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The great thing about having a reliable go-to outfit formula is that getting dressed takes about five minutes — and almost zero thought. During the summer, that usually means a simple ribbed tank, high-waist shorts or a skirt, and a blazer in case I get chilly. In the fall, I usually swap in a pair of flowy, wide-leg pants and a cropped sweater. The bad thing, of course, is that wearing the same type of outfit every day can start to feel a little uninspired and repetitive, especially as we resume IRL events and my friends start to realize I’ve worn the same thing for the last three group dinners. Still, I’ve found a way to settle into a happy medium — not boring, but certainly not time-consuming — thanks to a little accessories handiwork.
Because my style veers so minimalist, I know that swapping in a certain shoe, bag or piece of jewelry can completely transform any outfit. A simple tank-and-shorts look can elevate to date-night-appropriate when it’s topped with a chunky gold chain necklace and finished with lace-up heels. Similarly, a simple scarf or hair accessory like a claw clip — yep, they’re back! — can make a standby sundress feel totally new again. Even a pair of fun sunglasses can change the vibe of your look.
Even more: You don’t have to spend a ton to feel the effect. Below, shop 23 under-$50 accessories that will completely change any outfit.
Lauren Caruso’s Accessories Picks
1. Rosie Baguette Bag, $39
An oxblood-colored bag can make even the most minimalist look turn bold.
3. Shami Signature Chain, $45
Add a simple chain necklace to a white button-down and cutoffs, and it looks more polished.
5. Mango Striped Scarf, $19.99
This sage green printed scarf can double as a top if you fold it once lengthwise and tie it around your back.
7. Drape Chain Belt, $14.97
This split-chain belt can make anything feel a touch more grungy — in a good way.
9. Oak + Fort Strappy Heels, $40
Try a pair of strappy heels in a fun color.
11. ASOS Hair Clip, $11.50
Yep, they’re back. Pull your hair back à la Rachel Green for an instantly ‘90s-inspired look.
13. Ash Translucent Rectangle Sunglasses, $16
These yellow-tinted sunglasses will paint any outfit a bit more retro-inspired.
15. Nike Black Swoosh Fanny Pack, $25
Don’t knock it until you try it: Swap out your regular handbag for a fanny pack and see how your entire outfit’s feel changes.
17. Source Unknown Bucket Hat, $38
Even if you’re not a hat person, this bucket style might just turn you.
19. H&M 4-Piece Set, $24.99
Go hands-free with this wallet-key-holder hybrid.
21. Oak + Fort Face Mask Chain, $32
Add a simple chain to your mask for a fun (and safe) necklace substitute.
23. Manner Market Scarf, $48
Sure, this scarf is a minimalist essential, but once you tie it around your neck — or even around your bun — it’ll give any outfit a more finished feel.
2. Mango Sash Belt, $29.99
Layer this belt atop an oversized dress or blazer for a totally new look.
4. Alexis Badiyi Mask, $25
We’re still masking up, so you might as well pick a fun style like this checkerboard iteration.
6. Zara Sunglasses, $29.99
Not every pair of sunglasses has the power to transform an entire outfit, but these retro shades are definitely an outlier.
8. Cole Buxton Socks, $35
Add a pair of calf-high socks to any look, and it instantly becomes more athletic.
10. Chain Necklace, $48
There’s no subtle way to wear this Source Unknown necklace.
12. Lizette Checker Earring, $18
If you have two holes in one ear, double up on these checkered earrings for a more playful vibe.
14. Zara Metallic Platform Sandals, $49.99
Metallic platform sandals instantly elevate a midi-skirt-and-tank outfit.
16. Club Monaco Serefina Ridge Hoop Earrings, $39.50
Earrings may not fully transform a look, but these vintage-inspired hoops can make anything feel instantly polished.
18. Oak + Fort Ruched Handbag, $32
This ruched bag feels both on-trend and bold enough to change up your look.
20. Zara Bejeweled Belt, $49.99
Elevate your jeans-and-tee look with a sparkly belt.
22. Bershka Lounge Slide, $27
Similarly, swap out your heels or mules for a chunky slide to lend any look a more casual feel.