When I was getting ready to go out to dinner on Sunday with my husband to celebrate our wedding anniversary (Did I tell you it was my 7th anniversary on October 7th?), I came up with an idea for a blog post while making the decision to wear this basic burgundy dress that I wore to dinner.
I think we can all agree, this dress isn’t anything to write home about. It is a basic, 3/4 sleeve, jewel neckline jersey shift dress that I got from Old Navy. Seriously, a dial tone is more exciting than this dress. However, I love it because of all the things I can do with it simply by changing up my accessories. If you’re bored in your basics, know that accessorizing is key. In today’s post I am welcoming you into my wardrobe by showing you some different ways I have styled this dress in the past and to give you my tips on how to have the right accessories to change up your looks.
Let’s start with how I wore it out Sunday night. When choosing accessories, I usually start with mood and what I am feeling. Knowing it was a dress-casual dinner, paired with the fact that I was in a rugged mood, I decided on these earrings. I knew I was going to wear my denim jacket and loved the dressy, yet rustic feel of these earrings with denim. Because of the size of the earrings, I didn’t want to wear a necklace, however, I did decide to add a very lightweight brown scarf. Lastly, I grabbed my cognac boots, slipped into some brown tights and loaded up my wrist with a ton of different sized and colored bangles, including a yellow one.
Think of putting an outfit together like layering. You start with your base. From there you add. Sometimes you’re in a mood to add lots of layers and other days it’s about keeping it simple. The key is to not stop at just the outfit. You want to think more like you are building an outfit and that the clothing itself is just the foundation.
Moving on. On Monday I put more looks together, all which I have worn before. Using my accessories and this same dress, I created nine more outfits. My apologies in advance for these somewhat crude photos. I could have done actual outfit photos of myself wearing them but didn’t have the time. Plus, my cat, Titus, kept getting in the way. I guess he thought he was helping. Either way, you’ll get the point with these photos.
In this outfit, I changed up my scarf and, using the green as the pop shade, added the earrings and used this cuff and brown suede boots. I would probably wear brown tights or bare legs, depending on weather. Burgundy and green is one of my favorite color combinations.
You might be wondering if the purchase of the earrings and scarf were purposeful or bought together. This is definitely not the case. I only got the scarf a few months ago and the earrings are well over a year old. It was pure luck.
In this outfit, I can go a variety of different ways with my shoes. For warmer weather, my turquoise flats or gold Tieks work. And, for chillier weather, I can go with my cognac boots. Multi-colored jewelry is so important because, as I have said before, they can be wonderful little road maps in color combining. Few would think to wear turquoise and burgundy together. However, these earrings show that it works. Take a look at some of your colorful jewelry for interesting ways to put your wardrobe together.
It may seem weird to mix orange and burgundy together. However, if you look closely at the scarf there is burgundy in there. I went with my more casual Naya boots and, kept my jewelry simple with gold and leather. I like this combination takes the dress in a totally different direction.
A key piece to have in your wardrobe is a long gold necklace. I think you need at least one (gold or silver) or at least one in each color. It’s a great fail-safe. I always throw it on when I want to add some interest but don’t want a lot more color.
I wore this dress on warmer days too, when it wasn’t too stifling outside, and often wore it with these yellow wedge sandals. “Yellow and burgundy?”, you’re thinking. Yes, yellow and burgundy. Here again, this necklace is great for giving color direction. In fact, I have even wore this necklace and dress with my turquoise flats too.
And here the shoes are again. I have worn this dress this way a ton of times. This necklace always gets a ton of compliments and, surprisingly works with so much of what I own. Colorful jewelry doesn’t just work with colorful pieces, but it can be used to liven up neutral items as well.
For fall, I wear this look with tights. Even without the scarf, I like the way this necklace adds some excitement to the dress without adding a ton of color. However, I also like the way the scarf works with the dress while introducing other colors to the outfit. What I also like is that I don’t have to commit to these boots, they are only one option. I could also wear my yellow wedges, turquoise flats and my cognac or brown boots. I can also wear…
Now, I could have gone on. I didn’t even grab my cardigans, or mix-and-match as many outfits as I could have, but, I think you get the point. If I can quickly create 10 different looks using one dress simply by changing up how it is accessorized, imagine what you can do with an entire wardrobe and a variety of accessories.
You may also be thinking, “That’s great, Bridgette, but I don’t have nearly as many accessories as you do.” Well, the truth is, I don’t have as much as you probably think I do. Yes, I LOVE accessories, but I am very discerning about what I have. Here is basically what I own. I recently culled down and got rid of everything I don’t use regularly.
All of my necklaces
These are my necklaces. I do have one other really cool pendant that isn’t photographed here. It’s currently a tangled mess and, after several minutes of trying to untangle it I just decided not to include it. I also have a more expensive pendant necklace that my husband gave me for Christmas that I forgot to include. Despite these pieces missing, you still get a good idea of what I own.
I separate my necklaces into three categories: My colorful pieces, my gold and silver toned and my naturals. How I approach it is I will not add any more gold or silver unless I get rid of any of them. I will also not add any colored necklaces in the shades I already own. For the naturals, I will only add pieces in materials I don’t own already. This is how I keep things streamlined and how I make sure to use what I own.
I take the same approach for the rest of my jewelry.
I always make sure I am covered in the basic gold and silver tones in both smaller and statement earrings. Because I wear more yellow gold than silver tones, I really don’t’ invest a lot in silver earrings. What you will also notice is that I don’t duplicate color unless the style is different enough to warrant doing it.
How to Have the Right Accessories to Change Up Your Looks
Finally, here are some tips to consider when buying accessories and building your own wardrobe.
Something is always missing, you’re never totally done
The truth is, accessories are always evolving. I am always adding and taking accessories away from my collection. However, what always remains is that I never duplicate. This is a common problem I see with many clients. They will show me their five silver necklaces or three pairs of hoop earrings. If you have a pair of hoop earrings you don’t need another pair unless they are different enough to warrant having both. The best way to ensure you will have enough look changing accessories is to make sure you have enough variety.
Have an emotional reaction to your accessories
While I’m very pragmatic, I always have an emotional reaction to my accessories. For the most part, I keep my wardrobe very basic and rely heavily on my accessories to make my outfits pop. Going back to my absurdly dumb burgundy dress, without the accessories, it’s just a dress. What makes it look good, and me feel good wearing it, is how I accessorize it.
Color is crucial. I think everyone should have their basic metals covered, but, beyond that, color is crucial. On Sunday, I posted about this when it comes to basic cardigan outfits for work. What can make or break an outfit is how the colors are combined. Don’t be afraid of color. Even if it is adding one color to a basic neutral outfit, or several colors in one look. You will be surprised by how much more interesting an outfit is when you do this.
You don’t need a lot to get a lot
As you saw, I don’t have as many accessories as you probably thought I did. However, if you have enough variety and colors covered, you don’t really need a lot. I would love to have more, but I don’t necessarily need more. Start your accessories wardrobe with a one-and-done approach. Have a silver necklace? Done. Don’t buy more. Have a green bracelet? Finished. I would rather see you have more variety with less stuff than the opposite.
Commit to accessorizing
Lastly, the reason most women don’t accessorize is simply because they don’t do it. Commit to it and see how much better you feel in your clothes and how much more you have to wear with less in your closet. Just decide that you are going to add one interesting accessory to your outfit each day. You will start to notice how much of a difference these slight additions to your outfits can make and, after a while, your outfits will feel incomplete without them.
Have an accessorizing question? Ask it in the comments section below and I will give you my advice.