15 Stylish Accessories That Can Make You Look Younger
The right pair of sunnies, shoes and other fashion accessories can help you look modern, on trend and more youthful
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Fashion accessories can work some serious anti-aging magic
We all know that fashion accessories can add oomph to an outfit. But did you know they can also help you turn back the clock—or accidentally age you? The thing is, as we leave our 20s and 30s, some styles may no longer work for us, not to mention they may simply go out of style. And just like you can dress to look younger, wear the best anti-aging makeup and even find hairstyles that make you look younger, you can apply that philosophy to accessories.
The key is to do it strategically with jewelry, handbags, hosiery and even socks. “Let the outfit tell a great story about you with the addition of carefully curated accessories,” says Brenda Cooper, an image consultant and Emmy Award–winning stylist. “Think of it like adding spice to a recipe.”
That winning recipe is a mixture of knowing the trends and knowing how they can add a subtle glow or anti-aging lift to your features. And yes, the right accessories can do just that! Here’s how to look younger—and even look better in photos—with a few easy style tweaks.
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“Nothing is as aging as outdated or unflattering spectacles,” says Sharon Graubard, founder and creative director of Mint Moda, a trend-forecasting website. “Heavy, squarish frames are more up to date than delicate or rimless ones [right now].” Opt for sunglasses with slightly rounded corners to highlight cheekbones and emphasize your smile. They’ll also cover problem areas, such as crow’s feet and other lines on your face, while adding a touch of glamour.
While you’re at it, choose frames with a shiny finish, as well as hues with pink or red undertones. (Think warm browns, maroons and caramels.) As we age, our complexion tends to not be as “glowy” as it was in our 20s; wearing reddish hues and shiny finishes, however, can brighten up your skin tone and give you a youthful radiance.
These oversized square sunglasses from Kate Spade New York tick all the anti-aging must-have boxes when it comes to fashion accessories. The gold-hued edges add an additional luxe vibe to the chic sunnies, and the gradient lenses blur fine lines while providing 100% UV protection to slow down potential aging when you’re out and about. Check out these sunglasses on Amazon to block the sun’s rays in style, too.
There used to be a hard-and-fast fashion rule that sparkly jewelry should be worn only for special occasions—and it all had to match. No more. The more youthful take on sparkly earrings is to wear them whenever you want, including with more casually styled necklaces. They’re also great anti-aging fashion accessories because they draw attention to the upper part of the face, emphasizing and enhancing cheekbones and eyes—and draw attention away from a soft jaw or neckline. The reflecting faceted stones also bounce light off your complexion, making it seem brighter and livelier.
Style influencer Gina MK loves big and bold rhinestone earrings, but acknowledges these may not be for everyone. “For some, dangling earrings are instantly aging,” she says. “For others, they look jaunty and appealing.” If dangling earrings aren’t for you, try sparkly studs or ear climbers. Never heard of ear climbers? They attach to the ear with a wire closure and lay flat against the earlobe. Since they mimic the curve of the lobe, they automatically draw the eye upward.
These Nadri Coco climber earrings feature highly faceted cubic zirconia stones set in a modern gold-toned brass. If you have multiple ear piercings, place the climber in the second hole and wear a hoop, stud or dangle earring in the first hole.
Years ago, we ditched the pantyhose and stocked up on inky black tights. Now, we’re upping the ante with statement-making patterns. These tights take away the focus from your waist or hips, as well as create the illusion of thinner ankles and legs. Plus, like your trusty black tights, patterned tights hide spider veins, varicose veins and cellulite. But you don’t have to stick to black. According to Graubard, “opaque colored tights are coming into fashion, as are fishnets and lacy textures.”
Pro tip: If you’re petite, match the color of the tights to your skirt or dress to look longer and leaner. Just remember to match the pattern to your outfit’s vibe. Just as you wouldn’t wear a cocktail dress to work, you shouldn’t pair shimmery metallic tights with a sweater dress to the office.
These black polka-dot tights from Calzedonia would look great with a faux-leather pleated skirt or a sheath dress. And we love this Italian brand because its hosiery boasts a slimming shaper panty that creates a smooth silhouette under clothing. If you need a little more nipping and tucking, invest in these shapewear options for confidence in every outfit.
Hats are the original anti-aging fashion accessories, since they protect skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Plus, they’ve been popping up on runways for the past few seasons. But, warns Graubard, “they can give off a ‘crazy cat lady vibe’ [if you’re not careful]. Stick to classic styles that are flattering to your face.” While a 20-something may be able to carry off an oversized, slouchy beanie, someone who’s over 30 may end up looking like a caricature instead of on trend.
To stay stylish and on point, look for classic menswear styles that will look smart for seasons to come. You can’t go wrong with a classic fedora. Used by designers for winter and summer 2023, fedoras can frame your face beautifully. Find a style that won’t overwhelm your features, and as with sunglasses, choose a color with a touch of warmth. For example, neutral hues that contain a little pink will reflect on your face and make your complexion glow.
This Lanzom wool-blend fedora is a fan favorite among stylists and Amazon customers. It comes in 20 colors, but we particularly like the neutral E-Beige, which has a drop of pink in it. Try it with a blazer, jeans and layered pearl necklaces, or pair it with a maxi or midi dress and cowboy boots for a boho-chic look.
Multiple, mixed pearl necklaces
Pearls are back in fashion—but not the way your mom or grandma styled them in their yearbook photos. That single strand of ladylike pearls has been replaced with layers of necklaces and unexpected metal-and-gem combos, catapulting these old standbys from staid to cutting-edge. “Layer your pearls a la Chanel style in different lengths, or mix them with other delicate pieces,” says Gina MK. Graubard adds that jewelry designers are currently using “irregular, baroque shapes” mixed in with longer chains and the classic round pearl. You can wear layered pearl necklaces with anything from a tee to a sheath dress.
Feel free to mix and match on your own, or buy a single necklace that does the work for you. Ettika’s double-layered, freshwater pearl necklace neatly incorporates this modern aesthetic by mixing pearls and gold cowrie shells, framing them with a longer link chain. Wear it on its own or pair it with other pearls or long necklaces in your jewelry box.
Once thought of as just a necessity, socks are getting their turn in the fashion spotlight—and, yep, they can help you look younger. “Socks are having a moment,” says Graubard. “I like fine-gauge ribbed socks for trousers.” But designers have been highlighting a variety of fabrics and styles on the runway, from anklets to knee-highs. Opting for ribbed, lace or patterned ankle socks instead of the classic argyle or solid quickly freshens up your wardrobe, and keeping up with footwear trends is a subtle way to show the world you’re as young as you feel.
Stay on trend with these pretty plaid anklet socks from Swedish Stockings and Rodebjer. Try them with flats and ankle-length jeans, or wear them with loafers and wide-leg, cropped pants.
“Rings are always right,” says Graubard, “especially when worn in multiples.” This easy anti-aging trend favored by Gen Z adds a chic, whimsical vibe to outfits—and highlights your mani, which can also offer a youthful feel. The trick here is balance: Try wearing a group of thin rings on one finger, a solo ring (perhaps your wedding ring) on another finger, and then finish off the look with another finger stacked with rings. When you think about it, this revisits the ’90s trend of wearing a ring on every finger. However, this time around, the emphasis is more on pairing delicate-looking rings than creating a knuckle duster.
Soko’s Meta stacking rings can be styled in multiple ways—all on one finger, half on two fingers or solo. Mix in a few of them with your own collection and have some fun!
Fluttery and soft, a silk scarf can add some panache to your work or weekend wear all year long. The new, trendy way to wear them is using the oversized ones “draped around the neck loosely—not shawl style, which can be aging,” explains Graubard. Here’s how to do it: Take a wide scarf, and gently drape it around your neck, with the ends fluttering down your front. This style can be worn with a sleeveless shirt, over a sweater, with a dress or even with a sweatshirt and jeans. It neatly frames your face, while discreetly camouflaging problem areas around your neck and décolletage.
This double-sided silk scarf from designer Jessie Zhao features sleek cheetahs and lush, stylized flowers and leaves. It elevates your look while also adding a youthful vibe and flattering colors right near your face.
Oversized shoulder bags
After a few seasons of tiny bags, the fashion pendulum has swung the other way, and now oversized bags are trending. But not so fast: Bigger isn’t necessarily better, since a bag that’s too big can overwhelm your frame. You also shouldn’t stuff everything you own into one—that can add stress to its seams, change its shape, hurt your back and make you look older. Look for one that you can carry or wear on your shoulder, and find the best version of this staple that you can afford, says Graubard. A classic bag is an excellent investment that you’ll use every day, and it will instantly update any ensemble.
This oversized Radley London bag has a magnetic closure and can be worn as a shoulder bag or hand carried. While this is a large bag, its proportions are manageable, and it could be worn by petite and tall people alike.
Pearls aren’t the only necklaces you should be layering. The newest trend is called the “neckmess,” a style that mixes and matches necklaces of varying delicate styles together. Cooper leans toward gold-tone multilayered necklaces because “they add instant sophistication and elegance to any outfit. They look great over a black turtleneck and have a modern retro look.” Graubard, on the other hand, loves delicate chains with small pendants. “They look young and bring a personalized touch to any look,” she says.
By moving the focus toward the décolletage, layered necklaces take the focus away from a soft jaw or neck. Start at the collarbone and go as long as you want—all the way down to the end of the rib cage, if you’d like.
Mixing delicate links with a paperclip chain and hammered coin pendants, this layered Free People necklace is one and done. Wear it solo with a V-neck tee, or add longer chains and pair with an off-the-shoulder dress.
Maybe the fashion-powers-that-be have been binge-watching The Crown, or maybe it’s just that fashion is cyclical, but either way, big pins are in the limelight again. Gen X has revitalized these fashion accessories by grouping them in traditional spots and more unexpected ones, like hats. Here’s one style that will work for nearly anyone: Stylist Jenni Lee suggests “clustering a group of brooches on an oversized blazer, with a fitted tee, high-waisted denim flares and boots.”
Kick off your brooch collection with this abstract beaded bloom brooch from Cult Gaia. This cool design plays with negative space and takes the classic floral brooch to the next level. Pin it on a clutch or tote, make it the centerpiece on a hat or try it on a lapel with smaller brooches around it.
Tennies, sneakers, kicks—whatever you may call them, they’ve become essential to everyone’s wardrobe. And they have a lot going for them. “Comfort is in,” says Lee. “You don’t have to give up on style to keep your feet happy.” She clarifies, however, that she’s not talking about running sneakers. “Picture this,” she continues. “A fitted turtleneck and relaxed trousers that puddle over a pair of fashionable sneakers.”
The key is to opt for simple styles, says Graubard, as well as skip old sneakers that have seen better days. You can’t go wrong with a white leather tennis shoe. Always on trend, it’s easy to pair with shorts (on or off the court), jeans, midi skirts and even dress pants for a cool business-casual look.
You’ll fall in love with these Vionic Winny sneakers. Designed by a podiatrist, they were created with mature feet in mind. Each shoe has three different comfort zones, keeps your foot stable and relieves foot pain from plantar fasciitis, bunions and back pain.
Casual yet dressy, ballet flats are a polished staple for any generation. “They look younger and fresher than stilettos,” says Graubard. Not to mention, they’re way more comfortable! They’re shown on the runway in a multitude of colors, often paired with socks, and Graubard says that when shopping for a ballet flat, you should “look for a bit of novelty—square or pointy toes or a new color.” A slightly pointy shape will also help extend the line of your legs, making you look longer, leaner and less potentially frumpy.
These Loft ballet flats have that coveted pointy toe, a tiny heel and the right-now hue of Barbiecore pink. Bonus: The footbed is padded. (Now seems like a good time to remind you that wisdom comes with age!) Try this fresh-looking flat with cropped jeans and a tailored shirt now, and pair them with wide-leg linen pants in the summer.
The younger set who favor those delicate jewelry pieces are also influencing hoops. What’s in right now? Thin hoop earrings with a width of 15mm to 30mm and an airy feel. Choosing hoops in warm gold or rose gold metals will brighten your complexion, similar to other anti-aging fashion accessories like sunglasses and hats.
Go for glamour by wearing a pair that utilizes semiprecious or precious stones. Mejuri’s 14-karat gold hoops are set with 32 ethically sourced diamonds and have a hinge closure. These chic earrings can be worn solo or paired with other earrings, and they work with any hair length and style, not to mention any outfit. Bonus: They add a subtle sparkle that’s also a smart anti-aging choice. Here are some other earring options for sensitive ears.
Crossbody cellphone holder
Almost every luxury designer has created crossbody cellphone cases that double as wallets, and as with the other bag trend, this one is all about utility and practicality. These fashion accessories, of course, will ensure that you’re hands-free when traveling or commuting, and even if you don’t use it all the time, it’s a smart accessory to have in your arsenal. “You’ll look cool and never miss a call from a phone buried in your bag,” says Gina MK. “Wear it as a crossbody or in front like a pendant. This chic little accessory is next-generation fashion designed for the busy modern woman.”
Bandolier’s Emma holster is designed to fit any type of cellphone. The holster’s back has a snap wallet that can hold up to five cards and cash, and the crossbody strap is both adjustable and detachable. Go bold in a trendy-for-2023 leopard print, or go neutral with greige, gold, black or ivory.