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As a woman who has lived through many passages and learned through my larger than life experiences (positive and negative), I’ve discovered how to take a big empowering bite out of life.

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How to Shop for Statement Accessories

Today, the great fashionista, Andrea Pflaumer talks about how to shop for timeless statement accessories, especially handbags and watches. Enjoy, darlings! 

Honey Good's arm with bracelets and watch statement accessories

Statement accessories are the best way to dress up an outfit.

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It’s pretty much universally understood that the right statement accessories make the outfit. You can wear a pair of Target jeans, a simple tee, and Keds sneakers, but add a gorgeous bag, a beautiful scarf, and a pair of real gold or silver earrings, and instantly you turn an everyday look into a smashing outfit.

There’s just something about carrying a statement bag or wearing real precious metals that makes us stand up a little taller and feel a little indulged! If you can pull it off without feeling guilty all the better. Unlike a lot of other style assets, many statement accessories become investment pieces, because they just don’t lose much of their original value over the years.

Here are some tips about shopping for and buying some stand-out statement accessories that can elevate your entire wardrobe while staying within your budget and your comfort zone.

When Buying Statement Accessories, Your Mindset Comes First

There’s no sense in putting yourself into difficult economic situations in order to look chic. If you want the real thing, that genuine designer bag, scarf, jewelry, watch, etc., use common sense.

Do your research.

Save up over time.

Practice restraint.

Staying in this zone of practicality will make your purchase all the more satisfying. And except for extremely trendy and unusual items, (which you wouldn’t likely want anyway) most statement designer accessories are not going out of style and have been in production for years if not decades.

Regarding research, check out the current price for the item(s) you are looking for. Then, investigate the resale and second-hand market for the same or similar items. One note of caution regarding discount mall shopping, however. Most of the merchandise sold in those malls is lower quality and manufactured specifically for the mall. You aren’t likely to find actual marked-down items there.

However, many higher end design houses now also have down-market labels. For example, the late Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s designer for decades, established a brand called Karl Lagerfeld Paris. You can find some great accessories in these offshoot brands that mimic many of the elements in the original.  

There are a number of reliable sites that offer great deals on genuine designer resale items. They include The Real Real, Gilt, ReBag, Poshmark, and Vestiaire Collective. More are coming online all the time but be sure to check out their reviews and guarantees of authenticity.

Now, if you don’t care about labels but simply like the look and style of an item, there are those that have similar features and materials. But quality materials are the key to what defines a quality item. 

When Less is More with Statement Accessories

What holds most high-end statement accessories apart is their simplicity. You’re not likely to find lots of doodads or trendy designs on designer accessories that have stood the test of time. In fact, some of the more recent entries into this category eliminate designer initials or logos altogether. The Row is one example.

Bracelets: When More is Merrier

An accessory that is an exception to the concept of simplicity is the bracelet. When it comes to bracelets, stacking multiples can be smart-looking and classically fashionable. That doesn’t mean piling on an armful of them unless you’re going for a stylishly hip Southwestern look by wearing a grouping of hand-forged silver and turquoise cuffs and bangles.

But mixing a chain or charm bracelet with one or two thin to medium-sized bangles, or combining two bangles (e.g., one in gold and one in gold with diamonds) is an eye catching and elegant combination. Just be sure to keep the metals the same, e.g., gold with gold, silver with silver. 

Another classic way to wear a gold or silver bracelet is to pair it with a watch in the same metal. If the watch incorporates both silver and gold metals, you can match your bracelet(s) to one of them. But if it is a showy piece, better let it speak for itself by being the sole piece, otherwise the look can become a little “busy.”

Honey Good with her bracelets on as statement accessories

Stacked bracelets really beautify a simple outfit!

The Real Thing? Or a Fake? 

A counterfeit is an item that is labeled as the actual product. It is clearly illegal. By understanding the details and features to look for you can usually identify these fakes pretty easily. The lining, trims, and logos are usually the tip off: they look cheap, the printing rubs off easily, printing is misaligned, the metals are poor quality, or are just “off” in some way.

But then there are knockoffs. In the fashion world you’ll see something new come down the runway and within six months another version of it will appear on what is called the “high street” – the online or brick-and-mortar fast fashion sites. This is due to the fact that there is no copyright on design in the fashion industry. You read that right. This means that inexpensive copies of high end accessories are pretty abundant. If you want to go that way, just check to make sure that the company manufacturing the knockoff is not presenting their wares as the genuine article with the same name. 

Know someone who loves to shop for statement and investment pieces as much as we do? Please forward this story to them!

Statement Accessories: Watches and Handbags

Let’s take a look at just a very small sampling of iconic items in two categories: watches and handbags. Trying to include information about shoes, belts, scarves, and jewelry would require an entire article for each. (Shoes alone could be an encyclopedia!) But by simply looking at the details and features of these items and describing what sets them apart, that alone will start to train your eye to recognize quality. For each one of these items, we’ll also look at similar ones at the lower end that incorporate related features. 

Let’s Start With Watches

Not just for telling time, a watch is as much a piece of jewelry as a bracelet!


Jackie Kennedy established the Cartier tank watch as an iconic masterpiece. Among the designer watches, Cartier is one that features rectangular and square watch faces (which suited Jackie’s bone structure and sporty style perfectly.) The tank watch like what she wore now starts at $3700 and goes up to about $22,000. On the resale market you might find one as low as $1700.

Rolex Oyster 

By the wild financial boon years of the 80’s a Rolex watch was the epitome of elegance and having “made it.” It has maintained its place over the years. Each Rolex watch takes about a year to make. They describe the stainless steel used for these watches as having a “hardness factor” unlike others in a similar category. Rolex watches usually include a second hand, adjustable date, and sometimes fun and colorful faces. This style (below) starts around $12,000 and depending on features (diamonds, type of gold, etc.) can go up to $80,000. You might find one on resale at around $3800.


Has been turning out elegant, durable, and iconic watches for men and women since 1848. Their higher priced versions incorporate gold or platinum metals along with stainless steel. At the lower end they are among the more affordable luxuries. Their regular priced watches range from $2500 and can climb to upwards of $30,000. But on the resale market you will find some as low as $800.

Patek Philippe

And then there’s Patek Philippe. You can expect to pay a minimum of $11,000 for one but often you’re looking at prices up to six figures. (They don’t even show the prices on their site!) They mostly market to men, but their simple, classic, and elegant style has resonated with hip and fashionable women lately. Their Calatrava is the standard of elegant simplicity. 

Handbags: The Ultimate Statement Accessory

If you survey the iconic handbags that have stood the test of time, they all have the same thing in common as iconic watches: simplicity. That goes for both the old standards and new standard-bearers like The Row and Khaite. 

Chanel Quilted Bag

The Chanel quilted “Caviar” flap bag has been coveted by fashion-minded women for decades. That’s why it’s so often imitated. A new Chanel Caviar bag will cost about $9000. You might find a genuine one on resale for $2000.


Founded in 1846 in Madrid, Loewe has been less on the radar than many higher-end and large volume fashion companies today. But it was a favorite of screen stars of the golden age of film like Sophia Loren, Rita Hayworth, and Ava Gardner. Today, Loewe has experienced a resurgence of interest in their coveted handbags. Here are two: the extremely versatile Flamenco and the very “cool” and hip Puzzle bag. 

Puzzle Bag

The Loewe Puzzle bag is so identifiable that it’s not easy to find a lookalike that isn’t identical.

Louis Vuitton 

The LV logo design and innovative materials are what set this bag apart. Their iconic monogrammed brown and tan bags are made from coated canvas with Vachetta leather trim. Unlike some other higher end labels, they have not outsourced any of their construction to the Far East. All their bags are hand made in France, Spain, and Southern California. Although the company has added modern and trendy styles and colors using the same materials, the Graceful MM is their most sought after design and by comparison is an affordable splurge. 


As the story goes, in 1984 actress and model, Jane Birkin, found herself seated next to Hermes Chief Executive Jean Louis Dumas on a flight from Paris to London. She explained she was having difficulty replacing her weekend bag and asked if he might create one. Thus, was born the Birkin bag. (Ironic note: She found it much too heavy to carry and stopped using it after a short while.) Regardless, the elegant materials and lock-and key feature made it an instant and identifiable icon. And it has been one of the most imitated bags of all time. (There are also a shocking number of counterfeits using the Hermes name!) The mini version starts at $8000, and some go as high as $300k.

Let Quality (and Comfort!) Guide You

The world of statement accessories is vast and this is a brief sampling of some classic pieces. In handbags, it’s worth looking into other standard bearers like YSL, Dior, Prada, Valentino, Burberry, Fendi, etc. and learning what sets them apart. The standards of construction and materials also apply to other accessories. In belts, look for simple, recognizable, elegant design features. In jewelry, go for the real deal in metals. For shoes – well, labels are nice, but I say, comfort first!!


Andrea Pflaumer is the author of two books: the Amazon best-seller Shopping for the Real You: Ten Essential Steps to a Perfect Wardrobe for Every Woman: Fashionistas, Fashion-phobes, and the Over 50 and She’s Got Good Jeans – a guide for how to shop for and where to find the perfect jeans for your body and budget.

She does in-person and online wardrobe and shopping consultations for women worldwide and blogs at Shopping for the Real You. Her free course, Lazy Person’s Guide to a Perfect Wardrobe is available on GoHighbrow. Andrea hosts two video series: Vital, Vivacious, and Visible after 50 and Shopping for the Real You: Expert Edition. She interviews women in the areas of fashion, beauty and wellness on her Shopping for the Real You YouTube channel. She is a regular contributor to several national and international publications for women over 50 and is presenting an online class this November through the American Institute of Image Consultants.



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*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, Honey Good may receive compensation. This helps with the running of the site and is at no additional cost to you.

February 13, 2024

Fashion, Style

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  1. slope says:

    This is an excellent article. This is, in my opinion, one of the best posts ever written. Your work is excellent and inspiring. Thank you very much.

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