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A good accessory can elevate an outfit. With the help of a brooch, a fabulous hat, a cute belt or even a simple pair of sunglasses, you can take the most pedestrian of get ups to the next level. It’s a simple but effective way of making what you wear pop. It’s all in the details, darling. 

Accessories also provide a chance for self-expression. Something like a vibrant and colourful bangle, a cluster of badges or an earring can act as visual representations of your personality. For LGBTQ+ people, such an opportunity to signpost your identity can be deeply important. From wearing a badge with your pronouns on to exploring your gender expression with traditionally masculine or feminine jewellery, accessories can help individuals not only make political statements, but also provide the scope to be playful and experimental with who they are. 

Someone who knows all about this is filmmaker and self-professed accessory master Yelita Ali. In fact, it was the boundless possibility for creativity and freedom that drew her to the bounty of accessorising – experimenting with bold and beautiful accessories allowed her to turn her body into an ever-evolving art piece. 

With so many accessories out there, however, it can be tricky to figure out what accessories might work for you. After all, we’ve all seen those queens on Drag Race who take accessorising just that little bit too far (usually to the chagrin of Michelle Visage). That’s why GAY TIMES, in partnership with Klarna, got together with Yelita to find out all about her experiences as an accessories, where she draws inspiration from and what advice she has for any budding accessory masters. 

Hey Yelita. How would your friends best describe you? 

My friends would probably describe me as eccentric, goofy and vibrant. I like to really push myself out of my comfort zone, whilst also chilling with my closest friends – it’s about balance after all. 

How did you become an accessory master? 

I think I’ve always loved kind of gauche over the top styling. I’d spend hours on Tumblr and Pinterest looking through maximalist fashion blogs, so it was just a natural progression. As soon as I got my first job, I started buying all kinds of jewellery, hats, sunglasses, hair scarves and beads. It was all about decorating all the parts of me. 

How would you say your interests and hobbies influence your style? 

Most of my interests are artistic in nature. I think that’s what inspires me is to see my body as a canvas to accessorise. But I’m also inspired by everything from iconic TV Characters like Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl, to a Baroque painting and even a specific era like the 70’s. My style is quite malleable and ever evolving; mostly it’s just bright. As a filmmaker and a creative, I am constantly existing in the many heads of characters. I think it’s made my style very multifaceted.

Who are some people you take inspiration from and what is it about them that you love? 

Honestly, I think my original style icon was Harper from Wizards of Waverly Place. And then all of the Tumblr girls, and all the 90’s black sitcom ‘it girls’. Black women ran the 90’s and you can still see the impact, especially in the case of Lil’ Kim. But I feel like I kind of blend the gauche quirkiness of Harper with a slightly bolder edge.

What’s your favourite accessory that you’ve ever bought?

Most of my jewellery features snake iconography. I own so many pairs of snake earrings. I have a gold pair from Bershka that changed my life! I also love my faux fur bucket hats. They are my favourite winter accessory.

What’s your favourite shopping feature on the Klarna app and why? 

Just being able to try things out before making a commitment, as well as the incredible collections they have on there that help me discover brands I may not have heard of.

Seeing as you can shop anywhere in the Klarna app, what are your favourite retailers to buy accessories at? 

I would probably say ASOS. It’s the one retailer I use the most, purely because of the sheer range of items they have. I love Etsy, too. You can find such great independent sellers. A new favourite is also Guillio; their bags are insane. 

What advice can you give to someone looking to become an accessory master? 

Check out independent businesses. They usually have the most unique and exciting pieces: from bags to rings, you’ll find something that stands out. I also think you should try experimenting with different accessories. Mostly, people stick to necklaces, rings and earrings, but I love to accessorise my braids and hair. A good hat or hair band can really elevate a look. It creates incredible detail. You can also get cool waist beads or anklets. There are so many different types of accessories. Broaden your horizons!

Shop Yelita’s Accessory collection in the Klarna app here. With the Klarna app, you can create your own wishlist, get price drop notifications and can even spread the cost into 3 interest-free payments when you do decide to checkout via the Klarna app. 

You can also shop the full GAY TIMES x Klarna collection here.

Klarna’s Pay in 3 instalments credit agreements are not regulated by the FCA. Use of these and any missed payments may affect your ability to obtain credit from Klarna and other lenders. 18+, UK residents only. Subject to status. T&Cs apply.