Accessories can give you bang for your buck and add pop to your style
By Samantha Thompson Smith
McClatchy Newspapers
The orange shoe: Last season, it might have been just another colorful shoe to choose.
But this season, it’s a cheap thrill with the potential to have the same simple yet powerful effect as a new tube of lipstick.
You may not be able to afford all the clothes you want for spring, but there’s a good chance a pair of orange shoes _ or even an orange handbag, beaded necklace or printed scarf _ can feel like an affordable luxury in times of economic uncertainty.
“Accessories are well-priced, they’re uplifting, they’re fun and everyone can wear them,” says Nancy LeWinter, editorial director at, a shopping site for plus-size women.
Accessories have become one of the season’s early big sellers, in large part because the sluggish economy has some shoppers looking for cheaper ways to stay chic. Instead of investing in clothes (even at cheap-chic stores), they’re looking for a few key pieces, such as shoes, bags or jewelry, to update last spring’s favorite looks.
The results can be potent. A skinny belt can transform a classic white button-down. A coral bag can add pop to a brown dress. A turquoise beaded necklace can easily go from a T-shirt and jeans to a cocktail dress.
“They’re an economical way to spruce up what you already have in your closet,” says Ashley Vermillion Harris, owner of Vermillion clothing boutique in Raleigh, N.C.
Jewelry is among her biggest sellers this season. She has already reordered some lines. Among the most popular is a new jewelry collection in her store by Ranjana Khan, who makes exotic, unique statement necklaces that can be worn with casual clothing and dressy evening wear.
Yet even bigger than statement necklaces, large cuff bracelets and oversize cocktail rings are big, bold colors, the same hues that have dominated spring fashion, including bright yellow, orange, pink and blue.
You’ll find the bright shades on shoes, bags, belts, scarves and jewelry.
Match by tone (hot pink shoes with an orange bag), a trend that’s been common in the last few years, or dare to go retro and match the same colors. Either is acceptable this season, LeWinter says.
The gladiator sandal has maintained its hold, only this spring the look is softer and more subdued. It’s not as heavy and masculine as last year’s gladiator sandal. Get them in flats or heels, wedges or platforms.
Shoes, in general, are more casual than last spring’s, Harris says, with more choices of simple, dainty sandals and flip flops in fun, bright colors.
And just when you thought scarf season was over, it’s time to invest in a lightweight scarf, in a bright color or bold print, of course. Summer scarves are perfect for casual days with T-shirts and jeans, says Rebekah Halliburton, a spokeswoman at Macy’s in Raleigh. And they can easily replace the necklace as an accessory.
Keep bold color in mind when picking out a new handbag. This season you’ll find more choice than ever at all price points. Even Bottega Veneta, the luxury handbag maker known for its soft, woven subdued leather bags, has tapped into the trend with a collection of orange, blue, lime and green woven bags that are dramatic and luxurious.
Oversize clutches continue to dominate handbag styles, as well as softer hobo bag looks. The brighter the pop of color, the more trendy the bag.
“I think accessories have taken on a whole new role this season,” LeWinter says. “If you want to make something look really new and fresh in a hurry, put on a bright bag and shoes.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.