Terms of Adornment: The Ultimate Guide to Accessories

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9780062737298: Terms of Adornment: The Ultimate Guide to Accessories

You no longer have to lament over the fate of your unused accessories--from the scarf you always forget to wear to that handbag you had to have but only use once or twice a year to those shoes you never wear because your personal style has changed. Accessory guru Deborah Chase is here to save the day (or at least your wardrobe). Packed with tons of tips, historical fashion anecdotes, and complete outfits for every accessory, Terms of Adornment is an A-to-Z guide to utilizing everything from amethysts and aviator glasses to y necklaces and zippers. Save time, money, and frustration: maximize your wardrobe and wear what you like with a style that's all about you.

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About the Author:

Deborah Chase is the author of six books, including The New Medically Based No-Nonsense Beauty book, Fruit Acids for Fabulous Skin, and Every Bride Is Beautiful. Her articles have appeared in Glamour, Redbook, and Ladies' Home Journal. In 1998, she toured the United States as the national spokesperson for the Pond's Educated Face program. She lives in New York City.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

If you open the top drawer of a woman's dresser, chances are you will find: five scarves in assorted sizes, a white linen gardenia pin, turquoise earrings bought on vacation in Arizona, and a Bakelite bracelet discovered in a flea market. What do these items have in common? They've never been worn.

Accessories are appealing. They look wonderful in magazines, irresistible in store windows, and seductive in glass showcases. But once in your home, they tend to stay quietly in your dresser. The luminous scarf that promised to go so well with your new lavender suit now seems lumpy and awkward around your shoulders. The white flower never looks quite right with your navy jacket. It almost seems like accessories should come with a set of instructions. Now they do.

Terms of Adornment deals with the shoes, gloves, bags, and jewelry that delight and confound us. From ascots to watches this book looks at the history of each item, examines the different types, and offers fresh ways to wear what you already own, while also serving as a guide to choosing new accessories with confidence. Terms of Adornment will empower you, showing how to wear what you like, rather than dictating what is right and wrong. You will find that you are spending less money on clothes, yet look and feel fantastic.

Building a Wardrobe of Accessories

Accessories are often accumulated differently than the rest of the wardrobe. Women rarely set out to buy a specific piece such as a fedora hat or an ivory bracelet. Many pieces are inherited from relatives while others are received as gifts, or are impulse buys on a vacation. A few items are bought to go with specific outfits. This random acquisition can create drawerfuls of lovely but seemingly unrelated pieces. To choose and use the right accessories, it is helpful to divide them into two broad groups: the stars and the supporting players.

Accessory stars such as a faux fur handbag or a pair of oversized rhinestone earrings will always take center stage. The focus of every eye, they are the first thing people will see and the last thing they forget. By virtue of their size, shape, color, or texture, accessory stars make a memorable impact. Your clothing becomes the background canvas for these accessories with attitude.

Subtle, but never boring, supporting players provide balance and finish. Sometimes they reinforce a star, such as a pair of small silver hoop earrings to balance an oversized silver and ivory bracelet. In other situations, supporting accessories are all that's needed with a spectacularly cut or boldly patterned fabric. A good example: a pair of small diamond stud earrings with a sheer black lace slip dress.

Creating a Look

The true goal of this book is to help women wear accessories with confidence. The how-to-wear lists were established on three basic rules: (1) the clothes are flattering to a range of ages and body types; (2) they are contemporary and timeless; and (3) they are widely available at a range of prices.

The basic pants, sweaters, shirts, jackets, dresses, and coats are used repeatedly, recognizing that few of us have unlimited wardrobe budgets. The often-used clothing pieces form the backbone of a basic wardrobe. This certainly doesn't mean that these should be the only items in your closet. We all enjoy finding and wearing new and different styles for diversity and attitude. Just keep in mind that some clothing is too strong to take decoration, while the basics will give you a canvas to use almost any accessory.

The outfits range from trendy to classic, casual to formal, wearable in summer or winter. There are colorful and complex ensembles for the times that you want to be the center of attention as well as monochromatic styles when you want to project a quiet confidence.

Jewelry is used in two distinct ways throughout the book. Small gold or silver hoop earrings and chains, and pearl stud earrings offer a wonderful touch of light and finish to an outfit. If you usually don't wear jewelry this is a good way to develop a comfort level with these always flattering accessories. In other outfits, dramatic pieces such as cuff bracelets or a string of large amber beads add color and focus.

Terms of Adornment is a book to read and enjoy. If you have a favorite accessory, look it up to find new ways to wear it. When there is a piece in your drawers or closet that never seems to get a chance to go out, check out the how-to-wear sections for inspiration. On a rainy afternoon, or lying on a sunny beach, thumb through the pages to find out how to wear a large pin or find the most flattering hat. Write in the book, noting which outfits worked and additions of your own imagination. Add new outfits that you create as well as a wish list of accesories that you'd love to add to your collection. Remember, the only style that matters is your own personal style.

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