Friday, October 14, 2011

Instant Chic

I'm not the world's best dressed, but I do often get complimented on my appearance. It's not that my clothes are especially spectacular (though wearing skirts and dresses no doubt helps). The key to a successful and co-ordinated outfit is the details. And although taking the time to apply make-up, and styling one's hair 'just so' is part of it, there are certain little touches which take just seconds but make it look as though you've really put time and effort into styling your ensemble. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are my top tips for instant, effortless chic:

Colour-Matched Accessories

An easy way to turn the simplest dress into an outfit is to colour match your accessories. Co-ordinating your shoes/handbag/belt/hat instantly pulls an outfit together. If you have a selection of 'sets' in few basic colours - e.g. black, brown, navy, red, teal - you just need to grab one and you're good to go in moments.

Sears & Roebuck, 1940

Hats & Scarves

I've certainly mentioned before how many more comments I get when I put on a hat. It's not that it's hard to put on a hat (if you're not used to wearing hats, try a beret), but they just add a certain je ne sais quoi. The same goes for scarves. Even if you're wearing jeans and a T-shirt, tying on a little spotted neckerchief - knot placed jauntily to one side - lends instant Parisian chic to the look. As if by magic.

Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, 1953

Gloves also have a similar effect, but they do fairly scream VINTAGE, so may not be for the timid.

Brooches & Pins

Whether it's a statement piece, a novelty pin or a fine jewel, there's just something about a brooch that makes it look as though you've really thought about your outfit. Add even more zing by wearing your brooch in unexpected ways.

Advert for Eisenberg Ice, 1963 (source)

Jingle Bangles

As you'll probably have observed, I'm rarely without a selection of bangles. I've built up a reasonable collection so I can usually pick out three or four to co-ordinate with an outfit. It's another thing that takes seconds, but really 'finishes off' an ensemble.

My bangles are in a record bowl; yes, I like making stuff out of records.

What are your favourite ways to take an outfit from simple to stylish?


  1. earrings and heels always adds a little fanciness for me. I love your bangle collection. The leopard print ones are so cute!! x

  2. Great tips! I always wear my pearls, I have quite a collection now of different lengths & sizes (none of them real or expensive), they go with everything and to me they always say "vintage style". X

  3. These are all great suggestions. Unfortunately I fall down in the matched accessories department sometimes as I mainly seem to find brown of black shoes, but still have yet to find the perfect black or brown purse for me (I have one of each but they aren't what I'd consider daily staples). But I definitely try to match my accessories when possible. So one thing I like to do, along the lines of color matching, is using accessories to pull in a color that's not in my outfit. For example, a blue dress, but with butterscotch earrings and bracelets. Or red earrings and bracelets, and then a red purse. While I can't carry it all the way down to shoes/hat/handbag, at least I feel I'm put together pretty well, even if I'm wearing brown shoes. ;)

  4. I love hats and gloves, and I'm positively addicted to fitted waist coats and jackets. I now use my twenty first pearls, at the time I was sniffy about them, being a mad Goth drama queen/hippy type, now that I am older I can appreciate them.

  5. I am definitely a hat person- but sadly lacking in the accessories department. This post (and all the comments too) is giving me some food for thought!

  6. I'm a big fan of bangles (I have a ridiculous stash that I purchased while in India), earrings, and scarves. I wear a lot of neutral colors so I find that adding a pop of color via jewelry or shoes works best (I'm a big fan of camel, black/white, and red lately).


I'd love to hear your thoughts!


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