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14 In Anatomy of an Outfit/ Getting Dressed

Putting together a wedding outfit in 5 minutes

What I wore to a wine country wedding.

We’d been hearing exquisite details for months about the upcoming wedding of our friends’ granddaughter. This left me with plenty of time to get an outfit.

We got our ‘save the date’ card in spring, the invitation in summer, and now it was autumn. I had pretty much decided what I’d wear, but I’d make the final decision on the day of the wedding, which started at 5 p.m.

Double necklaces needed for this jacket
Would I wear the Etro colorful jacket?

The outfit I’d planned on wearing was my Etro jacket purchased two years ago with a pair of black silk Prada trousers. At 3 p.m., I decided against it. I didn’t want to wear the Prada silk pants because they’re a little tight in the waist. I thought it would be great to wear my colorful silk Etro jacket, but suddenly it seemed too showy.

A dress was a wedding outfit option

I could wear different pants and jackets, but I’d shaved my legs recently, which gave me the option of wearing a dress. I looked in my dress section, the smallest section of my wardrobe.

I spied my navy crinkle dress, a real workhorse in my wardrobe. I’ve worn it to work often with the long jacket that I bought with it. But the coat has gotten lots of use in casual jean outfits.

wearing a long blue jacket over jeans on Brenda Kinsel website
How I wore the crinkle jacket four years ago

I felt a little funny about wearing pieces that have been worn so often already. It seemed like I ‘should be’ pulling out something from my special occasion section. (What special occasion section?) Would I get busted? There’s that Lutheran guilt again!

“Accessorize the dress, Brenda.”

Anyhoo, I snapped out of it when I realized I’d do this for a client and tell her she’s so savvy to wear the same pieces in such different ways. I’d encourage her to save her money and buy things that will give her better cost-per-wear. I also remembered what I’ve been doing my entire life, which is accessorizing!

How can I make this simple ensemble look like it’s a wedding outfit? I wanted to add pieces that would be light and bright, standing out from the navy.

Moonstone earrings make any occasion special.

Right away, I thought of my moonstone earrings. I never have paid as much for earrings as I paid for these. Wine was involved in the purchase, yet I’ve never regretted buying them. They make everything look special, and they make me feel special.

I felt better already. My beaded feather necklace came next because I love the way the colors in it relate to the earrings.

Wedding outfit accessories
Bangles running up the wrist added wedding flavor to my outfit.

But this wasn’t enough. My large silk pin had come out to play recently when I pretended it was a button on a jacket along with its feathery pin in taupe. I pulled it out again. What if I plop this right at my shoulder line? That way, it can play with the earrings and communicate with the feather pendant just a little bit away?

I pinned it to my shoulder, looked in the mirror, backed away, and called for Russ. “Does this look corny or weddingy to you?” I said.

“It looks nice,” he said. I trusted him. The clock was ticking, and I still needed to do my nails!

Limited options in the shoe and handbag departments

Then came the shoes. I eliminated my slip-ons and sneakers, a category that dominates my shoe space. My choices were a pair of kitten-heeled Mary Janes, which have gone to festive events that required a lot of sitting down, or my patent AGL flats with the velvet ribbons which I can wear for hours.

I didn’t trust the kitten heels. These AGL flats bought several years back, have stepped in and helped me with dress-up outfits when heels failed to be an option. They’re fancy and a bit whimsical. I look down at them, gracing my feet, and they always make me smile.

These fancy flats are great with my sort of fancy outfits.

The last detail was the handbag. My allergies have had their way with me, so I definitely needed a place for a couple of throat lozenges, my handkerchief, a lipstick, and my silenced phone.

I looked through all my small clutches and got worried. (Can you still believe this is taking me only 5 minutes? I worry fast and follow up with action even faster.)

wedding outfit bag
A small and thin crossbody bag is perfect.

Then I spied my funny-colored-blue crossbody bag. It’s not navy blue or teal blue; it’s a funny-colored blue. I held it against my dress, and it was just fine. I changed into my blue eye frames from Uber Optics.

I love how narrow it is. It only works for an occasion like this, though. It’s minimal.

Nails, lipstick and then the entrance

With my outfit put together, I calmed down and did my nails (OPI 164 Closing Night). Before walking out the door, I applied my Chanel Bright Raspberry ultra wear lip color. I didn’t want to be getting into that little bag for multiple lipstick applications, so I used the one that would stay all night.

a wedding lipstick that stays on

Enjoying the wedding in wine country

When we arrived at the wedding destination (5 minutes from home), I took Russ’ hand, and we walked down the trail to the grassy area, looking out into the rows and rows of grapes. We found seats, and I felt every bit wedding-outfit-ready in my repurposed, recycled clothes.

It was lovely. Perfect weather, darling couple, great toasts, excellent food catered by Ramekins, and great company over at our table, which was a collection of people old enough to be grandparents. Many of us were.

After the dinner and the toasts came the dancing. I was glad to be wearing my patent flats. Russ and I surprised ourselves, got out on the dance floor and stayed there for a good while. We kept thinking our knees would give out but they didn’t. There were no 9-1-1 calls.

Appreciating this wedding moment

I’ve been hearing stories of Lauren via her grandparents for years. Now that I’m a grandmother, those stories mean even more to me. They’ve had lots of time to cherish their grandchildren. I’m just a beginner.

One of my favorite parts of the wedding was when Lauren, the bride, had a dance with her granddad, Richard. I know these pictures are blurry, but you can’t miss the connection between them.

I had watched them intently. Their faces were gleaming bright. Lauren laid her head into Richard’s strong shoulder, and he held her even closer. You could feel the love.

Richard told me afterward that he didn’t know anything about Lauren’s decision to have a special dance alone with him. He was moved that she’d chosen his favorite song, Desperado.

The bride’s dance with her grandfather.

I was happy for them, and a little wistful myself. Our friends, Richard and Pat, started a lot earlier than I did in their grandparenting roles. I did the math: If Viv gets married when she’s 30, I’ll be 97. I will most likely not have this wedding day moment with my granddaughter, but I’m reminded to cherish her in all ways possible for as long as I’m given.

Congrats Lauren and Kevin!

Now tell me about you? Do you have a special occasion section in your closet where you’d go to find a wedding outfit? If you were going to a wedding next week, do you know what you’d wear? Have you been to a wedding recently? What stood out? Do share!

XO