Item used to contribute to the wearer’s outfit
A fashion accessory is an item used to contribute, in a secondary manner, to the wearer’s outfit, often used to complete an outfit and chosen to specifically complement the wearer’s look. It has the capacity to further express an individuals identity and personality as there are accessories that come in different, shapes, sizes, hues etc. The term came into use in the 20th century.
Fashion accessories can be loosely categorized into two general areas: those that are carried and those that are worn. Traditionally carried accessories include purses and handbags, glasses, hand fans, parasols and umbrellas, wallets, canes, and ceremonial swords. Accessories that are worn may include jackets, boots and shoes, cravats, ties, hats, bonnets, belts and suspenders, gloves, muffs, necklaces, bracelets, watches, sashes, shawls, scarves, lanyards, socks, pins, piercings, rings, and stockings.
The type of accessory that an individual chooses to wear or carry to complement their outfit can be determined by several factors including the specific context of where the individual is going. For example, if an individual is going to work their choice of accessory would differ to one who is going out to drinks or dinner thus depending on work or play different accessories would be chosen. Similarly, an individual’s economical status, religious and cultural background would also be a contributing factor.
In Victorian fashion accessories such as fans, parasols and gloves held significance for how women experienced gender, race, and class. In this era, there was a trend for women to adopt, or aspire to, a more leisurely lifestyle. Consequently, gloves were often used by women to cover their hands and mask any signs of labor.
Also, in the early 16th century in Italy hat badges were worn by civilian men of higher social status as a decorative item, in imitation of the cap badges worn by the invading military. Hat badges were often worn in conjunction with a decorative sword and hilt. Hat badges were fashioned after plaquettes and often depicted a scene with personal relevance to the wearer.
As time has progressed fashion accessories have become more and more prominent in the immediate fashion world ranging from the runway to street wear. Today’s generation of fashionistas has adopted a new way of wearing certain items to complete an outfit. Celebrities such as A$AP Rocky and Lil Uzi Vert have a unique style and have redefined what it means to wear an accessory. Many hurdles were cleared this year in the fashion world by icons such as Kanye West and Virgil Abloh, bringing freshness and innovation to the fashion industry. Virgil Abloh, CEO of Off-White and creative designer for Louis Vuitton, has paved a way for many trends to take off due to his usage of them in his runway shows consisting of the new “Dad Shoe” trend that’s catching on quickly throughout many other big names such as Gucci and Balenciaga.