Bling it on! Embrace statement accessories

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Statement accessories are the smart and affordable way to update last year’s party looks, says Gemma Hayward. Be bold and embrace embellishment


Shoes


The mid-height heel might be poised to stage a comeback for spring/summer 2010, but right now shoes are still about extremes. Choose either super-high or flat-as-a-pancake and make sure they are decorative.

Why stick to a plain black court, however elegant, if your accessories could outshimmer the Oxford Street Christmas lights? Skyscraper platforms with jewelled embellishment, velvet or metallic finishes and Art-Deco detailing are all de rigeur. You don't have to go high, however; flats in luxurious fabrics or with shiny details can be much more chic than heels, and you'll never look as though you've tried too hard.

Hairbands

If you want to get ahead, get a hairband. Silky bunny ears, as seen at Louis Vuitton, are having a bit of a moment, but if the Playboy Mansion associations don't exactly appeal, there are more sophisticated options that don't run the risk of a lecherous partygoer trying to tweak your tail. Also rather daring are Dolce & Gabbana's surrealist-inspired hairbands adorned with floppy leather gloves. The safe but still smart money is on embellishment in the form of costume jewels, sequins, feathers or good old-fashioned Sloaney velvet.

Evening bags

Veer away from anything too conventionally ladylike that might say "diplomat's wife". Instead, a bag with some aggressive metal hardware, be it studs, rivets, chains or Toblerone-like metal studs – the kind you could fight off a mugger with – is more on-trend. Scrunchy drawstring pouch bags are also a key shape this season, while evening bags on long straps or chains leave both hands free to hold two cocktails at once.

Jewellery

Costume jewellery has been all over the catwalk in recent seasons, and it's the perfect trend to tap into for any night out. The key is keeping things obvious. Whether you choose glam-punkish hardware, such as an oversized silver cuff for a tough look or a heavily embellished necklace – as seen at Marni and Dolce & Gabbana – to add some girlishness, these are just the thing to lift a subtle outfit. Diamonds might be a girl's best friend, but statement paste pieces are a rather more affordable route to red carpet glitz.

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