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'The Rules of Accessorising'

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Are matching accessories, such as bag and shoes, too OTT?
In most situations yes however with this season's trend of wearing one strong colour from head to toe matching accessories would definitely make a statement! If you are going to a wedding there are usually 3 main accessories to deal with - the hat (or fascinator), the bag and the shoes. The advice would be to match the colour on 2 of these items and have something different for the third element. So you might go for a neutral or nude pair of shoes (especially if the outfit is in a neutral colour eg navy, grey or camel) and then add a contrasting colour for your bag and hat eg pink, blue or red.

How can accessories make a positive statement in the workplace?
A simple, stylish necklace with a largish pendant will draw attention to your face when you are speaking. A silky scarf in a flattering colour will have the same effect. Why do you think men wear ties?? These accessories will also often "finish off an outfit" and as most British women are under accessorised wearing them will convey a sense of style and indicate that you take care of yourself. If you have short hair - always wear earrings because they add balance. Fantastic shoes and bags that are clean and in neutral colours will lend an air of professionalism.

How can accessories make a negative statement in the workplace?
Too many accessories all worn at once - especially if they have clashing colours, are too noisy, too distracting, too big or cause you to be constantly fiddling with them! Ensure that shoes are clean and not down at heel. Avoid shoes that are too high or too colourful as people will only look at your feet!

Why/when shouldn't you overdo - or underplay - your accessories?
As I said the majority of women in the UK are under accessorised - you don't need to look like a Christmas tree but just something interesting and/or colourful can become a fantastic focal point. Eg just by adding a statement necklace or scarf you will immediately draw attention to your face and away from any "problem" areas of your body! However, be aware, you don't want to draw attention to these areas with say belts or bags in the wrong place!
When I first trained way back in the early 1990s one of the things we studied was adding points for each accessory! From memory it worked like this - you score one point for each of the following:
• Each earring
• Glasses
• Necklace
• Belt
• Watch
• Ring
• Bracelet
• Scarf
• Patterned/coloured shoe
• Patterned/coloured tights
• Handbag
You should score at least 5 points with every outfit, however more than 15 would be excessive!

Gail Morgan is a Master Image Consultant, Personal Stylist and Trainer. Mail us.