Add and Subtract for Accessory Success

Math is not my forte. Never has been, never will be. Yet when it comes to adding and subtracting elements that create a fabulous outfit, I am an A+ student!


When I talk about an outfit that totally works and looks fabulous, I refer to it as being ‘greater than the sum of its parts’. What I mean by that is that the look, created from using seemingly simple pieces and highlighted with the appropriate accessories, seems to transcend fashion and is elevated to star style status. Yet achieving this can seem a little elusive. How to you know what will work with a certain outfit, and at what point do you reach overkill? To answer this I have created a simple strategy using a little, um, math. Yes, even though algebra left me feeling very challenged in high school I am not going to let a few numbers hold me back. I’m going to keep it simple, though, and stick with simple addition and subtraction.


To fully understand how a little math can help you to work wonders when it comes to accessories let’s start with a simple outfit such as dark wash jeans and a cute top, or even a simple shift dress. Then add in a cardigan in one of your best colors, a chic pair of shoes and a great handbag. From there, it’s time for a little jewelry.


First, define the look you want to create. Is it simple and elegant? Edgy urban? Feminine luxe? The good news is that accessories can transform your look and punctuate it to make a statement that is all you! So choose your them, then accessorize to your heart’s content!


Next, start with one piece of jewelry, say a great necklace. Don’t automatically assume that you NEED earrings with this. Too often I see women who are wearing a great necklace AND great earrings, but together there is no continuity, no harmony and the look is just overwhelming. If you do prefer earrings and a necklace, opt for pieces that complement rather than compete with each other. Then ask yourself what you could ADD to create a more unified look. If need be, skip the earrings or just wear simple studs. You want to take into account your personal scale and find accessories that are right for your stature and do not either overwhelm or get lost on you.


Then add in a cuff, a ring, a flower pin, a stack of bracelets, etc. This is where it can get tricky, but a little math will come to your rescue. With each addition, ask yourself ‘Is this piece adding or subtracting to my overall look?” When you spend some time playing around it will become evident how much is too much. If a piece is adding something to your look, it will appear ‘missing’ when you take it away. Your goal is to create balance and harmony, so continue adding until you feel that you’ve achieved balance. Don’t go overboard, but don’t be afraid to experiment. Adding too many items can often subtract from your look as a whole, but experimenting and finding that balance point can be useful in helping you know what to shop for as well as how to combine things easily.


Once you come up with a few combinations that you like, snap pics with your phone or your digital camera and refer back to them. This will make getting dressed effortless, and will help you to create outfits that are greater than the sum of their parts. You can so do this!


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