A fashion accessory is an item used to contribute, in a secondary manner, to the wearer’s outfit, often used to complete an outfit and chosen to specifically complement the wearer’s look.It has the capacity to further express an individuals identity and personality as there are accessories that come in different, shapes, sizes, hues etc. The term came into use in the 20th century.
what is a Fashion Accessory?
“A fashion accessory is an item used to contribute, in a secondary manner, to the wearer’s outfit, often used to complete an outfit and chosen to specifically complement the wearer’s look”.A perfect explanation. A fashion accessory ‘contributes’ or is ‘part of’ an outfit. Your choice allows you to express your personality and sense of style. Take an ultra simple outfit in neutral colors, add accessories and paint a picture of the person you’d like to be! There are two types of accessories; those we wear and those we carry. We wear shoes, boots, hats, belts, scarves, shawls, stockings, tights, ties, gloves, jewelry, a watch etc. but we carry bags, glasses, sunglasses, briefcase, luggage, pens, wallet and an umbrella.
Coco Chanel is reported to have said ‘Before leaving the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off’.
Accessories in Fashion
It is said that people look at your shoes and your watch and then judges you in the first 3 seconds that you meet – if that is how much time you get to make a good impression, there is reason enough to work hard on your accessories for that favorable impression you want. Here is a list of the most important accessories that I can count and that can be counted on to take your fashion style to a different dimension
What are Accessories in fashion?
An accessory can be said to be anything you wear or carry other than your clothes.Famous fashion designer Oscar De la Renta said: “A woman makes an outfit her own with accessories”. The importance of accessories cannot be better summed up than thus but this is true for men and women. Accessories aim to enhance the effect of clothes you wear- whether they succeed or not depends on your sense of style, the trend in fashion at that particular time and the context.
Accessories are just as much a part of fashion history as specific types of apparel. There are classic, timeless accessories that remain in fashion year after year, as well as trendy items that quickly become popular, then fade as new looks are introduced to the scene. If you want to be knowledgeable about the history of fashion, educate yourself about various types of accessories and how they evolve with changing fashions.
Types of Accessories
While the “look” of popular accessories changes often, the general categories and types of items that people wear to add finishing touches to their attire have been fairly consistent throughout history.
- Jewelry – Fashionable items like necklaces, bracelets, earrings and brooches have long been used to add stylish touches to all types of outfits.
- Footwear – While shoes and boots serve a practical function, they can also be stylish fashion accessories for women, men and children.
- Head wear – Berets and other types of hats are functional and fashionable items, providing warmth while also making a fashion statement.
- Hand coverings — Gloves are an important fashion accessory, with some styles providing warmth and hand protection while others add elegant style to formal attire.
- Finishing touches – Accessories like belts and buckles as well as neckties and neckwear add critical finishing touches to many outfits.
- Walking aids– Items like canes and walking sticks have long been used, sometimes as an elegant accessory and other times out of medical necessity.
Accessories complete the perfect look. Sometimes, even when the whole outfit is flawless, a statement accessory can transform it to make it more glamorous. Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, belts, neckties, and headwear add finishing touches to many outfits. Some of the types of these accessories are classic and timeless like the pearl earrings and leather belts, but some were trendy and could be out of fashion after a while. As fashion changes throughout the years and decades, accessories evolve as well.Since the beginning of civilization, people have been wearing accessories. The history of fashion accessories is a lengthy and broad subject, so we will break it down per accessory type.
30 Main accessories in Fashion
An anklet is an ornament worn around an ankle. Also called ankle chain, ankle bracelet or ankle string. This is not a universally popular accessory but there are many countries in the world where anklets are very popular.Some people like to wear the anklet loose so that it hangs way below the ankle but some like to wear it tighter around the anklet.
A belt is an accessory you wear around your waist; it helps to tighten the waistband of the garment you are wearing along with it and keep it in place, almost holding it up. Here is a post outlining the20 different types of belts you can have at your disposal if you choose to use this accessory.
3 Bangles and Bracelets
Bangles and Bracelets are fashion accessories worn around the wrist. The difference between a bangle and a bracelet is that a bangle is more rigid than a bracelet and is more circular in shape. You can also count bands around the wrist like friendship bands.
4 Brooches and Pins
Brooches and pins are traditionally used as fastenings, holding folds of fabric together. Brooches are decorative pins. Pins when attached with an ornament on top it becomes a brooch. Brooches can also be worn as a decorative accessory.A boutonnière is a spray of flowers worn on the lapel of a suit with a pin.
Cufflinks and studs are accessories that are used to secure the cuffs of dress shirts – they fasten the buttonholes on both sides of the shirt cuff. It is worn by both men and women along with dress shirts (with formal wear especially tuxedo shirts).
An earring is a fashion accessory worn on the earlobe, usually through an ear piercing.
Also called Spectacles, Eyeglasses are the most common type of eyewear worn to correct eye vision problems – it consists of a frame that holds two pieces of glass or plastic. Other than its functional use, it also serves as an accessory that decorates a face. If you go to a shop you will find thousands of different types of frames for your glasses. As something that covers a major part of your face, attending to the choice of this accessory with a little more deliberation makes style sense.
Facemask has emerged as a fashion accessory which you cannot avoid. Custom made high end leather/fabric masks to those makeshift masks made out of old socks and kerchiefs, there is no one who is wearing them.
A glove is an accessory used to cover the hand, fully or partially – it has the purpose of protecting the hand from contamination injury cold, etc. In wedding attire ( and other ceremonies) gloves serve a very decorative purpose.
If you ask a woman to choose her number one accessory her bag would come on top or at least among the top three. There are so many different types of bags – here is a post counting 30 of the different kinds of bags – and so many variations of these types, it is mind-boggling.
11 Headdresses and headwraps
A headdress is a covering for the head. This is an accessory that may have religious or cultural meanings like a Turban for Indians, Keffiyeh for Arab men, Hijab for Muslim women, Gele for Nigerian women.
A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safety, or as a fashion accessory
13 Hair accessories
Hair accessories are functional or ornamental objects wrapped, tied, twisted, inserted, or otherwise attached to the hair. Encyclopedia.com. These includes hairbands, hairbows, tic tac clips, bobby pins, hair barrettes, scrunchies.
These are gear you wear on your head to protect your brain from injury in case of accidents, especially when riding a bike. Ceremonial or symbolic helmets aside, helmets are worn by almost all bikers, cyclists; it can be counted as an accessory and you get to choose the color and shape of it to complement your attire or your style.
15 Handkerchiefs and pocket squares
A pocket square is a handkerchief kept inside a jacket breast pocket, partially visible to the outside. As there are many ways to decorate handkerchiefs to personalize them, there are many ways to fold and keep the pocket square that changes its looks and make it a unique accessory.
Luggage refers to suitcases and trunks and cases used to carry ones belonging when traveling. Luggage can be coordinated and customized to suit one’s personality and preference and can enhance your style. Luggage sets come in a variety of sizes and they can be as good an accessory as any other.
17 Necklaces and Pendants
Necklaces are accessories worn around the neck. Necklaces can be short or long; they can be paired with pendants and lockets. Necklaces could be a simple chain with a lone pendant or studded fully with pearls and beads; minimalist or statement; made of plastic or metal. They are one of the most important accessories that can enhance the face and body of men and women.
Neckwear refers to clothing worn around the neck such as Neck ties, Cravats & detachable collars.
A fragrant scent that is applied/sprayed on our body – Perfumes are supposed to be the finishing accessory – the thing that compliments everything else as a final touch. Eau de toilette, cologne, body spray are all alternative names given to the perfumes that we use to mask our body odour or make ourselves more attractive scent wise.
20 Phones & peripherals
You may not yet think of your constant companion as an accessory – but it sure is, in my opinion. Buying the latest phone for its looks rather than its features is a thing that we see everywhere. Phones are being launched on the same venue as Chanel’s runway show in Paris. Most of us brag about the latest phone we have and flaunt them with the most enticing covers. Mobile accessories are an industry in themselves.
21 Purses (Wallets)
A purse is a small pouch for carrying small items and is carried by hand. A wallet is a flat purse with separate slots for keeping money and a number of cards. Simple leather wallets are considered to be a very stylish accessory by both men and women.
A ring is a circular band worn on a finger. The plain wedding ring is worn on the left hand on the fourth finger for women; Men wear the wedding ring on the right hand. On the wedding day, the engagement ring is shifted to the third finger on the right hand.
A sash is a piece of fabric stitched as a band or a ribbon worn around the waist or across the shoulders. The sashes are worn across shoulders as part of ceremonies. Sashes worn as a belt around the waist can be an accessory that can transform a dress. Check out the post on making sashes here.
A scarf is a piece of fabric worn around the neck for warmth, sun protection, cleanliness, fashion, or religious reasons.(Wikipedia) Check out the post on the different dimensions for scarves, stole wrap and shawls
25 Shoes, Sandals & Boots
A well-fitting well-made shoe is said to be an investment – your shoe size remains almost constant once you are an adult and classic good looking shoes are always in fashion.
Once worn only to protect feet from cold and injuries, a comfortable and trendy shoe is now regarded as an integral part of a well-dressed look – some might even claim that shoes are the best accessory of all. Running shoes, formal shoes, sneakers, boots – there is any number of shoes a man or woman can have in the wardrobe.
Sandals are footwear for the summers – the open type of shoes come with straps tied around the arch of the feet or around the ankles. Sandals may be embellished with beads, sequins tassels, etc.Flip flops are open-toed sandals with the straps going between the toe and the rest of the fingers and lend a very casual aura – just ready for a beach look. Mules are another variety of sandals.
26 Socks and Stockings
These come under hosiery and they are used for many purposes like comfort, attractive appeal, support.Socks are worn to protect the feet. When worn inside running shoes many will swear that their socks prevented many a blister from forming on the feet – but that does not explain why people choose the prettiest socks in startling and beautiful colours – they peek from inside the shoes and can be counted as an accessory that can enhance your looks. The thigh high socks are, well, thigh high and keep your leg warm. Panty hose, tights, stockings all have their own space in the world of accessories.
Sunglasses are protective eyewear meant to shield eyes from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. Other than its highly functional use, sunglass (shades) is a great accessory that can change the way you look – here is an article which explains why everyone looks hotter in sunglasses.
It is a useful accessory that protects you from rain or sun’s harmful rays. As something that many use on a daily use, it has its own place as an accessory.
A veil is a piece of cloth used to cover the head or face, either fully or partially.Other than for religious purposes, the veils are used nowadays as a wedding accessory. It is supposed to shield the bride from evil spirits.Interesting reading on the history of veils hereCheck out this post on the different types of veils according to their height ; And tips on how to sew a wedding veils
The most expensive watch in the world will set you back by about 55 Million dollars – if I am wearing it I will insure my hand and go around with security men. A basic watch costs very little but no one buys them anymore – and for a reason. People spend a lot of money on watches because as an accessory it has no parallel. From the functional use of a time keeping device watch has ascended far into superstardom among other accessories
Conclusion- Fashion Keeps inviting and exploring new lands and base when every time a new design develops. But the concepts and process involved remains the same and design derivation are always fresh crisp and edgy. Fashion will never fade its face in any era.Fashion in you showcase the outlook who you are as a person.
Vintage Fashion Accessories book