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A fashion accessory is an item which is used to contribute, in a secondary manner, to the wearer's outfit, often used to complete an outfit and chosen to specifically complement the wearer's look. The term came into use in the 19th century.
Fashion accessories can be loosely categorized into two general areas: those that are carried and those that are worn. Traditional carried accessories include purses and handbags, hand fans, parasols and umbrellas, canes, and ceremonial swords. Accessories that are worn may include jackets, boots and shoes, cravats, ties, hats, bonnets, belts and suspenders, gloves, muffs, jewellery, watches, sashes, shawls, scarves, socks, and stockings.
In Victorian fashion accessories such as fans, parasols and gloves held significance for how women experienced gender, race and class. In this era, there was a trend for women to adopt, or aspire to, a more leisurely lifestyle. Consequently gloves were often used by women to cover their hands and mask any signs of labour.
Also, in the early 16th century in Italy hat badges were worn by civilian men of a higher social status as decorative item, in imitation of the cap badges worn by the invading military. Hat badges were often worn in conjunction with a decorative sword and hilt. Hat badges were fashioned after plaquettes and often depicted a scene with personal relevance to the wearer.
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