18 In Getting Dressed/ Women Now

A fit solution for my wanna be Catholic blouse

Wearing art with religious symbols on BrendaKinsel.com

Feeling Catholic in my lace blouse and my Scared Heart pendant


Last year I was moved to wear blouses. Not sweaters, not T-shirts, but blouses: pretty blouses, blouses with ties, gathers, tucks or lace.

I first spotted this navy sheer lace blouse with dotted swiss in the window at Ann Taylor. It looked Prada to me. Or maybe it looked Italian. Or could it be that it was speaking Catholic to me? I lusted for it, but I kept on walking.


Confessing my Catholic Envy

I could imagine going to confession wearing this lace blouse. If being a non-Catholic wasn’t a roadblock, the first thing I’d confess would be my envy for all things Catholic.

My best friend in high school was Catholic. She’d go to church at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo. Incense was burned; Latin was spoken; there were pews that had kneeling benches; you could go to mass every single day; you got to eat fish sticks on Friday. (Love fish sticks!) It was all so exotic!

Pontoppidan Lutheran Church where I went? Not exotic.


Talking lacy tops and Catholic Church on BrendaKinsel.com

Inside the Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood last month


And there was so much MORE to love about Catholics.

  1. They had school uniforms!
  2. They wore tartan plaid every day…LOVE!
  3. They wore saddle oxfords.
  4. They wore ties at the neck of their crisp white shirts…LOVE!

The Blessed Mother inspires fashion on BrendaKinsel.com

The Blessed Mother at Saints Peter and Paul Church in North Beach, a very Italian neighborhood in San Francisco


Then in my mid-thirties I studied Art History at the College of Marin. Do you know what the numero uno subject is in the history of art? The Virgin Mary!

She goes by great alternate names, too: Blessed Mother, Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, Cause of Our Joy, Mother of Mercy. Who wouldn’t want to flock to her?

All anybody calls me (well, my kids and their friends) is Mommyfoxy. Not the same.


Embodying my secret Catholic crush

When I saw this blouse on the sale rack at Ann Taylor a few weeks later, it was meant to be mine.

I can’t remember if the only size available was an XL or if I decided that was the best size to wear in order to move the focus away from my menopausal middle. But that’s what I purchased back in 2015.


Finding a fit solution for a blouse on BrendaKinsel.com

A blouse that’s too big right now needs a fit update


Flash Forward

A couple of weeks ago I saw this necklace made by my friends, the Sol Sisters. It’s an Amazonite double strand with a Sacred Heart pendant and a grey suede tassel. One of the Sol Sisters loves bringing religious symbols into her jewelry making.


Making an outfit that feels Catholic to me on BrendaKinsel.com

Feeling Catholic in lace and my Sacred Heart necklace


I heart religious art but could I wear it? A voice from the heavens said: Buy me. I obeyed.

I wanted to wear it right away. I thought to go to the Catholic/Italian section of my closet which holds one item: the sheer lace pretend-Prada/Italian/Catholic blouse. But when I tried it on it seemed big and irreverent.

Because it’s sheer I have to wear a camisole underneath it. (I’m no Madonna, willing to wear a lacy black bra under a sheer blouse. That’s where my Lutheran self draws the line.)


Praying for a fit solution

But the back of the blouse, which is a T-shirt knit fabric, was sticking to my Lutheran cotton camisole. A sin if you ask me.

I had two problems that needed fixing: blouse too big, blouse sticking to camisole.

I fixed the sticking problem by wearing a microfiber tank under the blouse. I used to wear this practically vintage Max Mara top under jackets, but now it’s handy as an underpinning.

Problem solved: No sticking!


Finding a solution to bad fit on BrendaKinsel.com

My vintage Max Mara tank offers a non-stick solution


Shaping a blouse with a tie in front on BrendaKinsel.com

Cinching and tying a knot shapes this blouse


Now to make the blouse smaller. I decided to unbutton the last couple of buttons on my blouse and tie a knot at the bottom. It brought the fabric together and solved my “too big” problem. It was a miracle!

I wore this with skinny jeans and pewter leather booties.

In fact, I loved it so much I wore it two days in a row. Do I need to go to confession for that?


Are there some secrets you play out with the help of fashion? Do share!




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  • Reply
    October 24, 2016 at 8:27 am

    What a lovely blouse Brenda. I also love the crinkled jacket or blouse you have over that. Can you share information on that also. Thanks

    • Reply
      October 24, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Rose, the blouse came from Ann Taylor and the duster is an Australian label which I bought at Specialtees Boutique in Lafayette, CA. I have had it for a few years. I’d look in boutiques to find a piece like that again.

  • Reply
    M Bonanno
    October 24, 2016 at 9:57 am

    I love this Sol Sister necklace, as well as the one you featured for fall. Do they have an online shop?

    • Reply
      October 24, 2016 at 11:03 am

      They don’t have an online store but stay posted. If that changes I’ll let you all know!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    I really like your outfit and the story behind it. When I was young I shared your envy of things Catholic – including the uniform my friends got to wear to school. I took it a step further than you and actually converted 25 years ago. Not for the clothes, obviously, but just felt drawn to the beauty of the faith.

    • Reply
      October 24, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      That is a gorgeous story!! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    I loved the art in the writing of the post. It was very well done and intertaining.

    • Reply
      October 25, 2016 at 7:50 am

      Thank you, Valerie! It was fun to collect all those thoughts together with fashion. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2016 at 5:52 am

    Under “Flash Forward” it says “Scared” Heart pendant 🙂

    • Reply
      October 25, 2016 at 7:51 am

      Oops! That would be very different than what I’d intended to say! Thanks for catching that. It is now a Sacred Heart pendant, not a scared one. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Susan B.
    October 25, 2016 at 6:58 am

    That’s a great looking blouse and good solution! I have a silk camisole that I love as an underpinning because it doesn’t stick to anything.

    • Reply
      October 25, 2016 at 7:54 am

      Thanks, Susan. I realized when I was figuring out the non-stick problem that I need to get some silk camisoles in different colors. Makes me think of some of those great movies on the Turner Classic Movie network. All those women were wearing silk camisoles and beautiful underpinnings. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a movie class with a focus on fashion? I’m in, are you?

  • Reply
    October 25, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    I’d sign up for that class in a heartbeat.
    Could we do another class on the women’s clothes and accessories in Law and Order in the mid-1990s, too? The clothes were so beautifully cut in luxurious fabrics and the earrings were to die for–so much so that I frequently miss plot points because I’m admiring the visuals!
    And of it makes you feel any better, I’ve heard Lutherans described as Junior Varsity Catholics–Luther was an Augustinian monk…

    • Reply
      October 26, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      You have got me falling out of my chair, Liz, about Lutherans being Junior Varsity Catholics. I LOVE that!! Well, I love your idea of having a class on fashion from Law and Order. Do you know that I never watched that show? So it would be fun to tackle a new series. I wonder if it’s on Netflix. Boy, if we could swing this (any ideas as to how?) it would be so much fun!

  • Reply
    Lisa White
    October 26, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Love this look on you, Brenda. It actually reminds me more of a Spanish style. I saw a lot of black lace and jewelry in Madrid and Barcelona. Also, Frida Kahlo was known to wear similar style pieces. Perhaps, Spain and Mexico share so much history…one that is rooted in Catholicism. Love the dramatic quality of this look!

    • Reply
      October 26, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      Oh, you’re so right, Lisa. Very Spanish…and Catholic! Although it’s hard to read the color in this top, it’s actually more navy blue that it looks. But still is in that whole dreamy mood. I always love your observations!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2016 at 9:37 am

    I just discovered your blog today (thanks Pinterest). I would love to know about your shoes and glasses featured in some of your posts.

    • Reply
      December 20, 2016 at 6:08 pm

      Let me know which blog post catches your eye and I’ll share with you the resources on that post. I don’t have lots of shoes so that should be easy. Mostly I wear Lucky booties in different colors because they’re so comfortable. I have a few things by AGL: burgundy oxfords, polished nude colored oxfords, a gray suede pump and my patent black flat with velvet bows.

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