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Accessorizing Sequin Apparel. The Rules AND How to Break Them.

Posted by Min Eon on 9th Jul 2019

Congratulations on adding a shimmering little sequin something to your wardrobe! Now it’s time to step outside and get noticed. But how much sparkle is too much? How do you accessorize when wearing sequins? What are the rules? And more importantly, because life should be fun--especially when wearing sequins--how do you break those rules?

Rule #1 (and this the granddaddy of them all)

That piece of sequin apparel IS the accessory.

Sequin dresses work best with no accessories

Sequin dresses do double-duty

Image via Instagram. A post shared by @mydresscircle on Aug 22 2019

And what that means is you don’t need even one other shred of something sparkly. Yes, technically shoes and a bag are accessories--we’ll get to those in a minute. But it’s important to remember that if you’re wearing a sequin dress, for example, it’s doing double-duty. First it’s covering you up--going outside naked tends to be a bad idea. Second, it’s covering you up in a glitzy, glamorous way. And that’s the point of an accessory, like a necklace, or a pair of earrings, or a bracelet. They add the glitz and glam to your look. Your sequined apparel is doing that for you too.

Rule #2 (just in case you’re still not sure about rule #1)

One sparkly piece per outfit.

Too much is sometimes just...too much

Image via Instagram. A post shared by tool_shop on Nov 8 2018

It’s not often that you’ll wear a killer long sequin gown, unless you attend a lot of movie premieres--or you’re RuPaul. When you do however, keep in mind that a long sequin gown is a lot of sequin. If you’re strutting the red carpet you probably left your coat in the limo, but should you need a coat, never, we mean never, use a sequined coat--even if it was custom-made and matches your sequined gown.

When you’re not being a movie star, it’s more likely you’ll be layering an outfit and one piece will be sequined. You might have a gorgeous sequin cocktail dress for a night out with your BFFs and throw a cropped jacket over the top, or you might layer a sequin jacket over a cocktail dress in regular fabric. Either way, one piece with sequins is enough.

Rule #3

Keep your shoes neutral.

...or a Little White Dress with hot pink shoes.

Image via Instagram. A post shared by zintapolo

By that, we don’t mean color neutral. A sequined Little Black Dress pops when teamed with red pumps and a red clutch. Or gold shoes and clutch. Silver’s not bad either. By neutral we mean no sequins, beads, crystals or other bling on your shoes anywhere. Though color-neutral shoes are also a good idea if your sequin dress is a strong color, or patterned...

Rule #4

Rule #3 applies to your bag too.

No clash here. Move along, folks.

Image via Instagram. A post shared by shemovesboutique

Be it a clutch, a tote, a Birkin or a supermarket shopping bag, make sure it has no bling on it and is not shiny in any way (and that includes ditching patent leather of any ilk). Oh, and if you’re wearing a sequin garment with a colored pattern and your bag has another pattern, colored or otherwise, the clash will be monumental. So nix patterned bags too. (Bonus rule: avoid bags with patterns in general, especially if the pattern is a monogram. I’m looking at you, Louis Vuitton devotees.)

Rule #5

Keep your makeup subtle.

Nothing should overpower or compete 

with your sequin dress--and that includes

your makeup

Image via Instagram. A post shared by msnuclear

Sequin dresses have traditionally been costumes for stage performers--and the people who impersonate them. By necessity, subtle makeup had (and still has) no place in either world. Now, thanks to the marvels of modern fabric machinery, sequins have also conquered the worlds of haute couture and everyday fashion. You’ll see them not only on European runways but also on bags, shoes, hats, tee shirts, jeans, swimwear, gym wear, and street wear. They’ve become everywhere-wear, and are often seen giving just a hint of sparkle--a sequin slogan on a shirt, a sequin pocket on a blouse, sequin trim on a skirt. But if what you’re wearing is a fully sequined short dress, pant, jacket or blouse then the sequins are your outfit’s main attraction (see Rule #1 again). And unless you’re about to tread the boards, under a spotlight, with your audience 20 feet or more away, your makeup should be as low-key as possible.

Rule #6

Leave the jewelry at home.

Image result for gwyneth paltrow green sequin dress

Gorgeous Dress. Stunning color. But the necklace...

Image via Pinterest

Don’t even think about a necklace. Skip the bracelet. No drop earrings. That’s it. Pretty simple, right? Okay, okay. Perhaps a plain ring. Maybe a pair of earring studs.

Now that you know the rules, let’s break them and have some fun!

Anti-rule #1

Two sparkly items must never meet.

People who are confident dressers often break the rules--and they do it with style. Rule-beaking can even become fashion law. (Thank you Marlene Dietrich for wearing pants.) So if you want to wear another shiny item in addition to your sequin garment, here’s how to do it.

Think about it like this: two shiny items repel. And that means you don’t put them next to each other when wearing them. Sequin slacks with a shiny necklace? Fine. Your blouse or top is between them. Sequin blouse with blinged-out shoes? No problem. Your pant, skirt or jeans are keeping them away from each other. But a sequin jacket over a sequin blouse? Or a sequin skirt with a metallic belt? Nope, and no way.

Anti-rule #2

Break anti-rule #1 by layering sequins and shiny accessories on in colors that compliment each other.

Feeling extra brave? How about a white sequin pant, black sequin long-sleeve collarless blouse, pearl necklace, leather belt and cuffs with metallic accents, plus statement earrings? Think it can’t be done? Chanel begs to differ. Color blocking, plus pairing the eternal couple of Black & White throughout the garments and accessories make this look work.

Chanel in the Snow. Ready-to-Wear. Winter 2019

Image credit: Chanel.com


    Sequins and K Stew Met Gala

Kristen Stewart wore the ensemble 

to the Met Gala and accessorized with 

her hair and eyebrows...

Image via Instagram. A post shared by Met Gala (@themetgalaofficial) on May 6, 2019

Anti-rule #3

There are no rules. Pile on the bling.

Sequins are perfect for parties. So when the mood is Big Fun just throw everything on that catches your eye and have a damn fine, sparkly night!

Accessorize your sequin dress with beaded

wigs, a sequin-trimmed coat, chunky rings and 

bracelets, chokers, tiaras, sequined clutches, 

drinks and a cigarette.

Image via SequinQueen