Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Top Five... Must have accessories!

A little while ago I blogged about the Top 10 Must have clothing staples. It was really well received, and even Leona Edmiston talked about it on her Facebook page vis a vis the LBD recommendation! Unfortunately no free dresses for me (tis a shame since I already own so many and I am a massive brand advocate of her luxe-wear) but I did promise at the time to follow up with a post on accessories. So here it is.


Shoes are very important in a classic, well rounded wardrobe. You can't really go far out of the house without them, now can you! My advice around work shoes is really two-fold: buy the most expensive pair you can afford and make sure they are a really classic style. Classic black stiletto heeled pumps are never out of style. Christian Louboutin New Simple 120s are my shoe of choice - They are smart, stylish, high, and they have an almond toe which doesn't date them. They also fit my feet really well which is also super important. Other brands to consider include Prada, Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Midas, Gary Castles, Nine West and Wittner.

There are other items I think no shoe-drobe is complete without: A good ballet flat or other style flat shoe that is supportive and comfortable for about town activities, a pair of evening shoes or sandals, a comfortable pair of boots (knee-high or ankle - you choose), and a great pair of casual summer sandals. Some people like gladiators, I think they are a passing trend. Like Harem pants.

I love Wittner, Sambag, French Sole, Aerosole and Bloch for flats, I adore Miu Miu and Christian Louboutin for evening shoes, Duo for boots that really fit and I get summer sandals from Midas, Gucci, Miu Miu and Nine West.Jewellery

A really important part of your wardrobe, jewellery can make or break an outfit. Too big and it can draw attention away from your pretty face, too insignificant and it can get lost or be considered an afterthough, too colourful and it can clash with your outfit. After careful consideration, I think everybody needs the following pieces in their accessories draw:

A string of pearls and pearl earrings: They don't have to be traditional or classic, they can be modern and bold. Large baroque pearls or oval pearls can be younger than the 1950's strand of round pearls if you are worried about looking like your Nana. Earrings don't have to match - but they are useful if you work in a corproate environment. Or if you just want to look polished.

Great stockists of real pearls include Kailis, Paspaley, Jan Logan (pictured above) and Autore, or try a mnufacturing jeweller for good quality pearls at a more affordable price. For cheaper alternatives (some that look as good as the real thing) try Mimco (pictured below), The Family Jewels in Paddington and David Jones or Myer.

A statement necklace or earrings: I fully accept that some people aren't fans of earrings (and apparently some people don't even have their ears pierced!) so my caveat on this is that you do what works for you. Quite often you can get some great fashion pieces from places like Diva or Equip - the statement piece doesn't have to be expensive and it can serve a few different purposes depending on what style it takes: it can dress up or down an outfit, it can add a splash of colour or sparkle or add a bit of personality to a corporate look while still keeping it suity.

did a great line of sparkly necklaces and earrings backed with felt a few seasons ago that were promptly ruined by a certain D-List celebrity who shall go un-named on this blog to a cricketing gala function. Suffice to say Miss Kitty rang Prada the following day and took her name off the waitlist for the necklace. True story.

Back to my point, which is this. A statement piece can be made of wood, diamonds or macaroni. It just has to be big, bold and you. Mimco do an amazing range of statement jewellery.

A classic watch

Something that is timeless but clearly tells the time. For me this is different to jewellery because it's practical as well as decorative. Some people say it's worth investing in an expensive timepiece, the choice is really yours as to how much you want to spend. Good suppliers of quality timewear include TAG Heuer (pictured below), Patek Philippe, Jaeger Le Coultre, Rolex and Longines. Other good - but less expensive - brands include DKNY, Seiko and Swatch.

I have a watch for daytime (a few actually) and one for evening. But a good watch, like the beauty above, can transcend day and night and it's worth spending time to find a good one. I prefer a full metal band but a leather one can look elegant too.


I have handbags of all shapes sizes and colours, however I do appreciate that not everyone is as enamoured with handbags as I am. In fact I have friends who have just one. Is true. We have other things in common, you must understand.

The trick with a handbag - if you are going to invest in just the one - is to make it as neutral as possible. Black is preferred, but if you really can't abide it, dark brown will also do.

Think about what you want to do with it - do you need to carry around half a library of books and a make-up counter or is your idea of a heavy load a credit card, a key and a phone? The size of your bag should be dictated by what you need to schlep around.

I think handbags should always complement your outfit - they don't have to match but they should look appropriate - in style, colour and shape. Classic styles include the tote (appropriate for weekends and casual events), the bowling bag (fun but still stylish enough for work in the right material), the shoulder (a classic all purpose bag that is particularly good for Mums, keeping their hands free for other things) and hobos (which are slouchy and fun and great for weekends).

Bag with a lot of hardware might not be appropriate for a particularly corporate setting, but would look great going out of an evening or on the weekend.

Classic "investment" everyday bags can be purchased from Louis Vuitton, Prada, Hermes, Miu Miu (pictured below), Mulberry, Bally, Longchamps, Lanvin, Chloe and Yves St Laurent.
Good quality moderatley priced bags can be snapped up at Furla (online or overseas only, unless you live in Canberra where they still maintain a retail presence - and pictured below), Mimco, Oroton, Coach, Witchery and Estilo.
If you are only going to just have one, I recommend a black or brown shoulder bag made from a soft leather with minimal hardware. This should take you from day to night, from the office to weekends, with a minimal amount of fuss.

Another wardrobe essential is the clutch or evening bag. Some people might argue with me here, but to be honest, carrying around a day bag to a more formal event or cocktails (where you haven't come straights for work) is to me tantamount to wearing blundstone boots with a ballgown. No matter how you look at it, it's clunky. It doesn't have to be fancy, sparkly or fussy (however those things are highly desirable in an evening bag and can help dress up a plainer outfit). A plain black clutch will also do the trick admirably. Good ones can be purchased from Oroton and Bally, less expensive bags, try your local Strandbags. And investment is sometimes warranted here but to be honest, if you aren't going to get that much use out of it, I'd recommend a cheaper option. You are better off spending the money on your day bag.

Wraps and Pashminas

Wraps and pashminas are a great way to add colour to a basic wardrobe and an absolute must have. They act as a scarf, can double as a cardigan or wrap and make a nifty blanket or pillow when you are travelling on a plane. There are lots of different materials and how often you use them (and the climate you live in) should determine how much you spend.

You can buy cheap ($20) colourful ones from Bijoux Terner and I have bought them from eBay, Zara and Myer with no troubles in the past. I also often buy them in markets when I travel through Asia. I have a range of colours including mint green, lavender, pink, dark burgandy, leopard print (my favourite - it's also massive) and silver. I find they add fabulous splashes of colour to a classic black trench or coat and I wear them as much on weekends as I do to the office during winter.

My "investment" recommedation is cashmere. It's beautiful, light but warm and cosy. Fabulous if you travel or if you live in a slightly colder climate or - if you are like me and have poor circulation. The best buys are from the Pashmina Store in the US. They often have sales or if you search on Google you can often find a voucher that will provide you with free shipping or a discount on their already impressively low prices. I have a black one and am thinking about buying another.

That's my list of accessory must haves. Practical and sensible - for the most part - but still an opportunity for expression and personality. Do you think I have missed anything out?



Sydney Shop Girl said...

Great post, Miss Kitty!!

Agree with all of your list.

May I also add scarves as a sixth?

Can liven up even the most basic outfit. I swear by mine to make my chinos and white T outfits work ready.

SSG xxx

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

Good call - scarves are awesome. I don't wear mine nearly enough. I think I have to spend some quality time learning how to tie them properly so I don't look like the Queen.

Kitty x

Elise said...

Great list again kitty!

Some people pull of the scarf look with corporate wear so well - I would love to know how to tie properly etc!

Not Quite Nigella said...

Fabulous post! I love the Minmco statement necklace and the watch-I've always had a thing for chunky men's watches! :D

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

Mimco has wonderful statement jewellery! I have way too much of it. And I love men's watches too - they make your hand look really delicate :)

Kahlee said...

Excellent advice, Kitty!