Whether you are sporting Jimmy Choo's fringed boots, Dolce & Gabbana's suede handbag, Louis Vuitton graffiti luggage or Matthew Williamson's multicoloured fringed belt; Accessories rule this season. They not only complete a look, they can create one that could mean the crossover from a good outfit to a stylish one.
Fashion trends come and go but learning the art of accessorizing could save you time and money by not having to replace the entire contents of your wardrobe every time a new trend hits our stores.
Take Dolce & Gabbana's cowboy look, as worn by Madonna; a few well chosen accessories such as cowboy boots and a leather belt paired with old stone- wash denim was all that was required to replicate the look without looking like a fashion victim.
Accessories not only serve the purpose of replicating catwalk trends, they can also help revive outdated clothes.
The most sought after accessories can attract as much attention as the clothes they accompany and create waiting lists just as long, usually with a price tag to match.
When it comes to handbags it seems Italians really do do it better. Whether it's Prada's impeccably chic saddle bags or Moschino's quirky queen mum styles, there's no arguing with the design and craftsmanship. Braccialini is another brand to check out. Its bags have been designed and made by the Braccialini family from Italian leathers for the last 50 years and they manufacture for other fashion houses too (Vivienne Westwood for one). In a sea of black it's tactile textures like velvet and suede that make these bags stand out and if that's still too understated, they're liberally decorated with all manner of elaborate charms, chains, corsages, buckles and studs. Luxurious decoration is a major theme for the coming months so this is a bag that will hardly leave your side. Wear it with a nipped in furry-collared coat, leather gloves and lace-up Victoriana boots for the full effect.
Love this season's new accessories, but not sure how to wear them? Check out the must-have looks and how to make them work for you.
1. Belt up
Last season it was all about skinny belts on the waist. This summer the waist is still the in-zone, but belts are fabulously chunky affairs, all woven leather with metallic buckles or exotic cummerbunds and silk sashes. Cinch in your favourite tailored summer jacket, shirt or blouse, and team with jeans, shorts or a slimline skirt. The exception to the rule is the gypsy look, one of this season's hottest trends, which requires you to wear the belt lower on the hips of your three-quarter-length voluminous skirt.
You can't escape cuffs this summer and who'd want to? They look fabulous with almost all of the season's trends. Wear them beaded or wooden to complement the safari, gypsy or ethnic looks, or choose plastic or Perspex for a funkier '80s-style take. There's no need to overdo the cuff – wear one on its own to maximise its impact. However, if you prefer bangles to cuffs, the opposite rule applies. Whether they're solid wood, acrylic, plastic or resin, keep them chunky and pile them high, wearing three, four, even five together. They look stunning whether you're wearing them over a jumper sleeve, or on bare flesh as the striking accessory to a simple summer dress.
3. Neck to neck
Necklace lovers - get ready for an eclectic summer. The next few months will see you buying glorious oversized African-inspired wooden bead necklaces, indulging your inner bohemian with raffia and fabric, wearing strings of pearls and generally making the neck an erogenous zone. The trick to wearing necklaces this summer is really to be brave. Either forgo neck jewellery altogether, or make a big statement. Try wearing more than one necklace at a time – multiple pearl or wooden necklaces can look incredibly chic. Wear over high-necked dresses, low v-neck kaftans, or over tailored shirts.
4. Bags of attitude
Finally, it's cool to be plus-sized in fashion! This season, the bigger and brighter your bag is the better. Yellows, aqua blues, greens, reds and salmon pinks are the fashionable colours. However, if your bag is making a super-size statement, be sure to keep the rest of you sleek and simple. A pair of jeans with ballet shoes or wedges and a pretty blouse or shirt will do nicely. For a more practical round-town look, choose a smaller tote with lots of attitude – metallics are still a good bet, or something unique like Miu Miu's instantly recognisable retro tote.