Art of Accessorising | How to Choose Accessories to Complete your Outfit

Art of Accessorising | How to Choose Accessories to Complete your Outfit

I have started a long and beautiful relationship, with accessories.

At first, I was a little scared. Accessorising, for me, used to mean finding a simple clutch or heel to match an outfit. Now, it’s a love affair!

It’s finding a glamourous heel to complement your outfit, a bag in a wild shape that brings that extra bit of oomph to your styling, earrings that take centre stage, or a cluster of brooches that add a whole new feature to an otherwise bare neckline.

And it’s not just me, there seems to be a movement. It began getting noticed when Christie Nicolaides earrings, that were a lot bigger and more extravagant than the usual seen earring were popping up everywhere.

jewellery box earrings

Aren’t these two photos funny? The left one is when I first started in racing fashion from the year 2011 till about 2016. My small collection consisted of plain studs sometimes with stones or if I was wanting my earrings to stand out I would wear the cluster of black stones pictured. Now, my earring collection (and this is just a handful of it) is so bejewelled, bright and colourful that I LOVE choosing out what earrings to wear.

Then clutches and bags changed. Simple, hand held clutches have taken a step aside, making way for more quirky and interesting designs. It’s super simple to DIY some features onto your own clutches too.

funky green watering can clutch bag

Image credit: @melissabarnes_1

feature clutch horse bamboo

Image credit: @allanaburns (left), @elizai22 (right)

Ladies have loved beautiful luxurious shoes forever, but now they’re having fun incorporating them into their race day looks. Never have I seen more beautiful shoes than those that grace the stage of a FOTF runway.

So in this post, I’m going to share some tips on how to choose your accessories. I’ll also show you some of my favourite brands for earrings, necklaces, bags, brooches and shoes that I’m loving right now.

The Art of Accessorising

Having been a judge, I can tell you that styling with the right accessories is of utmost importance. Sometimes it can come down to the smallest details when deciding between sashes.

fashions on the field judge milano imai

Working out what accessories to wear with an outfit is not easy. There are just SO MANY options out there! Your accessories can change the feel of your look completely.

For example, you could choose modern, vintage, quirky, extravagant, relaxed or subtle accessories.

And then there’s the matter of colour. What colour do you pick from your outfit to tie in the accessories? Or do you choose accessories in a whole new colour altogether?

Are your accessories the feature? Or is your dress busy enough, only needing some simple touches here and there?

Accessories – Too Much or Not Enough?

Accessorising a Plain Outfit

When you have a plain outfit the best way to make it pop or stand out is by using your accessories to ‘do all the talking’.

Emma always does a fantastic job of this. She chooses a stylish structured white dress (or any other plain colour) and uses accessories to add interest. She always has a pair of quirky heels to suit, or a funky clutch. (Have you guys seen her dinosaur and flying pig bag?)

unique purple dinosaur clutch bag

Image credit: @wendellt

quirky fun accessories

Image credit: @missemmac

Cobie does really well adding in a pop of colour to a plain coloured dress. In the following two photos you can see how she has styled her navy dress with two different colours, which both work perfectly.

pop of colourful accessories

Image credit: @cobiesheehan

Accessorising a Busy Outfit

If your outfit already has a lot going on in terms of a bold print, a bunch of textures or focal points and detailed millinery, then sometimes a plain clutch and shoes are the way to go. Anything more and you could look too busy, or mismatched.

Georgia’s two outfits are made of a very bold and bright print, which is a statement in itself. Her choice of simple black accessories and millinery was all that these looks needed.

bold bright statement prints

Image credit: @thelittlegeorge

Elis always has unique and bright race day outfits. She knows to opt for understated accessories that don’t take away from her outfit, which takes the lead role.

unique race day outfit

Image credit: @eliscrewes

When accessorising an outfit, plain or busy, it’s important to make sure the different accessories suit.

Sometimes there is no golden rule, but the best way is to simply try on a combination of accessories. If you don’t own the accessories you want to try with your outfit, you can always use PicCollage to get a good idea of how it will work together.

planning your accessories

Using Accessories to ‘Theme’ your Outfit

You can also use accessories to determine the theme or genre you are going for.

Go for a modern look, with on trend accessories, or make your look vintage with something more from the era, like a hand held bag and vintage brooch. Accessories can make your look quirky, fun or classic.

Here’s some examples of how accessories were used to theme the outfit…

Helen has gone for a classic, vintage look here and with the help of her hand held bag and mesh gloves, she mastered the look.

vintage accessories bag

Image credit: Helen Strong

Nadia also played on her 1950’s theme by incorporating a parasol.

1950s style parasol umbrella accessory

Image credit: Nadia Bishop

Milly stuck to a quirky, fun theme to suit her pineapple turban by adding a green wooden basket clutch and pineapple earrings.

pineapple accessory theme

Image credit: @millybm

Courtney was able to go with a retro nautical look by spicing up her white mesh dress with a ‘Bon Voyage’ wide brim boater and ship clutch with two gold buttons on her dress.

nautica shipping themed accessories

Image credit: @wendellt shot of @courtney_busby

Tips for Choosing the Colour of your Accessories

When deciding what colour accessories to choose, either select a colour from your outfit, or bring in a completely new colour altogether.

Say I had a colourful print dress, I can then pick out any of the colours from the print to use in my accessories and millinery.

colourful print dress bright accessories

Image credit: @wendellt shot of @brooke.prince

There is no rule saying that your shoes and clutch must be the same colour. You can mix it up, as Brooke did above with a teal clutch and red pumps. She could have chosen a combination of colours.

Sometimes though, if you have a lot going on in terms of prints, colours and textures, keeping your accessories all one colour can work as a sort of ‘framing’ technique.

Kim has a brightly coloured dress and so is her millinery. She also has texture added through the tassels in her shawl. By keeping her shoes, clutch and the base of her millinery, red, it helps to tone down the overall look and balance it out.

colourful dress with red accessories

Image credit: @kwatto91

Similar to what Kim has done above, Lindsay has a floral printed dress, and did a fabulous job of taking her outfit to the next level with the use of all black accessories and a fur shawl.

black bag shoes heels fur shawl

Image credit: @wendellt shot of @lindsay.j.ridings

You can accessorise in one singular colour to add to the outfit and not make it clash or makes things too busy.

If you have a plain coloured dress, you can pretty much pick out any colour to mix it with (as long as the colours don’t clash).

I love in the below photo how Helen has added a pop of green, more of a statement than if she had gone with a maroon bag, to match the shoes and millinery. Very smart choice.

white dress green clutch moroon millinery shoes

Image credit: @wendellt photo of Alison McNamara in Helen Manuell culottes and Murley and Co Millinery.

In this photo, the pop of red with the green really stands out and looks so fresh. She looks like a flower. Beautiful.

green and red race dress and clutch

Image credit: @wendellt photo of @petramangos

Bec chose a deep purple to pair with her yellow dress, a colour combination I wouldn’t have thought of, but that works surprisingly well! Bec hasn’t incorporated the purple anywhere else in her outfit but it doesn’t look out of place, as the millinery itself is a big feature.

yellow and purple millinery

Image credit: @becb_ (left), @richshawphoto (right)

Annabel’s red lace dress is offset by her powder blue accessories. These colours are opposite on the colour wheel, but work so perfectly together. The contrast is what makes this outfit a total stand out.

powder blue accessories

Image credit: @itsannabeldavy

Another thing you can do is wear the same colour head to toe- check out this monochromatic dressing blog for more tips.

monochromatic dresing all one colour

Image credit: @emscodellaro taken by John jovic (left), @missbscanlon (right)

Alyse’s outfit has a lot going on in terms of two different prints and feature ruffles on her top. Alyse opted for simple all red accessories as she didn’t need to add any more detail to this outfit.

simple red millinery clutch heels

Image credit: @airs.and.graces

Carle has done a great job of styling this outfit in a quirky, fun way. The dress itself is quite classic, but Carle has changed the direction of it’s feel by adding an orange mesh undershirt, big blue and orange turban, some funky heels, orange belt and bag. It’s fun to think of how many different ways this dress could be styled to look completely different each time.

quirky fun features

Image credit: @madam hat shot by @streetsmith

Below, Reggie wears a similar style dress, but has styled it with a floral mesh under shirt and flower assortment millinery. The two dresses may be similar, however, with different accessorizing and styling they look very different.

dove grey race dress

Image credit: @reg_t

Courtney incorporated a new colour into her outfit for a second outing. She changed up her shoes and clutch and added an orange ribbon to her boater. The key elements are the same but with these simple colour changes the look is quite different.

 art of accessorising

Image credit: @courtney_busby (left), @richshawphoto (right)

Below, the ASOS dress (which I was dying to purchase as well) has been worn and styled three different ways, with different accessories. As I said, there is no right or wrong way to accessorising. There are just many different choices, all producing totally different looks.

asos dress styled in different ways with accessories

Image credit: @sally_martindhu (left), @katiemcnamara85 (centre), @cerijuice (right)

Here is an example of just how experimental you can be with colours and accessories. Sometimes it just works.

experiment with different coloured accessories

Image credit: @wendellt photo of Stephanie Smith

Someone else may have styled this outfit with a cream boater to match the flower embellishments on her top, or even gone for a monochromatic look and had green millinery.

Here, Stephanie is styled with a bright pink clutch and blue boater. The only things matching the clutch is her earring stone in pink. Maybe the fact that nothing matches here is how it looks so gorgeous!

Metallic Accessories

Using gold or silver accessories can spruce up any outfit. It’s also a great option when you are unsure of what colour to pair with an outfit.

Having a gold shoe could make more of a statement than a block colour and they are so easy to tie in. If you have gold jewellery, you can easily wear gold shoes or have a gold clutch.

How stunning does this look! A simple peach coloured structured dress taken to new heights with stand out silver accessories and millinery.

silver metallic accessories millinery clutch

Image credit: @ana_bella_millinery

I selected gold to wear with this outfit as I had gold leafing in my millinery. I think the gold was the best choice over a navy or nude as it added a touch of glamour.

coral dress navy swirl hat

Here are some more touches of metallic…

touch of metallic accessories

Image credit: @elizabeth_winlo

metallic millinery and belt

Image credit: Kacey Lloyd (left), @wendellt (right)

Favourite Brands for Accessories

Below are some of the best places to check out for statement accessories.

Earrings

Earrings are probably my favourite accessory at the moment. I LOVE big statement earrings and it looks like they’re here to stay. When selecting your earrings always consider how they will look with your millinery, they need to complement it and not compete or clash.

Your earrings can be in a colour to match your dress, or in a new colour you are adding in. When in doubt, I find that metallic is the easy go-to option.

statement earrings

Image credit: @itsannabeldavy (left), @melissabarnes_1 (right)

big bold earrings accessories fun

Pictured (L-R): @brooke.prince, @peacockmillinery, @milanoimai

gold flower floral earrings jewellery

Image credit: @myer

Favourite Brands

Christie Nicolaides

Christie Nicolaides earrings

Pierre Winter

Pierre Winter earrings

Chelsea De Luca Jewellery

Chelsea De Luca Jewellery

Lovisa

Lovisa jewellery earrings

Adorne

adorne jewellery earrings

Bags and Clutches

Ladies are trawling the internet seeking out cute, novelty clutches and bags. A fun shape, fabrication or feature are favored, some even opting to add on their own embellishments.

You can have a lot of fun with your bags, it’s so fun seeing what clutch someone has paired with their outfit. Just don’t forget that if your outfit has a lot going on, opt for a simple clutch, or choose a quirky shape in a plain colour and fabrication.

quirky bags clutch accessory

Image credit: @wendellt photos of @emscodellaro (left) and @courtney_busby (right)

cute novelty clutches

Image credit: @wendellt photos of @t.a.tt.s (left) and @angelamenz (right)

bold statement piece clutch

Image credit: @wendellt photo of @kerriecarucci_

baby blue clutch elegant accessorise

Image credit: @wendellt photo of @style_by_annalucky

unique handbags for races

Image credit: @wendellt photos of @crystalkimber (left) and @tamara_t_ortiz (right)

Favourite Brands

Kate Spade

kate spade novelty clutch dinosaur present

Best Dressed Accessories

novelty clutch butterfly horse shaped

Bag Queen Karen

special unique trendy clutches

ASOS

ASOS accessories bag clutch

Olga Berg

olga berg fancy clutch races

Shoes

Put some excitement back into your life in the form of fun heels! Your details should be carried all the way down to your feet, some even proclaiming that ‘it’s all about the shoes’.

Your shoes are like the last little pop of detail that can really make your outfit stand out. Whilst you don’t have to go all out, a little colour block or tassel feature could be all you need.

high heels colourful wow

Image credit: @itsannabeldavy (left), @amandamacor (right)

shoes high heels fashions on the field

Image credit: @wendellt photo of @fashionevolve (left) and Alison McNamara (right)

Favourite Brands

Sophia Webster

Sophia Webster colourful high heels

ASOS

asos high heel shoes beads bling shiny

Zara

zara shoes red high heels

Farfetch

FarFetch shoe brand accessory

Brooches

Brooches are a great way to fill an empty void on a top, or add some detail. Brooches have been around for a long time, but a new style of brooch that I am loving right now are big ornament brooches.

Big leather flowers can be worn on tops and look incredible!

leather flower brooch

Image credit: @wendellt shot of @style_by_annalucky (left), @sally_martindhu (right)

brooch feature accessories

Image credit: @sally_martindhu

You can also wear them on your wrist like Sally has done here, or put them on your clutch.

floral brooch worn on wrist

Image credit: @sally_martindhu

Favourite Brands

Milliners and DIY savvy ladies are having fun making beautiful handmade custom brooches. Check out this blog post to learn how to make your own brooch.

Sally’s brooches pictured above were made by Jade McCelland from Sovata.

Jade McCelland from Sovata brooch

Image credit: @sovata_fashion_millinery

Millinery Jill also makes beautiful leather rose vines that can be used as brooches or additions to bags.

millinery jill brooch accessory

Image credit: @millineryjill

Amy makes such pretty leather and felt flowers in vibrant colours. Dying to get a bunch of different ones to mix and match with outfits!

brooch for the races

Image credit: @pinklanehats

Necklaces

This year, and last, I haven’t had a lot to say about necklaces. They’ve been a little MIA, I really noticed this when going through a bunch of FOTF photos. Bare necks are everywhere. I think it’s due to the take over of big statement earrings- you can usually only have one or the other.

But as fashion comes and goes, I’m sure necklaces will be back. If you do choose a necklace, select one that follows the neckline of your dress. Necklaces can be good for off shoulder styles if you feel that your chest area is too bare too.

Just stay away from fine, silver and gold keepsake type necklaces. For racing fashion, you have to go costume. You can even consider stacking multiple necklaces.

milano imai with or without necklace

Image credit: Left photo by @richshawphoto

In the photo on the left, my sheer mesh fabric from a distance made my dress appear off-the shoulder. In the second photo I added a chunky necklace to fill in the space and make it appear a little more conservative.

Necklaces jewellery accessories race day

Image credit (L-R): @elizabethcharleston, @best_dressed_accessories, Bronwyn Kirwan

Favourite Brands

Unfortunately, all my usual favourite brands have limited necklace options. Once necklaces regain popularity, I will revisit this section. Watch this space!

Colette

colette necklaces

Pierre Winter Jewellery

Pierre Winter Jewellery

Accessory Hire

The cost of buying new accessories to go with each race day outfit can add up over time. A great alternative is to hire accessories from other race day enthusiasts on Millinery Market and return them after your race day.

You can rent bags, belts, jewellery, brooches, gloves and lots of other accessories. And if you’ve got your own collection of accessories that you’ve acquired over the years, why not list them on the site to earn money and help fund your next race day outfit.

accessory hire marketplace

Some things to Remember

Remember, there is no right or wrong with accessorizing. Style yourself the way you like to look, focussing on your personal style. Often, accessory choices are where you can really shine.

accessorizing for own personal style

Image credit: @wendellt photo of @suzanne.suzette (left), @lisamarch1 (right)

how to accessorise stylish

Image credit: @ontrackontrend

Now it’s your turn to show us some of the fun ways you’ve accessorised an outfit. Post a photo in the comments below so we can see your handy work. Bonus points if you’ve done some DIY to create an interesting accessory.

 

Leave a Comment...

2019-04-26T21:24:15+00:00February 22nd, 2018|Fashion Tips, Shopping|
spring carnival fashion style trends

2018 Racing Fashion Trends Report

Find out what styles, shapes and colours are trending this year. Enter your name and email to get the trends report. Plus, you'll receive exclusive weekly fashion tips to help you stand out at your next race event.

Thanks for Subscribing! Please check your email.

14 day racing fashion style challenge

14 Day Field Fashion Style Challenge

Do the style challenge and practice racing fashion in your everyday life. Enter your name and email to receive the challenge guide. Plus, you'll receive exclusive weekly fashion tips to help you stand out at your next race event.

Thanks for Subscribing! Please check your email.

race dress design guide

From Outfit Idea to Winning Sash

Learn how to turn an outfit idea into a competition winning design. Enter your name and email to get this 12 step guide. Plus, you'll receive exclusive fashion tips to help you stand out at your next race event.

Thanks for Subscribing! Please check your email.

Pin It on Pinterest