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Wednesday 12 April 2023

Avoid frumpiness with the right accessories

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in purple coat with accessories that add interest:  rainbow bag and scarf

& Wow On Wednesday

Accessories have their own seasonal trends, the same as clothes. Buying the right accessories can jazz up outdated outfits and remove any chance of frumpiness. 

I approach accessory buying very carefully. I look at sites such as Asos and Schuh to see what's trending for jewelry, bags, sunglasses, shoes and sandals. I identify the trends I like, and set about buying them in the right colours for my wardrobe. 

Perfect outfits are made with accessories. I've been collecting new handbags, shoes, hosiery and jewelry since my seasonal colour re-rating as a spring.

The outfit above works for me because all the colours are working well together. Taking the purple coat as the focal point, I added lavender brogues (unseen), my rainbow Kurt Geiger bag, purple leather gloves and my spring toned scarf from My Season accessories. 

The outfit below received a few compliments when I wore it to a book discussion in London, not just for the colours but for the sparkly brogue shoes and the cute bag. I found the shoes in a dance shop and had them re-soled so I could wear them outdoors. The bag is the mini Poppy from the Cambridge Satchel Co, which was a limited edition.  You'll notice I'm also wearing purple tights. A great way to make your legs look longer is to use the same colour as your shoes. 

I consider tights and socks important buys. Socks in particular are usually hard to find in bright colours, but Sock Shop have excelled with this range of bamboo socks in bright hues.

A selection of colourful socks found at Sock Shop

Tights in all the Hues 

I'm finding tights a bit more challenging to find in spring colours. There are plenty in cobalt blue but very few in shades like purple, lime or kelly green and coral. Yellow is not a great colour for tights, sadly! I keep my eye on places like Gipsy Tights and Snag to snap up colours when I see them. I prefer a finer denier for spring and Gipsy have gloss colour tights for £6. 

I haven't been wearing patterned tights much lately but I do love sheer lurex tights as they're a bit unexpected. Below: draped in tights!

Her signature Georgian crystal necklaces in different colours:  Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon

My trademark jewelry is Georgian collet necklaces, which I buy from Etsy.  They're quite pricey at around £112 each (purple stones are more expensive), but they're a strong statement piece.  I like to layer up two or three, a la Anna Wintour, below. 

When I'm wearing the necklaces, I let them do all the talking and don't wear any other jewelry, except stud earrings.  I like dainty dangly earrings but I can only wear them when my hair's been cut as normally it hides them.  These are recent acquisitions for around £13 each from Etsy.

I spotted this coral pendant at John Lewis and J gave it to me for my birthday. 

I've also been buying some rainbow bright necklaces from US seller Polka Dot Drawer on Etsy. The seller has literally dozens of necklaces in different colours, some with matching earrings. 

I also keep an eye out at charity shops. I found this lime stunner in Epping for less than a tenner. 

A Handbag?

Some of the latest trends for handbags are quite pleasing.  The logos seen on "It" bags a few years ago are very old hat now.  It's more chic to have a quality bag that doesn't have logos.  Or, like me, to use fashion bags which aren't too expensive. 

This summer there are no rules on bags. Most styles seem to be available.  You'll probably find you gravitate to a certain type of bag, either because you like its usability, or you like the style.  It's taken me a long time to discover that my best bags are colourful leather totes. Although I'm quite petite at 5'4, I don't get on with small bags because they're too impractical for what I like to carry around.

My recent bag finds are a yellow tote bag, bought at Endsleigh Garden Centre near Plymouth for just over £30, and a large leather coral bag from Katerina Fox, a Ukrainian vendor on Etsy.  I also have a recently acquired violet bag,  pre-loved from a friend. The bag I use most often is a light green tote I found at the Ted Baker outlet. 

Don't Forget Belts

I'd like to wear belts a lot more often but jeans and leggings don't always have belt loops these days. Very frustrating! Gok Wan, the stylist, was quite right when he said that women who think they haven't got a waist should add a belt.  The right belt can give you a waist.  Be wary of the elasticated nurses' type belt which used to be popular. They're quite old hat now. Instead, narrow waist belts and leather obi belts are the ones to look for. 

I use colourful belts to add pops of colour to outfits like this denim dress

How do you approach accessory buying? Have you bought any new accessories recently? Do tell in the comments. 

You may also like this post: look at the difference between an outfit worn with, and without accessories, in one of my style chats.  View the post. 

Sharing this post with: On Mondays We Link Up at Glass of Glam, Weekday Wear at Away from the Blue, #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Rena at Fine WhateverTurning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Confident Twosday at I Do Declaire, Style with a Smile at StylesplashTalent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling Boomer, Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, #SpreadTheKindness  and #Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge,  Thursday Fashion Files at Doused in Pink, #Neverendingstyle at The Grey BrunetteFancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style,  Traffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Fabulous Fridays at Lucy BertoldiCurated by Jennifer (Wednesdays). 

Now it's time for the #WowOnWednesday link-up, where readers can find new blogs to read and bloggers/vloggers can find new readers! I feature the 3 favourites each Wednesday on Instagram, and my five or six top picks at the weekend on Twitter and Facebook

Last Week's Favourites

Your Style, the monthly magazine from Style Me Confident, featuring Prue Leith from Bake Off in her collaboration with Kettlewell. 

Feeling Good in my Tropical Purple by Michelle of Funky Fashion Style

Feeling Cabisolutely Fabulous by Laura of I Do Declaire 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. Love those necklaces, the attraction of colour is there for me. But I won't wrap myself in tights, lol.

  2. These are so pretty and really so make the look. Thanks for sharing and hosting Gail. Have a super week x Jacqui


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