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Fashion tips: Accessories are the key

The simplest and most effective way to keep your look updated is well-chosen accessories.

The simplest and most effective way to keep your look updated is well-chosen accessories. Bucks image consultant JULIA CUMMING shows us how to put the icing on the style cake

IF YOU'RE trying to save money and thinking twice before buying a new wardrobe for summer, a great way to refresh your look is with some colourful accessories. Nothing can let a stylish outfit down more than the wrong handbag or frumpy shoes, and nothing can update your image more than carefully chosen accessories such as a statement necklace, colourful scarf, flattering belt or gorgeous bag.

Accessories needn't cost you a fortune but their impact is immediate.

* Shoes Matching the style of your shoes to the style of your outfit is the key to looking well-dressed.

Formalwear needs formal court-style shoes and casual wear needs more casual loafers, pumps or sandals.

When it comes to the height of the heel, the general rule is that the shorter the skirt, the lower the heel in order to look balanced.

With boots, make sure they end at the slimmest part of your calf (check out www.duoboots.com for boots to fit extra wide or slim calves). If wearing open-toed sandals, make sure your toenails look pretty

* Handbags Like shoes, handbags can date your look. To stay young and fashionable, you need to have a small selection of handbags to suit different occasions and outfits.

Bags this season are still quite big but you need to choose a size in proportion to your size - huge bags look too overpowering on a petite, while twee little bags can look insignificant on largeframed women.

Obviously, you also need to consider the practicalities of what you carry around with you in your bag. Look out for the beautiful embellished styles around this summer. M&S have some pretty ones.

* Hosiery As the temperature rises (hopefully) this summer, you will be going bare-legged, so make sure your legs and toenails are prepared.

There are some great fake tanning products around now to make your legs look sun-kissed. Low denier fleshcoloured tights, stockings or hold-ups are great for the summer.

* Jewellery Costume jewellery is a great way to keep your look youthful and up-to-date and a bold necklace can give a favourite outfit a new lease of life.

There are some beautiful necklaces available - have a look in Bhs, Diamonds & Pearls and M&S.

Don't be afraid of mixing costume jewellery with real. Colours should complement or contrast with the colours of your top, such as a turquoise coloured necklace with a navy T-shirt or vice versa.

A long neck will look better balanced with a choker or multi-strand style necklace and the long earrings which are around this year. Short necks look better with longer length necklaces and shorter earrings.

Don't let a necklace dangle into your cleavage - above or below is more flattering.

* Sunglasses

You may have read the fashion page a few months ago which discussed selecting the correct shape of glasses to flatter varying face shapes.

Broadly, glasses need to balance the face and, even though the big sunglass shapes are still in vogue, they shouldn't overwhelm petite bone structure and hang over the side of the face.

Rounded faces look better in square-edged styles while square faces need the softer, more rounded frames.

Choose frame colour carefully to flatter your colouring - remember, cool colours (silver, blue,white) for those with pale, cool colouring and warmer frames, such as tortoiseshell, gold and bronze, for those with warm, autumnal tones.

* Scarves. Not that we shall be needing them this summer if we believe the optimistic weather-forecasters but large colourful pashminas, big chiffon scarves and shrugs are a great addition to your accessory collection.

They can add a splash of bold colour to any outfit, from casual jeans to formalwear, and can immediately refresh last year's summer clothes.

A long thin scarf draped around your neck can make you look taller and slimmer. Avoid tying a scarf in a pussycat bow if you have a short neck or a larger bust.

* Belts are a great accessory that can modernise your look and help balance the proportions of your upper and lower body.

If you have a long body and shorter legs, wear your belt on your waist.

If you have a short body and long legs, try your belt in a low-slung way on your hips.

You do however, need a waist to wear a belt.

So, head towards this summer in style - you don't need to spend a fortune on a new wardrobe; you can make your old favourites work for you again this year with a new, colourful lease of life!

 

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