8 In Anatomy of an Outfit/ Styling Tips

Dressing for pleasure in a holiday outfit

holiday dress

I declare the best reason to get dressed is to experience pleasure. There are a couple of other things to think about when getting dressed, like is the outfit going to be warm enough (or cool enough), and will it be respectful of the setting you’re wearing it in? Once you’ve weighed those considerations, the focus shifts to having the most fun you can by wearing what gives you pleasure.

The anatomy of a holiday outfit from pieces I already own

This plaid A-line dress by Lisa Baynes from last year (how I wore it then) was my starting point. I’m so pleased to be wearing it again. Pleasure points are adding up from the moment I slip it over my head. There’s a pleasure point for plaid, as I love it so, and another point for crinkle fabric, which tickles my fancy. There are two points right there.

I associate this fabric with Christmas wrapping paper. I imagine a special something wrapped in this red and black plaid print, waiting patiently under the tree for a certain loved one to open. When something leads me into a fantasy or brings up a sentimental moment, that’s a pleasure. Put another point on the scoreboard. We’re up to three points.

Shifting the shape of the A-line dress by adding a belt

I’d just had fun with another holiday outfit I styled where I added a belt to a tunic. Remember this outfit from a couple of weeks ago? Here’s the link to the details.

Holiday outfits
Reshaping a billowy tunic with a belt

With belts on my mind, I reached into my belt bin for another favorite. It’s mostly fur with patent leather. Adding a belt that I haven’t worn in years, a belt I LOVE, earns another pleasure point.

However, I think I should take into account the mere fact that I’m wearing a belt at all. That’s a deep pleasure, and I’ll tell you why.

holiday dress

I’d pretty much given up on the idea of wearing belts again because of my own body shift. Thicker waist and all that. It made me so sad. To now be wearing something I thought was no longer an option is definitely worth double points. I think that brings us to 6 points.

Adding the warm parts for a chilly night

If you peek at the image above, right by my wrist, you’ll see a sliver of black mesh. I decided I needed more warmth to the dress so I wore a black mesh long-sleeved t-shirt underneath. I tucked the mesh t-shirt into my tights so it wouldn’t slip up or down. It added just the right amount of warmth to this dress.

I needed it because experience taught me that the home I was going to was usually pretty chilly. I needed that functional piece to keep me comfortable.

I’m going to give myself a pleasure point for the hidden mesh layering piece. Yes, it’s functional, but that mesh top over my nude bra looked so darn sexy when I put it on. I couldn’t help noticing it in my full-length mirror as I was getting dressed.

You know how I’ve talked about those private details in an outfit that maybe only you know about? This is one of those private details. I got to feel sexy because of something no one saw. Score! That’s seven pleasure points and we’re still counting.

The red and black checked J.Jill scarf is a winner

mixed prints

Still thinking about warmth, I looked for a wrap that I could wear indoors if it was chilly. I really don’t like feeling cold as you’ve probably surmised.

This J.Jill warm scarf from a year or two back has been in constant rotation this month. It’s warm and cozy. At home, I’ll wear it around my neck in the morning and in the evening. Actually, I want to take it with me everywhere I go. If you think of a child’s association with a favorite blanky, you’re pretty close to how I feel about this scarf. Wearing it makes everything right in the world. Add a point for psyche pleasure.

Turning an everyday item into a special occasion accent

I know how I feel about that scarf, and now you know how I feel, but my friends don’t know that I wrap this scarf around my neck first thing in the morning over my pajamas. So I get to feel a little sneaky turning it into a lovely wrap over my holiday dress. I’m giving myself a pleasure point for that alone. Getting away with something is always pleasurable! 9 points.

Aside from that, I couldn’t have been more visually delighted about the layering of black and red in the dress and scarf. Points, right?

One of the men at the party who was loving my outfit asked, “Did the scarf come with the dress?” I think I won points from him for being clever when I told him no.

holiday dress

I know we’re getting to the end of the anatomy of this outfit but I bet you’d want me to add a point for wearing my fun red frames from Uber Optics, right? It brings more attention to the face as does the red lipstick, Sedition #422 from Pat McGrath.

Can you believe it? We’re at 12 pleasure points!

I didn’t mention my non-opaque tights that were sheerer than thick black tights would have been. Again, I felt sexier veiling my legs rather than covering them up completely. Or the comfort of my pointy-toed Aquatlia suede booties. But hey, I’m happy with 12 pleasure points. I can stop there.

Dear ones, how much pleasure are you receiving from your outfit details?

You may be looking at your outfit right now counting up the pleasure points you’re receiving from it. I hope so. Will you tell us about it?

It brings me much pleasure to hear you talk about the things you love in fashion and style. Do share!

Much love to you during this holiday season.


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  • Reply
    December 19, 2019 at 10:25 am

    Haven’t checked your posts for a while — wonderful to see your holiday outfits — love the pleasure points system. I like the subtle change in your hair — to me the front looks a bit lighter & I specially like the way you are letting the cowlick take over at the front — makes it look more natural(flattering). Merry Christmas & a Happy, Healthy holiday season.

    • Reply
      December 19, 2019 at 6:14 pm

      Glad you liked the pleasure point system. Hope you think about it when you get dressed. As for my hair, it just does what it does, all-natural, cowlicks and what not. A very Merry Christmas to you too, Marilyn!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2019 at 10:49 am

    I went to a party a week ago & remembered your layering advice. I too remembered being chilly at this party in previous years! I wore a wool coat/dress that I found at TJMAXX a month or so ago, as a dress. I never feel like I can wear dresses! Put on opaque tights, cute flats, and my shaper underneath. I received so many compliments! Also, it has been awhile since I read your blip about your middle “shifting”. I am also 65, but had not experienced it yet. But all at once, there it is! Whoa, wait, what is this??!! Then I remembered that piece of yours! Thank you so much for that! And I think i’m Going to have to go new bra shopping, too.

  • Reply
    Jacqueline Mathews
    December 20, 2019 at 6:11 am

    Brenda, I always wait impatiently for your next post. I love your creative way of looking at what you have in your closet and then thinking about what you can use together in different but beautiful ways. I must say what I enjoy the most is your upbeat attitude and the encouragement you give so freely! Thank you!! Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a blessed Happy New Year!

    PS. Can’t wait for New Years Post.

  • Reply
    December 20, 2019 at 6:12 am

    I love the plaid on plaid! You are a genius. Happy Holidays Brenda. Hopefully we can get together in the New Year!!

  • Reply
    Linda B
    December 20, 2019 at 8:42 am

    I have 4 holiday events to attend over the next 5 days, and I am going to remember to look for all those little pleasure points! I think I have done this before, but less systematically. I am trying hard to figure out tonight’s outfit at the moment, for the party my cousins are throwing to celebrate her earning a PhD and also the engagement of their daughter. They are rather “upscale” sort of people so I am a bit flummoxed about what to put together that will make me happy and feel appropriate (and keep me warm!)

  • Reply
    Anne Catherine Walker
    December 20, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Your blog is a special joy to me when you describe how you play with clothes. That’s my reason for dressing with pleasure, the play factor. It makes me want to dance. For that, I need a skirt with swish factor. (That’s an extra point.)
    Thank you, and merry Christmas!

  • Reply
    December 23, 2019 at 4:07 pm


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