20 Accessories To Take Your Outfit To The Next Level

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20 Accessories To Take Your Outfit To The Next Level

Words by The MR PORTER Team

7 September 2021

Are you stuck in a style rut? Tired of wearing the same old navy tees? Wishing there was a way out that didn’t involve purchasing a whole new wardrobe? As luck would have it, there is. Your style salvation comes in the form of accessories, a category that includes everything from bags and jewellery to sunglasses and scarves. Think of them as the scatter cushions of the fashion world: an easy way of injecting a little personality and colour into your living space without going to the trouble of repainting the entire room.

As with interiors, the inherent appeal of this approach to dressing is its flexibility. By working with a neutral base and using accessories as accents, you’re creating a wardrobe that’s more versatile than one built on big statement pieces. So, instead of spending a quarter of your next paycheck on a one-of-a-kind designer coat, why not consider putting that money towards half a dozen accessories? Not only are they less of an investment, but they’re far easier to rotate in and out of your look.

And you can start with these. In order to offer you a bit of inspiration, we’ve hand-picked 20 of this season’s best and brightest accessories that offer instant impact.


The zesty mini bag

Why, oh why did it take men so long to accept the joys of smaller bags? This diminutive messenger bag from Acne Studios has more than enough room for your phone, keys and other essentials, making it an ideal choice for day trips and ensuring that you’ll never have to choose between overstuffed pockets and a half-empty backpack again. As a bonus, its zesty tangerine-coloured leather provides any outfit with a pop of colour.


The runway-ready sunnies

Oversized D-frame sunglasses such as these, which featured prominently in the SS21 runway show of Los Angeles luxury brand AMIRI, do a great job of framing the face and providing contrast. The pale blue lenses in this model add a little rockstar panache, ensuring that they – and, yes, you – stand out from the crowd.


The day-glo cardholder

Sure, black cardholders are great. But have you tried day-glo yellow? In a colour that brings to mind either acid house or highlighter ink, depending on how you spent your formative years, this three-pouch cardholder from Balenciaga is certainly eye-catching – but given that it’ll spend most of its life inside your bag or pocket, it’s a relatively understated way of adding some pep and vigour to your look.


The cartoon cap

That square inch of space right in the middle of your forehead is valuable real estate. What do you want to put there? A Yankees logo or a Nike swoosh? Or would you prefer to save it for something a little more unique? If you’re after the latter, then we heartily recommend this classic black cap from BETTER GIFT SHOP, which bears the cute cartoonish work of cult Mexican illustrator Mr Tim Comix.


The festival-ready mini-bag

Unlike Sacai’s collaborations with Nike, this outdoors-inspired item – part of a team up with Japanese bag brand Porter-Yoshida & Co – is exactly the thing you’d want with you in a muddy campsite. A small yet substantial pouch in its own right; it comes purpose-built to stash a water bottle (stay hydrated!) while also carrying your personal effects. And the effect it has on us, personally, is, well, great. The best in its field.


The monogrammed duffle bag

You can probably guess the vibe that SAINT LAURENT is going for with its Le Monogramme collection. As with its stablemates, this grosgrain holdall employs the iconic YSL logo to great effect. Structured from supple leather, with tonal calf trims, it is as practical as it is handsome. The perfect weekend bag for the perfect getaway, then.


The ring to rule them all

Although, in truth, Spinelli Kilcollin’s collection is more inspired by the heavens above than anything you’d encounter in Middle-earth. The brand’s Gemini style plays different tones of gold against each other as a nod to the namesake constellation, and possibly also in keeping with the famously impulsive temperament of people whose birthdays fall under that sign of the zodiac. Can be worn on three fingers or stacked on one – you no doubt know best.


The elevated AirPod case

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity,” is a line from Mr Sun Tzu that Mr Tom Ford, you’d assume an avid reader of The Art of War, no doubt drew on after losing one of his AirPods. Among the most infuriating of modern-day problems is turned into an elegant solution by the designer with this Italian-made pouch. While the animal print leather renders this case harder to misplace, the lanyard certainly helps.


The rainbow ring

If you’re still hesitant about the men’s jewellery trend, then consider Bleue Burnham’s Riviera ring an accessible entry-point. Here, the London-based designer’s new-school approach to jewellery-making is distilled into one low-key, wearable piece: the band is crafted from recycled sterling silver, while the multicoloured sapphires are entirely lab-grown.


The electric blue pouch

Like any great brand signature, Bottega Veneta’s intrecciato weave is a talented shapeshifter with infinite mileage. On this streamlined leather pouch, it comes in a striking cobalt blue – AKA one of Mr Daniel Lee’s colour obsessions this season and a sure-fire way to pep up your autumn-winter wardrobe.


The animal-print hat

Accessories are, for the most part, the “icing on the cake”. Then there are those, such as this Burberry cow-print bucket hat, that are (to prolong the metaphor) the cake itself. Such an offbeat piece is a guaranteed conversation-starter – deploy only if you’re prepared to be the most magnetic man in the room.


The padded leather bag

It appears the padded look is the name of the game at Dries Van Noten this season, popping up in the form of loafers, bomber jackets, bucket hats and more. Our favourite iteration is this voluptuous shoulder bag, which should make for a satisfyingly squishy pillow on your back-to-the-office commute.


The punk rock earring

Japanese brand Jam Homemade has been around since 1998 and has built a reputation for edgy yet easy to wear jewellery. This silver screw earring is suitably punkish and will look good when worn with everything from cosy knitwear to contemporary tailoring.


The CMBYN keychain

Spare a thought for the peach. Thanks to the advent of emojis and that memorable scene with Mr Timothée Chalamet, the humble fruit has had somewhat of a sexual reawakening. Allow JW Anderson to wink to all of that with a peach leather key fob, which is a sure conversation starter.


The art school backpack

Made in collaboration with Mr Joe Brainard, LOEWE’s leather-trimmed backpack is printed with the New York artist’s variegated pansy design. Colourful enough to add some personality to, well, absolutely anything, it’s also capacious enough to carry plenty.


The toadstool lanyard

Mushrooms are all the rage in menswear this season (no really, read all about it here) and Marni’s fungi-shaped key fob lanyard is a great example. Handy for keeping your keys in check, it’s also a stylish accessory by itself.


The football scarf

High fashion’s post-ironic appropriation of working-class culture continues with this stripy football scarf, which is such in name only. You would not want to get pie juice on this. Nor would you be seen dead wearing one in the away stand (unless you wanted to be the subject of some vaguely threatening but ultimately very witty chanting). But it does look jolly nice.


The 1970s aviators

If you want to enter autumn looking like you’ve just wandered off a 1970s porn set, look no further than these aviator-style tortoise shell sunglasses. No sun to shield your eyes from? No problem. These are the kind of shades that have been designed to outgrow their actual purpose.


The spiritual necklace

Healers Fine Jewelry is, apparently, designed to bring “serenity, inner strength and positivity” to the wearer. We’re not sure if this gold and emerald pendant necklace will give you the spiritual awakening you’ve been looking for, but it will definitely make people go, “Ooh, I like your necklace!” Which, if you’re into buying high end jewellery, is probably the same thing.


The tennis bracelet

Fusing high tech processes with heritage, Hatton Labs’ silver and crystal bracelet – inspired by classic tennis styles – might be better worn at Wimbledon than during your local park grudge match with your ex-colleague.