6 In Getting Dressed/ Women Now

Accessorizing denim with my DIY necklace creation

Blue necklaces with denim for summer on Brenda Kinsel website

Accessorizing denim with blue jewels


A friend gave me this oversized Eileen Fisher denim dress-slash-tunic last month. I had admired hers and somehow she had an extra one and said, “I’ll give it to you.” Now that’s fantastic! I’d been looking for a chambray cotton shirt and this was even better than that. It’s 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton; machine wash and dry. Although it has a lot of volume (and POCKETS!!!), it’s very cool to wear.

Which is also fantastic because last week it was over 100 degrees in Sonoma.


wearing blue on blue on Brenda Kinsel website

Facing warm weather in shades of blue


When my friend, Mariam, wore it she draped a very long narrow scarf over one shoulder and kept it in place with outrageously fabulous brooches from her collection..

Here, you can see how she did it in this picture with her daughter.


Mariam's version of the same two pieces on Brenda Kinsel website

Taking inspiration from Mariam


Lacking both the long scarf and her gorgeous brooches, I had to come up with an original idea for accessorizing my blues.


Step 1: Go to my black/blue tray

I have leather trays for organizing my smaller accessory pieces. Each tray is devoted to one color family and labeled: black/blue, orange, white, gold, silver.


trays used for organizing accessories on Brenda Kinsel website

Accessories arranged by color


There in the black/blue tray were some old friends. I have two blue necklaces that are shiny and magical to me. I’m not sure what stones they are. I bought them nearly 20 years ago at Saks Fifth Avenue in Union Square from Gloria. (Bay Area people will remember Gloria. I interviewed her in my book Brenda Kinsel’s Fashion Makeover, pages 120-121. She’s a gem, a one-of-a-kind.)

I bought a strand of gray pearls from Gloria at around the same time. I used to wear the pearls separately (loved the colors in them!) but I’d wear the blue necklaces together sometimes.

Jewelry trends came and went but I always hung on to these pieces even though I wasn’t wearing them.


Step Two: Create a one-of-a-kind necklace out of three favorites

I knew one necklace would never be a big enough statement for my outfit so I started with my two blue necklaces. I loved the color with the blue dress and the sheen and the sparkle. But because the dress/tunic is so full, I needed more design weight at the neck.


Creating a statement necklace with multiple but similar necklaces on Brenda Kinsel website

Three necklaces will become one


I spotted my pearls and decided to add them to the mix but first I knotted them. By knotting it in the middle it lined up better with the other two necklaces. I did some adjusting until I got them to snuggle, just so. I didn’t want space between the pieces. I wanted it to look like a cluster.


I added lightweight but large blue earrings that move easily. Once again they are very old friends that haven’t seen any action in years.

I saw my friend and muse, Mariam, last week and I was wearing this outfit. She loved what I’d done. She said, “When you layer individual necklaces you’re really making your own jewelry.”

I loved that! So without having to take a jewelry class, I am proudly wearing my “own” designed jewelry.


If it’s good enough for Tuesday, it will work for Wednesday too

I was so happy with this jewelry combo with my blues that I wore it two days in a row!


Happy with my creation on Brenda Kinsel website

Yum, I love these jewels!


I know there are some very creative folks out there. Do tell me how you’re designing your jewelry this month!


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  • Reply
    Lisa White
    June 7, 2016 at 6:16 am

    Love this post! What a fabulous lesson in grand styling. The step-by-step process in layering necklaces…starting with organizing them by color…and then the layering. I am also admiring the monochromatic silhouette with the denim tunic/dress over jeans. This is such a modern and chic way to wear denim.. BRAVO and .ENCORE!

    • Reply
      June 7, 2016 at 11:49 am

      Well, Lisa, I accept your BRAVO and ENCORE! I will!!! Yes, it was sort of a surprise to me to go with the same color story. I could have added a glitzy glam necklace to bring attention to the face but I love the way I feel in this monochromatic version. Easy, peaceful, satisfied. We are always learning something new, aren’t we?

  • Reply
    June 7, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    Ah, Brenda….you don’t know what you’ve started!! 🙂 Now you’ll be needing accessories (handmade) for lots of new clothes, and, as you’ve found, making your own gives you control over the “Look” and will be seen on no one else!! (From One Who Knows!!) PS Lovin’ what you’ve done- bright blue is my best best colour.

    • Reply
      June 8, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Were you reading my mind, Aless? I have been daydreaming about designing jewelry. Ah, one more thing to take on in my free time! I’m actually wearing that color today. Feels so calming to me! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Geralin Thomas
    July 8, 2017 at 4:17 am

    Brenda, if you come to NC you’re cordially invited to join me and a few of my dear friends at a bead store in Charlotte, NC. It’s two levels of every kind of bead you can imagine. It’s one of my very favorite “time warps” – meaning time flies and creativity flows. Not only do I enjoy making my own necklaces, but, I love seeing what everyone else is making.

    PS. 1. I have the kissing cousin dress; Eileen Fisher chambray 3/4 sleeve. I wear it all the time.
    PS. 2. Bravo on labeling your jewelry tray. Love that little glimpse of your organization methods.

    • Reply
      July 11, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Whoa, now I really want to go to NC!!! That sounds so very fun! Time warps are so good. That’s what it was like when I was making those bracelets. You definitely nailed that aspect of it! More organization methods of mine will be coming your way soon!

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