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Entries in Accessorizing (2)


Decorate Yourself!

Jill Swanson makes classic fashion fun, so I invited her to write this Christmas UPGRADE to help us think about some special ways to decorate ourselves—not just our trees—for Christmas.

"Do you feel like you’re stuck wearing black for the holidays?" Jill asks. "Black is easy! Black is thinning! Black is boring!

"Wait, what was that? Boring? Well, yes, it can be predictable and boring."

That was me (Dawn) a few years ago. When Jill visited my closet, 50% of it was black! She helped me step outside my comfort zone and experiment with more color.

Jill continues . . .

Try adding some color and sparkle to your festive events this year.

Not sure how to do it? Here are three ideas to minimize the black and infuse your closet with some holiday cheer.

First, reacquaint yourself with the other popular colors this season: gold, dark green, off-white and of course red.

I also like the “starry night” effect of using a brilliant blue or navy. Any of these colors can easily be paired with black or stand on their own.

(Yes – it is “in” to wear black and navy together, just be sure to add some shine or sparkle.)

Second, make ensembles of what you already own and add “ornaments.” 

Start with an “elevator” outfit: a solid top and bottom in the same color—ivory blouse and ivory skirt, navy sweater and navy pants or even your black top and bottom.

(This creates a column or slimming "elevator.")

Then add to that an “Accessory Encore.”  

This is a group of accessories or add-on clothing pieces such as a blazer or vest that are unified by a common theme or color. Here are some examples:



The Encore can be added to the elevator set of your choice and rotated through your wardrobe.

Use your “romantic” Encore with your dressy clothes or take your jeans and white button-down shirt to an entirely new level!

Wear the bright red Encore in the winter with black and in the summer with white.

Encores work great when traveling too: take a pair of jeans and tee, one elevator set, and two or three Encores. Then mix and match, it’s easy and fast. Plus, they will easily fit into a small suitcase!

And finally, the simplest way to add some holiday style is to bling one thing. Wear what you would normally wear and go one step beyond. Here is a list of glitz to help you decorate with style!


  1. Lame’ anything – this metallic woven fabric will sparkle!
  2. Sequined top or scarf for some shimmer
  3. Rhinestone necklaces, earrings, pins, or bracelets
  4. A flashy belt with glitter or shine
  5. A satin scarf, shirt or tank for a classy effect
  6. A felt fedora hat and gloves for a little drama
  7. Lace scarf or top to add romance
  8. Sparkly eye shadow or lip gloss
  9. A bottle of glittery nail polish
  10. Red high heels—need I say more?

Accessorizing your wardrobe with some sparkle and shine will take your look to the next level.

Complete the look by accessorizing your thoughts with His words from Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Your beauty will shine from the inside out.

Spend a little time with Jesus each day and let his Holy Spirit infuse you with His light this Holy season.

Author Jill Swanson is a Christian Image Consultant whose mission is to help women make the most of their God given beauty (inside and out) through her speaking ministry and personal consultations.  Jill’s fashion/beauty books and Simply Scarves DVD are available at and on For more information about Jill’s online services and speaking, visit her website or contact Jill at 507-250-2030.

NOTE: Jill has a FREE TIP SHEET for anyone who goes to her website and emails her from her contact page——with the words “lighten Up.” TIP SHEET: "24 Ways to Lighten Up for the Holidays."

Red dress in graphic from


Five Tips for Cheap Chic

Meet Jill Swanson:  A couple of years ago, Jill stood in my bedroom, helping me go through my wardrobe—piece by piece. We made big piles to give away, throw away, mend, and set aside to look for items to complete outfits. My closet never looked so spacious and organized! Jill was especially sensitive to my limited budget and I still use her color insights. (Turquoise became my "signature" color that day!)

“You can have beauty without breaking the bank,” Jill said. “As a professional image consultant, I love to teach women how to look like million without spending it.”

Here are a few of Jill’s favorite tips.

1. Organize first, shop later. Sort out the good, the bad and the ugly. This will reacquaint you with what you already own and possibly set you up for some extra income. What was “bad” for you could be good for someone else. Consignment stores are always looking for up-to-date, gently-worn clothing to resell, and that means money in your pocket. 

2. Get creative. Ugly can become useful. Before you trash that white blouse with the yellowed armpits – harvest the unique buttons off of it. I find beautiful buttons, appliqué and lace on garage sale garments and transplanted them onto my tired wardrobe basics.

3. “Know thyself” and dress accordingly. Go back to the “good” – what worked for you? Was it the color? Style? Fabric? Or perhaps just the fact that it fit a role in your lifestyle.  If you stay at home and have a closet full of business clothes, it’s time to reprioritize and spend your money where you spend your time. Give yourself permission to buy better quality and get a good fit in your “at-home” clothes. Duplicate winning colors and styles from those tried and true pieces that worked in your past.

4. Accessorize and shop wisely.  Invest in scarves, jewelry and add-ons (vests, belts, etc.) to change your look with a little color and decor. Shop consignment stores and department store sale racks for clothes (better quality). Use import shops and teen departments for trendy accessories.

5. Minimize. Learn to be content with less. Owning a few pieces that look fabulous on you is better than having much that looks mediocre!

What's your favorite fashion tip?

Jill Swanson, Image Coach, author and Christian speaker, helps women make the most of what they’ve been blessed with. For consultations (online or in person) and or to check out Jill's newest book, Out the Door in 15 Minutes, please visit