22 In Anatomy of an Outfit/ Styling Tips

3 Ways to Wear a New Shirt

Conversation starting shirt

This Equipment shirt always starts a conversation


I was flying through Nordstrom at the end of a work day and wanted to say hi to my friend Mariam before heading home. I was wearing a scowl when I met her bright face. “I am so sick of my wardrobe. I think I need interesting tops,” I said. She told me what to do: “I know this great stylist—YOU— and she should take you shopping one day.”

It wasn’t a bad idea. My own personal shopping generally happens in ten-minute bursts. I could give myself the full attention I give my clients…one day.

I filed her suggestion in my head under “good ideas to follow up on” and was ready to take off when I happened to look down at the table top display, six inches from my thigh. There, spread out on a round marble table, was a really cool silk shirt by Equipment.


Equipment silk shirt

White silk Equipment shirt with stamped dates


I was intrigued by the hand stampedhandwritten in some cases—dates. Why the dates? What happened on those dates? There was a story here!


Equipment shirt from Nordstrom

What do the dates mean?


Mariam said, “These dates relate to important women in our history.” Then she showed me the attached tag.


A shirt with meaning

Meaning behind the dates


A shirt that was attractive and had a not-so-hidden message honoring women and human rights?

Sold to Brenda Kinsel!

I love when shopping is this easy: Think of it and it appears. But that doesn’t mean I was super confident about how to wear it right out of the gate.


Duster over jeans

A jean jacket didn’t work but this duster does


Wearing this shirt with jeans

I knew it would be easy to pair with a blue jean so I started there. I slipped into my DL1961 Margaux skinny jean. I really like the color of these jeans. They’re not too dark, nor too light—they’re just right.


A duster with jeans

Making this jean outfit more chic by wearing a duster


I tried putting a jean jacket over the shirt. I thought double denim would look really cool. But the shirt was too long, the jacket looked too cropped, and the proportion was just off. Uh-oh, I thought.


Wearing frames from Uber Optics

Wearing my blue frames with this jean outfit


But then I remembered my go to navy crinkle duster that’s been with me faithfully for years. Bring on the duster!

When I wear a duster I feel like I’m scoring styling points. A duster is so chic. I wore my suede black bootie by Aquatalia and my blue L.A.Eyeworks frames from Uber Optics.

I wore this shirt with jeans, several times. What happens every time I wear this shirt is people stop and talk to me about it…every single time. Then they ask about the meaning of the dates and I try to explain it. I’m asked so often that now I’m carrying that card around in my wallet so I can pull it out and read it aloud.


Wearing the stamped shirt under a dress

Okay, next experiment: Wear the shirt under a navy sleeveless dress.

You know that navy crinkle duster? Well, I bought it with the crinkle dress that came with it. Can you believe that was a timid purchase at the time? I got home and wondered what the heck I’d done. Sometimes I just don’t trust myself in the moment, but these two navy crinkle pieces—the dress and the duster—have helped me feel like a million bucks on many occasions.


Shirts under sleeveless dresses

Wearing an easy dress with a sharp shirt


I slipped the dress over the shirt. The shirt is more oversized, less fitted, and I noticed that when I was trying to arrange the shirt under the dress. A closer-fitting shirt would work better. The deeper armholes in the shirt makes it kind of a tight fit. It’s not perfect.


Red, white, and blue outfit

Loving my skirt under the navy crinkle dress


I love, love, love this idea, but I don’t know that I’ll wear it again this way. I don’t want to be fiddling with my clothes and this awkward fit was taking my attention away from the moment. But don’t count this out in the future. If the armholes were deeper in the dress, or the armholes of the shirt were higher, it would have worked well.

I liked wearing my red Woow frames from Uber Optics. What’s not to love about red, white, and blue? I added my crystal necklace, because I wanted that a statement focal point. I especially wanted that V shape this necklace provides.


Wearing the shirt as a jacket


Work outfit

My Equipment shirt goes to work


One morning I decided to wear this shirt with black pants. I wanted to make it more worky, more sophisticated. I slipped my C’est Cool T-shirt (Banana Republic) over my head and tucked it into a pair of Lafayette 148 slim pants (Nordstrom, again). I added a patent leather belt and wore my patent Chelsea boot from The Office of Angela Scott. When I looked for a bag to team with this work outfit I landed on this quilted black patent bag.

I wore my black Fiction by L.A.Eyeworks frames from Uber Optics.


C'est Cool Banana Republic T-shirt

I feel cool in my C’est Cool T-shirt


The bold lettering in the T-shirt draws you into the outfit. In this case the shirt with the dates is more in the background.


Equipment shirt work outfit

Wearing light bangles in this work outfit


I feel a little Bohemian in this outfit. I feel kind of heady and creative as I combined words and dates and discovered an alternate function for the shirt. My black framed glasses made me look smart.

When I wear Chelsea boots I can’t help but think of the famed NYC Chelsea Hotel along with the Beat Generation. I need to be in New York in this outfit, meeting with editors and publishers and short story writers, talking books over a cocktail at the Carlyle Hotel. Although if I was a true Bohemian, I’d be meeting someone in a less chichi place than the Carlyle.

Okay, daydreaming is over. On to the next outfit!


BONUS: Wearing the stamped shirt in a column of white


TEDx Sonoma County

TEDx is an annual event for the Bellas


It’s a tradition for the Bellas to go to the TEDx Sonoma County talks. It’s usually the first weekend in November. This year’s theme was Re-Imagine. I was going to be in a theater with people interested in ideas, culture, and the wave of the future. I needed to wear something interesting. I needed my stamped Equipment shirt!

I decided to pair it with my white Eileen Fisher jeans with frayed edges. I wore my AGL taupe patent oxfords. I added my consignment store Jil Sander brilliant blue jacket and my red Woow frames.


Column of color

Wearing a column of white and then a bright jacket


I decided to add my pearls inside the collar. I think of this necklace as my dragonfly necklace. One day soon I’ll tell you the story of this necklace. I’ve had it for twenty years, I’m sure. I’m re-imagining it in current outfit combinations.


Pearls with a jean outfit

Enjoying pearls at the neckline


There you have it! Often I’m styling a pant three ways but it was fun to take a shirt and show you how I styled it. If you run into me wearing this shirt, don’t be shy. I’ll let you look at it all over to see if you can find your birthdate on it!

Do you wear shirts? Do you find them easy to wear, sexy? Do you like variety? Which are your favorites? Do share!



A little side note and invitation for you. Nancy, the owner of Uber Optics, and I are going to do an event together on December 1st. I’ll be at her eyewear boutique in Petaluma from 1-4 helping people choose eyewear. If you think you can come, I have a little homework for you to complete first. It’s just three little questions. Let me know and I’ll send it to you. Just send me an email (bkinsel@brendakinsel.com) with Eyewear in the subject line and I’ll send it your way. I’d love for you to come and play with us!






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  • Reply
    November 5, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    I want that shirt! Where? How? Now! : )

    • Reply
      November 6, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      Love your response! Others have told me they searched online and it’s only available in a small or extra small, not sure which. I wish I could manufacture them!

  • Reply
    November 6, 2018 at 4:52 am

    Yes, I love that blouse! Where can we buy this?

    • Reply
      November 6, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      I got mine at Nordstrom.

  • Reply
    Carol Weiler
    November 6, 2018 at 6:05 am

    Love it! And you styled it beautifully! Is it still available? Where?

    • Reply
      November 6, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      I’ve been told it’s online but only in a small. I bought mine at Nordstrom.

  • Reply
    jodie filogomo
    November 6, 2018 at 6:17 am

    It is a shirt for you…the dates make it so interesting, and you’re such a great story teller anyways.

    I love the shirt as a jacket over that graphic t-shirt…it makes it look modern and hip…just like you!!

    Too bad I don’t live closer because I would love to visit Uber Optics and you. Glasses are a great way to bring fun to our faces, I always think (besides they cover the bags under my eyes…LOL!)


    • Reply
      November 6, 2018 at 9:03 am

      Oh yes, I wish you were closer and could come to Uber! I love your vote. I rather like that version as well. It’s kind of hip! Thanks, Jodie!

  • Reply
    November 6, 2018 at 6:32 am

    After buying many crisp white blouses over the years and never understanding why they did not look good on me, 5″4, with a full bust and a short waist, I finally found that all I needed to do was buy soft, silky blouses and the problem was solved , I wish I knew this years ago, I could have saved myself lots of disappointments and money. The Equipment shirt looks like it would work!! So, it’s at Nordstrom’s? I’ll check it out.

    • Reply
      November 6, 2018 at 9:02 am

      You’ve got brilliant advice there that will suit many people! I pretty much line up with your proportions. Yes, I bought it at Nordstrom, also saw it in LA at the Equipment store. You’ll need to google and see if it’s still available. Thanks for your advice!

  • Reply
    Sandra Sallin
    November 6, 2018 at 8:55 am

    First I loved that blouse by itself, then I loved that blouse with the duster, then I loved it with the jeans, then I loved it with the t-shirt, then with the bright sweater. I guess I just love that shirt no matter how you wear it.!!! Looking great lady. Oh, is there an Uber Glasses in Los Angeles?

    • Reply
      November 6, 2018 at 9:02 am

      Yes, that shirt is a winner! Sorry, you’ll have to come visit me and go to Uber up here. There’s one location and it’s in Petaluma.

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Following Augustine
    November 6, 2018 at 9:37 am

    That is one amazing shirt! I googled it and found it in several places, but all are sold out in my size. Perhaps that’s just as well as it’s really outside my price range and I’ve bought too many new clothes lately!

    • Reply
      November 6, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      Well, there you go, it’s working out. It was pricey for me too but the cost per wear is falling rapidly as I’m wearing it so much!

  • Reply
    Donna Walmsley
    November 7, 2018 at 12:39 am

    I like the first and last outfits, Brenda!! Very groovy shirt and I love that you’ve shown the various contexts it could suit. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
      November 27, 2018 at 11:07 am

      You bet, Donna. So happy to share!

  • Reply
    November 7, 2018 at 6:54 am

    Don’t you love clothing that starts an intelligent conversation? I would have guessed library book due date stamps, but that would reveal my age.

    • Reply
      November 27, 2018 at 11:06 am

      You know, I saw that too, the library stamps. I so loved library stamps. It was part of the whole reading experience for me. But you’re right, a conversation starter is a good thing.

  • Reply
    Cindy Scurry
    November 7, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    I LOVE this shirt! It is the ultimate cool in my opinion! I love how you styled it – especially with your black/white tee with words. Soooo perfect! Yes, I would buy it in a minute…if it were available. I love all your glasses too. You inspire me! 😉

    • Reply
      November 27, 2018 at 11:05 am

      I could certainly see you in this shirt. I’d love to see it on you back in Sonoma at EDK!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2018 at 8:15 am

    This shirt is so fun! I really like it styled with the duster. Do you have a post, or will you be doing a post about how many eyeglasses is optimal to have in your wardrobe? I was thinking about that as I was scrolling along and then saw your participation in the Uber Optics event… I always only have one pair and replace them about every three years. It would be fun to have a couple pair at least, but they do get pricey.

    • Reply
      November 27, 2018 at 10:43 am

      You know, they do get pricey but they do double duty. They help us express ourselves and they are necessary for seeing. I may add another frame instead of adding another outfit or two. Our eyewear completely updates all our outfits! Fewer clothes, more eyewear!

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