Friday, April 16


The accessories worn with an outfit - gloves, hat, shoes, and handbag - are among the most important elements of an elegant appearance. A modest dress or suit can triple its face value when it is worn with an elegant hat, bag, gloves, and shoes, while a designer's original can lose much of it's prestige if its accessories have been carelessly selected... It is indispensable to own a complete set of accessories in black and, if possible, another in brown, plus a pair of beige shoes and a beige straw handbag for the summer. With this basic minimum almost every combination is attractive... Of course, it would be ideal to have each set of accessories in two different version: one for sport and the other dressy... And speaking of the little objects we carry in our handbags... they can be charming, even more so if they match. So decide upon a colour and a material and little by little try to aquire a complete set: wallet, change purse, comb case, key case, eyeglass case, etc. (an ideal theme for those little gifts!). The style of your compact will depend upon the depth of your wallet. But whether it is an ordinary one or a precious antique gold box, try to have a matching lipstick case and, needless to add, a clean handkerchief every morning. Personally I prefer white ones, of very fine linen, embroidered with my initials."

.:A Guide to Elegance:.
Genevieve Antoine Dariaux


Obviously, in 2010, ladies don't need hats, gloves, comb cases, and lipstick cases. However, I do think that there is something to be said for neat and attractive handbag and shoe combinations, as well as a tidy interior of one's bag. Personally, as a busy mother of little ones, I have chosen to stick with one color of shoe and bag to simplify things (I simply don't have time to rotate bags and shoes every morning before we start our day). I love that my tan/brown shoes and handbag (I have a canvas Longchamp tote in brown that I will break out soon) go with the neutral colors in my wardrobe - brown, black, gray, navy, and white. Since they match, my accessories look put together even if I am wearing a denim skirt or jeans and running to the market.

Prior to becoming a wife and mother, I bought a few quality matching handbag accessories (key ring, wallet, and planner) to tidy up my handbag. Five years of daily use later, everything is still in great condition (though I lost my keys and beautiful key ring a year or two ago - I keep hoping they will turn up). I would love to add a few beautiful matching pouches to my handbag to hold the smaller things that jumble up along the bottom.

Of course, we all have different styles and tastes. Many women love fabric floral patterned purses, leather ones, diaper bags, or even totes for the things that they need to haul around on a daily basis. Any of these choices can be classy and elegant. I think that the deciding factor in accessory elegance is whether one chooses something that fits their taste, lifestyle, and wardrobe choices. In addition, an effort needs to be made to keep ones shoes and bag clean, neat, and in good condition.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject! I find it so interesting to hear your perspective!


elizabeth said...

Nice! Simple and classy is great; I am hoping to rehaul my wardrobe sometime to simply and have fewer but better things; but I do have a lovely big leather black purse and I have a pair of black Birkenstock clogs that I love! :)

Caeseria said...

The color scheme that comes most naturally to me is "goth" - and so I own at least half a dozen of everything in BLACK. I've been contemplating a more well-rounded wardrobe AND accessories to accessorize for a few months, pared down the black (finding more clothes in storage was a real eye-opener as far as just how many nearly-identical black shirts I had), and started trying to add brown and even WHITE (though that's not going well). The quest for brown started with finding an awesome purse I loved - in chocolate brown. I owned no brown anything at all when I got the purse, so I have to find clothing with which to carry it! And since I've always, always worn black, it's kind of scary. I have to retrain my brain. But I keep picturing cute outfits with which to carry my purse, and keep looking. I WILL have matching accessories in brown and clothes to with which to wear them. Someday.
Ditto for white - I finally found a pair of white heels, for the first time since I was a child, just in time for Easter. But I have no white purse! So on Easter, I just didn't carry one! :)
I did manage to simplify purse changes by finding "the perfect wallet" to go from purse to purse to purse with all my essentials. And since it's a black and ivory design, it can compliment just about any purse. THAT was a triumphant bit of shopping, and I've not lost my license or debit card since. That's had the unexpected side effect of keeping my purses somewhat cleaner, too!
I wish women still wore gloves. I'm trying to collect hats for Sunday, too - another thing to match to purse and shoes!

kyrie said...

I am definitely a fan of fewer but higher quality in all things, and taking care of the things you have (so they can last a long time!). When you think of classic beauties through history, they always had a uniform of sorts, and I try to do that too. My sister says you can tell how financially well-off a man is by checking out his shoes! Ha!

I also love investing in high quality accessories because I know they will look great if I'm pregnant, nursing, both, or in-between, and I can't say that for all my clothes! :)

MamaBirdEmma said...

Thanks, Elizabeth!

Ceasaria, I was totally into black when I was a teen and in my early twenties. I still have some of it, but have found that browns, blues, and lavenders totally soften my look. I am also loving red now:) Spring and summer might be the best time to try to transition out of black for you. Black is a hard habit to break;)

Kyrie, I think that the fact that my body is always changing (and is heavier than it has ever been - especially in my chest area) is exactly why I am so into shoes and bags! Quality accessories enhance my look when a wrinkled skirt and stretched out tee don't! LOL!

Anonymous said...

I have a tendency to wear solid colors. It is very rare to find me wearing patterns or prints. It probably has something to do with my tendency towards simple and clean lines (and spaces). Anyway, I wanted to do something to make the solid color-look seem more feminine. A few years ago, I shocked everyone around me and bought a Vera Bradley. I like the burst of color and texture with my understated outfits. And this year I bought a new one and splurged on the matching sunglasses/case, wallet and small cosmetic pouch for the interior. It is very fresh and pretty and makes boring outfits come to life. (Oh and I chose Birds in a Tree.)'%20in%20a%20Tree/pc/639/p/154766/pageSize/15/sc/738/c/0/currentIndex/15.uts

Helen said...

Hi Emily

I love how you still carry handbags even though you have young children.

My question is: where do you put all the baby things if you are just carrying a handbag? I find that even with one (and one in utero, too!) I have to carry diapers, wipes, snacks. My diaper bag just broke and I'm really wanting to carry a handbag instead.

Any suggestions?


Courtney said...

I still have the same Vera Bradley bags and accessories that I did three years ago! I don't carry my Java Blue diaper bag much anymore (I have a plain black one), and I recently added a Fossil wallet in a vintage print that I like, but it does NOT work well with my other print. I'm thinking I should return it and look for a VB wallet instead!

Pres. Kathy said...

I tend to stick to solid colors myself. You will usually find me wearing a black skirt or pants around the house with a colorful shirt. I love color. Now that we are having nicer weather, I took out the flip flops - now all I need is a pedicure!! :-) As far as bags are concerned, I tend to buy a couple really nice ones and wear them on Sundays to church. On the weekdays you see me with a nice leather backpack to carry all my little guy's things!! I hope you are doing well! Christ is Risen!

Xenia Kathryn said...

Oh man, I'm so "west coast", it's not even funny. I went to a little French restaurant for brunch today for a baby shower. I thought I looked pretty "together"... but now I realize my purse and my shoes were totally mismatched, both with each other and with my outfit.

I love my dansko marcelle shoes; they're all I need for church or nicer events. But during my last trimester of pregnancy, they're too hard on my feet and my lower back. So... it's my frumpy flats for the next 4-5 weeks! :D

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