A Head to Toe Guide to Spring and Summer Accessorizing

Celebrity stylist Micaela Erlanger offers tips on using accessories to look your polished best.

Do you ever find yourself wondering how to complete an outfit? Or find a great pair of statement shoes and don’t know what the heck you’ll wear with them? Yeah, me too. Thankfully, celebrity stylist Micaela Erlanger has some chic solutions for warm weather accessorizing—just in time for you to emerge from the warm cocoon of your winter coat!

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Accessorizing 101

Knowing how to accessorize well can seem daunting, especially for the fashion novice. To help get you started, Erlanger offers three “recipes” to help you build an outfit—whether you’re starting with a statement piece or looking to jazz up a simple silhouette. When considering what method to choose, be sure to consider factors such as occasion, locale, weather, activity, and whether you want to stand out or blend in.

1. Base Your Outfit Around an Accessory

Build an outfit around a specialty piece, be it a statement necklace or a bag that’s encrusted with jewels. This way, your chosen accessory is the focal point and the rest of your outfit works to support it.

2. Incorporate Accessories as Punctuation

Add accessories to pump up your look. If you’re wearing a basic silhouette or neutral palette, add a colorful bag or show stopper shoe.

3. Everyday Accessorizing

With this recipe, your accessories blend more seamlessly with your overall look. Let’s say you’re wearing a black sweater. For this look, you would pair it with a matching black bag and black shoes. Add a belt or high heels to accentuate an area of your body that you’d like to highlight.


Update Old Favorites with New Accessories

Depending on your closet real estate, you likely swap out your duds twice a year—once for cold weather and once for warm. Sometimes we’re happy to see the return of old favorites (and frankly relieved to see shorts and sundresses after another interminable winter), but other times shipping it all off to Goodwill seems a fine idea, too. But instead of maxing out your credit card in search of a whole new wardrobe, why not try these three accessory updates to make your old stuff feel like new?

1. Swap Out Your Bag

Switch your everyday bag for an updated version or a special bag you don’t normally carry. Since a handbag is something you use daily, you’ll get a lot of mileage out of it, and it will make your clothes feel fresh by association. (For help choosing ethical, eco-friendly accessories, click here.)

2. Add a Colorful Shoe

Whether it’s a solid or a print, adding a bright shoe is an easy way to make even the most basic outfit feel fun and surprising.

3. Add Statement Jewelry

Try pairing unexpected jewelry with everyday attire, like big crystal earrings with your favorite t-shirt.

Bags, Shoes, Belts


Transform a Silk Scarf into a Beachy Turban

Okay, so a scarf is probably not the first accessory that leaps to mind when you think “summer,” but it may be time to reconsider. While you’ll want to pack away your warmer ones, a silk scarf is a simple way to add flair to an outfit any time of year. Try tying one around your neck as a chic choker, or knot a smaller one around the handle of your purse. And for a truly elegant and polished look when sitting poolside, try transforming a bold patterned one into a turban:

  1. Line up the center of the scarf with the back of our head (fig. 1)
  2. Take one end of the scarf in either hand and cross them over each other in front of your face, creating a little twist. (fig. 2)
  3. Wrap the ends toward the back of your head. (fig. 3)
  4. Tie them in a knot at the base of your neck. Either tuck the loose ends into the base of the scarf or wrap and tuck them along the sides. (fig. 4)

head wrap steps


Choose the Perfect Sunglasses for Your Face Shape

Sunglasses serve a dual purpose—they offer protection from the sun, but they can also really transform or complete a look. Erlanger recommends owning at least three pairs—one black, one tortoiseshell, and one sporty. The trick for picking out the most flattering frames? Knowing your face shape. Compare yours to the illustrations below or trace the outline of your face in a mirror with a washable dry-erase marker if you’re not quite sure which you fit.


Square faces are flattered by frames with soft, round shapes such as cat-eye, round and aviator styles.


Heart-shaped faces look good in glasses with thin frames, like aviators. Tip: Get frames that are wider than your forehead.


Oval face shapes are relatively balanced which means they can basically wear any style frame.


Round faces look best in contrasting, angular frames such as rectangles and squares, as well as some over-sized looks.face shapes and sunglasses

You Can’t Have Too Many Sandals

As far as the summer sandal is concerned, it’s probably the most versatile shoe you’ll own. And there are so many to choose from! Whether it’s a sassy flat, a chic evening heel, or a chunky platform, you’ll want to make sure you find one that’s a perfect fit—that means no toes or heels spilling off the edge (or a shoe that’s overly roomy) and making sure to invest in a good pedicure (polished toes are an accessory, too!).

Two great summer sandal options include wedges and espadrilles. The wedge, unlike the platform, doesn’t have a break between the footpad and the heel, making it a more supportive option—and a great pick for those looking for a little height but who might otherwise shun a traditional heel. The espadrille is a variation of the wedge with a plaited fiber sole, an easy-care canvas upper, and a delicate ankle strap. Erlander emphasizes the versatility of the espadrille in your summer wardrobe, noting that they go with anything from dresses to shorts and can be dressed up or down.

A Head to Toe Guide to Spring and Summer Accessorizing

Want more professional tips on how to give your look that chic finishing touch? Look no further than Micaela Erlanger’s How to Accessorize: A Perfect Finish to Every Outfit.



Tips excerpted with permission from How to Accessorize: A Perfect Finish to Every Outfit by Micaela Erlanger, © Micaela Erlanger, 2018. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, Clarkson Potter, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.



Photo Credit: Pete Bellis/Unsplash


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