Wednesday, September 15, 2010
So, I received an email from a reader (Hi Courtney!) who was wondering about how to accessorize a regular black shirt dress. First of all, love shirt dresses. I have a navy one that is constant rotation, and it's easy to dress up or down. So first of call, good purchase.
When someone asks me about accessories, I hesitate to give a solid answer. Accessories are what make the outfit you, so to me, they are a personal part of your wardrobe. The accessories that make an outfit very "Jae" might not be what you would choose. But they can completely make or break an outfit.
Here I'm going to show you the same black shirt dress done four ways to prove that the foundation is what supports the outfit, while the accessories personalize it. Depending on your personality, you'll accessorize your LBD differently for various occasions.
I really feel like this should have a Cosmopolitan-type quiz to go with it... like, "What's Your LBD Style?" and the questions would read like this:
What is your idea of a dream date?
a) Lustily making use of a mountain cabin and bear skin rug?
b) Getting down and dirty on a working farm?
c) Getting sand between your toes, if you know what I mean.
d) Trying to squeeze in a few moments of "mommy and daddy time" while your four-year-old daughter knocks on the door and demands to know what you're doing.
Ooh, ooh! I pick 'D'. Thanks for that, Cosmo.
Anyway... back to the clothes.
If you're a rocker:
Red Denim Stud Strap Zipper Decor Heels @ Amiclubwear Heel Shoes..., $26
Old Navy Womens Dome Cocktail Rings, $13
Charms On Jersey Necklace, $35
Braided Chain Stud Belt - Women's Clothing and Apparel - Chic Dresses,..., $34
Zebra Print Clutch
Accessorize with leather and studs. It takes a totally average shirt dress and vamps it up a few notches. The studs in the shoes are reflected in the belt without being matchy matchy, and a few long strands of necklaces are enough around the face. PS how much do you love that clutch? OOH RHYMES! Anyway, wear this to a concert or high school reunion and PRAY you meet your ex-boyfriend. Then talk about your yacht.
If you're quirky or a bit of a hipster:
Steve Madden Trinitis Pumps, $45
Magid Evening Bag with Flower Accent, $42
Futuristic Metal Cuff, $25
Centre Jewel Flower Corsage, 8 GBP
Mango Leather Sash Belt, $42
PINK HEAD PORTRAIT ORGANZA FLOWER ANYWHERE CLIP, $30
Lace flower hair clip, 5 GBP
I actually secretly wish I was more hipster than I was. I love the idea of knits and thrifted clothes and caring for the environment, etc, etc. I just never get around to it. But this organic-looking outfit could fool people. Same shirt dress, different accessories. I *just* bought a cardigan with three flower pins like this and I totally worship it. You'll notice that there's a belt included in each outfit. This dress needs a belt. Courtney, so does yours. The flimsy fabric belts that come with most shirt dresses are laughable. Get something real. This one is adorable. So cute for a night time wedding or event.
If you're trendy:
Pirate Cardigan, 15 GBP
Gold and Brazen Heel, $38
La Regale Satin Pleated Clutch, $29
Vibrant Peacock Feather Earrings, $4.80
Teal Flower Petal Cuff
AK Anne Klein - 1015873 (Turquoise) - Accessories, $34
This outfit I put together with the idea of what I would wear if I were wearing this shirt dress out. I consider my tastes to be fairly trendy, so I went with brighter accessories. Using the blue as an accent makes this look sophisticated without looking like an F21 barfed on it. Any excuse to wear peacock is ok by me! Also, I've taken to wearing my statement watch over my long sleeved, tight shirts. As long as they fit slim, it works and it brings more attention to your accessories. Wear this when you're hanging out with your fashionable friend. (That was a hint to all of my friends. Ha!)
If you're a girly girl:
Nude Round Toe Pumps with Ankle Strap, $28
Jessica Simpson Bags Casablanca Clutch - eBags.com, $36
Diane Gilman Pave Enamel Animal Print Watch at HSN.com, $30
Carolee - Retro Pearls Cluster Pearl Pierced Earrings (Gold/White..., $38
ASOS Bow Skinny Belt, $6.74
If you like to feel feminine when you get dressed up, pale pinks make this look girly without veering into Alice in Wonderland territory. Black makes the perfect backdrop for pearls and I love the surprise of mixing a leopard print watch with a snakeskin bag for interest. How cute would this be for an afternoon wedding?
So no matter where you're headed in your LBD, using your own personality to accessorize will give the same dress a new life over and over again. It's why I get annoyed at people who whine that something isn't their style... well, you wear the clothes and not the other way around. Create your style by mixing things up. It's the cheapest way to expand your closet and make old pieces look new again.
So hope that helps, Courtney! And anyone else has questions, you can find me at my email address there on the sidebar, or on Facebook!
What's your favorite way to accessorize an LBD?