8 In Getting Dressed/ Series

Finding style authenticity with soft and strong elements

Adding heavy metal to soft, sheer blouse on Brenda Kinsel website

Adding heavy metal to soft floral print blouse

I remember where I was when I bought this BCBG floral print silk blouse. I was shopping in Duluth, MN where Patricia, my high school best friend, lives. There’s something so familiar about shopping with her. It’s like we’re in high school again.

I found lots of things that were cute on her (she looks great in EVERYTHING) but didn’t find much that worked on me. But there was this sheer blouse that I circled a few times before zeroing in on it.

The floral silk blouse started talking to me

It was certainly different from things I usually buy. It was so light and feminine. I had really tender feelings about the print. It made me think about my mom for all the gardening she did. (She was alive and well at this time.)

On a practical level, it would be a great summer top to wear when I wanted to reach for something lightweight while still covering my arms.

It was a love purchase

More than anything, I think I wanted to buy something while shopping with my best friend even if it was just for old times’ sake. And I wanted to privately honor my feminine, flower-loving mother. I knew I’d think of both of them every time I wore it.

An afterthought

Besides, maybe it was time to experiment with the softer Brenda and focus less on the rock ‘n’ roll Brenda. It was just a thought.

I bought it.

Toughing up a sweet floral print on Brenda Kinsel website

Taking a sweet top and mixing in metal elements to toughen it up.

Now we’re here in September…

Faced recently with a warm September day, I decided to work this blouse into an outfit. I put it on and it felt insubstantial by itself, not complete. I needed to toughen it up a bit in order to feel more authentic.

What I ended up with is a girly rock ‘n’ roll look that suits me just fine. I like feeling pretty (which this blouse makes me feel), but I also like feeling warrioress strong.

Satisfying my warrioress

I went to my accessories and started pulling out gunmetal pieces. I chose a necklace that fits like a collar. It’s made of four thick casacading rows of circular discs. The fact that it peeks out of the blouse instead of taking over the blouse is the perfect ratio for me.

Floral print top gets strength in metal accessories on Brenda Kinsel website

Mixing soft and feminine with cool metals

My bracelets are a cluster of gunmetal bangles as well as a hammered silver bangle, a hematite cuff and a narrow rhinestone bangle. (Warrioresses can wear sparkly things, right?)

My biggest ring is shaped like a leaf and is full of itty bitty diamonds. The other ring is a talisman for me: I never take it off. On the other wrist I’m wearing a bangle that has a horn shaped piece on top that’s strapped down with two rows of diamonds.

My gunmetal framed bag is compact, no nonsense.

Pretty and strong

I like it! By wearing it this way, I honor myself while also sending love to both Patricia and my dearly beloved Mother – the two strongest female influencers in my life.

Showing jewelry details on Brenda Kinsel website

My no nonsense gunmetal handbag is so not slouchy or wimpy!

What about you? What elements need to be present in an outfit in order for you to feel authentic?

I’d love to hear the combos that feel right to you!

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  • Reply
    Barbara Kraus
    September 20, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Not quite answering the question, but I know I need color around my face, so if my top is on the lighter side, I add color or shine in a necklace or scarf.

    I like the blouse a lot, but that last photo is amazing. I like how it shows off all your jewelry and the hardware on the bag in one close up photo, and you’re in it.

    • Reply
      September 20, 2016 at 6:11 pm

      Barbara, I can completely see your formula. It’s a winner! Thanks for the comment about that last picture. For some reason it seemed like a good idea at the time!

  • Reply
    Barbara Kraus
    September 20, 2016 at 8:17 am

    And I love how it reminds you of your mom and your friend.

    • Reply
      September 20, 2016 at 6:10 pm

      I sure do too!

  • Reply
    Cathy D.
    September 20, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    What an interesting question. I’ve been trying to figure out the answer all day. I think I need a combination of something masculine and something feminine. All masculine, and I feel dull, sort of like an English governess in a tweed suit and sensible oxfords. But all feminine and girly… yuck! It makes me feel like I’m wearing too much makeup or perfume and need a shower.

    I wore an outfit that was perfect for me a few days ago. It was composed of dark blue boyfriend jeans rolled twice, white sneakers with blue trim, a white oxford cloth shirt with narrow medium blue stripes, and a cotton 22″ scarf that I bought at a discount house. The scarf is by Christian Lacroix, and is red, white, cobalt, navy and black. The scarf adds just the right feminine touch. I felt great!

    I love your blog. One thing about it I especially like is that you explain why the elements of an outfit work. That is so helpful!

    • Reply
      September 20, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      I love how you gave this thought today, Cathy. Thanks for vividly describing your outfit. I could really see it. And I LOVE your examples of feminine and masculine elements! Brilliant! I love explaining the anatomy of an outfit and sure am glad you enjoy it! Thanks for sharing today.

  • Reply
    Lisa White
    September 25, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Our wardrobes should tell the story of our lives. The pieces that have connections and memories attached are timeless. There was something magnetic that attracted us to them in the first place, they were worn, and the events….people….emotions…attached themselves to the piece. I have discarded items from my wardrobe that no longer suit me or have past their shelf-life…so to speak, but those pieces that acquired a story, or captured a moment in time that was special to us….those are not discarded. I may alter them a bit, or style them differently, but they remain and serve to burnish my wardrobe with their warm glow.

    I love your top and how you worked it to suit your “now” style. Perfection

    • Reply
      September 25, 2016 at 8:05 am

      Your words are always so lovely to read. Thoughtful and reflective. Yes, in fact I think I want to bring Mother to the Petaluma Antique Faire this morning. I’ll wear that blouse in remembrance of her. Your words really sealed that feeling for me of the things that we attach meaning to. Yes, indeed. Thanks always, Lisa!

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