The Beginner's Guide to Accessorizing

by Rachel

Did you know that the more pieces or components your outfit has, the more stylish others will perceive you to be? This means the key to being stylish is creating more complex outfits.

Accessories are an important way we do this!

Accessories are any non-apparel item you wear or carry – shoes, bags and jewelry are the most obvious. Hats, belts, scarves, and sunglasses all count too! Accessorizing is deeply personal and should be unique from person to person. Instead of “do this” and “don’t do that,” I recommend creating your own personal approach to accessorizing to develop your unique style. Try the approaches below and see what resonates with you!

Step by step

If my comfort zone was riding a bike with training wheels, would I go purchase a motorcycle and plan a cross country drive to up my transportation game? Not unless I had a death wish!

Granted, accessories aren’t life or death but it can be overwhelming to try and jump all in right away. It’s okay to start out small. 

What does that look like?

Add one more accessory the next time you get dressed – perhaps a bracelet if you normally only wear earrings, a ring if you normally only wear a necklace or a belt around the waist of your dress if you’d normally go with out.

As you build up your comfort level, kick it up a notch and add one more until you reach a number that feels good for you! 

What does your look need? 

The 'official' definition of accessory is “a thing which can be added to something else in order to make it more useful, versatile, or attractive.”

What does your outfit need to be more useful for you?

If you need versatility for a busy day, add a transitional accessory. For example, if you’re going straight to your kids soccer game after work, adding a casual scarf and flats to your slacks and blouse makes it easy to be dressed appropriately for both occasions.

Do you want your outfit to be dressier? Use statement accessories. A white tee and jeans becomes an evening out look with studded pumps, a snakeskin print belt, stacked cuffs and a boldly printed clutch. 

Mix, not match

Your accessories don’t have to perfectly match your clothes. This is a great time to play with colors, patterns and metal mixing to give visual interest to your style.

This is also a great way to create a personal style brand.

Your co-worker might own a white button down blouse but is she going to accessorize it with layered gold necklaces, a sleek gold cuff bracelet and tuck it into pants with a red skinny belt? Nope, that look will be unique to you! 

Aim for balance

As you play around with accessories, keep balance in mind. Wearing a bold statement necklace with large drop earrings, multiple stacked bangle bracelets and a giant tote is a whole lotta look.

Instead, aim for balance in size, pattern and colors such as one bold statement accessory and two smaller, simpler pieces.

Have fun playing around and creating your personal accessory style!

Psst - want more tips and tricks for working accessories into your look? I'm offering a FREE virtual Style Class on Thursday, June 17 at 12 PM CST on this very topic. Click here for more details and to register!


I'm Rachel Michael, a style coach focused on creatively bringing the art of style to women who are ready to authentically STAND OUT. My focus is on building confidence in my clients by developing their signature style through wardrobe edits, personal shopping services and styling sessions. I specialize in bringing out the creative energy that lights my clients up on the inside to their outside appearance so they feel more whole and powerful than ever before!

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Join the conversation
  • Absolutely love that you do this! My mom taught me back in the 60's and I inherited all my grandmother's and my mom's extensive collection. I used to make use of all of it. Now I work with dogs so no jewelry. Every once in a blue moon I will "dress up" to go to the grocery store. Hope other people will heed your very sound advice and try! Great post! ✨

    • Rachel Rachel on Mar 25, 2021

      Thanks so much, Naomie! That collection must be amazing - I have a few pieces of inherited jewelry from my grandmothers and I love how the pieces have a history and meaning behind them. They are always more fun to wear than anything else!