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Accessorize to Advantage

By Anne Morgan, Volunteer.

Accessories, including jewelry, scarves, shoes, handbags, and more, are a powerful addition to any ensemble. You might be surprised by everything that well-chosen accessories can do for you.

Accessories complete an outfit. Under-accessorized ensembles look unfinished and can undermine the occasion, whether it’s professional or social. A business suit looks like a first attempt without appropriate pieces to set it off. An evening gown without the right jewelry and shoes might as well be a nightgown.

Accessories can unify your ensemble. When you combine different colors in an outfit, a scarf or necklace that picks up each of them provides coherence. You can also pull the look together using the “bottoms up” principle, choosing jewelry near your face to match the color of your skirt or pants.

Accessories can provide balance. Earrings and necklaces can add length or width where your face shape needs it. If a neckline isn’t quite your best, you can disguise it with a scarf or necklace which better complement your face shape. You will often find that low heels work better with short hemlines, and higher heels with longer ones. You also want to choose items that are appropriately sized for your features and frame.

Accessories can draw attention to your better features, while distracting from problem areas. Make sure that you put your colorful or shiny pieces near your face or at an attractive part of your body. Choose a purse whose strap allows it to tuck into a small waist rather than bouncing off a wider hip.

Accessories can fill in bare areas. This is particularly true when a neckline is uncomfortably low. Bracelets with short or sleeveless styles are another example.

Accessories are an opportunity for self-expression. Revel in the opportunity to showcase your creativity or highlight something dear to your heart. Just be careful not to offend with controversial symbols or signs of status that might exclude those around you. Stay appropriate to the occasion and setting.

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About Anne Morgan:

Anne Morgan is a SFC volunteer, an independent image consultant, and owner of Color and Image Insight in Fairfax, Virginia. She was certified in the individualized Color Alliance system of color analysis in 1990 and is now affiliated with Color Me Beautiful. She has helped hundreds of clients with color and image advice, has spoken before a wide variety of professional and social groups, and taught for many years with Fairfax County Adult Education. Previous experience includes several years creating costumes for the entertainment industry in Hollywood, California. She is a graduate of Cornell University.


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