How to Choose a Signature Accessory

Trends come and go. Stocking your closet with basic pieces and investing in seasonal signature jewelry, handbags or shoes makes sense financially and style-wise. Feeling confident and comfortable in what you wear helps you create an authentic first impression. Express yourself with signature pieces that expand your wardrobe potential.

Every closet should be stocked with a few go-to pieces that never go out of style – at least two basic black dresses, one long skirt and one that fits near the knee, a fabulous fitting pair of jeans, white-tees, camel or khaki trousers and at least one overcoat or trench for cool weather outings. That’s it.

Foundational pieces like slacks and skirts in neutral colors – navy, grey, white, black – are the underpinning for every occasion from the board room to the backyard bar-b-cue. Tim Gunn, fashion guru extraordinaire, says that accessories are the elementary basis for making a show-stopping fashion statement. Finding a few signature pieces to complement your basic wardrobe is a fiscally savvy move for those who want to create a personal style while keeping an eye on the budget.


Fedoras, boaters, sunhats and pillboxes are terrific additions to spice up a day in the park or a night on the town. Think Kate Middleton. When Princess Kate wears a hat, people notice. Investing in a handful of different styles maximizes your wardrobe potential. Whether you are looking to add some sophistication or accentuate a playful mood, you can do it with headwear.

Consignment shops and resellers often stock current and vintage styles suitable for today’s fashion. Many styles lend themselves to a quick update to fabric colors to match your personal preference, too.

Jeans and Jewelry

If hats aren’t your favorite accessory for every occasion, consider choosing signature jewelry, like earrings and other baubles to dress up those neutral tees. From tiny solitaire studs to dangling peacock feathers, there are thousands of styles. Investing in styles for casual outings and date nights on the town is an investment worth making. Go from bold to ultra-feminine in a few seconds by changing your shoes and earrings.

Finding a pair of jeans that look and feel great is a top priority when gathering your wardrobe staples. If you have trouble finding a pair that you really love, consult the experts.

Fashion consultant Clinton Kelly is now partnered with Macy’s and has an “ask-me-link” on the Macy’s Facebook page. Of course, almost all packages include Clinton’s fashion show What Not to Wear. Just watching how Clinton guides others to make wise style choices is sometimes enough to get you headed in the right direction.

Belts and Scarves

Two of the easiest and most affordable options for accessorizing are belts and scarves. Pairing a thin leather belt with a v-necked pullover or a vibrant colored scarf with a neutral button-down blouse over a maxi-skirt pops with color and pulls an outfit together. Even women who have “less-than-perfect” figures can wear belts.