20 In Getting Dressed

Anatomy of an outfit with a J.Jill pant as the star piece

J.Jill pant outfit

J.Jill pant is the star piece of this outfit

 

It’s a dream come true: someone reads my mind and sends me a pant I wouldn’t have thought would be right for me and it turns out to be PERFECT! That happened last week when a package arrived from J.Jill. It was a gift and an invitation to try a couple of pieces from their latest collection. Okay, I thought, I’m game. I slipped into these pants and it was shock and awe.

Why? Two reasons. You know how I’ve had a hard time finding patterned pants. I’m attracted to the small scale of this print. It doesn’t overwhelm me. They’re cut in a sleek way. I’m not quite Boho in my style, you know, all flowy and everything. I’m more tailored. These pants give me a little bit of Boho but a lotta bit of tailored. I’m both trying something new (patterned pants) and still living inside my tried and true style comfort zone. Next step: Put a whole outfit together!

 

J.Jill narrow leg pant outfit

Loving the sheer tunic over J.Jill pants

 

Building an outfit with new pants

For starters, this pant is the star piece of the outfit. I want everything else around it to support the pant. So when I went to style it for its debut down the red carpet that is my life in Sonoma, I tried to figure out what it wanted to be paired with. I thought of an oversized white shirt. Yes, maybe. The pattern looks Indian to me so I thought of pairing something long over it, like a tunic. I tried one on but it was too much fabric. That’s when I realized this pant wanted companions that were lean as well. Okay, let’s go through the closet and find something lean.

Bingo! I pulled out my black sheer Vince lean sleeveless button up tunic. I slipped it on and the pants were clapping profusely at my choice. (I love when clothes are enthusiastic!)

 

J.Jill pant and tunic

Bi stretch pant means comfort, comfort, comfort

 

Sometimes I get self-conscious about my skinny legs compared to the rest of me which is more round. So adding this layer of sheerness made me feel like I was adding some design weight, some insurance, filling in over my thin legs and creating more balance to my shape.

But I needed a top to go under the tunic! A woman can not wear this outfit with a sheer tunic alone! I am very low on simple black knit tops as support pieces. (Note to self: Buy a few layering pieces in black that are simple and smooth.) I tried one I had but it was a surplice style and the folds showed through under the tunic. It was too messy looking.

Wait a minute! Don’t I have a black sheer Petit Pois T-shirt? Why yes, I do! I put that on over a simple smooth black tank top and now it was all smooth under the tunic. Everything was clean and lean.

 

Accessories for JJill pant

Leaning on a stack of gold bangles to accessorize

 

Bring on the accessories!

Then came the accessories. This outfit was feeling sophisticated and rich to me. So I went to my gold bangle department and decided to stack them all together. I added my Victor Sanz gold and diamond ring. The platform sandals I put with this outfit have a whiskey (bourbon? rye?) colored base so I went into my small bag department and pulled out this vintage handbag, also lean, and also whiskey-ish. I have a hat I bought in Fargo that is in that same rich brown color. I was having a bad hair day so the hat was perfect addition!

 

Lean J.Jill pants

A long lean look

I love that there are three places where that whiskey/bourbon/rye color is repeated: the shoes, the handbag, and the hat. That color adds warmth to this mostly black outfit and makes it more interesting than if I’d used black in those places instead.

As Russ and I strolled through the Plaza we had to go visit our friend at J.James, Valerie Raven. She’s so darn savvy about all things art and fashion and I wanted her ideas about the influence of the print on this pant. At first she thought Indian and then she looked at the bottom part closer and thought it could be a French influence as well. Then her friend Annie came into the store, another fashion aficionado, and she thought it looked Moroccan. (I looked up the details of the pant and they call the color Black Aviero Border. I Googled Aviero and it’s a city and a municipality in Portugal!) They were both ready to go buy this J.Jill pant. I told them it comes in black and red as well. “Oh, red! You must get red ones,” Valerie said. I think I agree!

 

JJames ladies

Ladies chatting at J.James

 

Of course, as we chatted about all things fashion, I got more ideas for blog posts. I had to zoom in and get a picture of Annie’s shoes. (A little something about her outfit: the ruffled skirt is in a large butterfly pattern. Look closely and see what she did for her necklace: It’s a strand of pearls and she used a big butterfly pin to create the focal point. C-L-E-V-E-R move!) I loved how she too was layering a black tank under her black sheer top.

 

JJill in JJames

Photographing shoes for an upcoming post!

 

I’ll be showing you a closeup of her shoes soon in another post. I got it half-written in my head today as I was driving down to Marin to visit two different clients. Stay tuned!

Have you tried working with something recently that was a little outside your comfort zone? Please share!

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathy
    July 31, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    I find the entire outfit to be intriguing! Each piece can stand alone but together the whole holds your attention. If I saw you in a restaurant I would think ‘what an interesting woman..I bet she has a story to tell.’ The pants are beautiful with such detail and the fit is great on you. You do look a tad boho! I am in a tad of a rut with clothes right now…I seem to be wearing the same things the same way. The high heat of summer in the fall of my life seems to be overwhelming!!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      July 31, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      I’m happy with a tad boho! That’s perfect for me! Well, if you see me in a restaurant, please come talk to me! Let’s see, how would you shake things up to get out of your rut? Maybe when it gets less hot, you’ll be more inspired!

  • Reply
    Diane
    August 1, 2017 at 4:37 am

    Hi Brenda. I love the pants on you, the fit is great, and the detail is just right. I am not into black at all, so would pull out the bits of colour to work with. I may be one of the few who does not have a wardrobe of black, but I find at this stage it is not as flattering as a good grey or navy. I do like all the layering you pull together, and I am trying some of your suggestions. Since I found you this summer, I have gone back through most of your posts, and have been printing off the ones that really pertain, and am putting them in my binders. You are an inspiration. All of your books seem to end up on the top of my fashion book pile. ( I keep rereading all of them) By the way…your legs are just great…love yourself.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 1, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Diane, you’re so dear. I ove your leg love for me! Thanks! I love the way you’re organizing the posts so you have a fashion primer just for you! I do love navy and gray and wear them a lot. And I love black, especially black in sheer fabrics. Sheer fabrics give me a way to feel sexy without being so revealing.

      You have lots of company when it comes to wearing or not wearing black. I have a few clients who don’t have a single piece of black in their closets. Black is never going to be for everybody. You’re not missing out on anything by not having it in your closet. Black works well on people with really neutral coloring, like I have. When redheads with green eyes say how awful black is and that people should stop wearing black, I always get why they’re saying that. Their high color makes them perfect candidates for bright, vibrant colors and that excludes black.

      It’s also a regional thing. There are cities where you’ll find people wearing more black than brights and cities where people are wearing more color than black. I often will wear black when I’m working in San Francisco and wear other colors when I’m in more relaxed, resorty areas. You have to find what’s right for you and live by your rules. It’s all so personal! That’s what I love about working all these years with women and fashion. I get to see others wear things that look perfect on them and someone else could wear the same thing and they’d look blah. I’m so happy you found the blog this summer! Woo hoo!

  • Reply
    jodie filogomo
    August 1, 2017 at 6:45 am

    I think the best thing about blogging, has been the opportunity to try styles that we wouldn’t usually try otherwise! And these pants are really upping your game, Brenda (not that your game was ever lacking–ha ha)! But they are more tailored with that fun border print!!
    Your thought processes are so interesting to read!! But I agree with Diane. I’m trying to shy away from the black more and more!! Now I’d love to see you style these pants with a different color and see what you come up with!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 1, 2017 at 11:23 am

      I’d love to see you style these pants, Jodie! Our coloring is so different so I know you’d do something completely different. I felt so great in this outfit as I got to have the elegance of the sheer black fabrics while enjoying that little bit of boho in a pant style that is right up my alley. But again, coloring and style personality is everything! Wouldn’t it be fun to see ten different interpretations of this pant all lined up! We’d probably all learn from each other. I was just thinking about you yesterday and so glad you’re here!

  • Reply
    Bess Nathan Rice
    August 1, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Loved this outfit on you! Very elegant!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 1, 2017 at 11:24 am

      Ooh, thank you, darling! It was fun to see you on Sunday! Ciao Bella!

  • Reply
    Katherine Cramer
    August 1, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Great outfit! I’d wear it as you have styled since I love black. To add to your notes of a whisky theme, (which I love with black)–your sheer sleeves with skin showing create that whisky color family as well. I’ve been wearing hats for sun protection and love your hat from Fargo. I’ve lately enjoyed men’s-style hats and check Berkeley Hat Company, Nordstrom Rack, The Gap and Goorin Bros. Do you and your readers have some inspired hat resources? Perhaps another meet-up for your fans at: Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade through Sept. 24th at the Legion of Honor. Or a post on considering hat scale to outfit. You’ve included this theme in several pieces yet…more is always appreciated.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 1, 2017 at 8:11 pm

      Katherine, let’s do it! A meet up to see the hat exhibit!!!! A friend was just telling me it’s a must see. Okay, traveling for a little bit but will set that up. You’re brilliant! Yes, I could totally see this outfit on you. I was on Hayes Street last night trying on hats at a small boutique. They only had two styles but I’m with you, try men’s departments. I want to wear them more. Who doesn’t need more sun protection, right?

      Oh my gosh, I’m so excited about a field trip!!!

  • Reply
    Sandra Sallin
    August 1, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    You did it again. You pull style out of what ever comes your way. You get it together. Love the look. It would be fun to see how others would pull this together. Funny my first thought was a denim. Maybe I’m just a denim girl. How about lipstick. What color are you wearing, I’m still wearing red over pink so it isn’t quite so bright but maybe that’s a mistake. I think I need to go red shopping again. At least it keeps me out of trouble. Love your stylish friends. Lookin good lady.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 1, 2017 at 8:15 pm

      Sandra, I just knew you’d ask about the lipstick color! I’m always thinking about you and lipsticks. This one is my Chanel long-lasting Bright Raspberry. I liked how it tuned into the pinky reds in the print. Denim! Yes, I could see that! In fact, since I finally have a couple of denim jackets I could see a simple top with this to make it more casual. Hmm, I’ll work on that idea. YOU are my stylish friend! And I love you!

  • Reply
    Sandra Sallin
    August 1, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    By the way. Which one of your books would you start with?

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 1, 2017 at 8:17 pm

      Oh gosh, people have their favorites. I don’t think I can play favorites though. If you get Brenda Kinsel’s Fashion Makeover you’ll learn about Beauty Bundles. And the Color-Style-Fit Formula (CSF). Maybe that one! Shoot, if you were in front of me I could pull a copy out of the trunk of my car!

  • Reply
    Maryann
    August 1, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    You look fabulous as always. Now all I need to do is find similar pants in Sydney. Somehow I doubt I will be that lucky.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 2, 2017 at 9:28 am

      I often lust over fashion from Australia! I wish you luck!

  • Reply
    Sandra Sallin
    August 1, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    The minute I saw how beautiful that red lipstick looked on you, I had to know. Just bought your book and looking forward to making myself over and becoming a bundle of beauty.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 2, 2017 at 9:28 am

      You are funny! You’re already a bundle of beauty!!!!

  • Reply
    Tina
    August 2, 2017 at 10:28 am

    I so enjoy your style -though I rarely wear more than one or two pieces of jewelry myself. The reason I’m writing is to ask you about your always cool but comfortable looking footwear. I’ve had knee replacement and heels are really no longer an option though I’m 5′ 2″ and really could use the height. What do you wear for dressy / formal occasions? And what brand are the sandals you’re wearing here?

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 2, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      Tina, this brand is Cotelac. I bought them in a weak moment when I was with my daughter about five years ago. They have been worth every single penny! I don’t do a lot of formal occasion dressing but the go-to shoe I’ve used is one by Gabor. It’s a sandal (it being summertime and everything) and it is black suede. Another shoe I wore all winter was a patent leather pointy toe flat with a velvet bow by AGL. If you go back to winter posts you’ll see them a lot. Those I have to say are my favorites. But those two are flats, lower than the one in this picture. I can’t wear heels anymore so I have to change how I dress to work with the shoes.

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