Accessories Really Do Separate Us From the Animals

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Who could forget the immortal words of Olympia Ducacas in that wonderful 1980’s tear-jerker Steele Magnolias? The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize. Were truer words ever spoken?

Case in point: just last week I was at a gathering with some other expatriates in my new hometown; Paris, France. In walked one of the local ladies who always seems to be dressed to the nines without ever appearing over the top. Without the gorgeously whimsical necklace she was wearing she would have resembled a lithe panther in her black boot cut trousers and matching turtleneck pullover. Well cut clothes + wonderful accessories = perfect outfit: French women learn the simple equation before they reach primary school, expatriate women learn it as soon as we get here.

Simplification is the key. Everyone should have a few fun things to pull out of the closet for an evening of serendipity, but personally, I find that I reach for the simple things on a daily basis. Investing in a few simple coordinating pieces is money well spent. Have your skirts, jackets and trousers tailored for a perfect fit. A trip to your local department store for bridge quality costume jewelry won’t break the bank and will keep your look fresh and can be a great way to express your personality.

There are two areas one should feel free to splurge on; shoes and bags. You can always trade down in other areas to fund your investment. Go ahead and buy those tee shirts and cardigans at mass produced prices, there’s no need to pay for a name-brand in those areas. Invest in a fabulous floral skirt for summer paired with a simple cotton tee shirt, add an inexpensively expressive necklace, a quality pair of strappy sandals, a go everywhere luxury handbag and you have a great outfit.

If you can’t afford to splurge on the shoes and the bag, my advice would be; go for the bag! A good luxury bag can take you from season to season and will only end up looking better with age. It is true that colors come go. Happily, they always come back around which means keeping that wonderful green purse in its sleeper bag for a few years means that you will have the chance to rediscover it again when pistachio comes back around. It will be just like Christmas!

When selecting your luxury bag, it is best to keep a few things in mind:

1. No matter how beautiful the leather is, if the hardware isn’t of a good quality, your bag will end up looking cheep. It can be difficult to judge the longevity of hardware, if in doubt, opt for a bag with little hardware, apart from feet at the bottom of the bag which will preserve the leather and add decades to its longevity.

2. When spending big bucks for your luxury bag, make sure it is a “Coup de Coeur?” If you don’t absolutely love it and it isn’t screaming “take me home, now!” Perhaps it just isn’t meant to be. Keep in mind, even if it’s the latest it bag, if it doesn’t steal your heart you may end up regretting the purchase.

3. If you are just starting out, black or brown are your best bets. It is best to go ahead and buy one very good black bag than a slew of lesser quality bags in multiple colors. You can add to your luxury handbag collection as the years go by and at least have one piece which expresses quality and sophistication.

4. Many luxury handbag makers have what is known as their “signature collection”. That means that the company may continue to expand its line but will avoid redesigning the entire collection season after season. If you buy a black bag from a luxury signature collection, you can rest assured that your bag will be current for seasons to come. If you take good care of your bag, you will never hear anyone muttering “that is sooooo last season” under her breath!

5. Last, but not least, keep your purchase in its sleeper bag when the season is over and use a good leather conditioner to keep your investment beautiful for years to come.

When shopping for your wardrobe this season, remember to keep it simple and what ever you do, don’t forget to accessorize!

write by Ambrose

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