Have you ever seen someone wearing a dress or outfit and thought, “That is so-o nice. But it would really look great if ...” Or, “I really like that, but it needs ... “

That missing element is often accessories.

“Adding a belt or scarf to an outfit can do wonders,” said Jena Sims, owner of Belle G, located at 2626 North Hills St. “Accessories can make the whole outfit.”

However, the wrong accessories can break it.

Jewelry and shoes are perfect examples. Big or brassy earrings, or a chunky necklace can sabotage a classic or elegant look. Wearing three- or four-inch heels with skinny pants ... Well, you get the picture.

The great thing about accessories is they are multifunctional — they can update any outfit, as well as help transition one from season to season.

This year, spring accessories run the gamut — making bold statements with shapes and sizes, as well as colors and textures. And, a once popular metal is slowly making a comeback.

Here’s what’s happening:

Shoes: If you’re bold enough to go there, platform shoes are baaacck!! And with a vengeance.

“I think they look great with sun dresses and dresses that come to the knees, or with long pants — especially bell-bottoms or stovepipes,” Sims said.

Also popular are shoes with Lucite heels, cork-soled platforms, and high-heeled pumps in yellow, red, polka-dot, striped and animal prints, according to fashion columnists Judie Schwartz and Evelinda Urman.

For those who are vertically challenged or prefer to walk a little closer to the ground, ballet flats are a perfect — and comfortable — remedy.

“They are really great with walking shorts, cropped pants and skinny-legged jeans,” Sims said. Schwartz and Urman even recommend flats with the new wide-legged slacks.

Jewelry: Oversized earrings in geometric shapes are popular, and Robbie Hales, owner of The Liberty Shop at 404 22nd Ave., has a way to make them even more dazzling.

“We have Swaraski crystals that you can add to the earrings,” Hales said. “If you have an outfit but don’t have earrings that match, this is a great way to add color and sparkle.”

Sixties-inspired Lucite jewelry is the new tres chic plastic.

“Some of this stuff is expensive, but pricey plastic is still plastic, so don’t blow your wad here,” Schwartz and Urman advise.

When going with plastic jewelry, Teresa Long — who, along with Becky Feldman, is owner of the newly opened Dream It at 810 22nd Ave. — says circles are big.

Sims sells a line of earrings that have been dipped in a plastic mold, then dipped in sterling multiple times.

“It costs a little more, but it doesn’t have as much weight. So it’s less heavy on the ears,” she said.

And slowly, but surely, gold is making a comeback.

“I think because so many people wear sterling and silver, some of them want something a little different,” Hales said.





Handbags: Summer bags are less embellished than in past seasons, the fashion editors note. The look is more in the shape, rather than heavily larded studs, embroidery and accents. Bags are still oversized and are being shown mainly in shoulder styles.

The Hobo style is the most popular and red and yellow are the hot colors of the season, Sims said. The popular material? Patent leather — and not just for accessories. Clothes are also getting a boost of high-gloss finish.

Metallics are another favorite, especially gold and pewter, Sims said. Heralded as the “new neutral,” you’ll also find these shades — as well as silver, copper and platinum — in belts and shoes.

Trends come and go, so when deciding which earrings or shoes to complement your outfit, Long says it’s important to have fun.

“Now is a fun time to be alive with clothes,” she said. “Fashion is now more about expressing yourself. Right now, the person who wears the classic khakis with a shirt and those who wear the latest trends are fine. Anything goes.”



— Judie Schwartz and Evelinda Urman write on corporate office wear and the art of personal style. You may e-mail them at stylematters@comcast.net

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