Apr 152014

When is a look enough? When is it too much? After posting about the 16 12 point accessory “rule”, I got feedback from people who, like me, feel that is alot. I also feel like there is too much structure to these “rules”. What about creativity? Finally, there is the concept of personality within personal style idiom: some of us prefer to have our clothes carry the interest, rather than our accessories.
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In the picture below, the pieces are strikingly simple. All together, the look is relatively complex, very interesting, and appropriate for an evening of Van Gogh and Merlot. In the high fashion jewelry business professionally, the girl pictured nevertheless chose to accessorize with only one extra ring and pair of earrings.

Her count:
– 2 garments and 1 pair of shoes = 3
– 3 accessories
– around her face: stylish, purple/auburn hair; beauty makeup; a crystal dermal piercing.


Without counting any of the interesting details in her clothes, this outfit would be a 9; adding an extra color, as per the previously-mentioned system, brings the total to 10 for this outfit. I suggest it should be higher.

I would add a point for each print (3) and a point for the studs on the shoes.

The takeaway: evaluate your entire look for points of interest.

  4 Responses to “More on Accessorizing “Points””

  1. Somehow, the points systems are too difficult a concept for me to use. But I just read this great piece by Imogen – and check out her amazing new look with blond hair, if you haven’t seen it – about yin and yang clothing elements being either receding or advancing. I’m used to seeing the yin and yang elements of clothing discussed by Kibbe and Judith Rasband and others but wasn’t putting it together this way in terms of communicating your personality. My whole nature is summed up under her list of yang elements. I am sometimes drawn to blurred, muted, low contrast “beautiful” prints but even when the main color impression is excellent on me, I feel frustrated in the garment and wishing it were otherwise and end up purging it. I feel papered over in it.

    Now possibly this may pair up with needing fewer “points” in my yang-preferred clothing, because it is more attention-getting in itself – your “points of interest.” My summer and winter wardrobes are exceedingly distinct from each other and I prefer the snappier, more contrastier prints of the warm weather portion of my clothing. It feels more “me” and yet every year as it gets colder and gloomier I add more of the blurrier, tweedier clothing. I like the swaddling psychology of it. 😀 By the time I am craving an end to winter, I feel like giving the winter stuff a big shove down the clothing rod and away from me.

    I notice, too, that I often have trouble pairing up certain – or many – colors because theoretically I can come up with many “good” traditional color pairings but I don’t want them for me. I have a gorgeous NotBrown/NotGrey tweed pantsuit but I “can’t” wear it with a white or cream color shirt or top but I have two cashmere clone scoop neck sweaters, almost identical except that one is more coral orange and one is more coral watermelon. They are vivid. I love them with this pantsuit and feel “settled” psychologically with this pairing of adding the vivid element. I am always looking for that contrast. And my favorite winter skirt – the one I am always reaching for and making every possible outfit around – is a bias cut (so, shapely and yin) diagonal wool plaid in warm reddish browns with an off white triple overstripe making up the plaid. More muted than my summer things, yes, but still very energetic and with that nailed down in place feeling of the all over grid pattern.

  2. That is really interesting!

    I have been a bit frustrated with trying to understand the concept of yin and yang in dressing. It is frequently brought up, but the lists defining each contain too many details. Who cares? 😉 Linking them with a big picture concept, receding and advancing, is brilliant! At least, to me it is extremely helpful. It is one of those things, tho, that it seems would fall naturally into place if I managed to achieve all the different elements in an outfit that are best for me: curved lines, crisp fabrics, bright colors, etc.

    Yesterday I was thinking again about Danielle’s thing about top-heavy and bottom-heavy silhouettes. There is yet something in that which I do not understand, in terms of personal preference. Could that be connected with yin and yang? Always looking for connections, patterns …

    I absolutely get what you are saying about combining color with you taupe suit; I have a brown tweed suit, not quite as subtle a color, that I only wear with vivid purple. It looks good with white or cream, but somehow “settles” on me with the bright purple. Which is a great thought to have today, because I keep thinking about biffing the purple sweater because I don’t like it with what I have been thinking it should go with! 🙂

  3. After pondering the point system and evaluating various outfits, I thought “There has got to be a way to simplify this.” Here’s my working modification with a goal of 10-12 points. What do you think?

    1 point for a basic in a neutral. (I go by Zyla’s definition of neutral- rim of iris and natural hair colors plus whatever shade of white works for you.) Examples would be unembelished items like plain pants or a simple pearl necklace.
    2 points for a neutral with some interest, like a pleated skirt or a tooled leather belt.
    2 points for a basic in a color.
    3 points for any multi-colored item or a solid non-neutral with a lot of shine, sparkle, or other high level of interest
    Dresses are double points since ithey function as both a top and a bottom.
    Camis only count if they are being used for a pop of color and don’t blend with the top.

    I don’t bother counting hair, makeup, glasses, or my wedding set since they’re not something I’d change just to get the points up or down. And I only count my purse if I’ll be carrying it the majority of the time. To use the outfit pictured as an example, 2 points for the shoes, 3 points each for the printed skirt and top, 1 point each for the ring and earrings totaling 10 points.

    • I like! But then I started trying to count what I am wearing and wasn’t quite certain what to do with some of it. Navy sneakers with bright purple laces? But maybe it isn’t that important. I love that you created a way to count that is specific to you, but it is also I think generally useful. In the pictured example, a necklace and/ or bracelet or whatever could be added without being over-accessorized, but as pictured is also fine.

      Perhaps I am mainly trying to justify myself in not likening to wear alot of scarves and necklaces 😉

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