Accessorizing a well-crafted outfit is no easy task. The perfect accessories pull a look together and add polish to an otherwise boring outfit. However, over-accessorizing can leave you looking like a Christmas tree. You want your accessories to be versatile and elegant. Here are five go-to accessories that never fail:
1. An Elegant Watch
I like my watches like my men: classic, masculine and not too flashy. If you aren't sure where to start, try a piece with a brown leather band, simple face and gold or silver hardware. This classic look suits everyone and won't go out of style. I chose this Tissot Couturier watch (find it here) as a graduation gift over five years ago and I still adore it. It's a great investment piece if you are looking for something that will last (*insert time pun here*). If you love menswear watches like me, remember that most watch retailers can adjust the band or remove links to fit a larger watch to a bossy lady wrist.
If you want something with a little more bling, try a gold link watch. I'm not a huge fan of bedazzled or embellished watch bands or faces, so I find that a gold link watch is a nice way to add some sparkle without being too flashy. A great affordable option is Fossil's Cecile Multifunction Rose-Tone Stainless Steel Watch (find it here). The rose gold tone is particularly flattering on fairer complexions and the price is right if you want a classic piece without the high end price tag.
2. A Statement Necklace
I love statement necklaces. I love them. They are the perfect way to make a dull outfit look fantastic. Pair a string of opera-length pearls with a shift dress for an easy, elegant look. Knot them in the middle to add an extra element of interest. Scour pop up stalls and bargain stores for cheap, chunky costume jewelry to re-invigorate your work wardrobe on a dime. Statement necklaces do not need to be expensive to look great. That's the beauty of costume jewelry.
Be brave. Experiment with colours, textures, materials and lengths. Are you one of those women who tells herself that statement necklaces "look great on others, but are too bold for me"? Statement necklaces are perfect for you, because you can infuse a bit of fun into your wardrobe while keeping the rest of your outfit conservative. Try pairing a statement necklace with a fitted cigarette pant, button down and pumps. You can also pop one over a sheath dress for a foolproof outfit.
3. A Classic Stud
I will admit, I'm bad at wearing earrings. I forget to put them on in the mornings and often bare my naked ear holes to the world. I know, I know. How uncivilized. Despite this habit, even I know the power of a great stud earring. Stud earrings are easy to wear (no getting tangled in your hair or caught on your clothes) and add an element of polish to your work attire. My favourite studs are solitary pearls - freshwater pearls with uneven edges make particularly pretty earrings - or little round brushed gold button studs. Easy, peasy, pretty.
If you're feeling like you need a little pop of colour, but don't want to opt for a bold necklace that might compete with your clothing, colourful crystal studs are a good option. I bought this blue Swarovski pair (similar ones here) on Beyond the Rack (a discount online shopping site) and find myself popping them on when I need a hint of colour.
4. A Neutral Tote
As a professional, I find myself needing to carry around a lot of sh*t. Documents, file folders, briefs, my laptop, charger cords....the accoutrements of my job could eat my purse alive. Thus, the tote. Choose one that easily fits all of your stuff and that has handles long enough to fit over your shoulder. Pro tip: thick handles hurt your shoulder less than thin handles after a long day.
Now, there are some delicious designer totes out there. Excuse me while I wipe my drool off this yummy leather tote in the display case. However, if the designer price tag is outside your budget, look for discount totes at places like Winners, Marshalls and Joe Fresh. I bought the one featured in the cover photo above at Winners and it's both reversible and super easy to clean (when someone (read: me) spills coffee on it). It was also cheap af. It also came with a pencil case. Win, win, win.
5. A Comfortable Pump
A comfortable pump, you say?! Impossible! I promise, it exists. The key to finding a comfortable pump is persistence. Try on lots of shoes (a hardship, I know). Look for ones that have cushioning for the ball of your foot. Generally speaking, platforms, thicker heels and almond/round toes all make a pump more comfortable. If you find the thought of wearing pumps to work intimidating, invest in a neutral pair that you can try out with different pants, dresses and skirts while you get your footing (puns!).
Personally, I love the look of high, pointed-toe stilettos, but they are hardly known for being comfortable. That said, they're out there. Ann Taylor makes a great pair with added padding under the ball of the foot and they come in a range of patent and matte nudes. If you're feeling a bit bolder, try an olive green or cranberry pump. These colours pair well with your typical office neutrals (grey, black, navy, white, tan), but add a little extra pep in your step (that was the last one, I promise).
There you have it - my five essential accessories for every work wardrobe. Which ones do you swear by? Let me know in the comments below.