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Jul 17, 2020

Why Accessories Matter: The Outfit Finishers

If you read my last blog article, you may remember I suggested accessorising all areas to elevate your Lockdown Style and now that we can venture out, make reservations for a dinner date and head to Elys for a shopping fix (hooray!), there really is no excuse not to dress up and fully embrace our wardrobes while adding in new looks to update our style. As I mentioned in my previous post: ‘with just a few tweaks, even the simplest t-shirt and jeans pairing becomes a styled look with minimal effort’, and that applies to women and men alike.

With a wealth of accessory options to consider it can seem overwhelming knowing where to begin and also where to stop, because often with my clients the fear of over-accessorising prevents them from accessorising at all. Even Coco Chanel is quoted as saying Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off” and while I would never be one to disagree with one of the biggest fashion icons, using my tips will ensure you get the balance just right every time.

The Finishing Touch

If the simplicity of a capsule wardrobe is something that appeals to you, or perhaps you are already rocking your pared-back mix-and-match style with ease, the key to keep your capsule fresh is to elevate and extend your outfits with the use of accessories. This could be the finishing touch which brings colour to a neutral look, introduces texture and pattern to your outfit, or the accessory which adds polish with a golden (or silver) touch.

Women’s Style Tip

Wondering which belt, bag or shoe to introduce to your outfit? Keep it balanced and follow my outfit formula: neutral, colour, pattern, metallic. With each of these aspects your look will never be plain or too busy. Simply note which of these is missing from your outfit and add it in with your accessory.

The perfect balance of neutral leather jacket (Boss), patterned silk dress (Weekend MaxMara), coloured suede shoe and metallic leather belt (both L.K. Bennett)

Men’s Style Tip

While it may seem the practical option to choose the plain black or brown shoes, belts and bags, there are a wealth of options which are just as versatile but instantly add sartorial kudos; try a maroon shoe instead and treat it as a neutral you can wear with almost every pair of trousers and jeans. Or look for shoes with added detail such as a coloured stitching for a quirky edge.

Pictured: Suede shoes with blue stitching, Loake

Dress Up or Down

One of the key aspects of a successful wardrobe is versatility and I always demonstrate to my clients how to wear items multiple ways. Accessories are not always just the cherry on the top of a perfectly styled outfit, they can also change a look completely from day to night or smart to casual.

Women’s Style Tip

Take a floaty dress out to dinner with minimalist stilettos, a skinny belt and an elegant box bag.

A ‘dressed up’ dress look from Elys’ Spring Summer Edit as featured in Time & Leisure.

Dress, Reiss

Belt, L.K. Bennett

Bag, Aspinal of London

Sandals, Miss KG

Men’s Style Tip

Switch up your style with box-fresh trainers paired with a casual suit for a contemporary twist.

The Elys Edit Spring / Summer 2020 Fashion Show featuring Loake trainers with a Reiss linen suit and Eton shirt

Accessory Essentials

Belt Up

Newsflash: belts are not simply there to hold your jeans up! For ladies, belts can be the most transformational item in your accessories armoury as they can completely change the shape of a garment and quite literally pull an outfit together. Put simply, a belt can be the difference between a dress flattering you, or not. For men, with fewer accessory options than women anyway there is definitely no excuse not to embrace a belt as an outfit finisher.



Women’s Style Tip

So long as you have a metallic, a coloured and an animal print belt in your closet as a minimum, you will have all bases covered.

Pictured: Shirt dress, Boss; Belts, all L.K. Bennett

Men’s Style Tip

Once you have the right leather belt for you – in both black and brown – look for a woven belt to wear with jeans, casual trousers and shorts to add texture to your outfit with a relaxed finish.

Pictured: Elasticated belt, Tommy Hilfiger

Arm Candy

From the neatest little box bags to high-tech holdalls, your choice of bag should finish your overall look whether fun or functional.

Women’s Style Tip

A small cross-body bag, a roomy tote and a smart handbag will see you through most occasions. Ensure you have metallic and neutral bags in your collection to complement any outfit and once you have these basics you can add to your bag wardrobe with colourful and creative trend-led styles.

Contrast your bag for maximum impact. Case in point, clash this Weekend Max Mara dress with a dinky, but oh-so-chic Aspinal of London micro bag.

Men’s Style Tip

Finding a stylish bag does not mean you need to sacrifice on practicality; upgrade your backpack with the sleek neon-trimmed TUMI Brief Pack – a briefcase and backpack hybrid for work and even your gym bag should look great effortlessly.

Style meets function: Backpack, Tumi; Holdall, Filson (pictured)

Top Hats

Not just for bad hair days and special occasions, hats should be seen as another opportunity to accessorise and introduce colour and texture.

Women’s Style Tip

A wide-brimmed hat will add glamour during the summer months while a felt fedora is the perfect autumn outfit topper. If you feel hats just are not you why not try an embellished headband in its place?

Add colour and texture with accessories by Powder (pictured)

Men’s Style Tip

Update the classic straw summer hat with this season’s coloured and woven styles. Wear with a linen suit or simple t-shirt and shorts.

Hats, by Paul Smith (pictured)

Fashion-forward Feet

Admittedly, women have more options than men when it comes to clothing and the same can be said for footwear: high or low, straps, buckles or laces, not to mention the full spectrum of colours to choose from but that’s an entire article in itself. For now, try unexpected ways to finish your outfit.

Women’s Style Tip

Think outside the (shoe) box and maximise your wardrobe’s potential by juxtaposing casual shoes with typically smarter outfits and vice versa; think suits with trainers and strappy heels with a tailored jogging trouser.

The Elys Edit Spring / Summer 2020 Fashion Show featuring Superga flatform trainers with a Reiss linen suit (pictured)

Men’s Style Tip

A turn-up on a trouser with a flash of sock adds a touch of fun to your look and even in a corporate environment a colourful or patterned pair can give a hint of the personality behind a smart suit.

Statement socks, Falke (pictured) 

The key message is do not be afraid to let your personality shine through with your accessories for every occasion however big or small. Share your style with us @elyswimbledon and take a look at Helen’s instagram @cocomamastyle for more style inspiration and tips from a pro!

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