13 In Anatomy of an Outfit/ Styling Tips

Creating a Spring transition outfit


It’s such a treat to have a working lunch date with my blogging friends, Cindy Hattersley, and Mary Ann Pickett.

One: It’s a chance to be with girlfriends who have active blogs. When we gather it’s to learn more about managing the technical backend parts of blogging—SEO, links, analytics, and countless other things that I don’t have the bandwidth to comprehend on my own. They’re like the big sisters who know everything and I’m the little sister saying, “What? How do you do that? Will you show me again?”

Blogging from the tech side

Working together on the tech part of blogging



Cindy, Mary Ann, and me


Cindy and Mary Ann write about interior design, travel, and lifestyle. Mary Ann’s blog is Classic Casual Home and Rough Luxe Lifestyle is Cindy’s blog.


Wearing polka dots

See the Golden Gate Bridge?



Two: We meet at Mary Ann’s Russian Hill apartment in SF which—as you can imagine—is beautifully adorned.

Mary Ann’s apartment is fresh, comfortable and intimate with lots of neutral colors and texture; antiques and collectibles. When I’m at her place I imagine sitting on one of her couches reading magazines or the design books she has stacked with care. Being around so much beauty nurtures my creativity.


What I did and did not what to look like

I’m going to tell you that I didn’t tell Mary Ann—I dressed with her apartment in mind. I said to myself, ‘How could I look good near Cindy’s fireplace or sitting on one of her dining room chairs or looking out a window at the Golden Gate Bridge?’ I wanted to be respectful of the ambiance she’s created.

I knew what I did and did not want to wear.

I didn’t want to wear dark colors. I’d feel like I was clashing inside her light-infused space.

I did want to wear polka dots because nothing says spring like polka dots, and this was the first glorious day in the Bay Area after countless cloudy days and record-breaking rainfall.

I didn’t want to be cold. It was still crisp outside, even though the sun was shining.

I did want to layer prints.

I didn’t want to look formal.

I did want to be comfortable.


This is what I came up with

I pulled out my Chico’s cotton polka dot jacket from a couple of years back. Gosh, it was fun to see it again! This would be the first time I’d wear it this year.

I got the warmth from my white sweater with a windowpane design. Lines and dots and dots and lines. That combo can entertain me for hours!

I’ve worn the sweater so much this winter. It’s by Theory. It’s a blend of wool, poly, and rayon. It’s fairly sheer so I wore a nude-colored Wacoal tank under it.


Spring outfit tips

Creating a transitional spring outfit


All the white in the sweater makes it a terrific spring transition piece. It’s warm but still looks bright and fresh. I added my silver and black leather corded heart necklace.

From the waist down I’m in my frayed jeans (DL1961) and my go-to black suede Aquatalia booties. Mark this date: This was the first day I wasn’t wearing wool socks with my booties. Instead, I wore half socks like the ones you wear with running shoes. They can’t be seen and my ankles were bare—perfect for being comfortable in 64 degrees. It was my first spring transition outfit, and I felt very comfortable in it.


What to wear for early spring

Mary Ann, me in polka dots, and Cindy


Advice for getting started on your spring transition wardrobe

The key to creating spring transition outfits is to mix one-part winter with one-part spring. My sweater was my winter part, and my polka dot cotton jacket was my spring part. My booties have been winter go to’s, but wearing them without socks is the spring addition.

Can you look for things in your closet that look springlike even though it’s cold outside? Lightweight, light-colored cashmere sweaters are perfect this time of year—unless you’re in Florida. Think apricot, yellow, ivory, dove gray, or Robin’s Egg blue.

Do you have springlike pieces that would work as your third piece? Of course, if you’re in the Midwest you’re not ready for that a jacket like mine yet. But do grab any lighter-colored jackets to visually move toward spring.

How are you putting outfits together that have a spring vibe? Can’t wait to hear! Tell us where you live too, okay? That’ll help us get the whole picture.

Happy almost spring!



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  • Reply
    Tangerine Meg
    March 18, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    The dots and lines together make me so happy! This principle of one part Winter to one part Spring is adaptable to the Southern Hemisphere, too, right? “Down” here, though, it’s one part Summer to one part Autumn. So grateful the heat is easing off and I can start to play with layers again 🙂

  • Reply
    Linda B
    March 19, 2019 at 5:17 am

    Yay for spring! Your spring ensemble is both lovely and practical. Spring has suddenly arrived here in AZ too. We also had a chillier/wetter/longer winter than usual, including a real snow storm less than a month ago–4 inches on the ground here in Tucson. We are now running highs in the 70s, which is the real sweet spot, as far as I am concerned.

    For me, it is both lovely to experience a bit of spring, but also there is an edge of melancholy. I find myself longing for spring to last as long as possible. The summer heat here is sooo hard on the body, and the mind–one can barely hold a strand of good thinking together when it is so hot in the desert! The heat also means that one has to work extra hard to find ways to dress with interest. No layering (except for maybe necklaces!) unless you work in an ice-cold air-conditioned office (which I don’t!) Actually, I am retiring at the end of the school year and plan to spend the summer in Oregon helping my daughter with her baby, so this year, I can let go of that spring melancholy! Yay! But it will be summer functionally well before I leave and when I return, as it is a 5 month season here. (The reverse of MN winters, as you know, and I do too.)

  • Reply
    jodie filogomo
    March 19, 2019 at 6:12 am

    I love that you dressed for your surroundings. Now if that isn’t a stylist, I don’t know what is.
    How I wish for some close by blogging friends to help each other through the process. There are so many days I feel like a fish out of water!!
    But you will laugh when you see our theme with my moms for next week…..black and white!!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2019 at 6:42 am

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Oh to be able to meet you three dynamos. How fun to see you three together. your darling outfit. I seem to wear T-shirts with cardigans or pullovers in bright colors with my ankle jeans and suede driving Mocs also in bright colors.if I wear bootcut jeans Inwear my black patent booties. It’s all about color,stripes, and gingham for me. I’m totally preppy it makes me happy❤️ these are the colors I wear the most with a black and white or navy and white base.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2019 at 7:34 am

    Robins egg blue for me and a little bit of floral print. I have a jacket and a few warmish tops in this color. Still cozy but bright and light for these gloriously long days of March in sunny Alberta.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2019 at 7:44 am

    GOSH, I thought of YOU yesterday BRENDA!I need to forward a BLOG to YOU as I think YOU would enjoy the content!
    I am like YOU I know NOTHING about the backbones of the BLOGWORLD and have NO DESIRE TOO!Until I get LOCKED OUT of WORDPRESS and cannot get back in!Then I think WHY DON’T I DO THIS STUFF!!It cannot be difficult!
    I hope the ladies gave you a few KEY TIPS!
    I look forward to seeing THAT APARTMENT SOON and THAT VIEW!!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2019 at 7:45 am

    I love that you planned your outfit around the decor you were going to be in. Years ago when I was married I recall an ongoing “discussion” with my (now ex) husband based around how to choose a car color. He wanted maroon, green, bright blue – bold colors. I said the car should complement the color of the house so when it sits in the driveway the total picture is pleasing. He said “you’re an idiot.” I said, “I’m visually conscious.” Note the part about us being now divorced 🙂

    But like you, I often think about what my surroundings are going to be when dressing. I mean, not so much for work because that’s every day and I don’t want my entire wardrobe to be “olive/cherry/cream” centric…but you know what I mean 🙂

    And I love your polka dot/windowpane plaid combo – very fresh and fun and springy!


  • Reply
    Gail A Guinn
    March 19, 2019 at 11:49 am

    I’m rolling up those jean hems! I am wearing brighter, more pastel colors! I am wearing 3/4 length sleeves and sandals. I live in the Palm Springs area, so we are having our most BEAUTIFUL weather right now!!
    I sure wish I could wear polka dots and stripes. They look just darling on you and seem to express your personality so well. I don’t own one striped or polka dot item. In the scheme of life, you are a Pooh, whereas I seem to be more of an Eyeore. LOL

  • Reply
    Stormy Smith
    March 20, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Thanks! Lovely and timely post. I need to pack for a week long trip with transitional weather and now I have a direction. One piece of “winter” as it’s not going to be hot, but mixed with something springy.
    And I hear you on the technical details of blogging! I just tell myself it’s good for my mind to learn new things.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2019 at 6:37 am

    Well, Brenda, you’ve done it again – given us all some ideas we can really use to transition to spring wardrobes! I happen to own that Chico’s polka dot jacket, thanks to you showcasing it when you bought it, and now I will be checking to see how I can start wearing it earlier than I would have (though maybe not this week here in MN!). I will also be thinking about pulling out some other warm weather jackets and putting lightweight sweaters under them sooner than they would have come out of my summer storage closet. Thanks for a lovely post.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2019 at 9:32 am

    I bought a lime green boucle Jcrew jacket at a consignment store while on my Florida vacation & it makes me smile every time I put it on. Of course, we still have mountains of snow in Fargo but people can see me coming around the snow banks ;)))))

  • Reply
    Gail Hardin
    April 16, 2020 at 6:36 am

    Where can I buy the DL1961 jeans I’ve seen in different blogs?

    • Reply
      April 16, 2020 at 8:14 am

      Hi there, I’ve seen them at Nordstrom but I’m sure other places carry them. I’d do a google search and you’ll find other sources I’m sure.

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