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21 In Anatomy of an Outfit

Wearing a wrap vest over a dress over flared jeans

Navy blue polka dot Donna Morgan dress

Does this polka dot dress look like a crinkle dress to you?


This polka dot navy dress worn over jeans isn’t what I planned to wear. What I planned to wear was a long crinkle navy dress, tights and ankle booties. I thought I’d put a sweater under the crinkle dress because it was chilly outside. But what happened is I went into my closet and hastily grabbed what I thought was the crinkle dress and proceeded with my plan. The J.Crew navy Tippi 3/4 sleeved sweater went on first and then the crinkle dress.

(Note the look of the actual crinkle dress worn two years ago in the summer with sandals.)


Navy blue crinkle dress

This is the mid-calf crinkle dress! (Someone tell Brenda)


Once I got the crinkle dress on over my head and over my sweater, it didn’t feel right. ‘Wow, I don’t remember it fitting this way,’ I said to myself. I was puzzled.


Wearing a sweater under a sleeveless dress

Wearing a Tippi sweater under my sleeveless dress


Wow, this dress is a lot shorter than I remembered. Short booties and tights are going to be awkward with this length. It’s above the knee! Okay, quick change of plan. I’ll wear my flared jeans under the dress instead. Then the dress length won’t matter.

Yes, I was still thinking I was dealing with a dress malfunction. It must have shrunk in my closet. That would explain why it was suddenly six inches shorter than I recalled.


Pinstripe wrap by Valerie Raven

The back view of Valerie’s creation


I had the dress on over my flares but I was grabbling now with proportions and a third piece. I liked the flares with the dress but I needed some kind of jacket or wrap. I tried a jean jacket on. That was awful! I went back to the navy section of my closet, peered in and grabbed my navy pin-striped Valerie wrap vest. I call it my Valerie wrap vest because my friend Valerie made it. It’s a brilliant garment. It makes a statement while functioning as a terrific layering piece. It comes in one size. Valerie loves hunting for unique fabrics from Italian silks to Irish linens so her pieces are all one-of-a-kind.

Here she is wearing one of her warps. It really finishes an outfit in a fashionable way. I love Valerie, all her art, and have always lusted over her wraps which she used to make and sell and is now just starting to make them again. If you want to contact Valerie about her wraps you can email her at


Artist and designer, Valerie Raven

Artist and designer, Valerie Raven wearing one of her wraps


I knew I was on the right fashion track when I put Valerie’s wrap vest over my navy dress. I LOVED the layering effect. It made the dress over jeans feel so graceful, even sexy!

Ah, isn’t that nice. Pin-stripes with polka dots!

I was starting to calm down a little bit.

Wait! Pinstripes and polka dots? Where did the polka dots come from?

I kid you not. It was just now starting to make sense. I wasn’t in the crinkle dress; I was in the polka dot dress! That explained a lot!


A trio of navy garments worn together

Loving the layering of my navy pieces


Holy moly! In my defense, I’d just come to the final day of being with my high school bestie, Patricia from Duluth, Minnesota. I was getting her to the airport to head home and then going to work with a client in the city right afterward. We’d had a marathon of activities in our ten days together. We shopped for couches, shopped for chairs, went to Santa Rosa and hunted some more. We found chairs and a couch (oh my!) and arranged delivery for a leather chair and ottoman that we found in a different store. The couch and chair won’t come until the end of May.


Patricia does research

Patricia test drives a leather chair


We’d shopped for new bedding for the master bedroom, moved paintings, framed paintings, hung paintings. We moved my copper Carl Dern table from the living room into the bedroom and moved Russ’ one-hundred-year-old beautiful secretary into the living room. It has glass shelves so we spent some time making everything look pretty on the inside because now everyone would be seeing it.

That led us to culling through books and finding different storage for my I-have-hundreds-more-books-than-I-have-clothes collection. We had family dinners, friend luncheons, cocktail hour with Erin, girl talk, and oh, we attended four days and nights of our annual Sonoma International Film Festival. We did not paint the outside of the house or redo the backyard patio area but I think our hands touched every other part of the house!

As Erin told her boyfriend, “That’s what they do when they get together.”

So with everything that had passed through my brain during her visit, I do believe I just didn’t have the bandwidth to realize I was in the polka dot dress and not the crinkle one. Do I get a pass?


Changing the neckline of the wrap

This wrap can do all sorts of tricks!


Now that I had my wits about me, I was able to accessorize. I went with a long circle chain, mimicking the long lines I had going on with the flared jeans, the dress, and Valerie’s wrap. To bring some attention to the face I added my sparkly bee necklace. I wore my iron Moonlight Cuff from Artful Home. It was all just simple and pretty as can be.


Silver accessories with column of navy

Accessorizing my dot dress with circle linked long necklace


I’ve worn Valerie’s wrap other ways. It has a snap closure and I use it sometimes. Other times I just improvise. I can pull it across my shoulders or closer up to the neck. I can leave one side fastened and let the other side swing about. When it’s navy on navy like this is, it’s all textural fun anyway. There would be no wrong way to wear it.


Valerie Raven's wrap design

This wrap is so fun to play with!


Oh, and I wore those nothing earrings I told you about! Because I was wearing the wrap closer to my neck rather than down at my shoulders I didn’t want my earrings to run into the collar.


Nothing earrings to wear with high collars

My valuable nothing earrings


The jewelry lesson on why everyone needs a nothing earring is right here!

So who do you see? A happy person. Happy because I found my mind again. Happy because life is rich. It’s creative and it’s got great people in it, special people like my long time friend, Patricia. It’s got blooming wisteria, amazing films to see right here in my town. It’s really special. And if I temporarily lose my mind from time to time, the good news is I do find my way back to center in short time.


Delighted to learn the truth about this dress

Happy to be in polka dots; happy to be


So there you have it. The day I thought I was wearing my crinkle dress but I was actually wearing my polka dot dress. It all worked out in the wash!

Do you lose your mind from time to time? Do you put hair cream on your face thinking it was moisturizer? (Someone in my house did that.) Tell me about the little tricks your mind is playing on you these days!