Summer Accessories

Here’s an article I published in the summer edition of The Concordian…

Whether you’re headed to a backyard barbecue, brunch with the girls or to an outdoor music festival, summer outings usually call for comfortable and casual outfits. Because of this, it’s easy to get into a heat wave rut of shorts and a t-shirt.
One of the most simple and most cost effective ways of freshening up your summer wardrobe is with a variety of trendy accessories. By throwing on a piece of bold jewellry with your everyday tank top and jean shorts you can create dozens of outfits that will turn heads. The secret to dressing for the heat is picking one standout item that’ll bring your look from expected to extraordinary.
Here is your guide to all the summer accessory trends to keep in mind when shopping for those perfect extras.

In the summer, you can’t go wrong with gold costume jewelry. Try playing off the nautical theme with a gold tone rope or chain necklace or you can piece together an over-the-top look with a variety of simple gold pieces. Try an armful of bangles with a similarly toned ring and necklace. One accessory that will add to any outfit is a textured gold cuff. H&M offers a hammered metal version for under $10.
Yves Saint Laurent set one of the biggest trends in jewellery for summer 2010: the organic stone ring. The design house used agate and coralline stones in a rough gold setting to create a bohemian look with artisan flair. Though the originals sell for close to $400, many of the jewelry makers on have taken the hint and started making versions of their own for more affordable prices.
A great way to incorporate the menswear look into your summer wardrobe is with an oversized masculine watch. Classic gold is always a good choice but you could also mix it up with one in rose gold or gunmetal. Michael Kors makes a wide variety of styles that are in the $200 price range but you can find much cheaper ones at Aldo. These chunky timepieces will give your outfit an easy edge.

Every girl needs a great pair of sunglasses and this season the shape to go for is the classic cat eye. The modern version is larger and slightly more subtle than the style made popular in the 1950s and is a universally flattering shape. Le Château makes a perfect tortoiseshell pair for $18, but if you’re looking for something that will last for years you should check out the versions by Alexander McQueen ($325) or Ralph Lauren Collection ($250).
The trend in purses for the summer is vintage and remodeled classics. The typical summer go-to bags are ones that are slouchy and casual but this season, opt instead for something with more structure and it will really stand out. Many past “it” bags like the Hermes Kelly, the Louis Vuitton Speedy and the Yves Saint Laurent Muse are being revived this year with new, updated versions.
The Hermes Constance bag, which was introduced in 1969 and was a favourite of Jackie O., was one particular style revisited this year that has spurred on many copycats. Hermes is known for making some of the most expensive handbags in existence and the Constance is no exception at $5,950. Though owning the original may not be realistic for students, the basic square shape and clean lines can be found in stores like Zara. Look for something in a tan or cream colour to ideally compliment your summer outfits.
Another trend in bags this season is reptile skins. One thing to keep in mind when looking for imitation skins is to try for something with less of a shine. This will help your purchase avoid looking cheap.

Last, but certainly not least, is an accessory that can change the whole attitude of an outfit: shoes. And this season, shoppers have plenty of styles to pick from. One of the best tips is to buy one outrageous, colourful pair that doesn’t match anything in your closet and wear them with everything. From the futuristic bulky wedges at Balenciaga to the electric blue Juicy Couture gladiators, it’s a rule of anything goes. If you don’t want to break the bank on a trend that may not have staying power, Aldo and Steve Madden both have tons of options in a variety of heel heights and colors.
Another footwear trend in the fashionista crowd is the infamous clog. They’ve been seen on everyone from Sarah Jessica Parker to Rachel Bilson, but it’s an intimidating look to attempt and can be tricky to pull off. For the faint of heart, try a heel with a wooden platform like Steve Madden’s NATALIAA ($109) or Aldo’s CROMIE ($90), which has a more subtle look about it.
As far as flat sandals go, stay away from the tired, neutral gladiator look that has been present for so many seasons and go for something with a little more embellishment. Whether it’s stones, jewels or studs, choose something that will be the focus of your outfit. Aldo has an affordable pair with turquoise stone insets for $45 and Steve Madden’s BRIDE style has enough rhinestones to be a great evening alternative to heels.
No matter what your style is, there’s an accessory out there for you this summer. Keep in mind that you should always stick to wearing one bold piece at a time to let it shine.


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