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More fashion, less victim: accessories

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Photo courtesy of Kym on lemien.ca

Jes Lacasse is a wardrobe consultant who knows style. She grew up absorbing Vogue, studied costume design and fashion history, and thinks about clothes all the time. Jes does personal styling and shopping for private clients and is taking on the challenge of magazine editorial work. If you have questions about fashion, she wants to answer them — please e-mail her at jes.lacasse@gmail.com. Your Sweet Bippy is where she blogs about clothing, shopping, fashion and cosmetics. She is also known to obsess over clothes on Twitter.

Hi Jes,

I really adore my wedding ring, but I’m having a hard time wearing other accessories with it and need help. The ring is white gold, rather large (not ostentatious, just large profile due to the shape, not the stones) and mostly amethyst. Because of how blingtastic I find it to be, I can’t figure out how to wear my beloved costume jewelry rings or large bracelets (especially on the left wrist) without looking like I just stepped out of some crazy whackadoo lady’s closet. What sort of beginner’s rules could I apply to this to help me ease into wearing more of my bolder pieces again now that I’ve got a perma-accessory?

Katie

This is a great question, Katie! With more people gravitating towards non-traditional weddings rings (stones other than diamonds, often with larger and more avant-garde settings), this is something that I’m sure many people have a problem figuring out!

I suggest when you are just trying to figure this out that you keep the larger pieces away from your left hand as much as possible. I recommend to my clients that they keep to one real statement piece of jewelry, but because your wedding ring is an everyday piece, it shouldn’t have to count!

Try wearing big earrings, then graduating to a large necklace. Once you feel you can carry both of those off with aplomb, then move on to bracelets and rings.

Because your ring is so flash, I would say that when it comes to rings and bracelets that your are best off limiting them to your right hand and wrist. You want to avoid that whackadoo lady’s closet look!

I hope that this advice is helpful, and congratulations on your recent nuptuals!

Dear Jes,

How do you accessorize with belts? see girls with belts (skinny and fat ones) over their sweaters and their blouses, but I’ve never paired a belt in this way, and I don’t know how! My only experience with belts is to keep my pants from falling.

Cindy

Thanks Cindy!

The whole “belt-over-top” thing is terrifying to a lot of people, so don’t worry, you are in good company (and I include myself in that company, or did until recently!).

The thing with being comfortable with belts as an accessory is to be comfortable experimenting. Maybe pick up an inexpensive belt to start playing with (more on that in a minute), pull out a bunch of your longer (plain) tops and a full-length mirror, and just start playing! Take your cues from the way things are styled on mannequins or in catalogue photos. Try your belt on and look with a critical eye. Place the belt higher on your torso than you would if you were using it to hold up your pants. You want your belt to hit at the narrowest part of your frame, the natural waist.

When you’re looking for a belt to wear over things, you’re going to look for different things than you would normally look for in a belt for your pants. You can look for more exciting colours, interesting fabrics and skins, fancy buckles. Scale is important—slender belts are best on smaller frames, and the larger the frame the larger the belt can be (lucky me!). Additionally, because you are going to be wearing the belt at a narrower part of your body, you’ll be buying one that is smaller than ones you would wear with low-slung jeans, which generally are closer to hip measurements. This may give you a chance to play with teeny tiny vintage belts that may not fit at the hips.

As I mentioned, use a critical eye. While this look may be good for many women, there are exceptions to every rule. As with any trend, if it doesn’t look right on you, don’t wear it. You want to look your best, and if one trend passes you by, then the next might be perfect for you!

Photo courtesy of Mod Cloth

Hi Jes,

I’d love to be long and leggy like many of the high fashion models, but alas I am only 5’2″. I think these shoes (pictured to the left and below) are adorable, but my instincts are telling me they might be better suited to someone taller. What do you think?

Thanks!

Natalie

Hi Natalie!

First of all, 5’2” is an awesome height to be! Next time you tell someone your height, don’t say you’re only 5’2”, but that you’re 5’2” of amazing!

Now, onto your shoe question. I would be concerned about either pair of those shoes for most women. First up, the brown pair. I

Photo couresty of Mod Cloth

feel like they would maybe look alright with pants over them, but even then, with that textured top that might look weird. Because the top of the boot is cut so straight across, I feel like it would hit the ankle at a really unflattering spot on the leg, regardless of the woman. And of course, we all want our legs to look longer, not shorter!

As for the second pair, they are also really interesting—but I don’t know if they’d be the best for someone who isn’t all leg. Because they are open on the foot, that may be somewhat more elongating than the first pair, but I think that’s a pretty big risk. I keep going back to the picture and squinting my eyes at them. I feel like you’d want to see them on before you make any sort of decision about purchasing them.

I say if you can safely return them with no hassles, you should pick up the second pair, bring them home, and try them with a bunch of things to see if they work for your body and your wardrobe. And if not, back they go!

I now need to get to organizing my closet for 2011. Happy New Year, friends! Next month I’ll be answering your non-fashion grooming questions. I’m a bit of a product junkie so I’m happy to share what I know! Please send me your beauty-related questions at jes.lacasse@gmail.com.

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