shoe buckles and evening bags. I recently styled this jacket with a denim shirt, but as you can see, it is also perfect for dressed-up occasions. The jacket is here.
The pearl necklaces are a couple of years old, so here is a similar one. Similar pearl earrings are here. The purple square stone ring is an antique, so a similar ring is here. Finally, the crystal dome ring is here. The little handbag is more than twenty years old, so here is a cute current bag for the evening.
As with many of the items I show you, I may have purchased them years ago, so the same thing isn’t available now. However, similar shoe buckles are here. Shoe buckles allow you to dress up a simple pair of pumps without buying a pair of formal shoes you may rarely need.
I’ve owned most of these items for years and used them as building blocks for countless looks. The tenet of my teaching is to buy what suits you and your lifestyle, then enjoy it for years to come. Dress to be comfortable for the weather and appropriate for the situation.
I’m retired now, so I don’t collaborate with brands or advertise, but I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned. In addition, the shopping links I share may allow me to earn a small commission at no cost to you.