Accessories “Rules”

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I love my accessories, no doubt about it! However, I meet many women who don’t wear any accessories or know how to put them together.

My friend Missy, who is also a stylist and blogger, recently wrote this post about some “rules” for accessories. After a little research, I could not find the origin of this “16 Point Rule”, although I remember talking to a Mary Kay consultant about it at one time. She referred to it when I explained my business. This was taught in a training she had attended years ago. I get the impression it’s been around for a while.

There are some rules that are made to be broken. While I think this idea is a guideline, I would like to put my own spin on it. First read Missy’s post,then see what you think of my revisions. Some of you might like the original version better because you need all the points you can get and so be it!

I’ve adjusted the point system to stay in tune with current trends. The trend in jewelry is all about statement pieces and layering. I wholeheartedly believe in a combination of classic and trendy. I think my new version is the best of both worlds. My revisions are in parentheses in BOLD.

  • One point for each of your shoes (ONE point for a PAIR of shoes. Who wears one shoe?)
  • One point if you have a pretty pedicure and it is showing because of open-toe shoes
  • One point if you have on fashionable tights or leggings (pantyhose do NOT count–and you do not get count these as again as a garment)
  • One point for each garment you have on.  If your garment has more than two colors, give yourself an additional point. For example, if you have on black jeans, a black jacket, and a multicolored blouse, you get 4 points. (Any pattern is as an additional point regardless of color)
  • One point if you are wearing a belt.
  • One point for each of your rings (your wedding ring set counts as one point) (Layered rings count as ONE)
  • One point for any watch, bracelet or bangle. (2-3 narrow layered bracelets count as 1 wide bracelet – ONE point instead of one point per bracelet)
  • One point for a necklace. If your necklace has a double or triple strand or it is very large, give yourself two points. (Statement piece=2 points or 1 point per necklace)
  • One point for each of your earrings, that you can see. (Again ONE point for a PAIR of Visible earrings )
  • One point if you are wearing glasses.
  • One point if you have makeup on.
  • One point if you’ve had a compliment on your hair in the last two weeks.
  • One point for nice, taken care of nails (no chipped polish please).
  • One point for your handbag if you will be carrying it 100% of the time, if not, zero points.
  • One point for a shawl, hat, scarf, wrap or other add on accessory item.

0 points = you’d be naked
12 points or under = girlfriend, you need some accessories
12-14 points = you are almost there but not quite. Where can you add something? Maybe a bracelet, a scarf or another ring?
14-16 points = well done
Over 16 points = too much sister, time to take some things off.

PHOTO #1 If I were to follow the “16 Point Accessory Rule” I would be at 19 Points. My System: 14 Points

It’s hard to see everything in this photo. I am wearing large visible hoops, but in a neutral color. I have a statement piece layered with another necklace–again pretty subdued in color. I think this outfit works and the amount of accessories is just right.

PHOTO #2 16 Point Accessory Rule: 19 Points. My system: 15 points

It would be crazy to think you should add up points each time you get ready. I would use this system ONLY WHEN IN DOUBT. Soon it will start making sense. 1. If you have a bunch of long layered necklaces, skip the belt. If you love scarves–then wear less jewelry.

2. If you have a statement piece or layered necklaces, wear small earrings or skip them altogether. If the bracelets are your focal point, play down the necklace. Remember it’s all about balance with accessories as well as balancing your color and texture in every outfit.

So I’ll be curious to see what you think of the 16 Point Accessories Rule and my revised system. How did you score? Do you need to add, take away pieces or did you come out just right? I would love to hear.

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It’s Black, It’s White…getting it right

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Every week I have women come in to the boutique where I’m employed and say that their closets are full of black clothes. They would like more variety. I am generalizing a bit here, but it seems that as women age the less they like black. Typically they have worn black for years and are just plain tired of it. They feel it does not flatter them as the years go by.

Yet the stores are full of black and bright white. I know from recent buying trips with the store that black still dominates out there in the designer world. Sometimes it seems that the only option is BLACK!

I learned a great deal about how to wear black and choosing the right white during the color portion of my stylist training. It gave me a whole new viewpoint on color. As I continue to read info from other stylists, many are right there with me.

It simply isn’t an option to rule out black and white from your closet all together. It IS an option to be careful in how you wear them. Here are some simple rules I follow. I think these are good rules whether you are 20 or 60. When judging colors, keep in mind that your hair, skin and eyes will be the basis for what you choose.

1. Look for more clothing options in a dark charcoal rather than jet black which is not quite as harsh. It also adds more interest and variety. A very dark brown-what I would call espresso is another great alternative.

2. Add color with layering pieces and accessories when wearing black–especially around the face. Scarves and jewelry make a huge difference and help brighten up black.

3. If you are just not a bright color person and prefer neutrals, creme or khaki work well to soften black.

Now let’s get to WHITE courtesy of  Wardrobe 911. It is the best article I’ve seen on this topic. My purpose in referring you here is not to send you into a panic about the whites already in your closet. It takes a while to find the best white for you and to see the difference. My goal is to simply get you thinking about the whites you choose to wear.

There is going to be a certain percentage of readers who do not agree with this information because they love their bright whites. I get that. I’m also fully aware that there are certain people who look great in the bright whites. Like so many things, it’s a transition. I’m still getting there myself. I didn’t want to give up my black jackets/coats and my white shirts. Now I’ve leaned how to pair them with other things so they can remain in my closet. There are times when I find something that is such a great fit and my only color option? BLACK. I’ve learned to work with it.

If the whites you own or continue to find are just a little too harsh, you can also follow Rules #2 that I listed for black. Have more questions? Please contact me directly and I’ll be happy to help you.

Would love to hear from you. Black? White? What do you do to get it right?

PHOTO CREDIT: White House Black Market

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Holiday Dresses

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If the sequin tank isn’t quite dressy enough for your event, it will be time to check out the holiday dresses! There are dozens of choices. To simplify, I am going to steer you towards a  few brands that are carried at major department stores such as Macy’s, Nordstrom and Dilliards etc. Adrianna Papell, Suzi Chin Maggy Boutique, Maggy London, Donna Ricco, Taylor and Museare all going to come in at the $100-$200 price range. Most of these brands carried many designs in Plus sizes and some in Petites. Certainly you will find lovely designer dresses at higher price points and more unique styles at boutiques. Here is a taste of what I found. All photos from Nordstrom. Go to your favorite website, type one of these brands in the SEARCH box and see what you can find.

Next, click over to White House Black Market. I feature this store a great deal because each time I walk in I’m very drawn to their displays and the Chic style is so me. I love the way they’re adding color rather than sticking with just black and white. They also have incredible accessories that I absolutely LOVE. At first glance, many of the styles can look younger, but I encourage you to pick/choose. Their sizes tend to run smaller than some stores so keep that in mind when trying. The first photo is a cardigan I chose for myself. I’ll pair it with something sequined of course OR possibly some of the amazing Stella & Dot jewelry I plan to feature next week. The other photos I chose are meant to show the variance in style and things that will appeal to different age groups. Don’t forget to check out the accessories!

The layered cardigan/jacket is perfect for many body types and can camouflage the middle. Take note of the “Chanel” style jacket. The model looks young, it’s paired with jeans and an older woman might rule this out. This is a look that is very classic and crosses the age groups. Anyone could wear this jacket.

Coming Tomorrow: My personal tips for formal dressing and accessorizing on a budget.

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Packing My Trip

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We leave for Dallas, Texas today. American Airlines charges $25 per bag each way. My husband and son decided they would rent golf clubs this time. I decided that yes I could get everything in a carry-on size suitcase. I have helped a number of clients Pack their Trip. I need to practice what I preach. It’s a 5 day trip-certainly doable. My To-Do List:

1. Get the 5 or 7 day forecast.

2. Make sure all clothes are clean before you begin packing. If possible, try each thing on before packing especially if you have never worn it together.

3. Lay out each outfit including accessories. Then put directly in suitcase. If possible, try to carve out time where you will not be interrupted and lose your train of thought. This is how things get forgotten and don’t make the suitcase.

I have a bit of a challenge with the temperature. A cold front is coming through so the variance in temperature: 70-45 with night time temperatures as low as 33. I went with a brown “capsule” adding in purple. Challenge #2: We will be taking a family photo with a black color scheme. This meant another pair of shoes I wasn’t figuring on. Why not use all those gray combinations I just wrote about? Most were too warm and bulky in the suitcase. I’ve written and pictured what I have planned. (I did not photograph black sweats and an extra white blouse I threw in just in case the color scheme for the family photo switches back to white! More on color coordinating for family photos in another post.)

I took 2 pairs of jeans (straight cut and boot cut) 2 solid tops, 4 printed tops, 1 vest, 3 long cardigans, 2 scarves, leather jacket, two pairs of shoes, 1 pair of booties, sweats, blouse. This includes what was worn on the plane.

Day 1: Travel Day. I debated about taking the dark brown leather jacket but decided it was a good choice for evenings when I’m there. I’ll wear that and the black booties (heel for photo) on the plane to save room. I’m always cold on the plane. Scarf should help. **Change of plans since photo–going with oxford shoes since I had room in my suitcase for boots.

Day 2: We’ll be visiting my son at college and shopping. There will be lots of walking. Thank goodness for these shoes (taupe) that are such a great neutral they go with everything. I’ll be writing about them soon–pure comfort! I have two options depending on the weather. The first day forecast is 70 so the second options has a sleeveless top. Same shoes. Whichever outfit I don’t choose will be worn another day.

Day 3: I’ll  need two outfits–family photo later in the day. I can just throw on the top I wore Day 1 for a short time with a necklace or scarf if I go out. If we stay at home, I’ll just put on sweatpants and jacket. The outfit for the photo is my black wrap worn like a jacket which you saw in the two posts on Gray. I can’t decide on jewelry so luckily that’s easy to pack. The silver helps brighten the black, but not sure how much is too much in the photo. Bootie (shown for Day 1) Heel–extra height is very important in photos when you’re 5’4.

Day4: Thanksgiving. I’m not sure if we will attend church, but this will work for the whole day. Option #2 if I want to be more comfortable/warmer in the evening.

Day 5: I’m not sure what we’re doing day or evening. It gets colder late in the week. Either can be worn with leather jacket or one with chocolate lightweight cardigan.

Day 6: Travel Day but we leave later in the day. I’ll wear whatever wasn’t chosen previously.

Here is the suitcase with all the outfits and my jewelry packing. There is still plenty of room for my hair dryer and flat iron. My one allowed bag of liquids is going in my “personal item” carry-on.  One makeup bag is going in my son’s “checked” bag as there are some liquid/non-liquids. In the end we decided to check ONE bag in case we bought something. And then there were the golf shoes that needed to fit…My college son also requested a few items. I’m quite proud of myself for the  consolidation. I still have options. I think you can see that I could have gotten by with even a little less.

Since the rules on liquids went into effect, I have always checked a bag. I just didn’t want to deal with it. Any comments? How do all of you fit hair care products, skin products and liquid makeup products into ONE quart size ziploc even when they’re small? Do I have too many products?

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Brighten up your Day with GRAY!

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We only have two more days for entries in the $100 giveaway. Get on your e-mail and invite friends to subscribe. Get on Facebook and make comments. Post a comment on the blog. Remember it’s a $50 gift certificate to a store of your choice and $50 of consultation time.

As promised on Monday, here is a follow up to COLOR ME GRAY. Honestly, when I started wearing my gray pieces I wondered if I had overdone it! Once you go through color analysis training, it causes you to look at at color in a very different way. I knew gray was more flattering, totally IN but I was looking for a very certain “brick” red to “warm up the gray”. It’s been hard to find. Most things have a lot of pink tones. Not that this is bad–but not as favorable to my coloring.

By the way, it’s been interesting to hear many of you talk about black vs. gray. I enjoyed all your comments and suggestions. Certainly gray is a muted shade of black and for many, much softer around the face. In addition to wanting to enhance your hair, skin and eyes, I believe there is a direct correlation between age and wearing black. Many women come into the store where I work and say their closet is full of black. They want something else. They feel as they age, it’s not as flattering. Black is pretty hard to eliminate when it’s everywhere. I still wear it but I’m very aware of what I wear WITH IT!

Back to gray…Because it is muted and not as sharp as black, sometimes it can be a little harder to make it pop. By showing my own clothes, I was trying to emphasize that making an outfit better can take time. Some outfits come together immediately. Others evolve.

Below you will see the Before/After #1. I kept the jewelry neutral and added the color only one place. General rule of thumb: Add color in 1-3 places.The handbag color is perfect; patent leather croc gives the shine and texture needed. Other options for this outfit: BIG RING. The gray pearls are long under the ruffles but you could skip the necklace completely. The earrings are my new favorites. They are perfect when you have a lot of detail in a blouse and can’t wear a large necklace. Instead of a bag, you could add more color with shoes or a bracelet. Any jewelry with a gray pearl combo is a personal favorite and I like the long silver chains from Silpada.

BLOUSE: CABI outlet–Fall Season 2008, VEST: Here We Go Again Consignment, JEANS: Gap, ACCESSORIES: Accentuate Boutique  This outfit was under $100 before the handbag. I enjoy combining things from many different sources and price points.

PHOTO #1 I want to call attention to the belt currently available from CABI. Although it may look pearl, they are actually silver “halves”. I LOVE this belt because it is unique and it brightens up black or gray. Half of the belt is black leather so depending on how you adjust it, you’ll have more black or silver. I actually like this combination. I will leave as is except I threw the necklace on for the photo and there are better options for this. I would also add a touch of color in a different way than I did above. So instead of the handbag, maybe this time it’s the shoes and earrings. PHOTO #2 It’s the same BLACK WRAP: Sloan Boutique, SKIRT: Nordstrom, RED SWEATER: Ann Taylor Loft, NECKLACE: White House Black Market. It’s hard to see the 3 strands in photo. WALLET CLUTCH: Lodis from Accentuate or Nordstrom, BELT: Nordstrom Rack, SHOES: Sofft (skirt and shoes from this season)

PHOTO #1 The black/gray top has a unique texture that actually goes fine with black or gray. Although it’s hiding under the coat, I’m wearing the Cabi silver belt which I thought at the time brightened it. Obviously not enough. My jewelry is gray pearls and it’s much too delicate. I need more of a statement piece either in necklace or earrings. PHOTO #2 I added a sweater from Ann Taylor Loft in “Beet”. Cabi belt. Scarf and silver BRIGHTON accessories from Accentuate. You will see that scarf later on in the video tutorial.

Notice the 3 touches of silver (necklace, earrings and belt) The combo of silver/crystals catch the light and brighten the dark colors.

My scarf is crooked, the necklace is off to the side and doesn’t show up. Above, the wrap collar covered my necklace which was the focal point… So goes it in the life of an “at home” stylist who depends on male family members who don’t pay attention to detail to take photographs. I hope you were able to get some great ideas. I became a bit obsessed with gray outfits this week. I have enough for a whole other post. Coming later I’ll have combinations using lime green(yes lime!) teal, blue and purple. In addition to the usual accessories of shoes, handbags and jewelry, I will show gloves, a brooch, umbrella–many great options! Let me know what you think.

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