Unsure how to really “accessorize” and all my outfits feel basic as a result

Unsure how to really “accessorize” and all my outfits feel basic as a result

I am a university student who went through high school and a couple years of university surviving on jeans and leggings as pants. Since then, I’ve become more interested in fashion and have gotten some (hopefully) “nice” clothes based on things I’ve seen and liked on Pinterest and the like.

My problem is that I have no real sense of how to accessorize certain outfits to make them look more “put together”, and so everything I wear feels very basic and like it’s lacking something. Most of what I have just looks like a very mundane shirt/jeans combo with an occasional jacket, and even if I try something different like a sweater with a skirt, it still looks like something is missing. Examples: https://imgur.com/a/AJhBvQA My problem is, I really have no idea what’s missing with pieces like this. A hat? A scarf? Jewellery? All of the above???

Has anyone else ever dealt with this problem in the past? What tips have you guys followed to help you develop more of a sense of what looks good accessory-wise?

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Comments ( 16 )
  1. Rodrat
    August 8, 2018 at 3:04 am

    On the picture you provided, the sweater has a lot more visual weight to it than the skirt. I think that’s throwing it off.

  2. RochelleRochelleEsq
    August 8, 2018 at 3:24 am

    I would add some jewelry, and also try more layering or adding textures. Scarves are great for fall/winter, I wear one pretty much every day!
    Pic 2 is very casual, I guess you could add interesting shoes or a scarf but I don’t know that things that casual need to be accessorized.
    Pic 3 I think the necklines clash.
    Pic 4, add a long necklace and some red lipstick and you’re done

  3. kasuchans
    August 8, 2018 at 3:39 am

    Photo 1, I actually disagree and think they have equal weight. A necklace, a long one with a pendant, could look fantastic there.

  4. collegegrief
    August 8, 2018 at 3:49 am

    I think some layering jewelry in either gold or silver would add an extra touch to your outfits! Super easy way to do it, too!

    EDIT: Also, as a fellow student, a winged eyeliner look can add to your outfits as well!

  5. spellmynamewithanx
    August 8, 2018 at 4:03 am

    My way of adding jewelry is that I have a couple of necklaces and earrings that are minimal to go with any outfit. So a small coin necklace and hoops elevate a t-shirt and jeans as more complete. Since they’re minimal, it’s easy to wear them with different outfits without feeling like the jewelry is the focus.

    As an addition to the jewelry and accessory comments, I think you could also focus on fit/length/tailoring (though this is less quick to fix than accessories). The clothes you have pictured look good, but even small changes like how you roll sleeves, or whether a top is loose or fitted, or if sleeves are too long, etc can really change if the outfit comes off as complete and put together.

  6. noliflere
    August 8, 2018 at 4:40 am

    Ok. Here’s what I do: I have a hierarchy of steps for styling/accessorizing. I start with tucking my shirt and proceed from there. These are my steps:

    1. Tuck in the shirt (or just the front of the shirt)
    2. Add a belt. If I am wearing pants, I usually wear a belt. Without the belt, I am just wearing a shirt and jeans. When I tuck my shirt and put on my belt, it becomes an Outfit.
    3. I pick out a pair of shoes.
    4. I only have two purses, but they fit well with my personal style.
    5. Sunglasses, I wear them every day. It’s hot most of the year where I live.
    6. Jewelry.

    Notice that jewelry comes last? I think that getting the silhouette right has to come first. Check your neckline, sleeves, waist, and hem of pants or skirt. These are crucial points. Is your t shirt just hanging free and covering up the nipped-in waist of your high waisted jeans? Are you going to be wearing loafers or ankle boots with your jeans…. does the hem bump in to them, is it tucked neatly inside, or are you showing a lot of bare ankle?

    Everything I listed aside from jewelry is practical. You need shoes, you need a bag for your stuff, sunglasses are important for your eye health and comfort in the summer. Once you have taken care of the practical accessories, jewelry is the cherry on top. For me, the most difficult piece of jewelry is the necklace. It interacts the most with clothing. Sometimes I prefer to wear large earrings instead.

    Here are my jewelry strategies:

    1. Copy a closeup I liked on Pinterest or Instagram. Like a V neck with a round gold pendant on a delicate chain, the chain being short enough to keep the entire necklace resting on the skin instead of awkwardly falling behind the fabric. Or a really ornate bib necklace with lots of rhinestones and pearls resting on top of a crew neck sweater or tee.

    2. Is my outfit kind of boho or minimal? WEAR ALL THE TURQUOISE AND SILVER JEWELRY. I have a collection of Native American jewelry from my grandmother and I love love love it. If my outfit seems appropriate, I just start adding, subtracting, and mixing around all of my bling. The clothes might become a mere background for the jewelry. But this only applies to my turquoise and silver stuff.

    3. Be careful not to pit your necklace against your earrings. A safe rule is to keep them the same metal, or even choose one or the other. (I do usually wear some very small plain earrings even if I decide to emphasize the necklace.)

  7. cinnamonteacake
    August 8, 2018 at 4:58 am

    Try hair accessories, a hair slide/bedazzled bobby pins/ barrette/Alice band/hair bow is a quick way to add some punch to an outfit without looking ‘busy’ or interfering with what looks like a penchant for simple silhouettes.

    You can pick whatever works for the hairstyles you prefer, but I think slightly decorative accessories or even velvet would really stand out against your hair colour and texture, plus they’re ‘practical’ in a way that jewellery isn’t so it might not feel so much like embellishment or extra stuff on top of your outfit.

  8. firesideflea
    August 8, 2018 at 5:08 am

    You have an interesting comment: “Cute Pinterest minimalism.” I’ve noticed that sometimes minimalism doesn’t translate well from Pinterest and print editorials to put-together outfits. If you love the minimalism look then more power to you, but maybe it’s worth rethinking. (Although it looks great on you tbh.)

  9. milky_oolong
    August 8, 2018 at 5:39 am

    I think you‘re looking at it the wrong way. Your outfits 1 and 3 for example are good basic – minimalist, I personally don‘t see the need for accessories and the accessories aren‘t going to transform them into non-minimalist outfits. If you crave interesting fashiony outfits you need interesting fashiony clothes. By adding up basic blocks you won‘t get high fashion, you know? They‘re basic in the sense that the items are established and even the combos too. Slouchy sweate and pleated short skirt is bordering on a stereotype so it will look basic/classic but not grondbreaking because it‘s simply not.

    Outfit 2‘s problems for me is that it’s not working optimally. The colours don‘t go well together (the top is very light and would pass better with either pastels, white or saturated colours and the pants are far too harsh black). The fit is also not optimal – both are sorta loose and cut you at neither natural waist nor at a specific spot.

    The big jacket outfit – honestly what would make it pop is a but of tailoring. Oversized doesn‘t just mean big, it means big in certain dimensions. It feels somewhat too blocky to me and a tad too long. That‘s the difference between pinterest and real life. They pose, edit and either have perfectly proportional tailored to a size body or pin/tuck/modify to fit perfectly. It‘s not that it fits badly, it‘s just not pinsta perfect.

  10. LockenessMonster1
    August 8, 2018 at 5:55 am

    I think #2 would like great with some rings. I could also see some longer gold necklaces with your other outfits.

  11. eatpoetry
    August 8, 2018 at 5:57 am

    All those outfits kinda fit the minimalist aesthetic that’s chic right now! I would say stylish belts on the nicer outfits and chokers or cute necklaces on the casual ones would give them what they are missing.

  12. vancomp
    August 8, 2018 at 6:53 am

    I think the first outfit is cute and doesn’t need much. But it looks like you should pull the front of your sweater out and let it fold over a bit. That’ll change the look. If you don’t want a slouchy sweater look and want it flat, you need to go for a thinner fabric. You could add some simple earrings or necklaces here though.

    The coat in the last outfit I think is really great, but (on my phone at least) I can’t really tell what’s going on underneath. I’d personally wear a belt with it to break it up or simply wear a different color – maybe a tan or white top if you want to go for minimalism. I also think it would look great with small/simple layered necklaces. Layered necklaces are always a good idea imo unless you either have a distracting pattern/graphic on your top or a collar. In that case, I’d focus on earrings, rings, or whatever else.

    Also it’s already been said, but a red lip is also a really good idea and it can add an extra touch to an outfit. In the fall, scarves are nice and you can experiment with hats (beanies or berets for example). The nice thing about wearing simple outfits is you can really spice it up with accessories – anyway you want. It just depends what style you want to go for.

  13. roombamarumba
    August 8, 2018 at 7:17 am

    Where are your shoes?!? They can add so much to an outfit.

  14. TurquoiseBunny
    August 8, 2018 at 7:30 am

    I think there is a gap in between what you want and what you bought. You said in your imgur album that you wanted cute, Pinterest-like minimalism. To me, you got basic pieces but nothing that makes more of a statement, it’s a bit too simple, so it leaves you a bit unsatisfied. I also noticed that you qualified of outfits are just a top+bottom+coat. You underestimate the power of shoes and bags! It can be a game changer.

    – Outfit #1 is a bit preppy. The plaid+dark green makes the outfit look classic (although it looks cute on you, it’s just not what you said you wanted). I don’t know what bag(s) you wear, but it could make a lot of difference if you had a nice bag. However, I’m not sure how this can look minimalistic.

    – In outfit #2 and #3, it looks too basic because the cuts of your tops are “just right”. For #2, maybe roll up the sleeves and wear a cute bag [like this](https://pin.it/erx53uwzej233i). If you would have gone for something a bit more [oversized](https://pin.it/r2a3zypuefs55r) for #3, it would look so much better, even without accessories. Having the shirt+sweater the same length makes it too classic. Play with the layering a bit more and it could look so much better. Also, you’ve got a fantastic waist from what I can see from photo #1, but by choosing tops that stop at your hips, and trousers that begin there, you’re putting a line there and it does not compliment your figure as much as #1. I find that the long coat also suits you perfectly as well in #4, it gives you a really nice silhouette overall.

    – #4, love the coat, but you can’t “read” the outfit under. It’s all the same texture, and the same colour, which makes it look flat. Unless you’re actually wearing matching pieces, mixing textures will add dimension to your outfit. Here is an [example](https://pin.it/bfwoxsuwyxpieu). Here is another [one](https://pin.it/ladbutxwpzxzp3) (I particularly like the patent shoes here, they play an important role). You could also add a belt to your trousers to add texture.

    Then, of course, you can play with a few dainty pieces of jewellery, but for now I’d work on your overall silhouette, the lengths/layering, the textures and the shoes+bag.

  15. asdfjklOHFUCKYOU
    August 8, 2018 at 7:33 am

    I actually think some of these issues with these outfits can be solved without necessarily adding accessories. You can play with silhouette, textures, visual weight, color, folding, tucking, etc. However, judging by your sample looks, I also think a delicate gold necklace like [this](http://www.kathryndesignsjewelry.com/sites/kathryndesigns.indiemade.com/files/imagecache/im_clientsite_product_zoom/bar_necklace_5.jpg) would be something good to get.

    Some individual feedback:

    * Pic 1: I actually think the sweater is bit too heavy & thick for the skirt (the short length of it, even though it’s wool, makes it “lighter”). I think like a thinner sweater (more along the lines of [this weight](https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/women-extra-fine-merino-crewneck-sweater-408712.html?dwvar_408712_color=COL09)) would be better.
    * Pic 2: This is a casual look. To be honest, I am not entirely sure about the fit of the sweater or if I just don’t like the fit that much because it’s wrinkled right now. It kind of looks cropped? I think you could roll up the sleeves/do one fold on both arms such that we can see your wrists. Also, you are not wearing shoes in any of these pics, which is understandable – but I think that adding a cool pair of sneakers to this outfit would really “complete” this look.
    * Pic 3: There are too many competing necklines in this pic (the cardigan especially as you are already wearing a sweater over a shirt). I think, again, it’s really about what you style this with (especially shoes). You could go very prep with a thin brown leather watch and brown oxford shoes. You could also go more “punk” by wearing Dr Martens, etc.
    * Pic 4: I think you could add the gold necklace up top to bring light closer to your face. Right now, I think what’s underneath looks like a mass of black (maybe also because of the lighting). I also think we could fold the sleeves up (they look too long right now). I am also not convinced that this shade of grey actually works for your skin tone all that well.

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