There are many ways to vamp up a dull dress. Some clever accessorising, makeup choices and embellishments to add colour and texture can turn an okay outfit into outstanding.

Accessories: The Easiest and Best Way to Add Colour

Accessories are the easiest way to add a pop of colour. Necklace(s), shoes, bag, earrings and (most importantly) millinery can transform your outfit.

If you do decide to add a colour, I suggest you use it at least twice.

Let me use this blue dress for example:

Race dress white horse

This was a lovely shaped race dress, structured with cap sleeves and a full skirt. But being all one colour, it was a bit boring.

So, I chose orange and pink, to complement the blue. Then I added a more turquoise blue to complete the look. Read my post about how to choose the perfect colours if you are yet to decide on a colour.

I used my millinery as the main feature, then worked the colours in with my shoes, gloves and belt.

As a final touch, I added the turquoise necklace so it wasn’t too matchy-matchy (something I’ve been guilty of as discussed in my 7 lessons blog post).

Here is the same dress again with different colours and millinery. Notice my stacked necklaces? Click here to read my tips on how to do this.

Pink accessories jewellery necklace

Don’t Underestimate Nails and Lips

A simple, yet effective way to finish off a colour scheme is to use your nails.

I usually pick up a colour that is featured in my outfit. Not the main colour, but one that I want to accentuate.

Pink black nail polish nails matching

The same goes for your lipstick. If you have a few pink or red hues in your outfit, bring them out with a matching lipstick.

Alternatively, use a contrasting colour on your lips for the wow factor. For example, a turquoise dress and orange lips or a green dress with red lips.

racing fashion facebook group


Why I Will Always Have Time for Beading

Okay, so this is a little more time consuming, but it’s so much fun!

You can add colour through beading, sequins, feathers, additional fabrics, anything really. Just choose a section of the dress you want to enhance and get creative.

An example of this is a dress I purchased from Cue. Off the rack, it was grey, black and yellow.

Cue snake print dress

Using beads and lace, I ended up with a dress that included orange, blue and turquoise as well as many other interesting textures.

DIY embellish bead couture colour

I added sequins to the front panel and beads and lace to the side hip panels.

For added texture, I used black mesh on the black panels on the front and a fringed trim to the sleeves and edge of the skirt. Then, I stacked on three necklaces.

By the time I finished, the dress was barely recognisable to the original.

Sequins beads turquoise orange black colour

How to Highlight a Soft Colour in your Outfit

Another idea for bringing out a colour, is to bead it with a slightly darker shade.

This satin skirt I purchased had a beautiful dusty pink colour throughout the flowers. Unfortunately, you couldn’t really see it from far away, so I used a brighter pink bead to trace along the outline of the flowers.

trace highlight emphasise

Then I used the same pink bead to tie in the top to match this skirt.

Sleeve detail beading teal pink

Rock Stones that Glisten in the Light

Another experiment in texture I undertook recently was this gorgeous floral dress.

I wanted to highlight the powder blue flowers in the fabric, so I chose some small blue rock beads to add texture and to make them stand out more. You can see clips of me beading the rock beads in my video showing how I made this outfit.

Queensland state final fashions on the field

blue beading texture rocks

It was a subtle detail, but it made the overall look of the dress more luxurious. Especially when I discovered that when the light hit the stones, they glistened.

Colourful neckline collar beading couture


I hope these tips give you some ideas next time you want to add colour to a dull dress.

Want to learn more ways to accessorise and embellish your race dress? I share plenty more tips to help you stand out in my free outfit design guide.  

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