Choosing Accessories That Serve Both Fashion and Function

No outfit is complete without an array of accessories that complement your clothes and add extra personality to your look. But accessories don't just heighten your style—they add function and utility to your everyday outfits. If you choose your accessories carefully, they can fulfill your practical and logistical needs while elevating your ensemble. 

While your necklaces and earrings serve solely ornamental purposes, your shoes, bags, sunglasses, belts, watches, and umbrellas can all serve fashion and function. When shopping for these multipurpose accessories, be sure to keep style, comfort, and usability in mind. 


The right pair of shoes can transform any outfit. However, many chic shoe options tend to be impractical for the office, everyday wear, or even a long night out. But, fortunately, you don't necessarily have to sacrifice style for comfort. 

Flats, boots, and fashion sneakers have become more and more acceptable for workwear and semi-formal events. For example, in recent years, the dress-and-sneaker combo has become a style staple for civilians and celebrities alike. For styling ideas, you can check out the Who What Wear guide to pairing sneakers with various dress styles. 

Purses, Bags, and Wallets 

If you wear dresses, skirts, or tight-fit pants to work, you likely understand the struggle of not having pockets. Instead of awkwardly holding your phone, keys, and wallet on your coffee run, invest in a durable but fashionable clutch, wristlet, or small crossbody bag. For example, you can't go wrong with a signature Coach wristlet or crossbody wallet

Bags are a great way to add a pop of color or print to an otherwise monochromatic outfit. For inspiration, you can see this leather brown bag and other options from various designers to see how you can incorporate them into your everyday outfits.


On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can opt for a tote bag if you need to carry a lot of stuff with you to and from the office. Due, in part, to the popularity of the staple New Yorker bag, tote bags are no longer seen as too casual to wear into work. Canvas totes are perfect for packing a change of clothes or shoes along with your everyday items. 




Of all the accessories that people sport everyday, sunglasses are among the most important in terms of utility. Especially if you live in a sunny region or snowy climate, having UV protection is critical to maintaining healthy eyes. But aside from protecting and enhancing your vision while out in the sun, sunglasses can add sophistication, playfulness, or mystique to any outfit. 


If you're all about utility but still want to don designer shades, you can purchase prescription sunglasses from brands like Gucci, Prada, and Versace. Or, you can opt for stylish sunglass clip ons that come in a set with regular prescription glasses. 




Different belt styles can serve a wide range of functions. While traditional belts keep your clothing secure, waist belts have a slimming effect, and peplum belts give an outfit a unique silhouette. Of course, belts with eye-catching buckles can also add glamour. 


Wearing a belt is also a (relatively) inexpensive way to incorporate designer pieces into your regular wardrobe. From the double-G Gucci symbol to the Medusa head Versace emblem, brand logos look bold but not too grandiose as belt buckles. 




In 2021, watches do far more than tell time. Smartwatches from brands like Apple and Google can now track activity, send and receive text messages, make calls, and more. 


Just because your smartwatch is a function-focused piece of technology doesn't mean it can't be fashionable. If you buy a smartwatch, consider buying a range of interchangeable bands made from different metals and materials. For example, wearing your smartwatch with a leather band can make it look more formal. 




Umbrellas are not just functional items; they can also be fashionable. Yes, you use them to protect yourself from rain and sun; but when styled as an extension of your outfit, an umbrella can harmonize your color or pattern scheme and strengthen your style. Bear in mind that umbrellas are different from parasols, which are mostly used for protection from the sun. Parasols are typically made from delicate fabrics, such as linen, cotton, silk, canvas, and lace. 


Putting Fashion to Work 


If you need to add functionality to your everyday outfits, versatile accessories are your best friend. The next time you hit the mall or shop accessories online, try not to think of style and utility as separate characteristics. An accessory can serve both requirements, elevating your style and making everyday activities just a little bit easier or more comfortable.