The Thing About Accessories

April 22, 2014

Is that they are your best friend

There are two definitive things that unflinchingly make the outfit.

Actually, let me modify that — one of them isn’t “a thing” so much as it is the outfit’s proprietor. I know I’ve heretofore referenced a quote once spoken by Mark Twain (“clothes make the man”) too many times, which he probably did not anticipate would proliferate the way it has, but today, I actually only cite it to side with Theophilus London’s relatively recent adjustment because, “It’s the man who makes the clothes.”

The other thing that makes an outfit, which unfolds several different ways but always boils back down to reveal itself as the progeny of one universal device, is accessorizing. I came to adopt this as fact the first time my mother ever advised me to invest my money in shoes and handbags because I could improvise the rest using close to nothing. Granted, close to nothing doesn’t typically translate to mean, as photographed here, a Derek Lam blouse and Valentino jeans, but it should certainly connote a sense of “I own those ingredients — I can make that, too!” (See: jeans, t-shirt.) Where things get fun is in the styling. Enter the following three outfits:

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As a rule, you can assume that no matter the cut, no matter the sleeve volume, jeans and a blouse can almost always function as your blank canvas. Also, by sticking to neutral colors you allow for a more jovial pop where the accessories are concerned. This is precisely why in the first look, I combined a circular Yazbukey Gum bag and a rainbow neck scarf (replete with unicorns though you can’t see them) to offset the black and blue but compliment the cognac-colored tassel clogs. The idea was to treat the 70s like they never ended.

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Outfit #2 stripped the quirk and focused more acutely on honing in on a woman’s inner chiropractor. Just kidding. But she does wear back-friendly shoes, what with their pithy stacked heel. For accessories, I meditatively chose of pair of paradoxically youthful shades and kept it simple with the meager inclusion of one shark tooth necklace, hanging from a long silver chain.

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And finally, in rendering #3, I took seriously the power of jewelry with a white, bib-style Rosantica necklace and witty Delfina Delettrez bee-cuff to hold up against a pair of studded shoes which could conceivably moonlight as a necklace too (think about this for a second, there are long leather cords that could be tied together and we can be the first living humans to insouciantly wear shoes on our necks!) and a tiny minaudiere that feels a little like a couch my aunt used to have in her home on Long Island, which can’t hold much other than your credit card and dignity. But then again, what else do you need?

Part one of one in a collaboration with MATCHESFASHION.COM.

  • Tracy
  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    Love the top…that rope-ish part especially. You are always so creative in your ability to rework an outfit. I’ve never really given thought to accessories (outside of shoes, of course), but maybe it’s high time I get a nice lil necklace or Americana bag.

    Also: HAPPY EARTH DAY, TO EVERYONE IN THIS CLUB!

    • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

      we are SUCH a club, good call. we should have our own section in the year book. already stressing about what to wear on picture day!

      and that video gives me 1 million nightmares. I’ve never been good with birds.

      and i love all of the accessories, Leandra! Where can I get a sharks tooth necklace?

    • Kate Barnett

      I CAN’T BELIEVE I ALMOST MISSED EARTH DAY. what would i do without you, emma?

      • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

        HAPPY EARTH DAY, KATE! Have a good one filled with contentment

  • Olivia Imani

    What, no gif? Where’s the gif?!

  • Rachel

    Hey Leandra, do you still wear your t-strap Valentino mary janes from last season?
    Also, do you get rid of your shoes if there not in season anymore? I’m just curious because I’ve heard of some people getting rid of their shoes or apparel simply because its “so last season.”

    • Leandra Medine

      Hey! I’m actually wearing them today. Also, typically as a rule I don’t buy shoes in season (with a few pair as exceptions, like the Valentinos). I tend to buy most of my shoes from Yoox.com

      • http://nothingtowearnovello.blogspot.ca/ JennyNov

        my hero

  • http://mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr/ Mafalda

    That top is really cool! As for accessories, I tend to stick to simple things. And BTW I found the Isabel Marant sandals horribles, but seeing them on you kinda made them grow on me!

    Mafalda ❤
    http://mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr

  • Ema

    I agree with the concept but not with the illustration. The blouse that you chose is not exactly “black canvas”, it’s a showstopper and no matter how you accessorize it, it grabs all the attention and really makes the outfits. In other words it is too strong of a piece. Not saying that you don’t look amazing but it’s thanks to the blouse, not to the accessorizing.

  • ashleymaciejewski

    I’m now in love with a top that I could never have! Anyone know where I can get something similar? Gotta find it! Gorgeous, Leandra.

  • http://www.runway2street.com/ runway2street

    That top is gorgeous – would have loved to see how it look from the back. Love everything except the clogs.

  • LilyP

    W@W look #3. those Isabel Marant boots compliment the whole outfit perfectly, love the mix of styles there….would love to wear that hun, great style.

  • Dany

    Leandra I adore your neck scarf steez! Can you do a tutorial on how to perfect that wrap?! I’ve tried, but it never comes out as amazing!

    • Leandra Medine

      Ask and ye shall receive

      • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

        This is why I love this place.

  • lavieenliz

    all so well styled! love that bag!

    http://hashtagliz.com

  • http://bergereinrock.wordpress.com/ Bergère Inrock

    I love the orange clogs ! Good that it’s coming back ! http://bergereinrock.wordpress.com/

  • Shade of Red Blog

    The studded shoes are beyond amazing! You have more style in your little finger than the entire Vogue team (or maybe I am just biased because I adore your blog?).
    http://shadeofredblog.com

  • Jen

    That bag looks like a Chris Uphues design! He’s amazing! Total genius.

  • SinemBasaran

    really loved your bag

    Sinem Basaran
    http://www.sincoco.com

  • B.

    That top, that scarf and that bag in look 1 are just everything! I’ve been trying to make the neck scarf look as effortless as you do and idk if mine are just too large or what .. tutorial pls?

    xB
    http://www.brittiish.blogpsot.com

  • allenkaren33

    Love the versatility of your top. Great styling as always!

    K.
    http://hablemosfashion.blogspot.com

  • Sabine

    Love the gum bag! Adds a really cool pop of color to a plain outfit.

    cursive-type.blogspot.nl

  • http://www.sabrinaslnyc.com/ SabrinaSL Nyc

    That top and you look perfect!

    http://www.sabrinaslnyc.com

  • KittenRainbowMagicKatie

    That top is amazing!

  • http://thoughtsofglam.com/ ThoughtsofGlam

    I love accessories, they elevate an outfit to a whole ‘nother level.
    Statement necklaces and dainty bracelets have been my go-to pieces lately.

    http://www.thoughtsofglam.com

  • MargaretInArabia

    Agree about power of accessories. Need ideas re: what to do with 35 Hermes scarves…

    • http://www.9outoften.com/ WengYee

      Pillow cases!

      • Leandra

        Neck sling!

        • http://www.9outoften.com/ WengYee

          Ha, I wouldn’t mind either way!

  • Kristen

    THE FACT THAT YOUR TOP CAN ALSO DOUBLE AS A HOOD-THING IS AMAZING!! WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE

  • Cristina Feather

    I get what you’re saying about accessories, but that blouse is amazing. But I simply love this type of articles! Thank you for always sharing your tricks! <3

  • http://www.stylespectra.blogspot.com/ Isabella

    Great top…all the looks are just fab!

    http://stylespectra.blogspot.com

  • Cardinham Killigrew

    I could have used gum that big this AM.

    Old World Lotions and Shave Balms

  • Linnéa

    You look amazing. This must sound weird, but I love your shoulders in the first picture!

  • Megan // F Yeah!

    At first glance, I thought your Yazbukey clutch read “Cum”. When I realized it instead reads “Gum”, I couldn’t help but giggle b/c I’m immature like that, and you would have carried it either way.

  • http://thinkincouture.com Alissa

    This top is insane!! Love Derek Lam!!!

  • Soraya

    I love this bag!!!! (L)

  • Abigail

    overaccesorized and underprepared: an unwritten autobiography