Style Tips 101 | Using Statement Pieces to Add a Wow Factor

Statement Pieces Take an Outfit from Nice to Wow
My best style tips are something I’m often asked about as a blogger, and I’ve usually been quite general with my suggestions. In the past, my tips have included always using a full length mirror, studying your outfit from a photo, and dressing occasion-appropriate (rather than age-appropriate). However, I thought it would be nice to share a more specific style tip with you after La Redoute asked me to enter their competition to become one of their brand ambassadors for a year – how much would I love to do that? They’re one of my favourite brands so it would be an amazing opportunity…!

La Redoute recently published their secrets to French style:

… and they tie in really nicely with my style tip. French style is very much about classic basics: a trench coat, ballet pumps, Breton stripes; I love neutral classics but sometimes I miss the mark with them. If I find myself putting an outfit together that just isn’t “doing it” for me, I’ll look for one extra thing to transform it entirely.

STYLE TIP: If you think your outfit looks bland, always add at least one statement piece. It’ll make your outfit go from “nice” to “WOW”.

What can I say, I’m a sucker for statements. And COLOUR. That’s why you’ll always find me in front of my wardrobe pulling out every bag, scarf and bright pair of shoes to give my outfit that “je ne sais quoi” we’re all after. So – to demonstrate!

Basic neutral office outfit
I chose a really neutral outfit that would be entirely appropriate for the office (a lot of people wonder how to dress with personality when you’ve got to look smart). It’s stylish but basic: a tailored blazer and cropped trousers, with fabulous, and a real leather, nude bag. However, it needed colour, a bit of zhuzhing up – so I experimented and tried a few accessories. Luckily I have the photos to really decide which looked the best, which brings me back to my previous tip about using photos to judge your outfit objectively. It never fails.

Statement pieces brighten a basic neutral outfit

So I tried bright heels, two different clutch bags, and a scarf. The heels just weren’t enough by themselves (despite their multitude of pinks and purples), and the studded clutch was fabulous by didn’t do enough to add colour. The orange clutch was brighter and draws your eye up more, but the one I liked the most was the scarf, draped round my neck and belted at the front. This is a way to wear a scarf I’ve seen many times but never tried, and I think it really works. In fact I was reminded of it when I saw this classic outfit on Carine Roitfeld (who may just be the epitome of French chic I think).

Statement scarf, studded clutch

So in the end I decided on the studded clutch (for a bit of attitude) and the scarf (for a bit of colour). This time I tied the scarf loosely round my neck – it was enough of a statement by itself when belted in the previous picture. The outfit remains entirely office-appropriate, but it has colour and more of that “wow” factor: it’s now become chic with just two extra items. These statement pieces needn’t cost the earth, either: I paid only £4 (really) for the studded clutch in the New Look sale, and the scarf was no more than £15 (Pieces at Asos). Experimentation is key – and above all, have fun.

What statement pieces are your go-to accessories to make your outfit go from “nice” to “WOW”? How do you zhuzh up an outfit? How do you spell “zhuzh”… zhuzh, jooj or jujj?! I need to know!

Catherine x

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Update 25/04/2014: I did it – I won!!! I’m going to Paris in May! Plus I get to be a brand ambassador for La Redoute for 12 months… I’m so excited!!!!!!

The Basics: Blazer: Next (old), T-shirt: Asos, Trousers: Asos, Black heels: , Nude bag: Karen Millen
The Statement Pieces: Pink heels: Very, Studded clutch: New Look, Orange clutch: Asos, Orange scarf: Asos

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  1. 21 April 2014 / 3:09 pm

    You are the master. I bow my head in subservience.

  2. 17 April 2014 / 9:49 pm

    Very good tips Catherine. I do the same as well. Most of my outfits are in neutral colours so I turn to accessories to brighten up the look and inject some colour into the overall look.

    The way you styled the scarf reminded me of the Burberry show. I might give it a try and see how it looks on me.

  3. 17 April 2014 / 8:31 pm

    When I was looking at each of your four "zhuzhed up" (love that spelling, by the way!) outfits, I was thinking…"Oh, that's really nice." And then, "I REALLY like that!" And then, "Okay, NOW we're talking!!" And finally, "WOW!! That looks AMAZING!!" Accessories do sooo much to take a look up to the next level, don't they, dear Catherine?! I often rely on my shoes to do the "zhuzhing"…but lately, that's been a bit of a challenge!! 😉

  4. 17 April 2014 / 5:35 pm

    Oh Catherine, you took the words right out of my mouth. French style is about investing in the basics, however I just love how you've added the touch of adding statement pieces. You're so right. Good luck with the competition, I think you'd be a perfect brand ambassador for La Redoute xx

    • 17 April 2014 / 6:24 pm

      Donna thank you!! I do admire French style but I also love to overdo it sometimes…! You're a love, =mwah=

  5. 17 April 2014 / 5:27 pm

    Such a great post although I tend to over do it with my accessories. Thanks for taking the time for us.

    • 17 April 2014 / 6:23 pm

      Oh I overdo it too Kelly – you're not alone…!

  6. 17 April 2014 / 12:24 pm

    Great post! I've always been an accessories girl, and I'm afraid to count how many bags, scarves and necklaces I have…. But I'm sure (= I hope) I wear all of them, eventually. Scarves are ok, but bags and shoes, that is a different story, they take up a lot of space in a suitcase, I just realised that, again, this morning…

    • 17 April 2014 / 6:22 pm

      Yes, they do!!! I always want to take lots of shoes, but they're so darn heavy and bulky. I still take them, though 😉

  7. 17 April 2014 / 10:09 am

    When I was younger I never used any accessories, ever! For that reason, most of my outfits looked quite bland. Last two years I've been experimenting a lot with staple pieces, they truly help a lot to spice up any look. Great tips! ^_^

    • 17 April 2014 / 6:22 pm

      I'm not sure anyone could EVER describe your style as bland, Keit!!! Thanks hun x

  8. 17 April 2014 / 12:24 am

    Ah Catherine you are looking great and this is such a good idea for a post. I was just thinking about doing something similar myself. Interesting accessories do make all the difference.

    blue hue wonderland

  9. 16 April 2014 / 9:42 pm

    Great tips and visuals on the power of accessories! You look terrific, xox

  10. 16 April 2014 / 8:56 pm

    Great post, Catherine! Accessories and statement pieces – and shoes! – make such a difference.
    Love your choice but also the belted version of the scarf!

    Annette | Lady of Style

    • 16 April 2014 / 10:30 pm

      I think I should try the belted scarf again considering the number of scarves I have, Annette…!!! Thank you my lovely x

  11. 16 April 2014 / 8:38 pm

    You are always a WOWWWWWWWWWW to me.

  12. 16 April 2014 / 5:38 pm

    This is a great post Catherine – I agree completely, and have been paying attention more to this since I have been taking daily outfit posts for a sharing website (Avenue 57) and it's made me think so much more about not being bland! I want to be wow everyday!

    I've actually entered this competition too. Best of luck to you, and hopefully we'll both be on the Eurostar together! P x

    • 16 April 2014 / 10:29 pm

      Oh that'd be brilliant Sarah – good luck to you too! It's nice that there's two being chosen and we're not competing directly :))

  13. 16 April 2014 / 5:22 pm

    I'm a big fan of statement jewelry, especially necklaces!

  14. 16 April 2014 / 5:03 pm

    That is what is so much fun about accessories…it is like a blank canvas to paint on every day! Good post!

    • 16 April 2014 / 10:28 pm

      Hmmm I'm a bit of an accessories girl, Pam – and yes to the blank canvas, I agree! xx

    • 16 April 2014 / 10:17 pm

      I've been meaning to try it for aaaages, Liz – thank you, glad you liked it!

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