Are you over or underdressed? – A simple system to give you answers!

by guest writer

Are you over or underdressed? |

Written by Betty B.

Am I over or underdressed? That is the question.

At some point in time, we have all looked in the mirror and asked ourselves this question

You may like to use a points system to help determine whether to take Chanel’s recommendation to remove one item before leaving home or do the opposite and add an embellishment or two to add that extra zing to our carefully chosen pieces.

This method is a general guide to be used selectively, depending on your personality and comfort level, to give you an idea of whether you are within the general parameters of those whom we consider tastefully dressed. This guide was developed by some clever soul to make us aware of how many accessories we are wearing, but it should not be used to hamper our individual style or creativity. As with any styling aid, it’s up to us to create our own unique statement, so we will need to add or reduce accessory points to get the look we want.

Below are the general guidelines that will help determine whether we have assembled a masterpiece or a less than stellar creation. If we make this a daily ritual, it will quickly become an unconscious, useful styling asset to set us above the pack. So, let’s get started. Here are the items we’ll count:

1 point for earrings
1 point for each necklace, 2 points, if very large
1 point for each watch or bracelet **
1 point for each ring ** (a wedding set is 1 point)
1 point for eyeglasses
1 point for nail polish, 1 point for toenail polish, if seen
1 point for a handbag, if carried at all times, 0 point, if not
1 point for shoes
1 point for a hat, scarf, belt, or wrap
1 point for colored tights or leggings, 0 point for nude panty hose
1 point for each garment and color you have on, 2 points, if patterned

To be within the well dressed category for this system, do not exceed 16 accessory points to bring your outfit to life. Should you have on less than 12 points, rethink the look you are after and pile on a few more bits and barbs to send your outfit through the stratosphere or to add just a little extra pizzazz.

How to not overdress or underdress |


Styling a maxi dress, are you overdressed? |

Tips on how to dress appropriately |

You will feel and look more confident when your accessories match your comfort level. To get more in-depth information on how to better accessorize, consider the newly created course Accessorize Me Confident & Beautiful.

** An extra styling tip—Multiple bracelets, rings, and sometimes watches are a current trend being worn on both arms and hands. If this is your preference, count them and knowingly break the rules. Awareness is always key, and your individual style is dependent on what YOU want to project.

So, let’s have fun and pull out all the stops. Accessories are your best friend. Happy counting, all!

Do you use a counting system of sorts when it comes to accessories?


p.s. Are you knowledgable about style and want to share your unique story? We sometimes accept guest posts. Please make sure to read all requirements and only submissions through the form on this page will be considered.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 esther

Good guidelines I will break them for my bracelets, I usually wear a bangles which I am counting on as one 🙂
Thanks for your tips I love your blog,
Esther from Puerto Rico


2 Sabina @Oceanblue Style at Manderley

That is a really useful list Sylvia. Despite feeling really comfortable with my outfits when it comes to accessoires it always gets a bit tricky. So thank you for sharing! Sabina


3 Mother & Daughter

Great post. I had seen this list before but had forgotten about it. I am usually not wearing enough jewelry, I forget to put anything on other than my earrings, and they are usually diamond studs.


4 Sew Ruthie

Why are the bags here 2 points each – is it because one of them has tassels and the other is a bright colour? Would a plain black leather bag be a 1?


5 Sylvia

Yes that’s right. Both these bags have additional elements (more colors or gold straps).


6 Greetje

Ha this is a lovely guideline. I think I am usually on the safe side, but perhaps sometimes that is boring. Thanks.


7 Gail

My home economics teacher gave our class a list similar to this in 1965. Buttons or collars were also a point each. The well dressed lady never went over 10 points!!!


8 Wendy

Why doesn’t the green bag in the first outfit idea get counted? And if that ensemble is deemed “underdressed” such that another 5 or 6 elements would be needed to bring it up to scratch, then I beg to differ on what constitutes under/over-dressed. To my eye, that first ensemble looks more chic than the busier ones following.


9 Wendy

Further to my previous comment, this idea of how many points of interest constitutes being under- vs overdressed is very interesting, in that there are clear cultural differences. I, for example, being European, have an aesthetic aversion to the dolled-up, heavily made-up and accessorised style I see around me in some (though by no means all!) parts of America. I have noticed that my American friends in turn find me underdressed — they definitely prefer the look of significant makeup and painted nails and high heels and lots of accessories and a partying sort of outfit. When I dolled myself up like they were doing when we were going out together, they were amazed by my “transformation” and very complimentary (whilst to me I looked horrendously fake and an embarrassment to myself!). To me, the dolled-up look seems overkill/artificial, or trying too hard, or just too much. Not chic. Fascinating cultural differences!

My sister has even more little ‘rules’ for what constitutes bad taste than I do. She was horrified when I was going to wear 2.5 inch heels with a skirt that was just above my knee. For her, the footwear must always be flat with a skirt above the knee. Normally I’d agree with her, but we were going to a party!


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