Accessories are a major player in any outfit. A select few choices can make or break your whole look. A bag, belts, jewellery, ties – they are the cherry on the cake of fashion.
In part one of this guide on how to style your summer wardrobe, we will take a look at what accessories work best with, how they should be worn and let you in on the key pieces for a variety of occasions.
Some of you may remember an article by Matt Allinson on how to wear your jewellery; this will act as your go to guide on how to break in to any jewellery-centric trend. Here we’re going to give you a few tips on what classic pieces you can use to complete your outfit on various occasions, without causing visual pollution to those around you.
Summer jewellery is identifiable by a more predominant ethnic vibe. For example, a rope or leather necklace with a statement pendant. Pairing this with a plain shirt/t-shirt underneath is a great way to add some excitement and individuality to an otherwise plain outfit. They work well worn as part of a casual outfit or if you have the luxury of working in a job that requires you to look on trend.
Rings are a superb starting point for incorporating jewellery in to your outfit. This is due to the vast shapes and colours available for the S/S season and the fact that they are subtle. If you suddenly start wearing big statement pendants around your neck or wrist, people may see it to be slightly incongruent with who you are (or were). A ring is never over the top and will never dominate your outfit, it is an accessory that finishes off the look you are going for and shows you care about the details.
To introduce a touch of summer to your outfit, try adding a brown or metallic barrel ring. This utilises the ethnic theme of summer jewellery but also incorporates this season’s trend of metallics – a win win situation.
Bracelets are widely viewed as excessive accessories. They are the necklaces of the wrist (‘wristlace’ if you will), so for that reason I would avoid pairing the two together, or at least not in exorbitant amounts. This is especially true if both your neckwear and wristwear could be classed as statement pieces.
Stacking a variety of rope and leather bracelets on your wrist has always been an easy way to individualise your outfits, as the combination will be unique to you and you would have to be extremely unlucky (or soulmates?!) to come across someone who had picked the same combination of pieces on the same day! However, my choice for the season would be to pick a statement bracelet – it adds finesse to your outfit, without looking too overworked. Again it all comes down to that air of ‘cool’ and looking like you are not trying too hard.
Ever the essential of summer, sunglasses have always been somewhat of an expression of oneself. They are reflective of age, gender, personal style and embody the beholder in a certain air of coolness. My personal pick for the season, mirror lens shades – made popular by the late great Michael Jackson – capture the best of the latter in one.
I am not going to break down every single style in this article, they are a really personal item and one style will not suit everyone. Make sure you follow along the ever-present rules of face shape. Brush up or read up on your face shape with the Fashionbeans guide to sunglasses. If you are unsure where to start, try sticking to the classic silver/gold framed avaiators or black/tortoiseshell wayfarers for classic timeless style that will last forever.
It’s time for men to super size without feeling guilty. Big bags are going to be a hit this summer if we are to take any nod from the surge appearing on the high street and catwalks this show season. Men are donning the man bag at every turn. Plus it helps that in Joseph’s article on what women want, one of the girl’s interviewed stated that she loved a good man bag ;).
Oversized bags are a must this season. Aside from looking stylish, the practicality is an extra bonus – clambering down to the beach with arms full of inflatables, sun lotions and towels is a thing of the past.
Belts & Ties
A staple piece to the modern man’s outfit – whether required or not. Belts and ties are an accessory that can be worked into any style and usually at a low cost. Variations in these two fashion essentials will not occur to most men when the season changes. However, as we have already learnt that colours and materials can change for jewellery, the same rule applies with other accessories.
Try incorporating more colours into your summer outfit. The brighter atmosphere usually encourages a more vibrant wardrobe. The Fashionbeans favourite – bow ties, are excellent for adding a quirky appeal to the seasonal trends. This, paired with the ethnic feel of a brown/wood belt and the aforementioned ethnic jewellery, encapsulates SS11 in one ensemble.
Key tie styles for summer include patterns such as coloured stripes (preppy), checks and dots; lighter cotton, silk and chambray materials – perfect for warm weather; whilst new pastel shades fit in very well with the whole French Riviera vibe we are seeing through coloured shorts and trousers trends. Try using your ties loosely knotted (and top button undone) with a polo shirt or the key casual shirt styles for the season. A nice and refined “off duty” look for the weekends.
Belt styles for the summer usually come in the form of canvas or plaited leather. Both are very prominent in spring/summer due to their practicality and trending (nautical) respectively. Canvas belts are no longer a style suited to the very young or skateboard crowd – this season you can find bold colours, more refined styling and generally better constructed canvas belts which are lightweight and perfect for adding some colour pop to your outfits.
Both work best casual and laid back environments, so never use them with your true formal wear, such as a suit. Relaxed spring/summer tailoring and smarter pieces however can be paired with both of these styles easily in order to give off a nonchalant cool, whilst separating you from the sea of plain belts around right now.
Accessories, at first, appear challenging for the neo-fashionista. But play around with your wardrobe and experiment with new pieces or new styles you may never have considered before. It is the only way to learn what works and what doesn’t – so don’t be afraid to delve into the world of masculine rugged jewellery (even if you build up slowly with a subtle ring), or add a new bold coloured canvas belt to your existing tailored shorts and polo combinations (to add some flair and intrigue). You have all the key styles set out for you above, now it is up to YOU to find what suits your personality and look best.
Part 2 coming soon…