Surprisingly Versatile Accessories?
December 14, 2012 10:18 AM   Subscribe

Please give me recommendations for accessories that you initially dismissed as too weird or "out there" but then discovered were surprisingly versatile.

My aunt got me this necklace as a gift from China over the summer. Initially, I thought it looked really creepy and stashed it deep in the back of my closet. But I tried wearing it on a whim and found that I actually really like it! Goes well with black OR brown and adds a touch of whimsy to my outfits.

Now, I'm a fairly staid dresser: lots of solid color t-shirts and sweaters with jeans. I'd love recommendations for more accessories like this - things that I would dismiss on first glance as too weird for me to pull off but actually are very easy to incorporate into your outfits.

If it helps, I'm not yet in my twenties, so too youthful is not an issue :)
posted by estlin to Shopping (23 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I have this feathered headband that I originally got to go with one very dressy dress... and I've wound up wearing it with jeans and a tshirt/cardigan, skirt and tshirt, etc.

I got another one that is just black feathers and doesn't have the stones on it, and it's even more versatile.
posted by erst at 10:24 AM on December 14, 2012

Multi-finger rings! I am completely spacing on the jeweler my friend got hers from, but as a woman you have access to gorgeous and elegant rings that are not at all the early-90s gold-plated disasters you immediately think of when you hear "multi-finger ring."
posted by griphus at 10:27 AM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

(NB: The early-90s gold-plated disasters are widely available as well.)
posted by griphus at 10:28 AM on December 14, 2012

It's not really an accessory, per se, but I bought a highlighter-yellow coat a few years ago and was worried that it would be tricky to wear. But I got a couple scarves that go with it, and ... it turns out it's awesome! I get complements on it all the time, and it always cheers me up to wear it. For a while it was actually my only non-outdoorsy winter coat, which was a little strange at some events, but overall it's awesome.
posted by duien at 11:00 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I really miss the elastic/metal clips we used in the eighties to nip in jackets and big blouses. I have big boobs and a small waist and these things really made things look pretty and form fitting without being too slutty.

Well, as pretty as they could have looked given the circumstances. I wanted to link to them but I can't find any pictures.

I also miss baggies. Also, no pictures available, but think of small waist, exaggerated to ankles then nipped in.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:03 AM on December 14, 2012

I wear mostly black and white and gray businessy wear or jeans and I've found that bright shoes go with all of it. I have yellow, red, cobalt, and I'm on the prowl for some good green ones now. They are really fun!
posted by chatongriffes at 11:12 AM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

I bought these red patent leather ballerina flats because they fit my feet well, but I wasn't so sure about the colour. However, I wear them often, and they go with more outfits than I thought they would (I dress in neutrals a lot too).

So: red shoes! Surprisingly versatile, especially if you wear mostly neutrals.

[on preview: what chatongriffes said]
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:41 AM on December 14, 2012

I have this bedazzled collar that I bought on a whim. I actually almost returned several times. The first time I wore it (and every time since), I got a ton of compliments and it goes with EVERYTHING.
posted by tealcake at 12:10 PM on December 14, 2012

I thought bubble necklaces (originally from J. Crew, but you can find them for about $20 on Ebay or Etsy) were pretty much the ugliest thing for a while. Then I bought this necklace from Forever 21 and I've been wearing it with everything. I've gotten a lot of compliments on it and the color is surprisingly versatile.
posted by bonifate at 12:20 PM on December 14, 2012

I have a rediculous dark brown velvet (with a green ribbon ruffle!) scarf, that suits my coloring perfectly, and that was a gift. Turns out it looks very elegant with any winter coat, and since it frames my face with gorgeous deep texture, I look amazing whenever I wear it no matter what. I have no idea where she found it, but it's awesome, and I've been wearing it for at least 5 years.

Get a rediculous velvet scarf that fits your complexion. The texture contrast next to your face is wonderful and luxurious. It's like a cross between this one and this one.
posted by larthegreat at 12:22 PM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

These look too long and too big to wear with ANYTHING, but they go with EVERYTHING. I have a couple pairs of LONG silver earrings that look "a little too much" on the card, but they wear surprisingly well.
posted by ersatzkat at 12:26 PM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

I have recently discovered that brightly colored socks are just about my favorite thing. Color, in general, is something I'm wearing a lot more. Given the horrible drabness of winter, I'm really glad to have color to make things happier/better.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:55 PM on December 14, 2012

I agree with the extra-long earrings, crazy scarf (I have a very fuzzy multicolored chenille one that I have been throwing on top of everything lately) or colored shoes. Another thing I like are head scarves, and wearing them with an otherwise bland outfit tones down the hippie factor. I have an open work crochet-type thing (almost like a net) that I think was originally a sash, I wrap it over my hair and tie it behind my neck and it looks cool in a not-too-out-there way.
posted by celtalitha at 12:58 PM on December 14, 2012

Being old enough to be your mother ;p I found a cute beret with a big white bow in front. I thought it would look stupid, I thought a lot of things but I couldn't resist it. But it seems to work, I've received compliments from clients when I show up at extremely formal places. So there you go.

Also seconding socks that stand out especially if you dress very soberly the rest of the time.
I've shown up for presentations in all black with red tartan socks.

And the disastrous part of those gold plated rings is the plating.
posted by infini at 1:06 PM on December 14, 2012

A raincoat in a bright color or standout pattern.
posted by matildaben at 1:24 PM on December 14, 2012

Tights are a pretty excellent accessory to go crazy with.

Also, mixing patterns! There's an art to it for sure, but it looks amazing when pulled off correctly.
posted by susanvance at 1:49 PM on December 14, 2012

I ordered a bunch of exciting stuff from sock dreams, but the ones that ended up being my favourites were these. They're very plain, but something about the way the band at the top is woven makes them really comfy and stay up really well. I wear them a lot of ways - with boots over a tight pair of pants scrunched up a bit to give an outfit some texture around the knee, under a long skirt pulled up high on a day when I want a bit of warmth but don't want to wear full tights, slouched around the ankle for bumming around the house, or to bed pulled up high to have warm feet but still look sexay.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:58 PM on December 14, 2012

I was going to say green shoes! I've had green cowboy boots, green retro slingback heels, green flats, in really any shade of green. Perks up any outfit, especially if you wear a lot of gray like I do.
posted by greta simone at 2:05 PM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

I have a scarf I got from Cost Plus (unfortunately not shown on their website) that has blue, green, red, orange, and yellow in it, not to mention a pattern of paisleys plus florals plus plaid. There is no way this thing should look good. But it's amazing what it does for an outfit. It goes well with a range of different colors, looks good with work clothes or with a t-shirt and jeans, and I get compliments on it pretty much every time I wear it.

And if you've got the confidence (or the don't-give-a-damn) to pull it off, a hat. Lots of people will say "A fedora makes you look dorky." No, the way you (random imaginary person who's insulting fedoras) wear a fedora looks dorky. Don't blame the hat. I get compliments from total strangers several times a week on my hat (hats — I have several). From somebody walking the other way past me on Broadway: "Damn, girl, you wearing that hat!" From a neighbor, as my husband and I walked home one afternoon: "Woo! Straight-up Bonnie and Clyde!" And back when my black gambler-crown hat was still wearable (gotta replace that), I was waiting to cross the street in downtown Oakland one morning when the guy standing next to me looked at me, grinned, and said, "You not the only gangsta downtown, but I think you the baddest!"
posted by Lexica at 5:28 PM on December 14, 2012

Ear cuffs! Not having pierced ears, I used to love the idea of ear cuffs, but I could never find any, and the few I did find (or attempt to make) were clunky, uncomfortable, and/or impossible to keep on my ears.

This Etsy vendor changed all that; the studio makes cuffs that are beautiful, are comfortable (I forget I'm wearing them), and stay put all day. I'm saving up to buy more pairs...
posted by limeonaire at 5:33 PM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

For casual outfits - I stole my boyfriend's shoelaces - they ae neon pink, red, yellow, blue, and green woven together. I wear them in plain black lace-up shoes and they really brighten my day.
posted by mai at 9:24 AM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Metallics as a neutral! My gold ballet flats get lots of compliments.
posted by momus_window at 9:51 AM on December 15, 2012

I bought a fascinator last year on a whim to punch up a holiday outfit, and now I guess I'm obsessed with fascinators. THEY ARE SO CUTE AND FUN. The one I got has a lot of netting, but the woman who sold it to me showed me how to fold it and clip it in place, so sometimes I go full-on face-net style, and other times it's more just a flower hairclip.

Also, a pair of leopard-print heels. At first I thought they were a little Peg Bundy-ish, but now I wear them all the time, to everything.
posted by Charity Garfein at 5:05 PM on December 15, 2012

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