The total package: Accessories are key to enhance your wardrobe, highlight your best features and hide trouble areas

Friday, August 3, 2012
“Julia” fish hook earrings, “Resort” necklace and buckle bracelet available from Premier Jewelry. (ADAM VOLGER)

It's been said that top wardrobe consultants advise putting two-thirds of your clothing budget toward accessories. Why? Accessories add instant style to any outfit, and they create tons of new looks with the clothing you already have. An added bonus? You don't have to worry about whether your jewelry, bags and shoes will fit from season to season. With help from the pros, we put together the ultimate guide for using accessories to work what you've got:

Jewelry

Sheryl Henley, a Jackson consultant with Premier Jewelry, has all sorts of tips for making your jewelry work for you:

> A bold statement necklace draws attention up to the face (read: away from your tummy and hips).

> To look 10 pounds thinner, wear earrings the size of a nickel or larger.

> Y-shape necklaces are the most flattering style: They elongate the body, making you look taller and thinner. Long necklaces have a similar effect.

> Silver jewelry complements cool skin tones, while gold flatters warm skin tones.

> Wear three pieces -- earrings, a bracelet and a necklace -- for a polished, pulled-together look. It's especially important to highlight the "impact zone" -- from the waist to the head -- and the "expressive zone" -- your wrists and hands. The eye will be drawn to these areas.

Glasses

You no longer have to wear boring glasses and rue the day you became "four-eyes." Today's frames are truly a fashion statement.

"There are definitely trends coming back in retro, geek chic and bold colors," says Shannon Kutz, optical manager at Leet Eyecare in Cape Girardeau. "They're all turning toward color, color, color -- not just black and grays, but more pinks, reds, greens and blues." Her tips for flattering your features:

> "Make sure that your eyes are centered in the lens of the frame, and that the frame is proportionate to your face," says Kutz. If you have a round face shape, look for squared-off frames. If you have a square-shaped face, look for rounded frames.

> When it comes to color, just about anything goes, says Kutz -- just make sure the color you choose doesn't wash out your skin tone.

Bags

> Your bag should be in proportion to your body type: A giant tote is overwhelming on a small body, and if you're on the heavy side, a tiny clutch can make you look bigger.

> When it comes to shape, a structured bag flatters a round figure, while a slouchy or rounded bag flatters less-curvy gals.

> If you're busty, look for a bag that hits at or below the waist. If you're pear-shaped, look for a shoulder bag that sits under the arm. And, if you're petite, you'll want a short shoulder strap: A long bag will make you look shorter.

> Colorful bags draw attention away from any flaws you wish to hide.

Shoes

> Tapered or pointed-toe shoes give the body a slimmer, taller shape. If you're already tall and slim, opt for an oval or squared toe.

> If you're short, tall heels can make you look off-balance. Two-inch heels are most flattering on short women.

> Consider the shape of the heel as well: If you're heavy, a tiny stiletto heel will exaggerate your size. Look for a thicker heel instead.

> The thinner the soles, the thinner you look.

Belts

> Slim waist: Wear a belt in a contrasting shade to your outfit. You can also work a belt with an attention-getting buckle.

> Thick-waisted: Belts that blend in with the outfit are most slimming; dark or matte-finish belts have the same effect. Cinching a skinny belt at the waist or wearing a sparkly, attention-grabbing belt will make you look bigger. Try a narrow belt under an open jacket or cardigan; the belt should be in the same tone as your outfit.

> Short-waisted: Wear a narrow belt and match it to your top, elongating your torso.

> Long-waisted: You can work a wide belt! Match it to the color of your bottom to add length to your lower half.

> Pear shapes: Wear a wide belt around or just above your waist.

> Busty types: You can wear a wide, studded belt at the hips to balance out a heavy upper half.

Hair

Yes, that's right -- you should consider your hair an accessory and work it to your advantage. Danea Johnson, owner of Concepts Styling Salon in Cape Girardeau, says oval face shapes can wear any type of style. So, when styling hair, she tries to create an oval appearance from whatever your face shape, be it round, heart or square.

"For instance, if your have very round face, we would ideally keep the length longer than the chin to draw the eye away from the roundest area, or create layers to break up the roundness," says Johnson. Ask your stylist what she would recommend to flatter your face shape.

Additional source: "Secrets of Style: The Complete Guide to Dressing Your Best Every Day" by the editors of In Style magazine

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