Style

Accessorizing with Dogs: A How-To

There has long existed an association between tiny, handbag-friendly dogs and the fashion elite, but there is more to the art of accessorizing with dogs than a chihuahua in a purse.  For everyone who shares a home – even briefly – with a four-legged companion, the question has always been: how can I maximize my dog-outfit synergy?

The first consideration is, of course, the breed. Dogs such as border collies naturally pair well with workaday or outdoor clothing: consider Engineered Garments, Battenwear, or Nigel Cabourn, as all of these brands perform admirably even when covered with hair. A bulldog can complement both vaguely-sleezy 70’s inspired menswear as well as 3-piece suits of heavy tweed , whereas a Borzoi may lend itself best to a fan of the Antwerp Six. Devotees to the house of Marc Jacobs will, of course, love bull terriers, whereas advocates of quirky menswear will be quick to point to Menswear Dog  as an example of why Shiba Inus make the perfect stylistic companion. Some dogs are as versatile as a navy blazer – Welsh Corgis, for example, go with just about anything.

Don’t be too concerned, however, as any dog can be the perfect match for their wearer’s peculiar clothing choices, and mixes often show the most aesthetic versatility. Take, for example, my good friend @konorobu‘s predilection for combining Rick Owens and Carol Christian Poell with his small and adorable adopted friend. This, of course, is additionally powerful due to the inherent gap-moe of the combination; or the charm of contradictory habits or personality traits. If you’re a man in a power suit, consider a Pomeranian. If you’re wearing head-to-toe Acronym, a Lhasa Apso will provide a well-groomed counterpoint to your edgy, apocalypse-ready exterior. There is no reason to feel pigeonholed in your wardrobe choices when accessorizing with dogs – experiment with outfits to see what works best with your companion. I favor a pair of adopted Shiba Inus, as I find the coloration and temperament lends itself nicely to indigo-dyed streetwear and the occasional jacket and trousers.

The second consideration is fur type and coloration. When accessorizing with dogs, it’s important to take note of ideal color combinations. Keep in mind that black-and-white is not the be-all, end-all of a fashionable companion. High-fashion aficionados will find that the black-and-tan of a Bernese Mountain Dog will go nicely with a monochrome look, and the subtle tones of a Blue Heeler will bring out the best in any colorful outfit. Texture is a secondary aspect; brushed tweeds go equally well with shaggy or shiny coats, and light linens and cottons are a perfect match for both high-fuzz-factor dogs as well as adorably soft and tiny companions.

Ultimately, there is no end to the number of ways you can accessorize with dogs. The fashionable options are limitless, especially when the personality of the dog in question is taken into consideration. Beyond the purely aesthetic advantages that dogs confer, there are innumerable health benefits that come from living with them. Ten out of ten doctors now recognize that accessorizing with dogs results in lower blood pressure, more Instagram likes, a higher sex drive, and funnier jokes1. This should not be taken lightly – for any of you who are struggling with wardrobe direction or how to maximize your swag levels, a dog can provide the boost you need to hone in on your style.

There are now multiple apps that allow users to rent dogs. Dogs of all shapes and sizes, from the tiny and yappy to the huge and drooling. Some of these apps are geared towards people who want to test the waters before adopting their own new best friend; others are designed as social meet-up or even dating tools. And ever better, your local Humane Society will have all kinds of dogs for you to meet, love, and even take home with you. Just make sure that you’re doing your homework before you take the plunge, because there’s nothing more un-chic than being a bad dog owner. If you’re diligent in your search, I’m sure you’ll find a companion, and I’m sure you won’t regret it – because all along, the best accessory to a happy life and a happy wardrobe is a doggy friendship.


  1. This is completely fabricated.
  2. Cover photo credit: Arianna Reggio
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Jasper Lipton

EIC at Styleforum
Jasper likes indigo, flight jackets, and boots - but he likes his dogs even more. He dreams of buried cities and the spaces between the stars.