Reader Request: Go Versus Match

matchy matchy

Reader Roxane posed this great question:

What’s the difference between accessories that “go” and ones that are “matchy-matchy”? For example, if you’re wearing all silver accessories (necklace, bracelet, shoes) is that matchy-matchy? Would you need to mix metals to have things that “go” and still stay metallic? 

I wonder which assumes the need for a large supply of accessories (and thus perhaps a larger budget) – being matchy-matchy or having things that “go.” (Of course, if you stick to a very small color palette, this isn’t an issue.)

You all know I love talking matchy. Just a quick reminder: Matchy-matchy is not a crime, no matter what the magazines say. If you love matching your accessories, do it.

Matchy can apply to the clothing within outfits, but it’s more generally discussed in terms of accessories. Roxane’s question about jewelry is an interesting one: In my opinion, wearing necklace, bracelet, and earrings that are all silver is not matchy at all UNLESS they are part of a jewelry set that has repeating elements and motifs. Their silver-ness alone doesn’t make them matchy. I think wearing jewelry that’s in the same metallic family makes visual sense. If it feels like overload, try doing earrings and bracelet in one metal, necklace in another (or in a color) – that gives you a little distance between the two similar items and the chance to bring in a dissimilar third.

Silver necklace, bracelet, and shoes? That might be verging on matchy territory depending on how prominent the silver of the jewelry is and how shiny the shoes look. If you wanted to go with metallic accents beyond jewelry, it might be best to do at least one that isn’t silver.

When I think of matchy-ness, I mostly think about non-jewelry accessories. So, here’s an example:

mustardtealred_outfit

By doing a red necklace, belt, and shoes – three red pops in three different areas within the outfit – this is already matchy-matchy. If I were carrying a red handbag, too, that would be extreme overkill in my opinion. I like to think of two matched elements as being unifying without getting matchy. So this:

redyel_outfit

… works much better. There’s still red and yellow, but only two red elements, a non-red belt, and a non-red bag. Other variations that would’ve worked include:

  • Red belt, red shoes, non-red necklace, non-red bag
  • Red belt, red bag, non-red necklace, non-red shoes
  • Red necklace, red belt, non-red shoes, non-red bag
  • Red necklace, non-red belt, non-red shoes, red bag

Etc. Go ahead and match your shoes and belt, just make sure they’re the only matched items to keep things contemporary. Also consider tights, earrings, bracelets, scarves, and hats as potential elements to match or mix.

It’s a little harder to describe what it means for accessories to “go.” In this older post on the subject, I say that accessories that go are different colors from each other and don’t pick up on any elements present in the design or colors of the outfit’s garments. But everything is harmonious, similar without echoing. The outfit on the right at the top of this post “goes,” since it includes a burgundy belt, teal bag, and leopard shoes.

In terms of which route requires a larger budget and/or supply of accessories, my guess is matchy-matchy would create a bigger burden. If you need to have belts, bags, and shoes that match exactly and want them in multiple colors, that’ll get expensive. If your accessories are either all one color or in mix-and-matchable neutrals/colors, you’ll have more variety using fewer pieces.

Originally posted 2015-08-19 06:16:59.

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3 Responses to “Reader Request: Go Versus Match”

  1. Sewing Faille

    I feel that it’s more important to have matching accessories the more starkly the accessories contrast with the clothing– it helps the outfit feel cohesive instead of haphazard. For instance, with this dress, which is bright green ( http://sewingfaille.blogspot.com/2015/08/vogue-2902-sort-of-super-hexagon-dress.html ), I could only get away with wearing red accessories because the boots, the belt, and the lipstick were all red; it would have looked weird if I’d worn red boots with, say, a pink belt and pink lipstick, or even just a pink belt with red boots and red lipstick. With this dress, on the other hand ( http://sewingfaille.blogspot.com/2015/04/advance-7753-1950s-apron-dress-apron.html ) the print of the dress contains so many different colors that even though the sash and boots are pink, I’m wearing a green and yellow scarf in my hair, and I would have been fine wearing green or purple boots instead.

  2. loubeelou

    Hmm. Lots of individual interpretation here! Today I’m wearing a grey dress and a skinny belt that has orange and teal in it. To pull it together, I wanted to match one of the colors from the belt, but not both. So I’m wearing a teal cardigan. I have some great silver and orange earrings that would totally match, but it would have pushed it into “matchy-matchy” territory for me. I’m absolutely certain that would not occur to anyone looking at me, but I still thought about it.