What are classic style accessories?

This picture shows a man that holds classic accessories: A leather strapped watch and a leather briefcase.

To wear a classic outfit properly, some classic accessories are crucial. Therefore, we will look at some of them now and some criteria they must fulfill. But what are they?

Classic accessories need to fulfill various criteria like timeless design, high-quality materials, and enduring appeal. Accessories like pearl necklaces and bracelets, silk scarfs, pocket squares, and leather purses and watches fulfill these criteria. 

But to determine which accessory is classy and which is not, you have to look at them in a lot more detail. This article will not only feature an explanation of which accessory is classy and why but will also give you some inspiration on which outfit they will complement and a guide on how to accessorize, so read on!


Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak

Rachel Zoe

This quote from Rachel Zoe, a celebrity stylist, designer, and entrepreneur, states the importance of well-thought outfits. The people we meet in our lives will first judge us by how we dress and will use their perception of us in their behavior. 

Therefore, it is crucial to not only dress with class but also accessorize with classic accessories to make a great first impression.

The classic style is a type of fashion that emerged in the 1920s as a result of industrialization and therefore affordable high-quality clothes. It highlights clean and timeless silhouettestailored garments, and elegance and sophistication. These are also things classic accessories have to fulfill in order to match and complement any type of classic style

If you want to know more about types of classic styles, check out my article about it here.

Key elements of classic accessories

These key elements, we will discuss now, are crucial to any accessory you will want to combine with classic fashion:

This picture shows a variety of classic accessories: Ballet plates, a silk scarf, and glasses.
Source: Freepik
  1. High quality: As anything about classic style should be of high quality, it is no wonder that accessories should fulfill this criterion too. Well-crafted items will not only make you look elegant but will also determine how the outfit is portrayed to others. 
  2. Timeless designs: Another thing that almost any type of classic style has in common, is a timeless design. As one of the key elements, you will also want to have this with your accessories. 
  1. Neutral colors: To blend in with various clothes, a neutral color scheme is crucial. Imagine wearing an elegant outfit like a suit or a black dress and combining it with bold jewelry like shining blue pearls. This will not only make you look sloppy but also destroy the elegance of the entire outfit. 
  2. Versatility: To combine your classic accessories with almost any garments, they need to be versatile. You already did this with neutral colors but also simple designs and no trendy pieces will be beneficial.
  1. Simplicity: This brings us to the next element, simplicity. Not only will it make your accessories more versatile but also it is not meant to stand in the focus but rather complement the outfit. Therefore, simple designs are a key element. Also, big brand names are a no-go.
  2. Attention to detail: Good craftsmanship expresses through various features but also attention to detail, may it be the stitching on a purse or the hand-crafted dial on a watch.

There may be other elements that are important depending on which accessory you wear, but these 6 key elements are the most crucial ones and therefore define classic accessories. 

To gain a comprehensive overview of all classic brands that may feature classic accessories, check out my article here.

Classic accessories featured

There may be some accessories that fit each gender, but we will divide this list into classic accessories for men and for women to gain a better overview. 

Classic accessories for men

We will start with the men. If you want to get a closer look at a classic style for men in general, check it out in my article here. Further, we will divide this list into casual accessories and formal ones. Now let’s get into the list:

Casual accessories

  • Leather belt: A leather belt is a crucial accessory to almost any classic outfit for men. Try to opt for dark colors like brown or black and for high quality. No Gucci logos or other extensive brand symbols should be on it. 
  • Leather shoes: Similar to a leather belt, leather shoes will complement almost any classic outfit very well. Again, dark colors and high quality are crucial. Try to match the belt to the shoes.
  • Wristwatch: A non-opulent wristwatch of high quality will be a great accessory for your classic outfits on any occasion. Try to pick either one with a leather strap or one with a mesh wristband or a reserved metal wristband. If you have the money to buy one, a luxury watch in neutral colors will be great. 
  • Sunglasses: This one rather fits more casual outfits but is a great classic accessory. There is not much to look out for with sunglasses other than neutral colors and matching ones to your face shape
  • Leather briefcase: As you can see, this style likes to empathize with leather. For a leather briefcase or cardholder, you will want to look for high quality as a briefcase with holes in it and strings pointing out will not make a good picture. Again, opt for neutral colors.

Formal accessories

  • Pocket square: In the classic style there is a huge focus on formal attire and so it is no wonder that the following classic accessories all match a suit very well. A pocket square made out of silk in rather neutral colors with reserved patterns will make a suit look great. 
  • Silk tie: To match this pocket square, a silk tie can be worn. This is no must-have but on many formal occasions, you will want to wear a tie. The only thing you should opt for is no extraordinary patterns and colors as they will ruin your appeal. 
  • Cufflinks: Lastly, some cufflinks can be added to your blazer or suit to add some extra detail. Especially the dramatic classic style likes to work with cufflinks.
A man wears a suit with checks and holds a cigar.
Source: Freepik

These accessories will level up your outfit immediately. As you can see, most of them are for formal attire but with a wristwatch and sunglasses, you can also complement more casual ones.

Classic accessories for women

We will not need to follow the same principle for women as with accessories for men. As there are not any only formal accessories for women. 

If you want to know more about the style these classic accessories complement, check out my article about the classic style for women

  • Pearl Jewelry: Pearls are a true symbol of classic accessories for women. Pearl necklaces and pearl bracelets are great accessories as well as pearl earrings. Opt for high-quality and rather neutral colors though. 
  • Golden jewelry: Golden jewelry will work as well as pearls. The same principles apply to this kind as with pearl jewelry.
  • Leather purse: A leather purse is a great accessory you can complement your classic style with. Try to opt for a clean leather look, not too big and of high quality. You can implement stitching of any kind but keep the general tone neutral
  • Wristwatch with leather strap: For women, a watch with a leather strap is a great accessory to dress up your outfit. Opt for high-quality and clean colors like a white dial and a light brown strap
  • Sunglasses: For sunglasses, you should look for something that fits your face shape and has rather neutral colors. Except for that, you can choose any you want without big chunky logos
  • Silk scarf: A silk scarf adds a little something to either your outfit or combined with a purse. You can choose any color as long as it matches the outfit. 
  • Ballet flats & pumps: Lastly, for any rather formal occasion, some neutral-colored ballet flats or pumps will be the perfect shoes to wear to your classic outfits. 

As you can see from this list, these classic accessories all live off of high quality and simplicity and therefore give off elegance and sophistication

How to accessorize properly

Now that we’ve heard about the key elements of classic accessories as well as which accessories are classy, we will now look at how to accessorize with them properly

Before you even start putting them on, make sure all the accessories you will want to wear are made of high quality and clean.

Then after that, you will want to look at your outfit, and depending on the occasion, you will want to wear either formal or casual accessories. This table will show you what accessories you should wear to formal or casual occasions.

ManPocket squares, silk ties, cufflinks, watches, Dress shoesLeather belts, leather shoes, watches, sunglasses, leather briefcase
WomanLeather purse, reserved golden jewelry, reserved pearl jewelry, ballet flats & pumpsLeather purse, silk scarf, leather strapped watch, golden jewelry, pearl jewelry, sunglasses, ballet flats

Now that we got a perception of which accessories to wear to which occasion, we will now talk about how to wear them. Generally, you will want to match the colors of your clothes. Also, I would pick shoes beforeaccessories and match these to the outfit first. If you got your outfit together, now it is time to accessorize.

If you wear leather, match the color of the leather to your shoes if you are wearing leather shoes. Otherwise, you can nearly choose any color that still looks like leather, besides the colored ones like green, blue, and red. 

In general, try to wear simple accessories, not excessive adornment as it is not versatile and you cannot layer them if you want to. You can surely mix accessories such as a watch, bracelets, and necklaces, but try to match them within themselves as otherwise it will look too much, but in general, less is more with the classic style

Classic accessories for certain outfits

Now we will look at some examples of classic outfits which use classic accessories to complement their overall aesthetic. If you want to know more about these classic outfits, check out my article about 12 classic outfits for men and women.

  1. Woman:
A woman wears a classic outfit: A white blouse, and a brown skirt. She also wears a purse and sunglasses.
Source: Freepik/Arthur_Hidden

For this outfit, you can see that the woman dresses up to look rather formal. She holds a rather big purse whose leather fits the color of her skirt. Also, you can see her wearing sunglasses and some reserved golden earrings. You can barely recognize it, but this woman also wears a golden bracelet on her arm which matches the color of her earrings. 

Altogether, this outfit looks classy, and the classic accessories add a touch of elegance and sophistication to it. 

  1. Man
A man wears a button-down shirt and a pair of chino trousers in summer.
Source: Freepik/Halayalex

The man in this picture also wears a rather formal summer outfit. He uses different accessories to complement his style though. As you can see, he creates a timeless and rather shaping silhouette by applying a leather belt to his outfit. Even though this belt isn’t black or dark brown, it still matches the overall light color scheme of this outfit. 

For a bit more casualness, he put on some sunglasses. Also, the man in this picture wears a watch with a leather strap to complement the outfit even more. 


As we can see from this article, classic accessories not only add a little something to any classic outfit but rather complement it and give it the elegance and sophistication we all know of.  With various options and a guide on how to accessorize, you should be all up for a great classic outfit.

If you found this article helpful and want to leave me a comment on what to write next, don’t hesitate and do it down below.

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