Accessories: How to make a big statement

How do you make a big statement with the little touches? Know where to start and where to stop with your accessories

  • Story by Photo Jackie Meiring

How do you make a big statement with the little touches? Know where to start and where to stop with your accessories.

If there’s one thing that modern bridal fashion teaches us, it is to celebrate with an array of colour, styles and textures – that includes accessories. It’s easy to get carried away – after all, it’s the only time since you were five years old that you can justify wearing a tiara. But considering they can make or break your look, strategise how you accessorise so that your ensemble is seamless.

A piece of jewellery can change the mood of an outfit, says Elizabeth Soljak from A La Robe. ‘Your choice of jewellery can give your dress a modern vibe or a vintage feel to tie in with your wedding theme.’ According to bridal designer Jane Yeh, jewellery should be used to highlight key features of your gown. ‘If your dress is very detailed, choose chic, simple and unobtrusive extras’, Jane says.
You’ll also want to balance your look. The appropriate length of your necklace and whether you go for chandelier earrings or small studs will depend on the neckline of your dress. When it comes to texture, streamlined, graphic details create a dramatic dynamic when worn in contrast with floaty, feminine fabrics.
Jewellery choices can also enhance your body shape, says Diane Stephenson from Modes on Broadway ( ‘If you’re top heavy, divert attention downwards with a statement bracelet or by carrying a decorative clutch. To frame your face, opt for fanciful earrings.’

A small clutch or bag is a must for those emergency items, such as a lipstick and tissues. Like everything else, it should tie in with your look.

First and foremost, your shoes should be comfortable and complement your dress. Hot heels will accentuate ankle-long hemlines and elongate your legs but it’s a great idea to bring along a second pair of shoes for dancing, such as ballet slippers or sandals. And you don’t have to stick to white – add an element of surprise by revealing a glimpse of brilliantly coloured footwear beneath a long white gown.

Even the most modern bridal ensemble can be enhanced with this beautiful ceremonial headpiece. An embellished veil will add interest to a simple gown while a classic circular veil that covers the eyes or a Cathedral veil best suits formal events. The lace-trimmed mantilla veil is ideal for a vintage vibe while the pouf adds a fun element to a short, slinky dress.

A formal complement to a daytime bridal look, hats are best worn when the sun’s out and doffed in the evening. Keep pins and a comb in your beauty bag for touch-ups.

With so many shapes, sizes and styles on offer, the fascinator has become a permanent fixture on the bridal scene. To personalise your headpiece, enlist the services of a milliner or local dressmaker and create something special based on your gown.

Known as the ‘princess of headpieces’, the tiara brings attention to the face by framing it and adds a fabulous accent to any dress, from a simple sheath to a ball gown. It will suit most round face shapes, especially if the tiara rises in the middle while.

Whatever the length, gloves make a statement – just remember that you will need to take them off for the ceremonial exchange of rings.

Floor-sweeping sheer capes set an enchanting scene for the ethereal spring or summer bride, while vintage fur or rich velvet versions will keep you winter warm in a true movie star fashion.

Both fashionable and versatile, a wrap is a practical way to cover bare shoulders or decolletage and ward off an evening chill.

From delicate lace numbers to satin-sleeved coats, jackets can be both pretty and polished.

This accessory’s cropped length ensures that your gown takes centre stage. Add interest with textures such as fur, lace or fine wool.

Whether you opt for fresh flowers or those made from silk, a crown of your favourite blooms will soften your hairstyle. It’s a romantic look that’s ideal for outdoors – think garden party or beach vows.

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