When the weather turns chilly, we have a tendency to throw on anything – or everything – that will simply keep the elements at bay. The challenge, though, is how to do that without looking like an overstuffed sofa.

Unlike the young, carefree girls depicted in some of those fantasy television dramas, (I’m thinking specifically of Sex and the City) it’s highly unlikely we will just throw on a floor-length fur over a sparkly mini dress and 4” heels and go out and paint the town red, snow drifts be damned.

So how do we “show up” this season, even when the climate is less favorable? Well, you can’t go wrong by simply adding a cool, fashionable accessory.

Bag It!

Prints and Colors

Handbags have gotten quite a makeover this year: stripes, sparkles, pompoms, faux fur, geometric shapes, you name it. There’s something for every personality. The biggest trend is in faux crocodile, lizard, snake, and other animal prints.

But if you like something more traditional, try one in a saturated color like cobalt, pink, or even yellow. Adding a pop of color to a neutral, or even a similar-shade outfit, can be really fun.

Size Tiny!

A lot of my highly practical peers have honed down their handbag contents to the bare essentials: cell phone, lipstick, keys. The theory is that small is beautiful and unencumbering.

Also, unless you have the height or stature to carry it off, an oversized bulky bag can just make you look weighed down. So, if you want to look fashion-forward and a bit nonchalant, check out one of the smaller bags that are extremely popular right now.

Handle or Cross-Body?

Many of these have top handles or can even fit in your palm, held by a very short handle that slips around your hand. I’m not a fan of the new super short cross-body ones that cut your body and end up just below the bust line.

Most of the models you see wearing those are less endowed, but the proportions still look very odd and unflattering. I’m also not a fan of wearing multiple bags at once, a style you will also see. Both of those are mostly for shock value.

Value or Trendy

That brings up an important point. The trendier the style, the shorter shelf-life it will likely have. I always advise clients to buy the best they can afford and wear it until it falls apart.

But if one of the really cool, trendy ones speaks to you, look for it at one of the lower-end retailers. (I have stopped women in the street to ask them where they bought a bag and discovered they got it at Target or Zara.)

Cool Boots and Booties

You’re seeing boots and booties just everywhere these days, in every heel height, in lots of fierce-looking patterns and textiles, and in every style from classic to playful to ultra-sleek.

It doesn’t take much more than a very on-trend and stylish pair of boots or booties to ramp up a ho-hum or very casual outfit and turn it into something really quite hip. A great pair of tall or short booties can even make a puffer coat look more stylish.

Prints Are Cool

As with handbags, the biggest trend this year is in animal prints and textiles. Fortunately, nearly everyone can wear animal prints. The bolder your style, the more volume of it you can wear.

But even if your style is more refined or timid, a smaller amount of animal print can make your overall outfit look very contemporary. The good news is that, as animal prints are a perennial for everyone of any age, you will be able to wear your boots again and again over the years.

Height Matters

The key with boots it to make sure you are wearing the right boot height with the right hemline of your pants or skirt/dress. Booties work well with slightly cropped pants so that the top of the boot doesn’t scrunch up the hem of the pants.

Both shorter and long hemlines in dresses can work with higher boots. You can also wear booties with shorter dresses as long as they don’t make your leg look short. And that brings up another new trend that solves that problem.

Stockings Are Back

For many women in our demographic, and for a long time now, leggings have taken over as a kind of playful way to interpret the trend toward skinny pants and jeans. And that trend hasn’t really slowed down.

A great tunic top worn with leggings and a nice pair of boots is a very easy and fashionable way to spruce up your fall wardrobe. But this year, colorful, patterned stockings and tights are back in a huge way.

You’ll definitely see a lot of sheer patterned tights. But for many of us, depending on the state of our legs and skin, opaque tights make us more comfortable.

A pair of colorful plaid stockings worn with a solid color longer dress or skirt and booties is an easy and inexpensive way to add some punch to a fall wardrobe.

Or you can wear them peeking out from under some of the newer cropped pant styles, worn with chunky heels. A solid color in one of the trendier shades, such as marigold yellow, burgundy, cerise, or even lavender, will do the same.

Heavy Metal

If you really want to say, “Hear me roar,” you can’t go wrong with a chunky, artistic piece of jewelry in silver, gold, brass, or copper. This fall, you’re going to see a lot of thicker chain necklaces, mobile-like earrings, and metallic bracelets in varying sizes, many of them worn together.

Now, all of those require a pretty dramatic personal style. But even adding one statement bracelet or necklace to a simple dress can be a knockout.

If you like the artistry and drama of these kinds of pieces, but don’t like the feel of cold metal against your neck or arms, (I don’t) you might want to look for one in resin or lucite. They are also popular and the right one can be something that defines your style over the years.

Such a Waist

Finally, so many of us have given up on calling any attention to our waists. That’s a shame, really. Creating a demarcation line at the waistline by adding a great belt can really make you look very stylish. It’s an accessory that says, “I completed this outfit.”

The key to wearing a belt is to get the width right for your torso. If you are fairly long-waisted, regardless of the size of your tummy, you can get away with a wider belt.

The size of the buckle should also be in proportion to your overall height and size. The more height and girth you have, the larger the buckle can be.

If you are short-waisted, a narrower belt is better. But if you are concerned about calling attention to the size of your waist, wearing one slightly below your actual waistline is elongating to your torso and more flattering.

Right now, chain belts are very much in fashion, ala Chanel. It’s another cool way to add metal accessories.

What is your favorite new accessories trend? Which of your current accessories make you feel very stylish? Please share in the comments below.

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