Accessories enliven the outfit possibilities in your wardrobe, without buying up expensive or unnecessarily. This reduces your environmental impact and saves you money. It’s also a way for your creative style and individuality to stand out.

Expanding your array of outfit mix-ups with a few handy accessories can be a great deal of fun. So, what works best? Well, that’s up to you and your personality – and the choices are only limited by your imagination!

Scarves, shoes, hats, belts, bangles, beads, brooches, earrings, bags, glasses and hair trinkets can be found at great prices at all op shops and markets – they’re almost guaranteed to be on-offs and allow you to steer away from following the trend crowds.

A scarf can be worn around your neck, on your head or in your hair, wrapped around a handbag handle or worn as a layering piece (if it’s big enough). Play with textures, patterns, block colours, ones with tassels and ones with furry bits, velvet, wool, silk; ones that wind around your neck, ones that drape, ones that fold into bandannas and ones that elegantly hug your shoulders or hips. Woo hoo…a scarf opens up swathes of possibilities.

Hair trinkets like vintage, retro, Bakelite or ceramic clips, hair bands and pins, and colourful and textured scrunchies can add some fun colour and focus points.

Belts – large, small, wide or narrow – can be worn at the waist or the hips to enliven a plain outfit, and take day wear to hitting-the-town wear in a second. Especially if it’s beaded, metallic or adds a little bling! Winter or summer a chunky belt over knitwear can dress up a casual look or pull a lightweight shirt dress into an elegant piece.

There are some amazing hats styles around, and so many find their way to markets. Hat colours and styles serve up such a wide choice. Pick a hat that you feel comfortable in and it’ll add some pizzazz to your outfit and have you feeling like a million dollars. Choose hats that are classics and that compliment your hair and facial skin tones.

Glasses or sunnies are a fabulous accessory. If you wear glasses for medical reasons it can be a great way to have some fun – the styles can change your look (excuse the pun!) instantly. And, sunnies – well, the sky’s the limit!

Shoes. Now, this accessory along with multiple coloured leather bangles for every outfit is my personal favourite. Your outfit can be taken from casual to smart, classic to retro, chic to boho simply by a change of shoe style. An outfit changes if it’s worn with ankle boots, knee high boots or over the knee boots. A block colour dress or jeans and tee combo can be instantly enlivened with a different colour pair of shoes and scarf – great for travelling or when a capsule wardrobe is happening. Shoes and boots are a great way to add patterns, prints or colour you may not ordinarily want to wear in bigger amounts. Whilst animal print is everywhere at the moment it’s a classic, and some say, a neutral colour. A scarf, hat, bag or shoes in print can look fab. Chunky shoes or boots can add a quirky feel to a soft floaty feminine dress or a conservative pant suit.

Being inventive with what you’ve already got in your wardrobe opens up a whole world of options. And, knowing what you’ve got and where your gaps are can make market rummaging so much easier. Need an orange scarf, a retro pair of psychedelic earrings, or a pair of animal print brogues…a market’s the place.

If you’re travelling or want to carry something small to change up a day to evening outfit straight from work, jewellery like earrings, bangles or necklaces can be perfect. Add a smear of your favourite lippie and it’s a whole new look. What about a different earring for each ear? Or if you’ve multi-ear piercings, the combos can be numerous and so much fun. Experiment with dangly versus gold or pearl stud earrings; colourful resins or glass earrings or bangles; leather accessories are funky and I find personally that a leather bangle the perfect solution to eliminating the jangling on my work desk!

And, last but not least, bags. We all know that a bag can be a real focal piece on an outfit. Adding a scarf or tassel can be playful and add some colour. It’s a whole other world if you don’t mind moving all your essentials (!). Bags in bright colours worn across the body or as backpacks are handy as well as funky. Handheld clutches are elegant, and larger bags over the shoulder are casual and practical if you’ve lots to carry. There’s no end to the options and you’ll be spoilt for choice at markets where you can pick something you’d not ordinarily wear and take a risk.

It’s a wonderful playground!

Thanks to ideas from stylists Anna Mabin and Amy Richmond and ABC Life by Kellie Scott

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