35 In Wardrobe Wellness

Give your outfit a power boost by wearing a symbol

Wearing bee jewelry

Wearing symbols in your outfit can be comforting


I know next to nothing about the symbolism of animals, birds, or insects. I just know that there are certain ones I favor and feel more comfortable when they’re near or on me. I can’t explain it really; it’s like wearing a bee or an owl as part of my ensemble makes me feel better, safer, protected, guided, and connected to the things in life I cannot see; maybe you’d call that Spirit.

For instance, I’ve had a thing for bees for years. If you were in my home office right now you’d see that my soft white linen curtains are flowing to and fro with this evening’s breeze and if you look closer, you see they have embroidered white bees all over them. On my writing table is a framed photo of bees that Russ took. They temporarily lived in a bee’s nest in our backyard before being transferred to a bee farm. I have three coasters lined up that have bees on them. It’s a whole bee corner. Friends buy me “bee” things…because my name starts with B? Not sure, but I love it.



Enjoying the symbols of bees

Bee corner of my writing table


My daughter Erin spotted a bee watch at Nordstrom and dragged me to the counter, pointed it out and said, “You need this.” She was right. And indeed I’ve been wearing it nearly every day since. I love every opportunity to check the time because I see that beautiful gold, lovely bee looking back at me.

The other day I was wearing double bees. Erin pointed it out when she was taking pictures of my outfit. “I got the money shot,” she said. I had to see what she was talking about and it was the way she captured my bee necklace cozying up to my pearls and my bee watch in the same frame. It hadn’t occurred to me when I got dressed that day but a double bee day is all the better with me!

Choosing symbols for your jewelry

Wearing symbols of bees in my jewelry


I used to have a cut out from a magazine of what bees mean. I had it hanging on my bulletin board near those white bee curtains. But you know how bulletin boards are; I probably took it down in favor of a picture of a dress. So where do I go to refresh my memory about the symbolism of bees? Google, of course. I grabbed a couple of explanations just now to share with you.


Bees symbolize the idea that anything is possible.

Bees symbolize feminine power.

Bees symbolize community, brightness, and personal power.


Can wearing a symbol make your day better?

I always feel “at home” with myself when I wear my bee necklace.


Can I say yes to every single one of those meanings? Yup! I can embrace each of them. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Knowing what bees symbolize gives me a boost while wearing them. It’s like holding a talisman in my hand or in my pocket. It’s my secret medicine.


The meaning of owls

Russ and I were on top of Mt. Diablo in the East Bay one hot summer day several years ago. After a short hike to see all the beautiful vistas from there we headed into the air conditioned gift shop. I spotted a stuffed owl, a child’s toy. I put it in my hands and just didn’t want to put it back on the shelf. I was going through a tender time and most days I was feeling weak in the knees with worry. This stuffed owl comforted me. I held it and took deep breaths involuntarily. I felt calmer. Russ looked at me, didn’t say a word, took it from my hands, pulled out his wallet and bought it for me. When we got home I put it on a shelf in my office where I could see it and reach for it too, whenever I wanted to.

Here are a few statements about the symbolism of owls.


Owls are said to bring good luck.

Owls are the symbol of wisdom and magic.

The owl can arouse your conscious self into the process of self-awareness.


Could I use some luck, some wisdom and magic and self-awareness at that time? Oh yes, yes indeed. The owl made it easier to set those intentions or to be open to those experiences.

Finding owls to wear

I remember the moment when I first saw the owl ring created by Victor Sanz, a Sonoma artist. It was rectangular, antique white gold with white diamonds, a red rustic rose-cut diamond and a grey rustic rose-cut diamond. It was nothing short of breathtaking. I tried it on. It was magical.


Owl ring by Victor Sanz

Feeling nourished by my owl ring.



I didn’t buy it but I never stopped thinking about it. It took many months, maybe more than a year even before I did purchase it. Victor thought of it as my ring. I just had to catch up with him on that.

This ring was a commitment financially. I’m quite prudent and I wanted to be sure I’d wear it a lot. Of course, my owl ring is my go-to ring so it’s been a win/win all the way. It’s still magical to me. I’m still up for the things owls represent: magical experiences, good luck, and deepening wisdom that comes from living each day. Becoming more self-aware is of special interest to me in this chapter of life.



Owls symbolize knowledge and wisdom

Owls symbolize wisdom and magic


When it came to looking through trays of brooches at the Petaluma Antique Faire a couple of years back, I was attracted to the owls. They are just so varied and decorative! I selected a group of three that I thought would be great grouped together on a jean jacket. It’s cool that they’re both beautiful to me and that I’m attracted to the symbolism of them. Do you know that in Minnesota last month my twin brother and I were driving to my other brother’s house and there was an owl on a stump by the road? Brent said, “Auspicious!” We felt like our trip had been showered with good luck.

Recently I wore a linen cardigan and decided to decorate the top half of the cardigan with pins. The middle pin on the cardigan is a flower but the outer two are owls. I loved putting this cardigan, T-shirt and skirt together. I loved the soft colors, but when I thought to add the owls, that’s when I got really excited. They added more than decoration; they brought the magic.


Finding ways to add symbolism to outfits

Adding some symbolism to my outfit


Giving your outfit a mental, spiritual, or emotional boast

My feeling about getting dressed is that it’s great to put lovely tops and bottoms together to create an outfit. But what more can you do to make your outfit a private sanctuary for you to enjoy all day? Wearing something that is symbolic, if only just to you, is strengthening, reassuring. Whether that’s a symbol of an animal, an insect, a bird, or even something you wear that belonged to a wise aunt or a loving mother, you’re giving yourself some extra love and attention that day. We all deserve more of that!


Enjoying the symbolism of owls

My day goes better when owls are in it!


Do you wear symbols that enhances your sense of well-being? Will you share what they are and how they make you feel? I can’t wait!

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  • Reply
    September 11, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    I have a Vidal Aragon storyteller bracelet that I bought in Santa Fe almost 30 years ago that I have worn almost daily for most of that time. It represents my love of New Mexico so perfectly that 12 years ago I had the design tattooed on my upper arm. It is my one and only tattoo and I love it! It’s a constant reminder of the place I love best and what it means to me.

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 10:17 am

      This is wonderful! What great inspiration for a tattoo. Way to make it personal. Thanks, Marla!

  • Reply
    September 12, 2017 at 1:00 am

    I love your bees and owls! I know exactly what you mean about finding the stuffed owl toy. I did this in the gift shop at London Zoo: picked up a toy gorilla with sad eyes and I couldn’t put her back on the shelf. She lives on top of my headboard, above the bed, and watches over us while we sleep. I have quite a lot of insect jewellery; bees, dragonflies, scarabs and my favourite ladybug earrings. I also have a lot of fruit themed earrings and pins.

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 10:16 am

      I love your whole collection! You’re the second person who has brought up the gorilla. I can just see her right there, protecting you. Love it!

  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    September 12, 2017 at 2:31 am

    Hi there, Ohh I loved this Brenda ! As a newbie to your blog , I had gone back over some previous posts, and been struck by, not only your gorgeous outfits and energy of course, but your beautiful bee necklace and owl brooches. They seem so comforting to look at, and humble yet shiny in a quiet way, if you know what I mean ? So it was lovely to read the stories behind these treasures. Anyway, In my home I love chooks, and colours and symbols from the sea. But not in a contrived way, so as to be too over the top. I have realised thinking about your questions, that my favourite clothes colours, or feel, are those that remind me of either warm casual country, or the delicious sea. I also love elephants. But recently, I have had a big change of direction in life, due to illness catching up with me. I have been a nurse for 30 years, and am at a crossroads and uncertain if I can continue in my beloved profession, at least in the way I always have! This is kind of related to the theme of your story, in that , inexplicably, I have been overcome by a very unusual for me, need to create. I have started making ,quite out of the blue, little brooches I call Whimsy Pins. These are not so much, nature based, but combinations of childhood delights, buttons, beads, ribbons, threaded onto kilt pins! They are briging me such joy! Even though my sensible, practicle, no fuss nurse self, is shaking her head in disbelief!!!! I have had to consult my beautiful whimsical twin, who is nothing but encouraging , of this new side of me! So, hope this wasnt too long winded, but wanted to contribute to this lovely theme. Sending love from Oz .

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 10:15 am

      I haven’t made whimsy pins like you have. They sound incredible and delightful! But I do very much relate to having a challenging time in life and finding that creative outlet that lets you drop in and learn more about yourself. It sounds incredible. I am glad you shared every single word of this with us!

      • Reply
        Trinnie Q
        September 14, 2017 at 2:08 pm

        Thank you Brenda

  • Reply
    September 12, 2017 at 2:51 am

    My dad called me kitten all my life. He has been gone 25 years but I still feel connected to him and my childhood when I wear my cat broaches. It’s those little things in life that make us smile and give us peace.

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Oh wow, this is a wonderful connection. I LOVE this! So tender and sweet. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • Reply
    September 12, 2017 at 4:13 am

    Thank you. This brought tears to my eyes. I guess you really hit home for me.

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 10:11 am

      I think tears are a good thing. Thanks, Cindy.

  • Reply
    September 12, 2017 at 4:15 am

    Your owls and bees are really beautiful, and the fact that they are comforting as well is truely a bonus. We all need that, and the fact that they both have wings to surround you with love is interesting. I say that because my symbol/tallisman is the hummingbird. It too has wings to comfort. The meaning of the hummingbird varies, but some that resonate with me are, the eternity, continuity and infinity from the wings, and this is to inspire us to persue and fulfill our dreams. Also teach us to look back at the past, but not dwell on it yet look to the future, life is a process of enjoyment ( I like that ). Open your heart toward life especially when ‘bitter’ experiences force you to close it tightly. These are some to the reasons that I am sure the hummingbird sought me out. I wear them as brooches, necklaces and have beautiful porcelain ones and pictures in the rooms that comfort me. After seeing how well you used yours on your outfits, I will have to do more of that. Wonderful post as usual. Thanks for making me take time to think why our symbols are so special.

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 10:10 am

      I so love that you took the time to think about this and write about it! I adore how you say the hummingbird sought you out. We have hummingbirds in the garden. In fact, twice they have built their nests in the redwood tree in the backyard just over the Koi pond. Russ has taken probably hundreds of pictures of them as they hatch and grow. It’s amazing. “Life is a process of enjoyment.” I LOVE that! Thanks for sharing, Diane.

  • Reply
    sandy blaxland
    September 12, 2017 at 5:01 am

    I love bug jewellery — spiders, beetles (my favorites), lady bugs, bees. It started with a gorgeous pair of real amber spider earrings. Then progressed to other spiders and lady bugs (everyone loves these cute little guys) and so on. But my favorite piece of bug jewellery is a cheap little beetle broach that I wear on my jean jacket. I call it my cockroach although most do not find that very nice. But as I’ve never had to endure living anyplace where they were actual real cockroaches, I’m happy with the name.

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 10:07 am

      I’m happy with that name too! I bought a bug pin this summer from Banana Republic and put it on my linen jean jacket. My dad saw it and said, “Is that a bug?” I said, “Yes, isn’t it great?” He smiled with approval. As a farmer, bugs probably had a different connotation to him but I totally embrace them. Thanks for sharing your bugs with us!

  • Reply
    Anne Sowden
    September 12, 2017 at 6:54 am

    When I think of bees, I think of the City of Manchester, England which has a bee as its symbol. This goes back to the Industrial Revolution when Manchester was a leader in mass production and “a hive of activity.” It’s a perfect symbol for that city–tough, hard working, and above all resilient.

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 10:06 am

      Wow, Anne, this is so interesting. I come from farmlands in North Dakota. My father was a farmer. He and I were on the phone the other day talking about resilience. I think I have “tough, hardworking, resilient” in me from his DNA. I’ve been in Manchester, so very many years ago. I wish I could go back and see how the bee symbol shows up in the town.
      Thanks for sharing this!

  • Reply
    September 12, 2017 at 7:29 am

    My private weapons are poodle pins and dragonflies. When I feel the need for personal body armor, I wear my mom’s platinum and gold statement ring that represents one of private weapons; elephants. Wearing that ring with her favorite silver bracelet makes me feel like Xena and that no harm can come to me.

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 10:03 am

      Mare, I love this! You are definitely working the symbols! Bravo!

  • Reply
    September 12, 2017 at 8:55 am

    I am drawn to butterflies. When I was a teenager sitting on the lake house porch with my favorite aunt, a beautiful monarch somehow landed Right on her nose–and for some reason just made itself at home for a minute or so! My aunt didn’t shoo it away but rather sat and smiled. We had been talking about finding love and happiness. Not too long after that summer my aunt, who had been divorced for many years, found her life-love. They’ve been married now almost forty years.
    Since then, I’ve loved butterflies–they are so colorful and free and fearless. I collect vintage flower brooches (a reminder of my grandmother) and about ten years ago I added butterflies to the mix. The combo of flowers and butterflies often ‘makes’ a lovely array on a jacket lapel extraordinary.
    Whenever I am in the vicinity of butterflies I invite them to stop a while and visit with me! I googled to find that butterflies represent endurance, change, hope, and life.

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 10:02 am

      Mary, this is such a great story. What a wonderful memory to have and a connection. I love the idea of inviting butterflies to come visit you. Thanks for giving us this rich story to reflect on!

  • Reply
    Barbara Fortney
    September 12, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Your “BEE” watch caught my eye and my mission began. I google searched for a watch with a BEE on the face and I found Olivia Burton. I ordered it from Nordstrom’s and am in love with it. Guess which watch I am wearing right now? Love your blog!

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Alright! I love it! I’ll think of you right this minute as I look at my bee watch! Glad you’re enjoying it!

  • Reply
    Cathy D.
    September 12, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    What a beautiful post, and I understand it completely. Many years ago I went to a baby shower with my niece Suzanne, who was a close friend. At the time Suzanne was living in France, and her baby gift was a stuffed gorilla she had brought from France. I fell in love with it. In fact, I couldn’t put it down and was sad when it was time to leave. When she returned to France a few weeks later, Suzanne sent me a stuffed gorilla.

    Suzanne died about 15 years ago. The gorilla sits on a bench near my front door. I give it a hug every now and then, and think of Suzanne every time I see it.

    Russ sounds like a terrific guy!

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Wow, Cathy, what a beautiful story. Suzanne was really perceptive. That is a heartwarming story. Thanks for sharing it with us all! Hugs to you!

  • Reply
    September 12, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    The first year I had to make the trip to Santa Fe alone for an annual conference. I was still having to wearing the back brace from my spinal fusion surgery. When the conference ended I had managed the 4 hour drive to get there, getting dressed on my own, and all the sitting, walking, and standing the confernce required. I treated myself to a ring that was made at Gusterman’s in Santa Fe. It has a moonstone, and 3 small diamonds that look like stars. It represents me, and my three boys… my husband, and two sons. I wear it when I travel, especially when I travel alone, to keep them near me. It reminds me to be strong and fearless. Thanks for such a great post.

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 9:58 am

      Thanks for that great story. I can just see that ring and picture you wearing it when you travel. What a great example of how something that feed your soul and give you want you need when you need it!

  • Reply
    cindy hattersley
    September 13, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Honestly, Brenda you are so inspiring. Your flair with accessorizing just fascinates me!

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 9:57 am

      Thanks so much, Cindy! I think we are fans of each other’s Flair Club. xx

  • Reply
    September 13, 2017 at 8:08 am

    For fun, and sticker shock!, look at all the bee jewelry that Gucci features right now — saw a ring in InStyle magazine yesterday and thought of you. Turns out they have every kind of bee jewelry, with every kind of jewels 🙂

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 9:57 am

      Oh my. I dare to look and appreciate. Thanks for the heads up! Wowzers!

  • Reply
    September 13, 2017 at 10:22 am

    The bee is a powerful symbol of rebirth and renewal, too. About 10 years ago my husband was quite ill. I was about at the end of my emotional resources with taking care of him, our house, my job, and our large vegetable garden, most of which was at the end of its season and needed clearing out.
    I went to clear the garden and found hundreds of bees busy working over the flowers of broccoli, which had bolted because of neglect. The long and short is, I didn’t clean out the garden that day. I simply sat among the bees in the autumn sunshine, watching them tirelessly working and listening to their hum. They didn’t bother me, nor I them. After a couple of hours I got up and left, calmer and more ready to face the tasks I had to do.
    I’d like to share part of a poem by Antonio Machado, the Spanish poet, from a piece entitled “Marvelous Error.”
    “Last night, as I was sleeping
    I dreamt–marvelous error–
    that I had a beehive
    here inside my heart.
    And the golden bees
    were making white combs
    and sweet honey
    from my old failures.”

    • Reply
      September 14, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Oh Liz, I am weeping after reading that beautiful part of that poem. It moves me so very much. As does your wonderful story. I’m so glad the bees gave you calm and strength to face the difficulties of that time.
      My oh my, I think I need to go sit outside in the garden right now and take this moment in. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  • Reply
    Mary Ray
    September 16, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Please share the source of the beautiful black and white tunic you are wearing in the September 11th post – thanks.
    Mary, Birmingham, Al

    • Reply
      September 23, 2017 at 9:48 am

      It’s a dress by Milly. I bought it at SAX, a consignment store.

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