As a student, deciding how to dress for daily life on campus can become a mission in itself. Then, you have to move on to accessorising the outfit, which can be a difficult process if you are not sure where to start.
You will be able to find quirky but elegant accessory options at most of the jewellery shops in South Africa, and you can even look for accessories in second-hand stores for vintage offerings. Read the advice below to find out how to accessorise for daily life on campus.
Do you prefer a delicate or a bold look?
One of the first steps to take to decide on how to accessorise your outfit is to figure out whether you prefer a delicate or bold look. If you want to keep it classic and delicate, then choose simple and light jewellery.
For a bolder look, look for jewellery that can be used as a focal piece of the outfit, keeping your clothes simple and understated. You could look for a large brooch to pin to a jacket lapel or hoop earrings to frame your face. Remember that you will have to wear the jewellery all day, so be sure the earrings or necklaces are not too heavy or clunky.
Headwear is a great way to accessorise for a day on campus, especially if you have been unable to wash your hair the night before or woke up without enough time to brush your tangled mane. A hat can be a conversation point but be sure it is scaled to the rest of your outfit.
Hats are the perfect addition to almost any outfit, and a fedora can look timeless and elegant in all of the warmer seasons. Pair a fedora with simple blue denim jeans and a classic white t-shirt and you are ready to rock your classes. In colder weather, a knitted beanie or felt beret are perfect options, and if you enjoy the bohemian aesthetic look for floral printed headbands to complement your look.
More is not always more
While layering necklaces and stacking bracelets can look glamorous and on trend, not everyone can pull this look off. Think about the rest of your outfit: are you wearing a simple shirt-and-pants combo? Five necklaces may be too much. On the other hand, if you are wearing a dramatic colour-block dress, bangles stacked on each wrist can look stunning.
Coco Chanel was quoted saying, ‘Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory,’ so practice this before you leave your room for class. Perhaps you do not need the large belt buckle and the rings on each hand. Decide which pieces best complement your outfit and remove those that clutter it.
In milder weather, a fun and unique way to accessorise an outfit is to choose a scarf. Not only will you look chic, but a scarf will keep your neck warm in weather that causes many people to become sick with scratchy throats.
A scarf can add panache to any simple outfit, whether it is a big blanket scarf or a thinner one added for style. A patterned scarf is best worn with a more simple ensemble, while a single colour-blocked scarf works well with any outfit. For chilly days on campus, scarves are the perfect accessory to keep you warm and looking great.
Make sure your jewellery and clothes complement each other, not compete
If your outfit is already making a bold statement with sequins or a loud pattern, try to look for jewellery that is simple and delicate. It is better to look classy and elegant with simple pieces than looking as if you do not know how to dress.
A louder statement necklace can dress up a casual top-and-jeans combination, but be sure to keep your earrings to studs if you choose to wear a large necklace. Conversely, avoid wearing a necklace if you prefer to wear large hoop earrings, as this can make your face and neck appear too ‘busy’. Some of the jewellery South Africa offers is traditional, such as beaded necklaces, which can add a unique element to a ‘classic’ outfit.
Handbags or bookbags
A handbag is an effective way to accessorise any outfit, and as a student, you can also use your bookbag to do so. A bookbag does not have to be plain and boring but can be equally as stylish as a designer handbag.
Because there are so many options for handbags, ranging from backpacks to clutches and cross-body to tote bags, you are sure to find one (or two… or three) options to suit your daily outfits. Your bookbag can be used as an accessory, especially if you choose one in a neutral colour and fabric, such as leather or canvas. A backpack or messenger bag is a fashion-forward and practical option for those times when you spend all day on campus.
Campus chic doesn’t have to be tricky
Looking chic and put together on a student budget does not have to be difficult. You can trawl antique stores or craft markets to find the perfect piece for your outfit, or look out for sales at your favourite Cape Town jewellery shops.
If you remember Coco Chanel’s teaching of removing one accessory before you leave, your outfits will always look effortlessly put together. Headwear, scarves and handbags are also accessory options to look at. Remember to have fun when dressing, and wear accessories that make you smile, because a smile is the best accessory anyone can wear.