When dressing, there is one style diktat that trumps all (or most): accessories make or break an outfit. Just when you think you’ve got it all going on, a disagreeable bag or shoe can wreak havoc on even the most spectacular of outfits. If you pair said outfit with the wrong shoe, or God forbid, a rogue handbag, your fabulous dress becomes not-so fabulous rendering all fabulous-ness utterly redundant.

So what defines a truly great accessory? It depends, but typically they fall on one of two sides: timeless or trendy. Sure, a synthesis of both is viable, but for the most part they sit quite happily in their corners; the classic elegant pieces quietly but confidently, while the trend-driven pieces jump and shout up and down. So when it comes to buying accessories, one must consider many things. And a good place to start is the trendy vs timeless conflict. For example, do I want newly minted Net-a-Porter label Paciotti’s tricked-up mesh point with glimmering ruby chain detail that will inevitably see its day? Or, do I want the same shoe in a glossy yet subdued nude that will last a lifetime? As a maximalist who thrives off melodrama, you know which side of the shoe fence I’m sitting on.

But don’t ask me (unless of course you want 75 pairs of feathered mules and 17 micro bags). Ask our knights in shining retail armour, Net-a-Porter, who know a thing or two about great accessories.

We asked the buying team – aka fashion’s higher power – on what accessories to invest in this year. And just as the Spring / Summer 2020 collections are starting to drop online, timely, don’t you think?

Here, the truly, truly great accessories that are either trendy, timeless or both that will define 2020.

I’m in Chains
Mr Daniel Lee can take the claim for this one, his Bottega Veneta anklet mesh pumps quite literally laying the groundwork for a 2020 fashion life in chains (and a fabulous one at that). The jewellery-as-shoe equation is only further bolstered this season by a slew of brands who followed suit, including Pacioiti’s chain-encrusted pumps, Gucci’s chain-dripped shoes, Aligheri’s gilt treasures, new designer Porte & Paire who offer a subtle glint and of course Bottega who are back with a rounded mesh heel and chunkier chain. Also watch this space for Proenza Schouler’s soon-to-drop chain-lined sandals – this year’s it-shoe.

PORTE & PAIRE, Chain-embellished leather slingback sandals $452.56. shop now

back for more baguette
Baguette bags are of course not new news, but this season the ’90s shoulder bag continues its dominance – with a few new tricks up its sleeve (or in its pouch). By Far’s iconic ‘Rachel’ bag sees new chain link details, while Bottega Veneta convert their beloved Pouch into a shoulder bag with a new chunky chain strap. The Row and Rejina Pyo also explore more croissant-like shapes, crescent-y and delicious. With 50 styles of the ’90s-esque shoulder bag arriving at Net-a-Porter, time to get slinging.

WANDLER, Georgia textured-leather shoulder bag, $932.47. shop now

Fashion often returns to antiquity, with Grecian garb and Roman dress often referenced from season to season. Footwear too sees a return to its ancient forefathers (or mothers), with wrapped up gladiator sandals taking form in chunky, Teva-inspired hiking shoes, elegant and dainty tie-up flats, and glamorous heeled varieties.


Don’t forget your lunch bag!
Squishy sandwich bags, but make them fashion; a clutch loses its occasion-wear shackles and is rendered into an object for daytime pleasure (again thanks to Mr Lee at Bottega) as the grab-and-go handbag triumphs this season. Clutch bags were super-sized into soft oversized pouches that tuck perfectly under the arm with the power of the day clutch irrepressible. Of course, Bottega Veneta leads the way with its Pouch and new Envelope Clutch, but for something a little different, KASSL Editions’s jumbo nylon pouch is just the thing to get cosy with.

KASSL EDITIONS, Padded shell tote, $474.13. shop now

Sporty Spice
For Spring, the Teva-style sandal style gets a luxe update with leather and hardware finishings. We recall our youth by revisiting the ’90s flatform, with The Row’s Ginza flatform flip flop already in the throes of sending the fashion pack to the brink. But the highlight is perhaps the unexpected collaborations of Proenza Schouler and Birkenstock, and Arizona Love and Rosie Assoulin. Now that’s some fashion fun.

PROENZA SCHOULER+ Birkenstock ,Arizona topstitched glossed-leather sandals, $521.55. shop now

Saddle Up
The saddle bag has long been a fixture in style circles, but this season sees the bag take side saddle, moving into a more streamlined, clean approach as oppose to the bohemian sensibility of seasons past. Saddle up with chic versions from Loewe, Valentino and Hunting Season, while Saint Laurent’s Mini Besace is sure to be a hit.

LOEWE, Horseshoe leather shoulder bag, $2,650. shop now

THE THONG song (or sandal)
Yes, the thong heel is not going anywhere, in fact, it continues its reign as the footwear du jour, however takes on exciting new form. Last season saw the flossy thong heel a natural extension of the naked sandal, an easy way to tap the ’90s trend. This season sees a slightly more elevated and interesting take on the thong heel with 36 new styles finding their feet at Net-a-Porter, including flatform varieties from The Row, Gucci and Givenchy and a more artful take by Wandler. And if you need further proof of its power, look to the exclusive Gianvito Rossi capsule shoe, which sold an astonishing 1,600 units in under one week last summer.

WANDLER, Elza color-block leather slingback sandals, $584.76. shop now

the crown jewels
Unlike seasons past, where jewellery was very much about statement-making glory, this season sees jewels still seeking statement, but more like a ‘personality’ piece, complimenting a mood or a look. Gold hoops looked as if they were the models own on the runway, shell and pearl neckpieces, bracelets and earrings looked to be unearthed on a seaside escape or picked up as a holiday souvenir, while scarves seemed vintage in their sensibility, as if a fashionable heirloom from generations past.

ANITA BERISHA, Droplet gold-plated, pearl and crystal necklace, $316.10. shop now