10 essential accessories every woman should own for signature style

by Cynthia Bowman

10 essential accessories every woman should own for signature style  | 40plusstyle.com

We all love a good handbag, or possibly have a shoe obsession or enough jewelry to never wear the same piece twice! But how many of us are really putting our accessories to work every day?

Stylish women everywhere often have their favorite wardrobe staples that are classic and worn repeatedly. Accessories change the look of these wardrobe staples by adding color, a theme or a new way to wear the staples.

There are 10 essential accessories every woman should own that can transform an ordinary outfit into an extraordinary one.

For example, let’s say you have a busy day and evening. You can put on a favorite little dress in the morning and style it with sunglasses, a hat perhaps, a cross-body bag and some flats to run around in. You can transition this look into the afternoon by removing the hat and adding a shawl, scarf or wrap. Switch to heels, maybe some sheer stockings or tights and a clutch and statement jewelry for the evening and you’ve just transformed one simple dress into 3 looks!

essential accessories coco chanel | 40plusstyle.com

One of our favorite style icons, Coco Chanel (portrait above by Boris Lipnitzki) once said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” We love Coco but we are changing her advice to:

Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and ADD one accessory.

Here are 10 essential accessories you should have in your closet to create your own, signature style.

1.Bags

high waist belt | 40plusstyle.com

Handbags are often a status symbol that express your personality instantly. What is your personal style? Are you a structured kind of woman, or do you like to sport a little boho style or some vintage chic? Regardless of what you like, go for it and don’t worry so much about whether or not your handbag matches your look. Photo courtesy of @thestylewhithin.

2.Shoes

best shoe accessories | 40+ style

Most of us look for comfort above everything. But don’t sell your outfit short in attempt to put comfort over style. Nowadays, a beautiful pair of shoes can have it all – function, style and comfort. Brands like Cole Haan, Ecco, Stuart Weitzman and Geoxx offer some good styles. And take a look at this article featuring this year’s gorgeous shoe trends! Photo courtesy of @myfashionable40s.

3.Jewelry

jewelry for women | 40plusstyle.com

Jewelry is an essential accessory with limitless styles and options. If your goal is to accessorize better everyday, start with organizing your jewelry by type and color in a way that makes adding a pair of earrings, a brooch or a necklace to your look quick and easy. Read up on How to transform your outfits with statement jewelry for some ideas.

4.Scarves

scarves for women | 40plusstyle.com

A good scarf (or two or three or four) is such a versatile item! It can serve as the splash of color your outfit needs, or do double duty as a headband, turban or even a summer pareo. Don’t bother with a neutral tone. This essential accessory should always feature great colors and some pattern, too. Photo: @colorandgrace

5.Wraps, shawls or cardigans

wraps and cardigans | 40plusstyle.com

Cardigans, shawls and wraps straddle the line between fashion and accessory. But if you’re simply dressed in some leggings and a sweater or t-shirt, nothing dresses up your look faster than the right wrap or cardigan. Not to mention that a little cardigan or shawl is a great item to keep in your bag when you need to spruce up your ultra casual outfit, it’s chilly in the restaurant you’ve just arrived at or if the wind picks up. Lightweight cashmere and silk blends are compact yet wonderfully warm. Photo: What Lizzie Loves

6.Hats

hats for women | 40plusstyle.com

Many women avoid hats because they think they don’t have the face for hats. With the huge amount of hat styles and colors available, every woman can look fabulously chic in a hat. Wear one to add whimsy, like in the photo above, or on a bad hair day or when it’s really sunny outside. Hats are your skin’s best friend, keeping the UV rays off your delicate facial skin. Photo: Denton Taylor.

7.Sunglasses and eyewear

 sunglasses for 40 plus women |40+ style

Sunglasses are another important accessory that not only add personal style but also protect the delicate skin around your eyes from the damaging effects of the sun. Read Which Glasses to Buy After 40 for more tips. Photo: @fourlittleducksbydesign.

8.Belts

belts | 40plusstyle.com

Most essential accessories simply add personality to your outfit. But belts are like a magic pill–they slim you down and add a unique look to whatever you’re wearing. Invest in some good belts and wear them more often. They are great for cinching your waist, tucking your tummy and giving you an hourglass figure. Want to know more about how to pick and wear the right belt? Read this how-to guide. Photo: @madamechicbcn.

9.Tights and leggings

tights and leggings | 40plusstyle.com

This category is often forgotten when accessorizing. But a beautiful stocking or pair of tights or some leggings under a dress or tunic can really streamline your look, add some personality to your outfit and even lengthen and slim you. Here are two popular articles on how to wear leggings and how to look slimmer and taller. Photo: @stylishmurmurs.

10.Quintessential evening accessories

long striped print skirt | 40plusstyle.com

This is a general category but an important one. Dressing up for evening requires its own set of accessories that sometimes don’t work with your daytime outfit. Your quintessential evening accessories should include:

  • an evening shawl or shrug
  • a gorgeous clutch
  • statement evening jewelry
  • an elegant, evening shoe
  • an ornate headband

Look for items that are classic and have some extra bling and sparkle. Good colors that go with many looks include reds, blacks and metallic tones. Photo Denton Taylor

11.Confidence

This is a bonus essential accessory for you. Regardless of what you add to your look before you head out the door, be proud and confident of your style choice and carry that confidence all day. There is nothing more alluring than a woman that walks into a room accessorized in a big smile and an air of confidence. Don’t leave home without it!

Did I leave anything out? What do you think is the most important accessory of all?

Cynthia

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Greetje

I am definitely an accessorize woman. Lots of necklaces and other stuff you can adorn yourself with. Recently “invested” in a couple of mini bags from Zra. They do such cute bags and affordable. I saw a beautiful designer mini bag as well, but that was way out of reach.

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Cynthia Bowman

Isn’t it amazing how you can wear the same clothes day to day but give them a fresh, new look with the right bag or accessory? I’m with you.

Reply

Dawn

Never really thought about a cardigan being an accessory but you’re right it is. Thank you

Reply

Cynthia Bowman

If it can accentuate your outfit, you can consider it an accessory!

Reply

Janelle Chapman

While I’ve got a good selection of scarves, hats & shoes I intend to relook at cardigans. Our winters where I live are usually pretty temperate,you do not need thick jumpers so a cardi is a great idea.

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