You've got your outfit all picked out and you're feeling good. But there's one important task left: how to accessorize.
Sure, you might have your go-to jewelry and bag that serve you well for pretty much any situation—and we salute you for that. But have you thought about leaning in a little more to your accessories to accentuate your personal style?
Mastering how to accessorize an outfit is a skill that can take a bit of time to develop. But once you get the hang of it, you'll be seeing the contents of your wardrobe in a whole new light. (Seriously, the possibilities are endless.)
From your shoes to your sunglasses, every accessory is another chance to make your look a little more, well, you. They allow you to play with silhouette, shape, color, and texture, while often serving an actual utilitarian purpose that we'd be lost without (we're looking at you, tote bag).
Below, we're sharing accessorizing tips that tap into current trends along with a breakdown of the classic accessories everyone should own.
One of the easiest places to start when accessorizing? With your jewelry—nothing transitions a daytime style into evening like adding some bling.
An easy way to switch up the feel of the same outfit is to change your earrings. Wear small hoop earrings worn with a blazer and a ponytail at work, and then swap them out for thin, big hoops with your hair down for a trendy, flirty evening look. Door-knocker earrings—think Salt-N-Pepa in the '90s—are back and will elevate a super casual style when you hook them on.
Thin, gold or silver rings look elegantly simple for daytime activities and professional settings. Replace them with colorful cocktail rings at night and everyone will notice your gorgeous hands. For a balance of casual and statement-making, look for signet rings (after all, prep style is in), stacking rings, and midi rings.
Delicate gold chains will draw attention to your lovely collar bones, while Y-necklaces can help elongate your neckline (a great visual trick if you have broad shoulders). For an on-trend look, don chokers with casual button-downs or with aa silk V-neck blouse for a sexy twist to wear on date night.
These wrist accouterments are often an afterthought, but they're actually a stealth way to add some individualism to your outfit. If you prefer understated metals, don a cuff or chain bracelet (add a charm or two if you like). To infuse a burst of color, opt for a chunky bangle in a cheerful hue. And for evening wrist attire, slide on a tennis bracelet.
Diamonds and pearls
Pearls are always classic, as are diamonds (see: tennis bracelet), and both pair well with most things in your closet. For a trendy look, try out gold hoops with pearls, a pearl chain necklace or bracelet, or a pearl choker to combine another trend.
While many people relegate them to utilitarian status, we're here to tell you that well-chosen watch can make a serious style statement. Play with materials, bands, and shapes depending on your aesthetic.
Classic bracelet watches
The bracelet watch has endured for decades, and for good reason. It doubles as a piece of jewelry that can class up an outfit for work when paired with a blouse or blazer and complement a weekend look with a graphic tee and leather jacket. The two-tone metal links can draw a subtle visual connection to your other metallic jewelry.
With all its tech bells and whistles, a smart watch might not be your first go-to when you're wondering how to accessorize an outfit. But it's not just for fitness fanatics and tech bros—it also infuses an ensemble with a sleek futuristic edge and is a staple of street style. To up the sophistication, eschew the plastic band for elegant metallic styles (with diamond accents if you're feeling extra fancy).
It's always nice to have options, and that's especially true of shoes. But our footwear doesn't always get the credit it deserves for its ability to single-handedly amp up the fashion factor.
Pumps and heels
Pair a simple sheath dress with pumps and you've mastered office attire. Slip-on ornate heels for date night and you'll make a memorable entrance. Or team some stilettos with jeans and a moto jacket for a feminine rock vibe.
For cooler climes, or when you want some height with more stability, boots are your wing women. Pair leather knee-high numbers with a skirt (and, of course, cozy socks underneath), or finish off a denim look with suede ankle boots. Craving some visual intrigue down below? A cute pair of cowboy boots always team well with a midi-dress and can't help but feel winsome.
Since prep style is in, a pair of boat shoes will serve you well. Same goes for loafers, ballerina flats, and sandals, all of which expertly toe the line between laid-back and dressed up. Sneaker-wise, lean into the classics: pristine white Stan Smiths and Converse high-tops somehow manage to always be in style.
While bags definitely have their iconic fashion moments (we're still smiling over Lizzo's Valentino micro purse at the American Music Awards), certain styles will always suit certain occasions.
For more laid-back dress codes, go for a shoulder sling bag, boho bags, crossbody bags, and bucket bags—they all pair well with most casual looks. Combine two of this season's key trends by contrasting the neutral hues of your outfit with a bright designer handbag and equally colorful heels.
Quilted bag styles and leather with chain embellishments are perfect when you need a fancy bag for a night on the town. Pouches are the new update on the clutch, but it's always good to have the latter as a classic option. Look for luxe textures like soft, buttery leather with quality stitching and embellishments.
For bags you can take to work, you can't go wrong with (faux or real) leather. Seek out satchels, well-made totes, or sophisticated backpacks with metal detailing. If your office embraces more of a smart casual vibe, a roomy canvas or nylon zipper tote will do the trick.
When's the last time you wore a belt? If it's been a few months, you're missing out on a figure-flattering accessory that can really pull off a look.
When adding belts to your wardrobe, make sure you have the classics in thin black and brown leather with gold or silver buckles. These will be your go-tos for jeans or dress pants when you're tucking in your top, but you can also use them to cinch dresses.
Bring in some fun, visual flair with an animal print belt—like a snakeskin or cheetah—which can work as a neutral or make a bolder statement in a bright color. You can also bring some vibrant drama with an exuberant block-colored or geometric-pattern belt.
Thick, wide belts are a must-have accessory for creating an hourglass silhouette. Wear a wide belt over a simple shift dress for an office ensemble, but then slip that same belt over a fun, flirty dress come evening. Wide belts over tanks and tees embody a weekend vibe, or fasten them over pencil or flowy maxi skirts for an especially feminine look.
Nothing says "signature accessory" like a smoking pair of shades (think: Anna Wintour, Jackie O., and Holly Golightly). This functional accessory can tell a story about who you are before you've even said a word.
While certain sunglasses—like the classic wayfarers, aviators, and round styles—can flatter most face shapes, mix and match colors and frames for different looks. Tortoiseshell frames are always chic, but you can play with the lens color—a blue, bottle green, or mirror finish will modernize the look.
If you're more about turning heads with your sunglasses style, embrace dramatic shapes like cat-eye, oversized, or square. Bring in a loud color or a cheeky print and you'll be making meaningful eye contact all day.
It's easy to think of hats in terms of function rather than fashion. Keep your head warm when it's cold out? Check. Protect your face from the sun's rays? Check. But nothing says "cool girl" like an on-trend hat.
Headed to a classy event and still want to keep your scalp toasty? Go for a warm wool fedora, a leather newsboy cap, or a beret. For more low-key occasions, keep a wool beanie or a bucket hat in a fun pattern handy, and try hats with subtle bows or buckles for added interest.
To protect your skin from harmful UV rays in the warmer months, a baseball cap is an ever-faithful choice. But you can also expand your face-shading repertoire to include a trilby, fedora, Panama, visor or a wide-brim floppy sun hat. Choose neutrals like tan, black, and white that will go with any bathing suit or coverup, or get playful with bold colors or stripes. As far as textures go, anything felt or straw will keep you well-covered.
Yup, your nails can be your accessories. Wear a trendy polish or an attention-getting manicure with the right rings for hands that will command attention.
Depending on where you work, a more conservative look could be appropriate for the nine-to-five, like a double-tipped French manicure or a thin French mani. A matte-polish manicure can work for a business environment and still look cool and beautiful when you take it out for date night or a formal occasion.
If you want to go wild on the weekend (and channel your inner Rihanna), choose a bold manicure with animal prints, bright colors, or metallics. You might want an ultra-long mani that commands attention or, short nails that show off matte colors and cool rings. We're also still vibing with ombré nails, especially now they're taking on a milky hue. And for dressy nails that speak for themselves, try embellishments like diamonds, gold studs, and pearls.