There are many men out there who draw a blank when faced with the term 'fashion accessory'. They may dismiss necklaces, rings and scarves as trivial, but if you see clothes as more than a pure necessity, accessories are a relatively cheap way of adding a new dimension to an old outfit.
The best part is that it's quick and painless, unlike trying on different shirts when you have only 10 minutes to get to work. In fact, it takes no time to experiment with belts, or put on a necklace or bangle to spice up your look.
Fashion accessories come in all price ranges, and can be something you keep for life, change from season to season or merely catches your eye. The other day I visited one of my favourite second-hand shops, Select 18. It recently changed hands and the new owner has introduced a great range of accessories.
I couldn't help but notice a white wooden bangle made of square-grooved plates. It looks clunky but is actually very light and it's one of those items that can go with anything - a shirt, a T-shirt or even a sleeveless top. At the discount price of HK$180, I just had to buy it.
I had another fun accessories hunt at the recent opening party of H&M in TST. The champagne and 20 per cent discount offer may have been an incentive, but the sight of colourful accessories made me feel like a kid in a candy store. My favourite purchases that evening were white-framed shades and a dark blue belt, both of which will look great with my fab new shirt and slim-fit jeans I bought from Dapper in Bangkok.
The great thing about H&M is that with most accessories being about HK$100 a pop, I don't have to worry about losing them. But if you're less absent-minded, or if losing thousands of dollars doesn't faze you, I find Dior Homme's 'headband' sunglasses, which come in white, blue and black a must-buy - especially in the first two colours.
I have also been drawn to white belts, which all men should own in addition to black and brown styles. A white belt is perfect for summer looks and can really make an impact, as at Michael Kors this season. Whether it's with a pair of floral or checked trousers, or as part of mostly black outfit, a white belt immediately gives the look a sharp linear detail and breaks up the silhouette so both your shirt and your trousers get equal attention.
The preppy look of blue shirt and khakis - a very good summer option that's never out of fashion - cries out for a white belt, or another great addition: the stripped belt. Paul Smith goes all blue in various shades this season (below) and the brand also has its signature multicoloured ribbon style if you fancy more colour.
In this stuffy weather, scarves are not the first thing that come to mind when dressing up, but given the city's famous permanent indoor winter it's a good idea to take a scarf with you when heading out. Besides, a scarf is perfect for a bit of extra sassiness. In the display window at Zara, I spotted a great summer combo of a tight-fitting grey T-shirt, a blue knit vest and a matching grey scarf. It's a great look for those with tall, slim builds. For a more bohemian look, try on Stephan Schneider's checked scarf (left), which will look perfect with a linen shirt. If you don't usually wear ties, have a range of necklaces on hand. The same white shirt will look classy with Dunhill's eight-diamond pendant sterling silver and diamonds necklace, or edgy and trendy with Jean Paul Gaultier's range of insect pendants (left). Or you can go for Rock Candy's range of music-themed pendants that include headphones (above), a mic and a turntable.
In its recent spring/summer 2009 trend report, Harvey Nichols has showcased how extra details make a look shine: a John Lawrence Sullivan jacket (top right) is decorated with Kris Van Assche floral pins on the breast pocket that instantly transform a simple jacket into a playful, flirtatious look. As you can see, it's all in the accessories.
Dunhill, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2537 1009
H&M, Canton Rd, TST, tel: 3973 7123
Harvey Nichols, The Landmark, Central, tel: 3695 3388
Jean Paul Gaultier, Lee Gardens Two, Causeway Bay, tel: 2915 6189
Michael Kors, The Landmark, Central, tel: 2523 0998
Paul Smith, Harbour City, TST, tel: 2730 7622
Rock Candy, 1 Elgin St, Central, tel: 2549 1018
Stephan Schneider, available from Seibu, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2971 3888
Select 18, Bridges St, Central, tel: 2545 9932
Zara, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2234 7305