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  • Alison Catchpole


It’s a complete no brainer, muscles only.

Everyone knows that the secret to good dressing, apart from a bit of imagination, is to accessorise. Jewellery always does the trick, albeit that Zara necklace so jauntily flaunted by the Duchess of Cambridge to top off a Roland Mouret evening gown or the dazzling collection of the Duchess of Windsor. Closer to home, and for those of us who can’t wear an evening gown to work, it’s all about the more everyday pieces. Not just jewellery, but handbags, shoes, scarves.

It’s the accessories that really give muscle to an outfit. Not, we would hope, the muscles that come from lifting a too heavy bag. After all, who hasn’t heard the story about Jane Birkin not carrying a Birkin because it was giving her backache.

The other extreme, away from the high end Hermes bucket and the LV Neverfull, is the evening minaudiere, or clutch. The current trend for novelty (Anya Hindmarch roadworks, anyone?) is also filtering into the decorative one off eveningwear pieces. Take this Judith Lieber delight, for instance. What’s not to love – other than maybe the four figure price tag?

A Judith Leiber Duck with Swarovski Crystal

It’s the completion of an outfit that gives the full impact just that, impact. High intensity impressionism. The discipline of a clutch, evenings only of course, can lend a touch of icing to an already polished dress or tuxedo. Yes yes there’s the ever fabulous Timeless Classic or shoulder bag, the take you anywhere bag, but a girl needs to ring the changes.

So accessories, including jewellery, footwear, scarves and the all important bag, they all contribute.

Missoni scarves at Fortnum and Mason

As winter draws in we can move away from the foulards of Liberty and over to the woollier, even Italian variety. Of course, everyone has room for a silk scarf or two. Or to stick them up on the wall.

Liberty of London silk scarves on display at the Regent Street Store

But maybe it’s jewellery that really does give the best accessory opportunities. From a diamond ring or family locket, to a friendship bracelet created by a young friend. Or bought in a moment of friendship to yourself.

Fashion jewellery can make all the difference

Not only can jewellery show off your muscles (arm candy, anyone?), but it can be your fashion muscles. It can do the work that inexpensive clothing can’t often do alone – it can embellish in all the right places.

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