The inspiration for this post is Iris Apfel, 90 something New York eccentric, whose ethos seems to be “more is more”. She is my aspiration for old me.
As a larger lady (Argh, the phrases we use – plus size, plus size to what??) I have become an expert at accessories. When you have lots of friends skinnier than you, you improvise.
You buy jewellery, bags, shoes and accessories so you don’t feel so awkward in shops that don’t cater for you. So bitchy shop assistants don’t look at you and laugh (I’m looking at you, girls in Top Shop). So you feel like you belong on the girly shopping trip.
To be honest, I hated being a fat teenager, and I wasn’t even that big, just bigger than my friends. The average size woman in the UK is a 16 (what that means varies brand to brand, and even within brands), but shops seem to tail off size wise at a 14.
It is better now, there are a few more options but still, there’s so much shame around being over that average and wanting to wear nice clothes, it makes me furious.
I have been both much bigger than I am today and also much skinnier. Everyone’s body is different, how we got to where we are varies just as wildly.
Without this becoming a therapy session – my weight has medical causes and emotional ones – my relationship with food is a mess. One I’m trying to get a handle on.
My best friend, who I love dearly, called me the accessories queen and she knows everything about me. I have turned adding the right accessory to an outfit into an art form.
It helps to be a magpie, with an eye for sparkly, unusual stuff.
My cupboard/wardrobe/storage space in my tiny flat is crammed with earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, pins, bags, shoes, scarves (I got the Mr to put up a scarf rail for me, it’s heaving). You name it, I probably have it, but can’t guarantee I can find it.
Annoyingly I can’t wear earrings much anymore, two years ago I got an infection in my earlobe, ten years after getting them pierced, and since then they’ve been very sensitive to metal. It frustrates me because I have fantastic earrings and good sized lobes to hang them from.
My scarf addiction has caused disagreements, but you can chuck a scarf of any design on over an outfit and make it amazing. Jeans and a T-shirt, funky scarf boosts it from slobbing about to lunch ready. LBD, contrasting design worn like a shawl, gorgeous. Trust me.
I love finding a necklace that works with different necklines, from collars to décolletage, there’s a different design for every occasion.
An eye catching ring, sparkling in the light, can draw the eye to or away from your nails, depending on their condition. While the right bracelet can set off an unusual length sleeve.
Shoes are also great at going “hello, I may be wearing a fairly dull outfit to work, but we’re pretty” especially these ones.
Sadly, I don’t own either pair, but I do have ones with cat faces and some covered in flamingos.
I’m not really a hat person, I don’t have the right head shape for it, but I’ve noticed the floppy brimmed hat making a comeback and on the right head, it looks fantastic.
I started wearing glasses a few years ago as a required thing, but I’ve always loved oversized sunglasses and cats eye frames with plain glass for dressing up and trying out new looks. EBay is great for really cheap frames and TKMaxx has a great selection of discounted designer sunglasses.
Finally there’s handbags, I love a good sized, sturdy bag, but also quirky clutches for nights out or special occasions and tote bags are a cute way to carry your shopping home, especially if like me you resent paying 5p for a crappy plastic bag that will probably break on the way home!
What are your favourite accessories? Let me know in the comments.