Heat up your summer look

Michael O’ConnorTop stylist Michael O’Connor tells DolceDolce readers how to heat up their summer look using accessories. Accessories are this summer’s fashion must-haves. Learn what you need and how to wear it.  

Michael O’Connor is a leading authority on style, jewelry, and accessories. He has become the “go-to” resource for editors and producers seeking information on current trends and celebrity style. O’Connor works with numerous top celebrities and celebrity stylists, helping them accessorize for awards shows, appearances, and premieres. Do not miss a word of this international style-setter’s advice.
DD: What can you do to make a simple black dress look fabulous?
MO’C: A simple black dress can be one of the most versatile items in your wardrobe because it can be changed simply and easily to take you anywhere. Simple colorful fixes – like a variety of belts, scarves, hats, jewelry, shoes and handbags – can completely change the look of a basic black dress. Use belts of different colors to cinch the waist and add either a sophisticated or fun look. Scarves worn either on the neck or tucked into the neckline can change the look for an office, while scarves worn at the waist can be fun. Hats add an element of drama – large brims create the most, while smaller brims can create an urban professional look. Large layered necklaces and bracelets can give you a red carpet look while a simple strand of pearls can help you channel Audrey Hepburn. The little black dress is a staple in every wardrobe.

The panama fedora a  Hollywood favouriteDD: Hats are hot this spring and summer. What are a few of the best casual and special looks?

MO’C: The fedora style is hot for both women and men this season. Designers are doing them in a wide variety of colors and prints so that they can be as fun or as serious as you desire. Newsboy hats are a great casual look and can dress up a jean/t-shirt combination with a touch of flair. Wider brimmed sun hats can be very chic, but tend to be dressier.

DD: How does a woman find her best hat shape or style?

MO’C: Finding the right hat, like any other fashion element, is about proportion and contrast. For example if you are petite, a hat with too wide a brim can look silly. Think about smaller brims and hats that fit lower onto the head. If you’re taller you can go with a wider brim, but steer clear of hats that are too tall and/or angular. Next, think about your face shape. Round faces are best with angular-shaped hats with structure and should stay away from anything floppy. Narrow and longer faces look best balanced by a wider and softer brim. Angular faces look best with softer lines. Think about your body type. Full figured women should balance out their looks with wider brims. Oval and heart shaped faces look good in a variety of hat styles.

Grace Kelly old time glamDD: What accessories would really update a wardrobe this summer for $100? MO’C: Wide belts can be purchased well under $100 dollars in an amazing array of colors. Chunky cuffs with big crystal and blackened metals are hot and available for under $100 at jcrew.com. Same goes for layered and chunky necklaces. Animal print scarves as belts, at the neck or in the hair!

DD: Is it possible to make a simple dress look special with the right accessories? MO’C: The simplest of dresses can be made to look amazing with the right accessories. Adding important pieces of jewelry or colored elements can add elegance or pizzazz.

DD: What are the most elegant shoe and bag combinations for evening?

MO’C: No need to match shoe and handbags any longer. Today a mix-and-match approach is hot. However, if you go over the top on patterned shoes, keep the handbag simpler or vice versa, and make sure they have some element that draws them together. As always a smaller bag in the evening is most appropriate.

DD: What are some good warm weather tricks with scarves that look chic? Most women have them and never wear them!

MO’C: Hot weather tricks: think about taking your business suit from the office and out to dinner. For work, put the scarf around the back of your neck. Tuck the front ends into the front neckline of your jacket and voila, instant blouse without having to wear additional garments. Just pull it free when you are headed out for the evening.

Audrey Hepburn wearing a hat with styleLarger scarves can be great cover-ups at the beach simply by tying two of the ends behind the neck and the other two ends behind the back. Smaller scarves can be treated in the same way to create a halter-top look.

I always love the casual summer feel of a scarf looped through the belt loops of a great pair of jeans and then tied on the side.