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, 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, eyewear, 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 labour.
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. Some other accessories that have gained popularity this year are side bags, clout glasses, long coats, and plaid designed articles. Although these trends are currently popular, fashion is an ever-changing field that adapts to its inhabitants. The future of fashion is always exciting and is credited with creating the most bizarre trends that seem to find its way to the closets of every inner city fashion enthusiast.
- Valerie Cumming; C. W. Cunnington; P. E. Cunnington (15 November 2010). The Dictionary of Fashion History. Berg. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-84788-533-3. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
- "Clothing & Accessories". National Museum of American History. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
- Ariel Beaujot (June 2012). Victorian Fashion Accessories. Berg. p. 1. ISBN 9781847886828.
- Marika Leino (7 December 2012). Fashion, Devotion and Contemplation : The Status and Functions of Italian Renaissance Plaquettes. Peter Lang AG. p. 1. ISBN 9783039110681.
- Media related to Clothing accessories at Wikimedia Commons