35 In Shopping Tips/ Women Now

Falling hard for the color yellow

yellow thrift store coat on BrendaKinsel.com

Shopping for yellow


I know you’re looking at a picture of me in a yellow coat in an antique store.

Ignore that for a moment so I can tell you where this story really starts.

You’d wonder if I’d turned into a crazed woman the day I tried on this Vince bouclé sweater, below. It was three weeks ago, the day I was getting fitted for my new bras at Nordstrom. My friend Mariam brought this yellow sweater into the dressing room and said, “Honey, this would look so good on you.” I didn’t see what she saw but I’d be polite and try it on. I put it on and lost my mind. (Is this what it’s like to do heroin?) I-had-to-have-this-color-in-my-life, yesterday.

yellow Vince sweater

Vince boucle sweater


Coming to my senses

I was obsessed with this color but a small portion of my discerning brain was still active and explained to me why I shouldn’t buy it. It said, “The top is too casual for your lifestyle. It’s too sloppy on you. It’ll be too warm to wear by May so you won’t get a lot of wear out of it. And Brenda Kinsel, did you look at the price tag? $320. You can’t do that. W-a-l-k a-way!”

I asked Mariam if there was any other item in the store that was this color. The answer was no. I was miserable.


Wearing yellow on BrendaKinsel.com

True love for yellow and each other, Caitlin and Mom

Feeling sorry for myself

Was it my fate to enjoy this color on others but not on me? I know lovers of the color yellow. They’re in my immediate family! One of them is my daughter, Caitlin. The other one was my mom. Look at them! They look fabulous in yellow! My only experience with this color was when Mom bought me a yellow angora scarf and matching gloves to go with the Homemade Coat she made me, black and white plaid, in high school. I grew out of it.

I enjoy this color in my home, most notably in a photograph Russ took of a dahlia with curled edges. It’s blown up big and sits in a 38-inch square frame on a wall in our kitchen. Maybe my destiny is to appreciate yellow; I just don’t wear yellow. We can’t have it all, right?


Dahlia photo by Russ Gelardi on BrendaKinsel.com

Photo by Russ Gelardi

What are the chances I’d find something in yellow and in my price range?

If there is a fashion goddess, she saw me in that dressing room that day at Nordstrom, took note, and made it her mission to help me find something yellow. How else can you explain what happened two weeks later?

I had errands to run in Novato after work one Thursday. I was driving down Grand Avenue and spotted an antique store, Sentimental Journey Antiques. There were the sweetest vintage aprons hanging in the window. Caitlin is my apron girl. Mother had given her aprons and so have I. There was a parking space right in front. I decided to stop and look for aprons for Caitlin.

There were so many of them. I got overwhelmed trying to choose the perfect one. I turned my head. Three feet from the apron section was a yellow coat stuffed on a corner rack with other clothes. I don’t shop for clothes in antique stores. I was way out of my comfort zone and without a posse of cheerleaders (like daughters) encouraging me to try something new.

I hoisted up my big girl panties and slipped it on. It felt so good on my body. It was a bouclé fabric like the Vince sweater I’d tried on. I went in search of a mirror. The sales associate found me in a crowded corner in front of an old armoire and raved about the color on me. I asked her to take a picture of me in it so I could text it to my daughters and get their opinions.

Getting advice from daughters on BrendaKinsel.com

Advice from daughters on my yellow coat find


Erin, an old pro at shopping vintage, was most interested in the price tag which was $75. She thought I should press for a discount. I did. The shopkeeper was willing to take twenty bucks off the price.

Caitlin’s message was short and sweet, but by the time she replied I was the owner of a second hand yellow vintage bouclé coat that my mother would have been tickled pink to see me in. She’d have gotten a giggle over the fact that I was wearing a coat that she could have worn herself in the late ’50s or early ’60s. She’d have said, “Oh, Babe, it’s so pretty on you!”

I wore that yellow coat within twenty-four hours

Next, I did what I usually do when I buy something new: I wore it immediately.


yellow at winery

Loving yellow


In less than 24 hours I was wearing it when I arrived at a meeting at the building site of a home my clients are building. This meeting was to decide paint colors for all the rooms, grout colors for the tile work and to approve closet designs. I’ve been my client’s right hand arm during this whole project, helping her make color and design decisions all along the way. Carol is at these meetings too. She’s from the architecture firm. We’re a great team.

They LOVED the yellow coat when I walked along the planks and through the plastic sheeting where the doors will be. And the yellow coat came in handy when we were in the bedroom closet spaces fine tuning the width of the shelving that will go in there. I know how my client folds clothes that she stores on shelves, including jeans. “How about I take my jeans off, fold them, put them on the floor and measure. That way it will be easier to decide,” I said.

“Really? You want to do that?” they both said. “How else will we know? Besides, I have my yellow coat on. It’s not like I’m going to be naked or anything.” I folded my jeans, plopped them on the floor, measured, and decided. Easy peasy.  (Thank you, yellow coat!)

Wearing yellow at Domaine Carneros

Wine tasting with Russ on the balcony of Domaine Carneros


Forty-eight hours later my yellow coat went wine tasting

On day two of owning the yellow coat, Russ and I started celebrating his birthday a day early. We went to brunch at Boonfly Café and then decided to poke around at Domaine Carneros Winery to check out the views. We ended up doing a champagne wine tasting outdoors on the wide veranda. What a great way to celebrate his birthday, celebrate almost-spring, and make one of the toasts to the miracle of finding my coat.

What is the message of yellow?

When I got home, I went to my bookshelf and pulled out my book, In the Dressing Room with Brenda. I looked up my chapter that talks about color and its inherent messages. Of course, I wanted to read about yellow.

Learning about the quality of yellow on BrendaKinsel.com

The qualities of yellow

I thought about those words and my sudden love for this color. Maybe this chapter of my life is about fully embracing ‘creative, bright, cheerful, and optimistic’. But outgoing? I’m more of an introvert but you know what? To embrace the ‘outgoing’ part, all I have to do is think about Mother. She was all of that! I’m sure she’d be willing to be my heavenly mentor.

How are you wearing your favorite colors these days? Is yellow one of them?

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  • Reply
    Debbie Klausing
    March 15, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Yellow is really flattering on you! I like it on others, but not so much on myself. Actually, I don’t own a bit of it. I like the way you wear your jeans cuffed with the booties. Unless I am wearing leggings or really skinny jeans and taller boots, I am at a loss, because it seems like I cannot get it right. Maybe my jeans are too long or too bunchy at the bottom. They are skinny jeans, but on me they are more like straight leg. Maybe you could do a feature on how to wear booties, boots, etc? By the time I figure it out, the style will be over, lol! Thanks, I enjoy your blog!

    • Reply
      March 16, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      Debbie, I’ve started a series called the Jean Guide for the Modern Woman. I posted the first one last week and the second in that series will be posted next week. I share lots of pictures of jeans and boots and booties in those posts so be sure to be on the lookout for those! It can be tricky for sure. No worries about it going out of style. I think we’re going to be wearing booties for a while!!! Thanks for reading and sharing!

  • Reply
    Carol S
    March 16, 2017 at 3:46 am

    Such a soft yellow that looks great with crisp white shirt. Not overpowering as some brighter yellows can be. Beautiful – thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      March 16, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      Thanks for commenting! Yes, it seemed like the just right color for me. Even more so then the Vince sweater which was more saturated. And yes, it wanted to be teamed with a white shirt for sure. Now I have to figure out what else I can do with it. A weekend project!!

      • Reply
        Gina Funaro
        January 22, 2019 at 6:02 am

        You mentioned other ideas for what to wear with your coat. Maybe pairing the yellow coat with jeans and then shades of grey for shirt/sweater/scarf?
        I really enjoy your posts. So informative and fun.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2017 at 4:19 am

    Brenda-your posts are like a soft breeze in summer…soothing to my senses! It is a pleasure to read your words and I look avidly everyday to make sure I don’t miss a single one. I love the coat and the color on you! You look happy wearing yellow. I alm glad you stepped out of your comfort zone. All too often I talk myself out of a color or an outfit because I’m “not thin enough or too pale…etc” when actually I need to remind myself that I’m just fine as I am! Th

    • Reply
      March 16, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      Kathy, YOU ARE JUST FINE the way you are! Just had to repeat that in case it slipped your mind. That is just the best medicine right there–self acceptance and encouragement instead of being a Debbie Downer with ourselves. Thanks for your very kind words about the blog. I am so enjoying sharing with all of you. Your comments are so delightful. Thanks, Kathy, for sharing!

  • Reply
    La semaine d'une gourmette
    March 16, 2017 at 5:22 am

    Lovely on you, Brenda, but I look very much like an aspirin tablet in yellow, it certainly doesn’t suit my complexion. One of my very favorite colors is fuchsia pink (or “hot pink”, as it used to be called), the deep-toned version (which actually has a bit of blue in it). I’m dressed in black and white today, but I also have a fuchsia eternity scarf!

    • Reply
      March 16, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      Well, that’s an unforgettable image! Aspirin tablet! Not ideal but your colors sound divine on you. Fuchsia can be tough for some people. I’m glad you found it and wear it. I’m sure it’s just grand!

  • Reply
    March 16, 2017 at 6:22 am

    lemon souffle .. that’s how i view your new-to-you coat.
    the shade is perfect! i work in an antique shop (used to be a vendor there..)
    and there is THE most perfect black wool coat i’m eyeing. it fits. wink.

    • Reply
      March 16, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      Well, Miss Sherry, you must get that perfect black wool coat! And I love the name you gave to this color. Perfect! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Lisa White
    March 16, 2017 at 6:29 am

    I LOVE this pale yellow shade of this coat! What a beautiful addition to your wardrobe. This coat will shake all the winter doldrums out of any mood and it looks absolutely divine on you! I love it…and…what a value!

    • Reply
      March 16, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      Lisa, you are so right. After all the stormy, rainy, gray weather we’ve had (an extra long winter), this color does shake the doldrums out! I don’t think I could wear it and feel blue for one second. I’m such a novice at buying from a store like that. A good first attempt!

  • Reply
    Cathy D.
    March 16, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Brenda, you look wonderful in yellow. I bet that Vince sweater wouldn’t look too casual once you put on one of your beauty bundles. (My friends don’t call me the enabler for nothing.)

    A few years ago I decided to make a bigger effort to buy clothes in colors I absolutely love, especially clothes worn near my face. Yesterday I was looking in my closet and realized that nearly all my tops are blue. I love blue, especially bright medium blue. Every time I wear it, which is more and more frequently, I get compliments. I’ve decided being known as the lady in blue is OK.

    Yellow and blue look great together. A good example is your yellow coat and blue jeans. My hair is a sort of golden blonde. Maybe that has something to do with why blue looks so good on me.

    • Reply
      March 16, 2017 at 7:26 pm

      The clothing enabler! That is just too cute! That sweater had a big personality. Not sure a Beauty Bundle could stand up to it! The way you describe your coloring makes so much sense for why you love shades of blue. I think being the Lady in Blue is a great thing to be! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Amy Roseveare
    March 16, 2017 at 9:03 am

    How funny — I had that sweater in my hand at Neiman’s in SF yesterday. It was just so happy! But I held it up to my pink face, and it was not pretty….trying to think about how else I can incorporated a touch of it into my spring line-up. Love it with olive green, which I do wear.

    • Reply
      March 16, 2017 at 9:23 am

      That is so funny!!!! Yes, that would be a fierce color against your beautiful skin. I love it with olive green as well. Well, now, I’m loving it with everything. You’re so cute! I can just see you!!!

  • Reply
    Katherine Cramer
    March 16, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Ah yellow–my most dramatic color according to a Color Consultant many years ago. I remember the yellow dress I bought that brought so many compliments. Yet, I am somehow not fully convinced. I do love yellow with blue like Cathy D. There is something so happy and joyous about that combination.

    I must acknowledge Russ’ art. Wonderful! Golden yellow and Nature in all it’s glory and wisdom. I currently see daffodils in bloom and I smile at their bold stance. They herald hope. Nature’s commitment to yellow seems clear and I’ll give it another look. Your coat surprisingly works–better than if it were a brighter yellow like the Vince top although I do love that yellow too. I admire the grounding with white and neutral pattern handbag providing contrast. Timeless Vintage style finds, can yield such complexity. The design of your coat keeps it classic. I hope we see another nod to your coat.

    • Reply
      March 16, 2017 at 7:30 pm

      Katherine, I accept the challenge of doing more with this coat. I hope you won’t get sick of seeing me in it! I am going to a birthday party tomorrow night in the City and think I must wear it. During the hard storms with high winds our little precious daffodils in the front yard stood tall and proud in the face of it all. They were so brave. I couldn’t believe their tenacity! I am certainly looking at this color more closely. It will be hitting my radar I’m sure. And of course, it reminds me of Mother so very very much. Makes me smile. Thanks for your views. I always enjoy them!

  • Reply
    March 16, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Yellow has always been my favourite colour, and I have it all through my house – anywhere I can fit it: floor in one room, ceiling in another, walls throughout the open plan lounge. But put it next to my skin and people suggest calling an ambulance. Thanks to my home decor I’m long over envying people who can wear it, but I occasionally (like now) get pangs when I see such a gorgeous item on someone else.

    • Reply
      March 16, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      Oh gosh, I can just see this! I’m so glad you’re enjoying yellow all over! All over everything but you. That’s how I have to enjoy some colors as well. Thank goodness we have other outlets!

  • Reply
    March 16, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Brenda, you look beautiful in that yellow coat! I’d add another adjective to a description of the coat’s particular yellow: it looks peaceful.
    I took one look at it and my breath went out in a big peaceful and happy sigh. It looks like spring, and new flowers, and sunshine–and what could be more peaceful than that?
    I agree with the other posters, too, that yellow looks wonderful with blue (yellow, blue, and white, that great Scandinavian decorating combination) as well as olive.
    Personally, though, if I wear yellow I look like something that lived too long under a damp rock. However, about ten years ago I had a pair of mustard-y yellow killer high heels. Given that they weren’t worn near my face and I wore them with olive and/or gray, they worked. Loved those shoes!!

    • Reply
      March 16, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      Well, you found a way to defy the “she’s been under a rock for too long” look and put it where it was easier, your feet! Great idea. Thanks for the reminder of the Swedish colors! That’s so very very true. My Mother was Swedish. And we had lots of Scandinavian pieces in our home growing up (as well as a lot of olive green). I will look at those colors with love in my heart. I also love your adjective: peaceful. I tell you when I put it on I just didn’t want to take it off. With all the noise all around us these days, it’s wonderful to find peace where we can. Thanks for your delicious comment and share about your experience with yellow!

  • Reply
    March 17, 2017 at 9:22 am

    I, too, adore the right shade of yellow on me! Not all the time, not every time – but it’s perfect when I need/want it!
    Your coat is gorgeous on you – may I ask the brand? I’d love to look for something similar – although, I rarely need coat at all in Phoenix! LOL
    (btw, when my colors were analyzed by John Kitchener, he gave me yellow as a “Playful” color and when analyzed by David Zyla he gave me yellow as a “Tranquil” color (spa-like, most-grounded… Interesting, huh? 🙂 )

    • Reply
      March 17, 2017 at 9:41 am

      Suzy, that is so interesting how the two people labeled that shade for you in your palette. I’m really pondering those two words: tranquil and playful. Quite different energies!
      The label on the coat is Forstmann. It also says Stevens Fabric. It’s probably from the early 60s or so. I think I must wear it tonight! I’ll be at a girlfriends’s birthday party in San Francisco and it will be playful!

  • Reply
    March 17, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Loving you in that coat!
    I’m a “spring” so yellow is supposed to be one of my colors but I don’t haven’t worn it years! Last yellow clothing item was a cabled cashmere crewneck sweater.
    However, I may not wear yellow but I live it everyday! For the past 25 or so years all of my homes have had public spaces painted in yellow! Soft, buttery yellow that sets of the tones of antiques, oriental carpet and artwork. Even on s cloudy dreary day, my home always seems light!

    • Reply
      March 18, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      Wow, your home sounds so inspiring! I’ve just decided to paint the door that goes from the garage into the house a shade of yellow. Why not? Even though Russ and I are the only ones that go into the house through the garage, I want it to look welcoming to us! You inspired me! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Cindy La Ferle
    March 18, 2017 at 6:17 am

    Brenda, so glad to have found you — I’ve read all of your books but just discovered that you blog. Your vintage yellow coat is fabulous. While I don’t wear a lot of thrift or resale items, either, I do poke around thrift stores periodically and always end up with a real treasure, or something that sparks my wardrobe. Last week, I found an adorable leopard print trench (car coat length) for $20. It was nearly new and looks fantastic. Looking forward to more of your posts. Thanks for all you do to brighten our lives.

    • Reply
      March 18, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      I think you’re on to something with your leopard print trench treasure! This experience of mine will make me do some of that poking around like you talk about. Enjoy that trench! And thanks for the kind words.

  • Reply
    elena daciuk
    March 18, 2017 at 10:42 am

    oh brenda…how this made my heart sing…first the color…always reminds me of sunshine…which always makes me happy…how can it not? and wearing it? you are just spreading your sunshine around! but mostly…finding a vintage coat…even better! it looks amazing on you…there is something so easy and fun about wearing vintage coats…not to mention the stories they must have…and now you are giving new life to this one…just fabulous…all around!

    • Reply
      March 18, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      There’s my vintage mentor sister! It was really interested. I am quite the novice but I like what you’re saying about how now the coat will give life to new stories. I look for every opportunity to wear it! Glad you are giving me encouragement. Very fun!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2017 at 4:45 am

    What a beautiful coat, and you look terrific in it. What a find! I love yellow, but not in huge quantities: I have a yellow Tshirt that peeks out from under a grey plaid shirt with a gold stripe, and a chunky plastic yellow watch that cheers me up. I’m on the lookout for some yellow shoes, which I believe go with everything. That butter colour yellow is so good on you, not too zany, a peaceful natural colour.

    • Reply
      March 21, 2017 at 11:50 am

      I like your yellow items. Just the other day I thought about yellow fingernail polish. I’ll have a look! Thanks for sharing, Spags!

  • Reply
    Denise Lampron
    July 21, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Brenda, your voyage into vintage produced a lovely coat in a yummy shade of yellow. Looks marvelous on you and complements your wonderfully classic style. You are rocking Vintage classic in a color that reminds me of 1960s yellow and Audrey Hepburn. Some of the best pieces in my closet are from vintage and second hand stores. So enjoy your blogs!

    • Reply
      July 21, 2017 at 7:16 pm

      Thanks so much, Denise. I’m surprising myself with this thing for vintage. I just never saw it on me! I love getting old enough to explore the things I used to deplore but now I adore. That’s a mouthful! Always great to hear from you.

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