Fashion Statement Pieces


If you were a rich girl, the dream would be a wardrobe almost without parallel. You’d have more evening gowns than you could ever possibly attend balls to account for, a shoe closet to rival Imelda Marcos and vintage pieces so wonderful Coco Chanel herself would have worn them.

And… snap back to reality. For the vast majority of fashion-conscious women, the pursuit of loveliness is more about what you can stretch to this month. We ogle the high-end labels and devour the latest offerings from fashion weeks around the globe, but with reality dawning ever-sharper, it’s just not possible to splash the cash on every available wardrobe choice going.

That doesn’t mean that your reality needs to be dull, of course. It’s perfectly possible to spend an extreme amount of money and fail every single style test in the book. To paraphrase Dolly Parton, it can take a lot of money to look cheap. On the other hand, you can be careful, spend pennies but still earn style points equivalent to millions of dollars.

So if you’re on a normal-person limited budget, you have to make some choices. Of an overall ensemble, which items are worth spending on and why?

The key to knowing how to accessorize is all in the little touches. Go too far and you can be dripping in jewels, with a handbag so large you’re falling over it. Rather than going over the top, you can tone down your entire ensemble with a simple statement handbag.

  • Material matters. Of all the parts of your outfit, your handbag needs to be the most hard-wearing. It will be lifted, set down on rough ground and thrown over your shoulder when you’re in a rush. As a result, suede or woven leather handbags are going to be far more durable while still ticking the box on style.
  • Think about size. If you’re just going out for a coffee with friends, then do you need a huge bag that hangs off your arm? Probably not - so try and invest in both one small and one large bag, to be rotated depending on occasion.
  • Clutches look good, but they’re impractical. If you’re focusing on spending your money in key areas, then clutches might look fantastic - but they’re tricky to handle. You will inevitably find yourself getting bored of tucking something under your arm, plus they’re a lot more difficult to keep track of while out and about. If you can only invest in one fabulous handbag, then at the very least ensure it has handles.

The problem with inexpensive shoes is that they tend to look it. Synthetic fabrics are never going to be as attractive (or as comfortable) as their high-end alternatives. There is a sheen to cheap plastics that makes them obvious from a mile away.

For some styles, you can make that work - it can be part of the charm of a quirky, quiet Sunday outfit. However, there are a few key pairs of shoes that should be a part of any wardrobe:

  • Pumps you can actually walk in, in leather or suede. The simple pump can be dull and cheap, but when done right with innovative cuts, low vamps and curved heels, they look delightful. Keep the heel to a height you can walk in and wear them in.
  • Nude pumps. A pair of nude pumps is a must-have to complete even the most difficult of outfits. Christian Louboutin’s Pigalle Follies are the most recognizable of this type, but you don’t need to spend that much - there are plenty of dupes that still maximize quality.
  • Flats in a durable material. If you have objections to leather on sustainability grounds, then you can’t go far wrong with high-quality plastic shoes. Vivienne Westwood has a whole line in conjunction with the brand Melissa, sparking a fashion trend that few designers have been able to resist following.

And One Area To Save… Jewelry
Diamonds may be forever, but they’re an expense that few women can afford. You don’t need to be dripping in jewels for your jewelry to work and complete your outfit. In fact, there’s a lot to be said for costume jewelry - cheap and cheerful, so it’s easily rotated with the trends as the shift each season. Jewelry is rarely identifiable as less expensive unless you’re actively studying it at close-quarters, so go with your cubic zirconia and let the diamonds wait a little longer to grace your wardrobe.



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