30 In Getting Dressed

A Tunic Redux: Taming the Tunic

Tweaking a tunic for a new look on BrendaKinsel.com

A tunic gets a redux

 

Two things can happen when you put something on that you haven’t worn in a year:

  1. You slip it on and it’s fabulous! You fall in love all over again! You can’t wait to wear it!
  2. You take a look at yourself in the full length mirror wearing that item you wore last year and think, whoa, something’s really off here. I remember liking this. What’s happened?

 

Resizing a tunic on BrendaKinsel.com

My mother’s pin is all this tunic needs

 

When I tried on this gingham mushroom taupe tunic with an asymmetrical hemline thinking it would be great to wear in Santa Fe in June, I looked in the mirror and my face got sour. My response was, ‘Really? Ooh, what happened? This is so not attractive!’

Fixes to the rescue

Since I’d left myself about an hour to pack for this trip the night before leaving (NOT what I recommend at all!) I had to think fast. How do I get rid of some of this volume? I pulled out my meager box of stick pins and brooches and scanned the bunch of them. I picked out Mother’s dainty snake stick pin. Hmm. What if I just create inverted pleats to take some of the fullness out. I could keep the pleats anchored at the waist with the pin. It may even look like it was designed to be that way!

 

Bringing shape to an oversized tunic on BrendaKinsel.com

Writing morning pages in Santa Fe in my nipped in tunic

 

I put the pin through the folds, was happy with how it looked, rolled the tunic up and found a space for it in my suitcase. It was the last thing I threw in there. I thought, I’ll figure out the outfit once I get there.

 

Nipping the waist on a tunic

Tunic before and after nipping

 

Isn’t there a big difference? You can see why I wanted to take some of the volume out.

 

BK Spanish museum

 

On Day Two of the Santa Fe trip I woke up and decided to make an outfit with the tunic. I slipped it over my head and wore J.Jill capri white jeans with it plus my mushroom taupe Gabor ankle wrap sandals. I added earrings and my button bracelet and it felt great to wear on a hot day.

We went to the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art to catch the exhibit of photographs taken of Frida Kahlo. Fabulous! And then we visited the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. It was a perfect outfit to be having adventures in.

 

BK American Indian Art Museum

 

Have you used stick pins or brooches to create a new shape for an item in your closet? I’d love to hear about it!

 

PS: A special “hi” to Joanne from Sonoma who came up to me today outside of Nordstrom in the Corte Madera shopping center while Erin and I were grabbing a Starbuck’s lunch. We’d shopped the sale with one client and were fortifying ourselves before heading off to Tiburon to do closet work with our next client. She recognized me from the blog and stopped to share her appreciation. I introduced her to Erin and she said, “I’ve seen pictures of you, too!” I just wanted you to know, Joanne, that I appreciated that interlude so much!

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30 Comments

  • Reply
    Spags
    July 13, 2017 at 1:47 am

    I bought a cardigan in a charity shop for £1.00. I think it had had fastenings at some point but these had been lost in its travels. It was dark royal blue in a really chunky hardwearing knit. Since it had no fastening, I took turns to close it with all my different brooches and it worked a treat! I love what you’ve done with your tunic, and the Gabor sandals are to die for, by the way. Hope you’re enjoying your trip.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 17, 2017 at 1:06 pm

      What fun with the cardigan! It’s like you can get a different look each time!

  • Reply
    Diane
    July 13, 2017 at 3:47 am

    Brenda, love the look. It totally changes the vibe of the top and gives you a fantastic shape. Wonderful with the white pants. I have used mens tie pins, brooches and old pierced earrings that have lost a mate (if they are big enough, which most of mine are). These hold sweaters in a more folded over look, or a loose top that is a little too revealing when you bend over. You look so tiny in your outfit and inspire as usual. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 17, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks! I know, I was so surprised how I got “skinnier” by just adding that pin! Great ideas, Diane!

  • Reply
    Wendy
    July 13, 2017 at 4:25 am

    Thank you. Never thought of a pin ….. will have to relook at some things in my wardrobe

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 17, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      Great!!

  • Reply
    Lisa White
    July 13, 2017 at 4:55 am

    This is so clever! I look at picking out clothing and putting it on my body as the first step. The magic happens when we look at the fabric and can create a new look using….pins, brooches, elastic bands, belts, scarves….. Brenda, you are the master magician!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 17, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      Oh my dear, I’ve seen your amazing handiwork! You’re a magician too!!!!

  • Reply
    Brenda
    July 13, 2017 at 5:44 am

    You are a genius – great fix and love that pin! Thanks for giving us such great inspiration. Love the shoes and your glasses 🙂

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 17, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks so much, Brenda!

  • Reply
    Aless
    July 13, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Cle-ver!!!! Lusting after those shoes,Brenda!! 🙂

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 17, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      They have been the best! Sometimes I just wear them around the house as house shoes or slippers.

  • Reply
    Cara
    July 13, 2017 at 8:15 am

    I love the colors! Brenda, do you mind telling us how tall you are? You look so tall in those white capris. I’m 5’1 and think capris make me look stumpy (and I’m not overweight).
    Excellent post.

    Have fun.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 17, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      HI Cara, I’m 5’5″ last time I checked. Shop for your capris in the petite department. It will make all the difference.

  • Reply
    JOANNE DELLAVERSON
    July 13, 2017 at 9:46 am

    Hi Brenda – I loved meeting you “in person” yesterday. I follow your blog and really enjoy the thought and care you put into your writing. Also, as a newbie to Sonoma (from Mill Valley) finding your blog felt like discovering an old friend. I read your books back in the day and am delighted to see you are still so interested and thoughtful about fashion. And your daughter is beautiful!
    Joanne from Sonoma

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 17, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      Joanne, that was such a spark in my day! I’m glad we got to meet in person too! And I’m always so happy to discover people who share the same interests. Take care!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    July 13, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Good save! I will need to try this! I love brooches and stick pins. I too have a problem with the length of Capri pants. I just look like I shrunk them in the dryer.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 17, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      Capris just want to be your friends!

  • Reply
    Vivian
    July 13, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    The tuck is sooooo flattering! Very clever tip I will have to employ ! I love pins, brooches, clips, scarf pins, & belts but have challenges using them creatively. Love!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 17, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Vivian, you make me remember an outfit I created for a client recently. In order to add definition to a tunic, I took a belt (she nearly shrieked!) and said, “Don’t worry, this isn’t going around your waist.” Like many of us, her waist isn’t the waist she used to have. But I belted the tunic under the breasts. It was so darn cute! She wore that outfit to an important public event that I got to be at too. It was great!

  • Reply
    Pat
    July 14, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Clever, clever, girl…..you inspire me!
    Faithful fan,
    Pat

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 17, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Oh darling, you’re so kind!

  • Reply
    Nicole K
    July 14, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Oooh, I’m jealous of Joanne in Sonoma for getting to see you out and about. I’m often in the same places you are and keep hoping for my own “celebrity sighting.” (hee hee)

    Fabulous look on you and will send me shopping for some pins. Sadly, my mother’s old costume jewelry was lost to my sister’s careless movers, so will have to build by poking around on eBay, Etsy and local shops.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Oh how tragic about the lost pins! But yes, it is possible to find them. I’ve added a few to my collection by going to antique fairs. Keep looking for me! Another blog fan spotted me as I was dashing around in a store pulling things for my client who was in the dressing room. It was just a moment because she could tell I had my professional hat on. But very very sweet. Good luck with the pins!

  • Reply
    Liz
    July 15, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Brenda, your creativity never ceases to amaze me! The V shape created by the tuck not only takes the tunic to a different level of sophistication, it flatters your face and figure beautifully.
    Thanks for the inspiration. I am lucky enough to have inherited several antique stickpins.
    I have several cashmere waterfall cardigans but don’t always like to have the front lapels floating freely depending on what I’m doing and how cold it is, so I think I’ll try pinning them. Great idea!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 17, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      I love that idea of pinning the waterfall cardigans! I do think pins can add a lot of style and finesse. As you will discover!
      I know about the V shape! That was an excellent surprise. Before, the accent was the seam around the full tunic. It really did change it in a lovely way!

  • Reply
    La Contessa
    July 15, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Nice touch and I adore the beige and white!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 17, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      Thanks, Lovely!

  • Reply
    Penny
    July 31, 2017 at 1:38 am

    I would love to find a button bracelet like that ! Do you have a source?
    I just discovered you on Rough Luxe – enjoying every minute.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 31, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      Thanks, Penny! I made that button bracelet about 25 years ago. I haven’t seen them in other sources. I’m feeling motivated to make them again. It was so much fun!

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