31 In Getting Dressed

5 Lightening and Brightening Tips to Share with Your Winter Wardrobe

Transition dressing

Lightening and brightening my winter wardrobe in baby steps

 

Everyone is either thinking about it or talking about it: Spring! Is it here yet? Is it time to shop yet? Is it time to wear spring clothes yet?

Well, not everyone has spring clothes on their mind but if you listen to the pitter patter of fashion feet, stores are definitely trying to bait you with separates, dresses, and shoes for weather that isn’t here yet.

I’m not tempted to reach for my packed-away spring clothes, but I am making slight adjustments. I’m going to have fun lightening and brightening my look while working with what I already have. If I take small measured steps now, I’ll be enjoying the promise of spring all the way to March 20!

Are you ready to join the fun? Here are my lightening and brightening tricks to use in your wardrobe right now. I think you’ll like them!

 

1. Brighten the first layer

So a few short months ago, this is how I styled my Misook topstitch knit jacket. I went dark with the inside piece. Fall was a novelty still and I was so happy to be in these darker colors.

 

Moving from a darker palette to a lighter one

I loved this darker palette in fall

 

This is how I styled the same jacket this week. My first layer was this brighter blue, almost a Tiffany blue, J.Crew Tippi sweater. Lighter and brighter! It made me feel like it was at least February 27th!

 

Misook jacket and J.Crew Tippi sweater

This brighter inner piece makes me feel lighter

 

Misook jacket and Misook pant

A lighter and brighter way to wear my Misook jacket

2. Wear a bright, non-wooly scarf

I’ve been all wrapped up in scarves this winter. I’ll take wide shawls and wrap them around my neck. I wanted to feel like I was in a thick cloud cover of cashmere. That’s how this fringed scarf feels. But now it seems a little bit heavy.

 

Cashmere layers in winter

Layers of cashmere were perfect in December

 

Here I’m still in cashmere but this bright raspberry cashmere scarf is thinner than the wooly one above. I could probably wear it right close to summer! The solid color is pretty. It looks less Christmasy and more Valentine’s Day! With my light gray J.Jill coat, it gives my outfit a lighter and brighter feel.

 

Raspberry cashmere scarf

Loving this refined cashmere scarf in bright raspberry for now

 

3. Contrast black with white

 

Anytime I want to feel lighter and brighter, I put on a white shirt. Here I’ve layered it under a frayed edge elbow-length black top. The fact that you can see the white sleeves all the way to the elbow makes it lighter and brighter.

 

White shirt

White always brightens a look

 

4. Temperature permitting, unveil a little skin at the feet

 

I’d be lost this winter without these patent black ankle boots from The Office of Angela Scott. I can wear warm socks with them and stay as toasty as is required here in the Bay Area.

 

Ankle boots

Ankle boots by The Office of Angela Scott have been my first choice all winter

 

But the moment the temps move up a little, I can pull out my AGL pointy-toed patent flats with velvet bows and show some skin. I’m still wearing nude knee-high hosiery so I have more warmth than if I was barefoot in these shoes. This is the first time I’ve worn these shoes all winter. I think I’ll be wearing them a lot more. They lighten up my step!

 

AGL patent flats

Reaching for a shoe that shows more skin

 

5. Brighten the lips

 

Okay, this wasn’t intentional but I brightened up my lip color the other day and I like it! I’d lost my tube of MAC “D for Danger” and didn’t have a backup. Note to self: pick up another tube ASAP!

But when I went into my lipsticks and found this one by Kosas called Electra (a bright raspberry color) I thought, Brilliant! I like going from deep, dark plum to something brighter. Is it March 10th yet?

 

Without my “D for Danger” deep plum shade, I substituted this raspberry shade and I like it!

 

Can you see yourself lightening and brightening within your winter wardrobe? Maybe you already started doing this! Are you itchy to leave winter or are you happy being in your winter fashion?

What lightens and brightens your wardrobe? Are there certain colors you start wearing? Do you make a fabric change? What makes you happy to wear? Do let us know! I always LOVE hearing from you!

XO

PS I just found my D for Danger! Well, just like the weather goes up and down and up and down before it’s officially spring, I imagine I’ll be doing the same thing with lip colors. I’m kind of addicted to my Danger!

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    February 1, 2018 at 1:44 am

    Hi Brenda, I loved all these outfits! As you know , being on the other side of the world, we are still in Summer, not Winter.. But , your beautiful outfits gave me lots of ideas for our Autumn. Loved the blue, with your jacket! Also the refreshing white sleeves poking out of the black . I so love the transitional months. So thank you for your very relevant ideas. As always, sending love from Oz.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      February 2, 2018 at 7:19 pm

      Thanks, Trinnie! Yes, you do have to do the opposite of what I say…or remember it for a few months. Enjoy your summer. It’s not too horribly hot right now, is it? Love from Sonoma!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    February 1, 2018 at 3:36 am

    Fun tips! It’s too cold for me to think of spring just yet to spite the trends in the stores. I love winter clothing and am a little sad every year to pack it away. I’m so glad that your post today did not make me cry. I had to fix my makeup before work after reading your last post. Oh Brenda your blog does touch my heart. Stay warm!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      February 2, 2018 at 7:18 pm

      Yes, this one was quite different from Tuesday’s post! You caught that, uh? I’m always a bit wistful when one season ends. Even though another one is full of excitement it takes me a while to get into it and then it’s almost gone. I still have a green tweed skirt that I haven’t worn yet and now it’s feeling too wintery. SAD! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    February 1, 2018 at 3:36 am

    Fun tips! It’s too cold for me to think of spring just yet to spite the trends in the stores. I love winter clothing and am a little sad every year to pack it away. I’m so glad that your post today did not make me cry. I had to fix my makeup before work after reading your last post. Oh Brenda your blog does touch my heart. Stay warm!

  • Reply
    Diane
    February 1, 2018 at 4:28 am

    Yes, I am certainly ready to lighten up the fashion look, but unfortunatly Feb. is looking like a very cold and snowy month ahead, so I lighten up the scarf colours and found a fabulous sweater with black background floral that suggests the ‘polar vortex’ is not really there. I love the look of your lipstick with the raspberry scarf, certainly does draw the attention to your face. That coat colour is also beautiful. By the way, I always love the nail polish colour that you are wearing. Pray tell, what is the colour. It seems to go with pretty much everything. Inspiring post even if I can only dream about getting rid of the down coats for now.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      February 2, 2018 at 7:16 pm

      Diane, just keep this tips handy for when you get a break in the weather! My nail color is by Chanel and it’s (getting out the magnifying glass to read the tiny print) Horizon Line. There’s a gray OPI color that’s close to it that I’ve gotten when I got a manicure but can’t remember the name. I do my own nails part of the time (don’t look too close!) and use the Chanel one.

  • Reply
    Cindy L
    February 1, 2018 at 5:29 am

    Brenda, here in Michigan there’s still snow on the ground. We’re all hoping for an early spring, but it’s so cold here that we need our wool scarves and turtleneck sweaters still. By mid-March, cabin fever is an epidemic, so I appreciate having these “brightening” tips for my wardrobe. Having bright layering pieces is a big help — and lots of white shirts! Along these lines, I’ve enjoyed having transitional pieces in my wardrobe. The cost of dry-cleaning is high, and I’ve learned to appreciate having Eileen Fisher knits that can be washed on the delicate cycle in the machine at home — and worn almost all year ’round.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      February 2, 2018 at 7:13 pm

      I’m a fan of those Eileen Fisher knits as well. Gosh, I understand that cabin fever and have compassion for the fashion that’s required to make it all the way to spring!

  • Reply
    Lea
    February 1, 2018 at 6:50 am

    Brenda, you look lovely, as usual; inspiring, as usual. Yes! I wear my white shirts like that! I’ve also brought out some bright coloured tops to wear underneath all the layers one needs up here! One is a sleeveless silk Kate Spade in black, pink and orange, looks great with jeans and black blazer AND it makes m

    • Reply
      Brenda
      February 2, 2018 at 7:12 pm

      I’m loving the look you’re describing! It’s all about the layering, right? I need to put that look together: black blazer, dark denim, and colorful blouse. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    Lea
    February 1, 2018 at 6:51 am

    Makes me happy!
    Aaargh! My computer is on the mend and my fingers are too big for my phone. Sorry about that :0

    • Reply
      Brenda
      February 2, 2018 at 7:12 pm

      I know the feeling!

  • Reply
    Deb
    February 1, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Brenda, I love your ideas for adding a touch of spring to perk up our winter wardrobes. Here in Minnesota, spring is still months away, but I have also been craving pinks, lavenders, and other spring colors. I’ve been wearing more of these shades with scarves and lip colors lately. I’ve also been eyeing the early spring catalogs, looking for long sleeve tees and cardigans in spring colors. I tend to wear long sleeves year round and they can be hard to find during the warm weather months. I have been looking forward to your blog posts for months – thank you for your wonderful insights.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      February 2, 2018 at 6:41 pm

      Hi Deb, I really am happy you wrote! When I was writing that post I was thinking, I wonder what Minnesotans would say about this? I know your spring takes longer to get there than ours does. So I appreciate hearing about the lip shades and the scarves. My experience of Minnesota at the end of December and early January gave me huge respect for how to make fashion work when the temps are so low!

  • Reply
    Kathy Ashcraft
    February 1, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    You inspired me Brenda to reach for my box of packed away spring/summer stuff and I discovered some fresh colors to layer with black, grey and navy to give my spirits a lift. The sun is out here in southern Oregon with temps in the 60’s promised for next week so I’m airing out some raspberry, sage and prints just in case the weather guessers are right!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      February 2, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      Brilliant! I can “see” all of those colors in my mind. Hoping the weather guessers allow for raspberry!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    February 1, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    Sorry for the double posted response….not sure how that happened!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      February 2, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      No problemo!

  • Reply
    Ann
    February 1, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    Excellent ideas — all of them. I especially like the lighter, bottom layer. And your Misook jacket (which I have adored since Day One) is parfait with that gorgeous sky blue sweater.

    Jackpot!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      February 2, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      I love that blue color! And I understanding adoration for that jacket. ME TOO!!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    February 2, 2018 at 8:30 am

    You had me at reveal a little skin near the feet!! ♥️

    • Reply
      Brenda
      February 2, 2018 at 6:36 pm

      Thanks, Kathy, I’m having a little giggle!

  • Reply
    Shelly
    February 3, 2018 at 5:39 am

    ❤️ Love ❤️ your style. Especially the white blouse look! Do you have any suggestions on your favorite white blouse? Always looking but never finding. I have a few but am not in love. Thanks for the inspirations!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      February 4, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      This is something worth searching for just like well-fitting jeans are worth searching for. My closet has a mix–Hugo Boss, Chico’s, J.Crew, and another one from TJ Maxx. I’m an equal opportunity shopper! Some people swear by Brooks Brothers. Does anyone else want to chime in with best sources of white blouses?

      • Reply
        Deanne
        February 6, 2018 at 9:15 am

        I searched for months for the perfect white shirt, sent many back because of the fabric or fit. Then I saw one from Brooks Brothers does 3 ways in Real Simple a couple months ago and tried it and love it. Caught a good sale, and it came in petite sizes for my short arms.

        • Reply
          Brenda
          February 11, 2018 at 6:57 pm

          Fantastic!! I’ve always heard their shirts are great. Thanks for the tip!

  • Reply
    Angie
    February 3, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    I ground myself in being in the moment, right where I am — in the middle of Winter! But I think of February as the time of year when white skin is the palest and we need color the most. So you are giving me a good reminder that this month I should be using more color. Timely ideas!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      February 4, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      Well, there you go, an idea that came right in time. When I looked through my closet I was fascinated to see how many things I could use to actually lighten and brighten and still be warm! And it’s also a cue for next year that I may enjoy more color in my wardrobe in the winter…maybe! I do love my grays and navy an awful lot. Thanks for the reminder to be in the moment!

  • Reply
    Mary
    February 4, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    I love your soft gray jacket and raspberry scarf! Around about March, I get what I call a color-craving. I just can’t take take any more dark! Then I beak out my long Jill cardigan in a beautiful guava color. Since it’s still chilly here, I wear it with a long white cotton scarf from Old Navy that has bands of blue-green and berry-pink at the ends. That usually makes me feel much better!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      February 4, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      A color-craving. LOVE it! Thanks for sharing your solution, Mary.

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