A few weeks ago I gave myself a shopping challenge: Walk into a boutique, create a Beauty Bundle, make two different outfits using the same Beauty Bundle, and do it out-of-state in a store I’ve never been in before.
To refresh, a Beauty Bundle is three or more items that go together, but it’s not a Beauty Bundle until those three or more exact items are used in two or more outfits. A Beauty Bundle is the thread that ties an outfit together. Most importantly, a Beauty Bundle is a shortcut to getting dressed.
Build an outfit in Perham, MN
From the fitting room area of 125 Apparel in Perham, MN, I’m going to build the Beauty Bundle, and then I’ll show you how I used it to pull together a pretty jean outfit. What makes this challenging is that I’m working backwards. Normally I build an outfit, and then I look for the pieces that will tie it together. If those three or more pieces I use to complete the outfit can work as a team and transfer to another outfit, it’s officially a Beauty Bundle. (Coming soon will be a post showing you the same Beauty Bundle with a dress outfit I put together on the same day.)
All the while I was constructing the outfits, I had you in mind. I was so eager to show you the process. Now that I look back on the pictures that Perham photographer Kristen McMartin took of the process, it’s dawned on me that I should have purchased this outfit; I’d be wearing it today!
Beauty Bundle inspiration came from the shoe department
125 Apparel is a new store in town. It’s a big space and it used to be a Thrifty White Drugstore. Mom and I could spend an hour in there easily while Dad would wait patiently in the car, reading Tolstoy, as he’d like to tease us. The drugstore had great cards, home accessories, holiday decorations, cosmetics, gifts, and more. Mom and I would be spending much more than an hour in 125 Apparel if she was here today. She’d have loved all the “pretties”.
I wasn’t sure where to begin, but my style eyes led me to the shoe department where I spotted these nubuck leather booties by Seychelles. Notice the ruffled detail in the back. Aren’t they sensual?
Spotting a necklace with a similar flavor as the bootie
The vibe I got from the bootie, both in the details and the fair color, was soft, sensual, lovely. My mission was to find playmates that were also soft, sensual, and lovely. I wandered over to the jewelry counter looking for a necklace that had a similar flavor.
I found one. It was a long, beaded necklace with a pretty tassel pendant. The soft blush color of the tassel led me to imagine the woman wearing it. She’d be sure of herself. She would enter a room gracefully. She had thoughtful opinions and was receptive to others. She listened more than she spoke.
This Beauty Bundle needs a handbag
I was starting to feel pretty confident about bundle making. I went from the jewelry department to a table devoted to handbags. Wanting to stick with the theme of feminine assurance, I decided I wanted something light in color, but really, what were the chances?
But there it was: a soft chalky white shoulder bag with minimal details. Groovy!
Beauty Bundle? Check! Now let’s build a jean outfit!
As you know if you’ve been shopping, there are a crazy number of jean styles out there to choose from. This Hudson straight-leg jean was my first choice.
The jean hem is hitting near the ankle. I wouldn’t want the jean to touch the top of the bootie, because I want everyone to see the bootie details. I also want the booties to be protected from any indigo dye in the jean that could rub against that soft leather. Nubuck leather would just soak up that indigo dye. Even though these jeans aren’t so dark, I don’t want to take the risk. I’ve been through this. You can never get indigo out of leather once it’s there.
Next came my most challenging part of the shopping trip. Remember, I’m thinking lovely, pretty. A lot of the tops I was seeing on the floor weren’t looking like the top I imagined. But then I found a creamy silky T-shirt. This would work, but I looked at the wide-necked, low V-neck and knew I needed to layer something underneath it. On its own, that neckline can be tough to wear. I wanted a tank or a sleeveless tee to layer under it.
I searched the store and found it: a mystery-colored soft tee. What would you call this color? Taupe, clay, cement?
Look how beautiful they are together.
It was perfect!
Hunting down the third piece
Next up: the third piece. I want something that will have presence. This oversized cable knit ivory cardigan does just that. It brings style to this outfit. After the smooth texture of the layered tees, it’s fun to contrast that with a textured knit. However, it’s still in that light color palette. It’s dreamy!
Time to add the Beauty Bundle
I’m liking this! How are we going to finish this outfit? Well, if you remember, we’ve got that covered with the Beauty Bundle. Let’s start with the necklace and the booties.
Something was going on out of sight of the fitting rooms. There was an angora fringed plaid scarf that had been whispering, Brenda, Brenda, Brenda every time I left the fitting room to pull in another piece for this outfit.
That scarf was hanging about five feet from the rack. I grabbed it. What a lovely collection of textures. You almost want to cuddle up in the cardigan and the scarf and stay home.
But the gold beads and gold wrap on the tassel necklace say, No, no, no, we’re going out. When I look at this Perham, MN outfit, I realize it would be perfect to wear to my favorite restaurants in Sonoma, CA.
We can’t forget the shoulder bag!
Counting the takeaways from doing this backwards
My takeaway from building this backwards—Beauty Bundle first and then the outfit—is that you need all your senses when you go shopping. You use your visual sense, for sure, but intuition comes into play. You can’t go wrong staring with something you love. Your imagination and intuition help you find the next thing and then the next thing. It takes listening and trying.
I look at this outfit and feel like it’s my pet. I miss it! Using one’s heart, mind, and feelings to put an outfit together makes you appreciate it all the more.
I want to thank everyone at 125 Apparel for being so gracious with me, a perfect stranger who walked into their store and said, “Would you mind if I build some outfits and bring a photographer in to document them?” Thanks to Kristen McMartin, my photographer. She was so fun to work with. And a big thank you to my sister-in-law, Wendy, who texted me that morning and said, “I’m coming to your shoot.” She was helpful in about 100 ways. Thank you, Wendalyn.
And thank you for coming with me to Perham, MN. Didn’t we have fun?
Stay tuned for the sister post, which will show you quite a different outfit using this same Beauty Bundle, scarf included.
I always love hearing your thoughts. Is there something about this outfit that speaks to you? Where do you start when you’re building an outfit? Do you shop for things you love? Can’t wait for you to weigh in!
You can visit my new friends in Perham by checking out their websites and social media.
Kristen McMartin Photography, #kmphoto #kmseniors #kmsports