12 In Anatomy of an Outfit

Anatomy of a Grammfoxy Outfit inspired by a skinny pink belt and a work blouse

Sometimes inspiration for an outfit comes from the oddest place. Take this outfit for instance: light-medium washed rolled jeans, black and white gingham blouse with ruffled sleeves, hot pink skinny belt, summer sandals, and a black summer raffia bag.

Did the outfit inspiration come from the shirt hanging in my closet looking lightweight and cool on a moderately warm day? Nope. Did it come from the platform sandals that give me height and cover up enough of the toes to so you might not notice I’m missing a summer pedicure? No.

What about the much-loved vintage raffia bag that hasn’t been worn yet this summer? No, I can’t say it was that either.

Inspiration came from a belt that’s not meant to be seen

See that sliver of a pink patent leather belt in my belt loops? That’s what inspired this outfit. What’s odd about this belt as an inspiration piece is that I only use it to keep my pants up and it never sees the light of day.

I bought that belt and a tan one just like it (they came as a 2-pack) from Macy’s at least a dozen years ago. All my jeans back then sat a little lower on my hip. (“Mom” jeans were still on the “out” list.) I felt pretty smart about buying inexpensive belts to hold my jeans up, belts that would never be seen.

The tan one is long gone. I wore it until it had cracks all along it. The pink one wasn’t worn as much and has survived.

Here’s how this belt gets worn and covered up. You see it on the left image where I’m wearing a black tee-shirt, but that’s not how I walk out the door. It always has something over it, like that loose tunic. I’m not one to bring attention to my belly.

I scrambled to put together a babysitting outfit

I wore those exact jeans and that pink belt recently with a loose top. I remember at the end of the day taking the jeans off, folding them into quarters, and stacking them on the jean shelf with the belt still in the loops.

That’s where I found them when I opened my closet door to choose an outfit to wear to babysit Vivienne for the first time since March 3rd. The jeans were there on top of the jean stack.

I’d checked the weather report. It was a chilly morning, but it was going to heat up before noon. These lightweight jeans are the closest thing I have to wearing shorts. They’d be perfect.

Letting the belt be seen

Okay, jeans and a pink belt. Hmm. I’m brainstorming here: What if I allowed the pink belt to be seen for a change? What if I tucked something loose into the jeans (not tight around my belly) and used the belt as an accent color? Whoa, shockeroo. I’ve never done that before!

So what top will I try?

When I look up from the shelving that holds my jeans and T-shirts, I see my tops hanging from light to dark. There was the black and white gingham blouse. Gingham, summer, they go together!

If I squint a little, this blouse is right in style

I haven’t worn this blouse this year. Curiously, the ruffled sleeve makes me think of the current spring puffy sleeve trend, which I haven’t embraced thus far. Puffy sleeves may be “in” the magazines and stores, but this ruffled one happens to be in my closet. Whether it’s a puff or a ruffle, they’re both sleeves with interest. That’s as “in” as I need to be. I feel stylish. I’m Grammafoxy. It’s my duty to be stylish for Viv.

This blouse has served me for a few years

I’ve written about this shirt before, here in 2018, and here when I used it as a work shirt, and before that when I teamed it with a black and white polka dot jacket.

Over time, I love taking an item and making it work across several categories. The first year I own it I wear it a certain way. The next year I may change it up. Where once it was a worktop, right now it can be a play-with-baby-Viv top.

Accessory decisions come easily

Because I was tucking the top into my jeans, adding a necklace seemed like it would be too much. But Viv is always admiring my accessories so with her in mind, I added sparkly Alexis Bittar dangly earrings to entertain her.

See what I mean about Viv and her appreciation for accessories? She makes me stay on my fashion toes!

Viv loves brooches
Viv loves earrings

All that’s left is lip color

Playing with the black and white checks, I was happy to pull out my black raffia bag and my Camper platform sandals. My outfit was complete, or maybe not.

I needed one more thing to pull this outfit together: lipstick. Well, lip stain. Because I’m wearing my mask in most places, lipstick rubs off on the inside of the mask. I’ve been searching for a lip stain in a summer shade and tracked down this Fuchsia colored lip stain at CVS. Suddenly the pink belt felt like it had company. My lips and my hips were in the pink.

I have no pictures of Vivienne from that day. I was way too busy chasing her around on her dozens of adventures. How do mothers do it?

Can you share an example of an item you wore one way and then woke up one day and decided to wear it in a new way? I await your wardrobe tales!


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  • Reply
    June 30, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Thank you for this soul lifting piece. Reading about your day with Baby Viv left me full of hope and joy for the future ❤️

    • Reply
      June 30, 2020 at 2:10 pm

      Sue, I’m so glad it gave you hope for the future. We need more of that these days. You just gave me joy with your note. Thanks!

  • Reply
    June 30, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    Baby Viv is so worth getting dressed up for! I do switch up my separates and add different accessories for different looks, just to keep things fresh, plus it’s an excuse to shop new accessories form time to time!

    • Reply
      June 30, 2020 at 3:00 pm

      Accessories make all the difference, don’t they? Thanks for writing!

  • Reply
    Beth Crawford
    June 30, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    Viv is beautiful ! And she is so smart to keep her eye on accessories since they always make the outfit special. I love your look and I love how you decide how to make an outfit. Thank you for all the great ideas. Stay safe.

    • Reply
      June 30, 2020 at 3:00 pm

      I love her fascination with all the details. Of course, she finds the mole on my neck just as fascinating as pearls hanging from my ears!
      You stay save too, Beth!

  • Reply
    June 30, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    So glad you got to spend time with Viv. We spent yesterday afternoon at Cormorant Lake with Elinor and had a ball. Babies make the Covid experience bearable. Can’t wait to see you again, whenever that might be. Take care & stay well.

  • Reply
    Mary Brignano
    June 30, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    Love the idea of tucking in the blouse and highlighting the belt! I’m sure Viv felt the same.

  • Reply
    Trinnie bron q
    July 1, 2020 at 12:40 am

    Beautiful you and beautiful Viv.. It made me so happy to think of the two of you together again playing( and running) such a cute stage for babies…. Stay safe all of you… Sending love from Oz

  • Reply
    July 1, 2020 at 7:52 am

    Wow, you look great Brenda and I’m so pleased to see you with Viv again.

  • Reply
    August 7, 2020 at 7:01 am

    Love this post. I had my friend’s daughter – age 8 and so delightful – all day yesterday. I stayed in my white jeans all day even if it wasn’t the most practical choice, just because it felt good to be out of my cargo shorts!!

  • Reply
    Mary Dana
    August 9, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    “It’s my duty to be stylish for Viv.” Oh, Brenda, you are priceless! I am sure Viv thinks you’re the Grammafoxy-est. Thanks for sharing!

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