Most designers are designing for 5-foot-10, 110-pound models. Unless you're one of them, you need to pick and choose from the accessories out there when designing your evening look.
And the look for you're going for, always, is balance.
If you've managed to escape modern society's brainwashed vision of beauty, more power to you. Otherwise, you're aiming for "hourglass." Skinny hourglass, curvy hourglass, athletic hourglass: The bust and the hips are balanced, and the waist is smaller than each.
About 8 percent of the fairer sex actually looks like this [source: NCS]. The rest of us fake it, and accessories can help us do that.
It's about balancing proportions, which is pretty easy if you just take an honest look at yourself. If your hips are the widest part of your body, a silk wrap around your shoulders and bust can even you out. An evening jacket, a tiered and ruffled top, or even a big pair of earrings can have a similar effect. A skinny scarf wrapped snugly around your neck would have the opposite effect, making everything below it appear huge.
Bust too big for the rest you? A wide, studded belt around your hips can fix that, drawing attention downward and balancing top and bottom. You could try a pair of platform shoes for that result, too. Again, avoid the skinny scarf.
Balance is key to looking (conventionally) great, but it's not the only key. Accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative always applies. In accessories, that could mean drawing the eye to a long, graceful neck with a choker, putting a statement bracelet on a slender wrist, covering up a bad hair day with a sexy fedora, and knowing if your waist no longer merits a sparkly, attention-grabbing cincher.
In a nutshell:
- Look for simple, neutral, monotone accessories for areas you don't want to accentuate. Black, tan, or navy blue can work well.
- Bright, intricate, "statement" accessories (aka "focal pieces") can draw the eye to your best features. Save beading, embellishment and multicolor pieces for areas you want to show off.
Accessorizing for your body will get you part of the way to looking your stylish best. The rest depends on the outfit your body's got on.