It was Coco Chanel who once said something along the lines of, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” She was referring to people who add too much pizzazz to their outfits — necklaces and rings and jewels and hats, so many scarves and belts and glitz that wow, you best take one of those things off or you’re going to look like a Christmas tree!
Coco Chanel was right (being a fashion legend and all), but I would argue that my maxim is even more right: Before you leave the house, look in the mirror, and remove every accessory.
Now we’re cooking with gas.
Accessories can be all sorts of things: rings, necklaces, earrings, hats, belts, head scarves, anklets, toe rings, sunglasses, those gloves that look like chain mail, an ornate cigarette holder, a septum piercing, a grout gun, a bolo tie. It doesn’t matter. I define an accessory as anything on your body that doesn’t play an essential role. For example, my jeans play an essential role on my body because they cover up my legs from being naked while I’m at work; my glasses (when I wear them, which is never) play an essential role because they help me see people around me who are wearing too many accessories. Now you try. Which items of your ensemble are essential and which aren’t? I’ll wait while you count.
Oh my god, you’re wearing nine accessories? It’s time for an accessories intervention.
Any person with an interest in their personal style (dirtbag or non) will tell you that accessories are meant to spice up your supposedly boring clothes. Maybe you’re a T-shirt person and you think to yourself, “Dang, I can’t just wear this T-shirt. It’s too boring. I should throw in a necklace and a belt, too.” Or maybe you’re more of a jacket-as-a-shirt person and you think, “Ugh, a plain old leather motorcycle jacket probably needs a few enamel pins that I bought from Etsy.” Or maybe you wear a wedding ring because you are married. That may seem like a normal thing to do, but listen as I free you from the weight of extraneous finery. Instead of wearing a few “pieces” (fashion term), wear none.
There’s a reason you can’t spell “accessories” without “crass” or “orca.” It’s because when you wear too many of them, you end up looking like a crass orca. Instead, you could choose to wear none and look like a regular orca, which is a killer whale. Accessories are expensive, easy to lose, and one more thing that will get in the way of you walking onto an NBA team with only ten seconds to prepare. You’ll never be able to get all of those rings off in time to become the most valuable point guard on the Detroit Pistons. Don’t you want to be the most valuable point guard on the Detroit Pistons?
It is the dirtbag’s primary mission to reduce external, superficial concerns until there are necessities and only necessities to think about. Some may say that accessories are a way for people to express themselves, but most of the time, the best form of expression is simplicity, because then you’ll always keep people guessing. No accessories — not even a simple statement necklace — makes people wonder: Who is she? Is she about to walk on as the most valuable point guard for the Detroit Pistons? They’ll never figure it out. You are mysterious, a woman dressed like an easy walk-on for any NBA team.
So, free yourself from shiny adornments. Coco Chanel probably also said that the best accessory, after all, is a smile :)…
… just playin’. Don’t smile either.