Do you ever look at your closet filled with flowing dresses, pretty blouses, and long skirts, and feel uneasy because you’re not sure how to style your outfits?

At The Main Street Exchange, we believe that modest clothing can enhance your unique style. Pairing your clothing with the right accessories is essential if you want your outfits to look intentional and more cohesive!

If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of accessorizing or aren’t sure how to choose the right accessories to complement your outfit, don’t worry—we’re here to help.

The Power of Accessories 

Have you ever observed someone that always seems to be effortlessly chic? 

What is it that makes them appear this way? 

A lot goes into it, from developing a personal style to curating a wardrobe full of comfortable pieces that fit you well and complement your skin tone and personal taste. 

But it’s the accessories that elevate your clothes into a distinct “look.”

Here are a few ways accessories add style and flair to an outfit:

  • Unique accessories are a way to showcase your personality.
  • Accessories help you create a new look from clothes you’ve owned for a long time.
  • Accessories can balance a look. For example, a necklace can draw the eye upward and balance a long skirt.
  • With accessories, you can follow trends without completely overhauling your wardrobe.
  • The right accessories can dress an outfit up or down, allowing you to wear an item of clothing to multiple events.

But the primary power of accessories is this: accessories are an effortless way to make your outfit look intentional. 

For example, let’s say you're hurrying out the door and decide to go out in a simple maxi dress. Even though the dress is pretty, slipping into dirty sneakers and rushing through your hair, may give you an unkempt look.

But if you add a stylish hat, simple brown sandals, a woven clutch, and a delicate gold necklace, suddenly you look put-together and elegant⁠—like there’s thought and intention behind your outfit, even when you have to rush. 

Top Seven Go-to Accessories

Accessories include anything you wear or carry besides your basic clothing. All sorts of things can be considered accessories, such as cell phone cases, sunglasses, enamel pins, socks, headphones, and even artificial fingernails.

However, when accessorizing your outfits, there are seven top go-to accessories to be aware of.

1 - Bags and purses

Bags and purses are essential for your wardrobe because you need a way to carry your stuff! They’re also a great way to add style and flair to an outfit.

2024 bag trends include oversized bags, woven bags, and clutch purses

Bags can be a great way to make a statement or add flair to an otherwise dull outfit. However, a statement bag won’t go with all your outfits, and you might not have time to switch the contents from one bag to another.

You can get around this by having a sophisticated, neutral bag for everyday use and statement bags for special occasions.

Alternatively, you can keep your wallet, keys, and phone in a simple clutch or small purse that you can use by itself or stick inside a statement bag as needed.

2 - Shoes

Your shoe choice can dress an outfit up or down and add flair to a simple outfit. But if you choose the wrong shoe, your whole outfit may look sloppy.

Shoe trends for 2024 include slim sneakers, ballet flats, low heels, and white footwear.

Since you wear shoes daily, it’s essential to have comfortable, practical, elegant pairs that match your clothes. 

If you want to add some color and texture, do it with socks! Yes, socks that show are back in style, which is excellent news for those of us who don’t like cold ankles. Choose fun prints to add a pop of color or white ribbed socks for some simple texture.

3 - Hair accessories

Fun hair accessories are a simple way to elevate an outfit, make your hairstyle look intentional, and add a little color and fun!

Hair accessories are very on trend for 2024. Top accessories include claw clips, hair bows, and large headbands.

Figure out what hair accessories work best for your preferred hairstyles, and then buy some in pretty colors and patterns that match your existing wardrobe.

4 - Jewelry

Jewelry is the most popular way to accessorize and elevate an outfit. 2024 jewelry trends include bold statement pieces such as oversized or mismatched earrings, cuff bracelets, and layered necklaces.

If you prefer a quiet luxury look, choose simple, delicate, timeless pieces. One simpler piece of jewelry that’s popular this year is a chain or link bracelet.

5 - Scarves 

Scarves are an inexpensive way to add a pretty pop of color or unique flair to an outfit.

The most common way to wear a scarf is wrapped or knotted around your neck, but there are other ways to wear a scarf. For example, a bandana scarf can make a beautiful hair accessory, either as a headband, head scarf, or hair bow, while long, narrow scarves can function as belts.

Scarves are not particularly on trend for 2024, but bold statement scarves and delicate, timeless scarves are both considered fashionable. 

6 - Belts

Both wide and narrow belts are on trend for 2024⁠—however, statement belts are not in style. Pick neutral belts that you personally think are pretty, that match your clothes, and that fit through your belt loops.

As a general rule, choose a narrower belt if you’re trying to dress your outfit up and a wider belt if you’re trying to dress it down. 

7 - Hats

If you want to look put-together but you’re having a bad hair day, hats are your best friend! 

Baseball caps give your outfit a relaxed, sporty feel. Straw hats pair well with floral dresses for summer afternoons, and a Panama or fedora-style hat adds a refined, casual look to any outfit.

If you love neutrals, hats are a fantastic way to add a statement or focal point to your outfit without any wild colors or patterns. 

Tips for Using Accessories Well 

Now that we’ve examined the top seven accessories let’s explore how to style your outfit with them!

Investing in accessories

Before spending a lot of money on silk scarves and designer sunglasses, stop to assess whether the pieces are trendy or timeless.

Timeless accessories such as simple gold jewelry, brown leather belts, and floral silk scarves will never go out of style. Since you’ll be able to pair them with many fashion trends, lend them to friends, and wear them through weight and style fluctuations, they’re worth investing in.

Conversely, trendy accessories like ear cuffs, giant purses, and hair bows may be out of style in a few years, so it makes sense to get a cheaper product even if it doesn’t last as long.

Accessorizing a modest look

For women who dress modestly, it’s essential to embrace simplicity when accessorizing.

Coco Chanel famously advised women to look in the mirror before leaving the house and remove one accessory. This is particularly good advice for modestly dressed women who already wear a lot of clothing. If you start with a long skirt or maxi dress and add a large bag, hat, cuff bracelets, wide belt, and layered necklaces, you will quickly overwhelm the eye.

To accessorize a modest outfit, first decide what you want the focal point to be. Is it your skirt? Your hat? Your jacket? Your bag? Once you’ve chosen one or two focal points, add a couple more accessories that are small, simple, and understated.

Accessorizing for your style 

When accessorizing, it’s essential to have a sense of your personal style. You may like how something looks on someone else, but if you feel uncomfortable wearing it yourself, don’t waste your money!

One way to get a good sense of what feels like “you” is to go to a store and try on a bunch of accessories. Are they comfortable? Do you like how they look on you? Do you feel silly wearing them?

Then, ask yourself if you’re the kind of person who likes to stand out, or if you’d rather be subtle and understated. If you enjoy standing out, pair a bold statement piece with a simple outfit. If subtlety is your game, elevate your look with delicate jewelry and a simple, well-made handbag.

How The Main Street Exchange Can Help

Here at The Main Street Exchange, our goal is to empower women and affirm their value. We offer modest clothing and beautiful accessories to help you discover your unique style and inner confidence. 

If you struggle to find your style or put outfits together, we get it! We’ve written numerous style guides to help you out, including:

We offer beautiful accessories to complement your modest wardrobe, as well as:

Shop online, or if you’re in the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania area, stop in and try things on in person.

We’d love to see you there!

June 24, 2024 — Naomi Stoltzfus

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