Accessories are God’s gift to fashionistas. They’re cheap (for the most part), fun to shop for (dressing rooms avoided), and can completely change the look and feel of an outfit. Think of accessories as the icing on a cake–you could throw on a white v-neck and skinny jeans and call it a day, but how much more chic would you feel by adding a pair of sunglasses, a fedora, and a woven leather belt?
No outfit is complete without at least a little something extra. I’ve compiled a list of accessories that every girl must own. A combination of a few of these piece can transform an outfit, and make it look like a statement rather something you just threw on.
1. Wayfarer Sunglasses
Whether yours are authentic Ray Bans or you picked them up from the kiosk at Sooner Mall, these are a must-have on campus. If you ever have time, Wikipedia search the history of these sunglasses–Ray Ban’s marketing campaigns for these babies were ingenious. They come in every color and a couple different styles–I prefer the classic frames better than the newer, smaller versions. I also own pairs in black and white for a little more variety. They literally go with anything in your closet, from your gym clothes to your fanciest cocktail dress.
2. Diamond Studs
I’ll be real, I’m not a huge jewelry person. Frilly earrings tend to overwhelm my smaller frame. I rarely wear earrings, unless my hair is styled in a way that’s pulled back from my face. To complete the look, a pair of diamond (or CZ, or $5 crystals from Walmart) studs will pull your look together and make you look polished. Perfect for every situation, from class to a black tie affair.
This piece is a little harder to pitch as a must-have, but truly nothing transforms a lazy day outfit to something chic easier than a fedora. It looks great with a romper and gladiator sandals for the summer, or a t-shirt, cardigan, and jeans for a laid back outfit perfect for class. I prefer straw fedoras, but if you’re looking for more versatility, find one a woven version in white or gray to carry you through all seasons.
4. Leather Belt
I would be blown away if you don’t already have one of these in your closet. They’re a necessity for holding up loose trousers on your skinny days, or adding an air of prep school to anything you’re wearing. These come at any price range and can be picked up anywhere that sells clothes. I actually bought my favorite one from Goodwill–it’s perfectly broken in.
5. Statement Necklace
A chunky necklace (or 5) that shows off your personality is an easy way to spruce up a simple outfit for a night on the town. My favorite statement necklace is a gothic-looking rosary. Animal pendants have been huge the last few seasons and are here to stay throughout this winter. Pick these up at Forever 21 for under $8. If you have issues with the cheap plating flaking off or turning your skin green, try coating the part of the jewelry that touches your skin with clear nail polish.
In my opinion, the thicker, longer, and bulkier, the better the scarf is. They come in every material, every width, and every price range. I have a pink and purple skinny wool scarf that I knit myself, but I wear it just as frequently as I wear my buttery soft green pashmina that I picked up on the corner of the street in NYC a few years ago. Circle (or infinity) scarves have become all the rage since Lady Gaga decided to wear hers as a hood. Although I don’t recommend styling it like that for class, you never know when an bad hair day might creep up on you.
7. Cocktail Ring
Much like a statement necklace, a huge cocktail ring makes a great conversation piece and is an easy way to transform an outfit from daytime to a night on the town. Lately, 2-finger rings have been all the rage, but I prefer the bulk of my ring to be vertical–last year I became obsessed with Elizabeth and James’s knuckle shield ring, but unfortunately it cost about $150. Forever 21 is a great place to pick these up, just be sure they fit your finger correctly. There’s no sense in spending money on a ring that will just slide around and annoy you!
A knit beanie is the perfect way to cover up greasy 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) day hair while still looking chic. Whether you like yours slouchy or fitted, girly or basic, it will always look great with a cropped jacket and your favorite pair of jeans. My favorite beanie came from a boy’s closet–I’m pretty sure he got it from Walmart, but I pinned the back for a slouchy “urban turban” look. It’s the perfect way to step up the style on a lazy-day look as well. These will keep you so warm and can be purchased almost anywhere.
Here’s my thoughts on this classic staple: a) Yes, they look stupid when worn with Nike Shorts b) they look divine with red lipstick and a dress c) they look even cooler when mixed up with a couple of your favorite statement necklaces. Take the WASP out of them by wearing them with contrasting pieces–a leather jacket and skirt, or layered beneath a gunmetal chain necklace. Have a nice pair you save for special occasions, and a long costume string for playing dress up (yeah, I know you still do).
10. Dress Cuff Bracelet
This piece alone will transform a LBD from casual to dressy, or a pair of skinny jeans and black top into a trendy look perfect for campus corner. In my opinion, the flashier the better. My dressy cuff is a sparkly gold with silver crystals all over it. It looks expensive, but I bought it on eBay for $10.
A classic timepiece is essential, but unfortunately its functionality has dwindled because of cell phones–people always look there for the time instead! Not only is glancing at a watch more subtle (ehm, less rude) but a watch will never go out of style and go with everything in your closet. Pick one according to your taste–I prefer chunky menswear styles. White silicon styles are crazy popular, but if you’re splurging, go for a silver or gold version. They’ll last longer.
A good waistbelt can take a shapeless dress and turn it into something sexy. Pair it with a t-shirt dress and leggings, an oversized button down shirt, or a chunky knit sweater. The one thing you SHOULD NOT wear it with is a fitted t-shirt. This seems obvious, but last time I was in American Eagle, the girl working the register decided to wear a waist belt right underneath her boobs with a fitted t-shirt. What was she trying to accomplish with this??
13. Huge Sunglasses
For the days when you have no time to wash your face or put on a quick swipe of mascara, a huge pair of sunnies can shield your puffy eyes and help you face the world. Since these come and go out of style every few years, don’t spend a ton on a pair–pick on up from the kiosk at the mall, Target, or Forever 21.
14. Party Shades
This one is self explanatory–fun to wear after knocking back a few, but equally as fun to wear while walking down the South Oval. Shutter shades like Kayne’s are neat (and about $5 on eBay) but those plastic shades with neon colored ear pieces are given away free from the Cottages and other local businesses!
15. Something Sentimental
The piece will differ for everyone, but I think its important for everyone to have at least one piece that they wear every day that holds special meaning for them–for me, its a braided ring from James Avery that my voice teacher/second mother gave to me when I graduated high school. Before then, it was a silver and turquoise bracelet that my Dad’s business partner gave me for my 13th birthday. Rachel Zoe rocks a gold wishbone necklace that her husband (who looks suspiciously like Justin Bieber) gave her on Valentine’s day. It will anchor your outfit, and help you express yourself a little more.
For more on all things trendy, check out OU Daily‘s Life and Arts