20 In Anatomy of an Outfit/ Getting Dressed

Anatomy of an Outfit: Doing the September Outfit Straddle (SOS)

A September outfit

Preparing an outfit to straddle summer and fall


If I had to create a recipe for what to wear now when the temperatures are still in the 80s and 90s but everything else says Autumn (like the calendar, window displays, and the weather people) it would be inspired by the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Remember when she comes upon this lovely place in the woods and there are three bowls of porridge on the table? She tastes one and it’s too hot; the next one is too cold, the last one is j-u-s-t right. (Look out, Goldilocks!)

Outfits that straddle summer and autumn need to include a part that’s fall-like, something that’s lingering from summer, and accessories that are possibly suitable to both summer and autumn.

Autumn outfits

What to wear in Autumn when it’s hot outside


Here’s how the recipe would go:

Recipe for the September Outfit Straddle (SOS)

Begin with an item that is seasonally-neutral 

Add a piece or two that undeniably belongs in Autumn

One-third of the outfit can be something you wore in Summer


I needed to wear one of these outfits on Saturday morning when I was going to meet my friend, Debra, at Uber Optics in Petaluma to pick up her new glasses that we choose together two weeks earlier.

This wasn’t like the previous Saturday when Russ and I were heading into Petaluma and I had a good thirty minutes to concoct my triple denim outfit. No, this Saturday I had spent way too much time cruising Instagram, lazily getting through my Morning Pages writing, and starting a cool writing exercise Debra had shared with me. When I looked at my bee watch, I only had ten minutes to get dressed. Yikes!


Bump City Bakery

Buying cookies with my special bakery friend, Debra


Anatomy of my straddling outfit

With my SOS recipe in mind, I reached for my just laundered seasonally-neutral Alina ankle NYDJ jeans.

Next I decided on my undeniably Autumn pieces which were my newly purchased Paul Green Nelly Boot and my bison leather belt that is the same color as the boots. I added a hinged cuff bangle in the same brown color. The total bonus was when I decided to grab my Marni clutch and the wood frame was a similar shade of brown.


Autumn shoes and bags

Paul Green Nelly Boot and Marni clutch are happy together


The accessories I decided to wear are pretty seasonally-neutral. I liked filling in the neck of my blouse with these fun chunky vintage looking pearls. I added the playful earrings that I got this summer from Banana Republic. I like how the white cones echo the white in the pearls. And those mustardy colors in the earrings blended in with the handbag.


Earrings and pearl necklace

Seasonally-neutral accessories


I wanted bangles so I reached for my vintage Lanvin creamy bangle and the hinged cuff I mentioned that echoes the color of the boots. Naturally, the owl ring fit right in with the mix.


Autumn bangles

Bangles from my collection along with my owl ring


The one-third of the outfit that’s summery came in the yellow and white J.Crew blouse. When I looked in my closet and saw that blouse, I knew I had to wear it. It won’t feel right to wear in October (I could be wrong!) and it needed its place in the sun. You know how yellow always makes me think of Mother. I felt like I was bringing Mom with me by wearing this blouse. (She’d have loved being with us!)

I thought about adding a jean jacket and doing the double denim thing but gosh, everything seemed to be moving in a prettier direction. I looked at my jacket section and saw the yellow Lilith jacket that I haven’t worn much this summer. I was running out of time to even look at it in the mirror so I was going to go with it if it felt right. I slipped into it; it felt just right. (Goldilocks, give me a high-five!) So there was the one-third summery part of my outfit.


Shades of yellow

One-third of my outfit is summery


After we had lunch I took Debra to a new bakery in town called Bump City Bakery. She used to own a bakery so it’s always fun to watch her as she scopes out the goods and talks to the bakers. We each got a gluten-free cookie (totally yum). The bakery is in an alley between Kentucky Street and Petaluma Avenue.

I insisted she come with me to a fun new fashion store that also happens to have a brow bar (which I needed!) so we kept going through the alley to get to Obsessed Beauty & Style

That’s when we came across this amazing mural by Dom Chi, 2015. Debra said, “Your outfit would be perfect in front of that mural.” She claims she can’t take pictures but she did a great job! I just have to show you another one. Isn’t it so cool?


Mural in Petaluma

Mural by Dom Chi, 2015


So, besides learning the recipe for September Outfit Straddle (it kind of sounds like strudel, doesn’t it?), I’m going to leave you with a list of Petaluma places to check out if you’re in the area.

Uber Optics for great eyewear.

Water Street Bistro for great food.

Della Fattoria for great food, bakery goods and coffees.

Bump City Bakery for all your gluten-free bakery needs.

Obsessed Beauty & Style for clothes, shoes, accessories and a brow bar.

And sorry this part is getting to you late, but the Petaluma Antique Faire happens the last Sunday in September and the last Sunday in April. Russ and I love going there. Last year I bought my beautiful Danish mid-century teak desk from one of the vendors. I’m writing from it right now. So that’s where we were this last Sunday. We decided to go to Della Fattoria for a coffee and to read the paper when guess who popped in for the same thing? Our friends Debra and John! There’s no getting away from a good thing.

And if you’re reading this, a very special hi to Wendy from San Francisco and her sister Anne from Vallejo who introduced themselves to me while strolling through the Antique Faire. Wendy recognized me from Instagram. They were raised in Petaluma and we had a fun time chatting. Really, it’s a friendly town. Check it out!

So my friends, have you come up with some great SOS outfits? Care to share some of the ingredients?


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  • Reply
    September 26, 2017 at 1:44 am

    I have some linen blouses in autumn colours, dark green, khaki and brown, which I like to wear this time of year. I’ll put them away soon as it will be too cold for linen, but the colours say autumn. However it’s only 62 degrees here, so I have brought out the winter jumpers too.

    • Reply
      September 26, 2017 at 11:21 am

      You’ve totally inspired me! I’m wearing a black linen dress right now as it’s going to be 93 degrees in Sonoma. I’m putting an overblouse on as a lightweight jacket, anticipating air conditioning at lunchtime. I also think that’s a great idea for everyone to have a few of those at the ready. Note to self next spring: purchase linen shirts in dark colors!

  • Reply
    Trinnie q
    September 26, 2017 at 4:47 am

    Ohh I really loved this episode, ? Is that the right word, or adventure ?, how happy that outfit looked to me, on you. Especially against that beautiful mural. My youngest boy is named Dom, as in Dominic, so I especially loved the mural. Even though we are at the other side of the world, I am straddling two seasons at present also. So thanks for the excellent ideas and inspiration, as usual Brenda. Always a delight. Sending love from spring in Oz

    • Reply
      September 26, 2017 at 11:19 am

      Trinnie, nice to meet your son Dominic! Glad you enjoyed the ideas. Always a pleasure to hear from you from Oz!

  • Reply
    Brenda Benson
    September 26, 2017 at 7:04 am

    Brenda, where did you get those gorgeous pearls? I am suffering from serious pearl-envy 🙂

    Love your posts as always – still hot down here in southern CA!

    • Reply
      September 26, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Hi Brenda! I actually got them at TJ Maxx! My daughter Erin spotted them and at the time I remember them looking more vintage than I was comfortable with but alas, they are perfect for me!

  • Reply
    Debra Ruff
    September 26, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Great blog!! And beautiful pictures!!
    To see that a background like a mural and the colors from a bakery can enhance who we are and what we are wearing is a new phenomina to me. I think next time I go somewhere special, like a restaurant etc., I am going to look it up first so that I can discreetly look my best and fit in with the surroundings without anyone knowing that I did so!!
    Thanks for the idea!!

    • Reply
      September 26, 2017 at 11:05 am

      Well, Missy, thanks for YOUR great idea. I LOVE THAT. And thanks for taking nearly all of the pictures. I hope when you go somewhere special that I’ll be going with you! That was such a fun day!!!

  • Reply
    September 26, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Great outfit BK, I think we have all been a little stumped, as to what to wear right now.
    Love the formula that you created for the transition!

    • Reply
      September 26, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      Really, right? I sweltering today!

  • Reply
    September 26, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    This is an issue that needed to be aDRESSED ! I was glad to see that you included ankle boots in your outfit Sunday I wore a long fit & flare chambray tunic that I wore in the summer with sleeves that roll up and button. Instead of sandals, I wore black ankle boots and leggings . I layered a long black sleeveless vest over the tunic, and instead of a necklace, a long skinny plaid scarf worn like a necktie under the collar of the tunic. It seemed to work for September temps and I felt “back to school-ish.”

    • Reply
      September 26, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      What a great SOS you created! Fabulous! Thanks for sharing the details. I can totally see it!

  • Reply
    September 26, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Love the SOS! Clever and so appropriate! It’s hot, hot, humid here on Lake Erie! 92 today..uck! Layers are essential. It’s cooler in the morning but you can peel off a blazer by noon. Love your photos and favorite sites to visit! Wonderful tips as always! Have a great rest of the week!

    • Reply
      September 26, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      Thanks so much, Kathy!! Just looked at our temperature in Sonoma, 95 degrees, and I’m feeling every bit of that!

  • Reply
    September 26, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    I love your blog and style. Thank you for all of the interesting details you provide about your thought process in styling your outfits. It’s so fun to read through your writings and to see all of your photos too. I love love love clothes and style but none of my friends do, so I really enjoyed finding your blog recently as it has made me feel like I have a friend who loves clothes and style as much as I do!

    • Reply
      September 26, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      Oh you have lots of friends over here at this blog who share your love of clothes and style. I am overjoyed that you found this like-minded spot! Welcome, Justine!

  • Reply
    September 27, 2017 at 5:17 am

    Love your outfit and I’m in a bit cute f a style dilemma make self. I have a business casual meeting tomorrow and you can wear jeans. Like you the weather is still summer and not fall yet. I’m wearing a black sleeveless turtulneck dress with a camo jacket and black booties. I hope I’m not to warm, but I will be inside so there will be air conditioning. Your color palette is perfect. Oh and one more thing I need details about your writing exercises? Thanks!

    • Reply
      September 28, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      I hope your meeting goes well! This writing exercise shared by my friend is for seeing other possibilities in a situation. I’ve only just begun to work with it. If that sounds interesting to you, send me an email and I’ll email the directions. I’m not familiar with it enough to share it on the spot and it’s quite involved. I hope to have more time to fiddle with it this weekend.

  • Reply
    September 27, 2017 at 10:28 am

    I like THE LOOK of DEBRA…………she looks vaguely familiar to me!YES, she was right about THE MURAL and her SHOTS ARE GORGEOUS!
    SOS outfit for me………CAFTAN and LEGGINGS………..and OFF I JETE INTO THE FIAT 500 and DASH away!Normally to the GROCERY STORE!
    Petaluma……..has a special place in MY HEART!When I was young my MOTHER allowed me to get a chicken.WE kept HIM from my FATHER under the HOUSE until he started CROWING!I had to give him away!His name was BERTRAM the BANTI!WE gave him to friends in PETALUMA………..XX

    • Reply
      September 28, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      That’s such a fun story! And thanks for your SOS details, my dear!

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