A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

11 Tricks to Perfectly Accessorize Your Outfit, According to Fashion Stylists

Updated: May 01, 2024

You’ll never be a fashion don’t once you know these insider tricks to accessorizing.

1 / 11

Mix your metals

“Accessorizing has certainly come a long way since matchy-match details reigned supreme,” says Chelsea Jackson, fashion stylist and buyer. Jackson advises that rich, warm-toned jewelry (think an antique brass watch passed through generations or a few dainty gold necklaces) pop when paired with a cool silver statement piece like a cuff or great pair of earrings. Jackson’s best tip to take the guesswork out of overlapping metals is to choose a dominant shade: “Pick your favorite metal, make that your base, and introduce a few contrasting pieces to master mixing in an effortless way.” Read on for fashion upgrades that make your outfit look expensive.

2 / 11

Pick comfy shoes when you can

“When putting your best foot forward, my biggest advice is to make comfort key,” says Jackson. Chunky blocked heels are perfect for long-wear days, because your body weight is evenly distributed throughout the shoe, she says. You can likely get away with a few extra inches when reaching for a pair with a thicker heel. “But if skinny pumps are your thing, sticking to one- to two-inch heights helps maintain balance. If you are walking with caution in three-inch heels, save them for a night at the theater,” says Jackson.

3 / 11

Keep your nails clean

If you’re going to wear a statement cocktail ring, or even multiple thin bands, make sure your fingernails look just as good. “Even if you don’t have time for a full mani, do a quick polish change, or take a file and clean up the shape so all 10 fingers are even and neat,” advises Wendy Lewis of Beautyinthebag.com. If you have no time for color, go with a combination base/top coat to keep nails protected and strong to prevent snags and breakage,” Lewis advises. Short nails are in, so choose from oval or square with round corners to prevent breakage. “A chipped mani or unkempt nails will be the focus of attention, not your oversized ring,” the blogger adds. (Related: Here’s what your nail color reveals about you.)

4 / 11

Don’t be too matchy-matchy

The days of your shoes having to match your handbag perfectly are long gone, says Courtney Hammonds, a fashion stylist, author, and the program coordinator for The Art Institute of Atlanta’s Fashion Marketing & Management & Fashion Design programs. Hammonds suggests wearing a statement bag in this season’s Pantone signature color with a different color shoe to make your overall look appear fresh and modern. Carrying a slouchy plum-colored bag with nude or animal print heels is totally acceptable or try a bright clutch and black peep toes to turn heads.

5 / 11

Always accessorize a little

To perk up an outfit, “always add at least one statement piece,” suggests Hammonds. “It’ll make your outfit go from “good to knockout.” Wrap a light, patterned scarf around your neck before leaving the house in that all-black outfit, or slip a cuff bracelet on your wrist to make a sheath dress look cool and not-so-classic. You don’t have to overthink what matches and works, when you pick just one, big accessory, like a bib necklace. (Related: Here’s how to clean your jewelry at home.)

6 / 11

Jeans are more than dress-down clothes

Bobby Schuessler advised WhoWhatWear.com when it comes to denim, “don’t stick to one look; mix and match.” He suggests, pairing structured, more professional pieces like a blazer and pointed-toe pumps with casual finds like distressed jeans and a tee. That said, punch up your look with heels or wedges and leave the sneakers for the gym.

7 / 11
iStock/Jasmin Awad

When in doubt, pick a longer necklace

Necklaces not only have the power to kick your look up a notch, but can also give you a boost of body confidence. According to O’s Creative Director, Adam Glassman, “Your necklace should be working for you—a long strand that hits just below the bust makes you look taller and leaner.” Learn how to dress so you look 10 pounds thinner.

8 / 11

Your wrists should never be naked

Bridgette Raes, style expert, says wearing multiple bracelets makes a stylish statement. “Buy a set of multiple bracelets that are sold together,” she says. Or get creative and investigate what’s already in jewelry box. “You can do the same simply by wearing multiple bracelets that you already own.”

9 / 11

Sweater weather is not an excuse not to accessorize

“When you have an outfit that doesn’t allow for wearing much jewelry, like a fair isle that has a large turtleneck, look to your shoes to upgrade your outfits,” Raes suggests. A good choice: suede wedges or short boots in warm earthy hues, like maroon, olive, or navy.

10 / 11

Consider where you’re going

Today’s style rules are much more lenient than times past, suggests Kristina Moore of corporatefashionista.com, even at work. “It’s acceptable to wear baubles during the day,” she says, though you need to take your workplace into account. “A chic, sophisticated crystal necklace may be the ideal accessory for a day full of meetings, but wearing it to give your closing trial argument is probably not a good idea—the shimmer will distract rather than attract your audience,” she says.

11 / 11

Pay attention before buying jewelry sets

Finding a great necklace and earrings already matched up in a pretty package is an effortless win when it comes to accessorizing your outfit. However, Amber Edwards, editor of buyscreatingmemories.com, advises, “you want to make sure the jewelry sets aren’t going to over power your outfit. If you are wearing a very busy top in designs, you will want a more subdued jewelry set. If you have a lot going on with your clothing, the best way to accentuate is with a calm set of jewelry that will complete the outfit, not compete with the outfit.” Same goes for a Plain-Jane look: grab a bold bib necklace and earring set that will bring your outfit to life.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest