24 In Getting Dressed

How to Build a Beauty Bundle

BK in blue with beauty bundle on Brenda Kinsel website

Connecting the dots with a Beauty Bundle

Creating a Beauty Bundle often happens by accident: You’re getting dressed for the day. You’ve got the basic clothing pieces on. Now you’re going to add some finishing touches to your outfit. You go through your accessories to see what might work. You add a scarf or a belt and some jewelry. You step back and look at your reflection in your full-length mirror. Hmm, you say, this looks great.

Your eye goes up and down your body, taking in all the details. You notice how well the finishing pieces relate to one another. It’s as if you’ve connected the dots to your outfit.

Stop right here! Take note, you’ve just created a Beauty Bundle. This specific combination of items that are tying your look together can be used again and again with all kinds of outfits, from dressy to casual. Let me explain.


The goal of every outfit is to lead the eye up to the face

When I’m dressing my clients, all the individual components of each outfit has to build to a crescendo at their face. If some part of the outfit is grabbing my attention and making me stop at their hip or ankle or chest, I have to work harder or start over.

You’ve probably had the experience of watching someone walk into a room and it’s as if their outfit walks in first and their face arrives a few paces later. I want the reverse to happen. I want you to see my client’s face before you see her outfit even if there’s just a split second difference between the two.

An outfit shouldn’t be getting the attention; a woman should.


Why bother with a Beauty Bundle?

Here’s what happens when you wear a Beauty Bundle: people will be naturally drawn to you; they’ll check you out; they won’t know what exactly it is that’s bringing their attention to you; they just register that you’re attractive, interesting, easy on the eyes. It takes about 30 seconds to add your Beauty Bundle to your outfit but the lasting impression it makes could be hard to measure. You’re on someone’s mind long after you’ve parted.

Lots of things can bring attention to your face without the help of a Beauty Bundle: a flipped color, an infinity scarf at your neck that repeats your eye color, chandelier earrings that sparkle, a hat pulled low on one side, a fur collar at the neck, a statement necklace.

But sometimes we don’t want to wear or do any of those things! That’s when a Beauty Bundle is your best tool for moving the eye around your outfit and leading attention naturally to the face.


Simple Beauty Bundle on Brenda Kinsel's website

A Beauty Bundle flows well and will bring focus to your outfit


The essence of a Beauty Bundle

What makes something a Beauty Bundle is that there’s a theme, pieces relate well to one another. The one I’m sharing with you today is very simple. It’s all focused on jewelry pieces from my collection. Nothing was bought to go together. The pieces have been added one at a time-over years, not days.

In this Beauty Bundle I’ve mixed metals: gold and blackened silver. The feel of these pieces is delicate, not heavy. There’s some sparkle in the druzy earrings and the small champagne and black diamonds in the ring. The beads in one necklace have luster and the gold links in the chain necklace have luster as well. My watch is both gold and silver as well. Everything is rather light and airy.


beauty bundle on Brenda Kinsel website

A mixed metal Beauty Bundle


Here are the details.

1. I’ve layered two necklaces that are the same length. One is a simple chain made out of gold and blackened silver links. The other necklace is beaded with black, charcoal, gold and lighter gray beads as well as some gold fine fringed metal pieces that have a little movement to them. There’s no real center to this necklace. However it falls around my neck is just fine.

2. I added a favorite cuff of mine, a gift from a friend. It’s Lucite with a starburst design at the center. It reads silver, gold, and black in color. (See the color theme?) The stones on the face of the bracelet add sparkle. The Lucite keeps it feeling light in design weight.

3. I’m wearing a watch that mixes silver and gold tones.

4. I add my black druzy earrings that are wrapped in gold wire, earrings I bought in Chicago many years ago when my daughter Erin was living there.

5. I’ve added my gold owl ring by Victor Sanz. It’s got subtle sparkle to it because of small diamonds in it.



closeup of mixed metal Beauty Bundle on Brenda Kinsel website

Druzy earrings wrapped in gold wire


The reason this delicate Beauty Bundle works well is that my clothing pieces are awfully simple. I’m wearing a navy blue silk tunic, and jeans rolled at the ankle. I’m wearing a long duster in navy blue. It has some drama to it because it’s long, but it’s still light in weight. The crinkle fabric has luster. I’m sticking with the blue monochromatic color theme by adding my blue-framed glasses.

You don’t see any big buttons, no sashes or belts, no color blocking, no diagonal lines. You basically see one color in three different fabrics. Pretty simple, right? Now imagine this outfit without the Beauty Bundle. It would be pretty drab, maybe boring. My Beauty Bundle adds interest and makes me feel stylish. It finishes my outfit, draws the eye in the direction I want it to: up to my face!


Brenda in head to toe blue on Brenda Kinsel website

A simple Beauty Bundle is all I need in head to toe blue


This can be an everyday Beauty Bundle. It requires no effort to wear it. If I’m feeling more reserved, shy or quiet, it gives my outfit support but I can completely forget about it and myself and go about my day. But it could also work with other clothing pieces and even look more dressy. I might wear this Beauty Bundle over a sheath dress and add patent pumps; or I’d wear it with a simple black sweater and my leopard print skirt and knee-high boots; I could wear it with head-to-toe black separates or head-to-toe white separates; or I could wear it with a patterned jacquard pant, a white blouse and flats. The Beauty Bundle would be the same in each of these outfits.

Do you see how your Beauty Bundle acts like your behind-the-scenes stylist? Having a few of them saves you time when you’re getting dressed. Add your best lipstick color, stand up straight, put a smile on your face and you’re rockin’ it!


A final note

The day I put this combo together and realized I had a Beauty Bundle, I made a note of it. Don’t trust yourself to remember it by heart even if you got five compliments that day! Store the Beauty Bundle ingredient list somewhere besides your head.


Have you stumbled upon a Beauty Bundle? Or can you create one? It will be a loyal friend forever!


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    November 30, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Brenda, you look fabulous! But honestly, you might as well have been speaking a foreign language to me with this article. I don’t think I could create anything resembling a beauty bundle if my life depended on it 🙂 I’ve never understood how people choose jewelry (or for that matter, any other accessory) to go with their outfits. The whole subject is a complete mystery to me. How do you know what “goes with” what? I generally wear no jewelry at all, except for my wedding ring and watch…and occasionally good quality earrings. And as for choosing accessories that accentuate or flatter the face…what?? How would you do that?
    I do have pretty good taste in clothing I think (although I always prefer to slouch around in jeans and an old shirt when I’m at home). But after that I’m completely lost. Do you have any suggestions for people who apparently lack any artistic sense? 🙂

    • Reply
      November 30, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      Katie, I’m laughing with you, not at you! I love how you call this a foreign language. Well, how can I do a better job of explaining this? Would more examples help? One thing I could say is to think about your style. Are you going to tell me you don’t have one? If your style is romantic, then your accessories would have that flavor. If it’s classic or traditional, you might look at political folk for inspiration. They tend to keep things pretty classic. Or if you’re modern, you might look at more contemporary pieces and gather a few of these together. If you’re more artistic, you have more creative license.

      I’ve often talked about accessories as being like in the movies. The “characters” of the movie (or the accessories for your style) have to relate to one another. You can’t have a sci-fi movie set mixed in with a Western movie set. You stay in character. So if your style was a movie theme, what would it be?

      Let me know if any of this helps in any way! You probably do have some artistic sense but we just need to harvest it! Thanks for sharing, Katie!

      • Reply
        December 1, 2015 at 5:00 pm

        Aha, a movie theme! Now I may possibly be starting to follow this language! Thank you!

        I have to admit that I *was* going to tell you I didn’t have a “style”…not having the faintest idea of what it might be. So I slunk over to Google and did a fashion style quiz, which then informed me that I’m a mishmash of equal parts Natural and Classic, with perhaps a dash of Bohemian thrown in for good measure. Is it possible to fit all those styles into one movie, or would it need three different movies for it all to play out? 🙂

        (Pause of a few hours)…
        Okay, I now have in my possession, two of your books: “Brenda’s Wardrobe Companion” and “40 over 40”. Flipping straight to your Glossary of Style Words, I see that I would be predominantly Natural, along with a bit of Classic and maybe a pinch of Elegant. This is starting to be fun…and I can see that there’s a great deal of learning to be done here!

        Thanks so much Brenda. I’m still clueless, but now I’m clueless AND inspired! If I can manage to figure out accessories to match my style, I’ll be sure to let you know.

        • Reply
          December 14, 2015 at 10:49 am

          How fun to see your adventure beginning in the style department! This is a subject I love so very much and I love working with people and their style and coming up with their own formulas. And yes, it is possible to have all those things going on in your style. But for instance, you may be dressed in something rather classic, but in natural fabrics and then toss on a Bohemian necklace. Or as you said after a few hours, you though you were more Natural, Classic and a pinch of Elegant. I actually relate to those style words a lot. So The elegant piece needs to be represented, even it it’s just a pinch. I often times look at it in percentages. So you may need only 10-15% elegant in your outfit to feel satisfied. So that could be an elegant brooch on a canvas jacket. Or simple fake or real diamond studs in your ears. Really, when you start playing with this, it is so very much fun! So glad you discovered the Style Glossary!!!! You’re a Style Trooper, Katie!!

    • Reply
      Jodie filogomo
      December 1, 2015 at 7:13 am

      Just like with anything….the more you do it–the better you get at it! Brenda’s right about your style, but I’ve found that’s sometimes a hard question. I’d say—just try a couple pieces and see the responses. You don’t have to spend much on accessories if you’re not sure about them. Heck—go to Charming Charlies or Target! That and browse pinterest to see what you like/don’t like on others!! Accessories really are the icing on the cake!
      And Brenda—-your glasses are fabulous!! jodie

      • Reply
        December 14, 2015 at 10:52 am

        I do feel Jodie that style is sometimes (not always) a moving target because we do evolve and change. As I mentioned in a comment to Katie, I like thinking about style expression in percentages. So one may have a dominant element to their style but still need just a dash of something else: Bohemian, creative, sophisticated, sweet. And that can often be recognized by an accessory that says just that thing! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Marie Martin
    December 1, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Love this Brenda. As I said when I shared on my page, simple and FABULOUS.

    Keep those tips coming. Thanks.

    • Reply
      December 14, 2015 at 10:43 am

      Thank you, Marie!! Thanks for the sharing!

  • Reply
    December 2, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Thank you so much, Brenda, for remembering girls that don’t live most of their life in the corporate world. I love monochromatic and chic casual. You look great in blue with different textures and shades. Please, please, share more of your wonderful style brain for your fans that live a more casual lifestyle.

    A faithful fan,

    • Reply
      December 14, 2015 at 10:42 am

      Oh Pat, if I only had the key to my style brain! But actually I was at a party last night and someone was asking me a question relating to fashion and bodies and I realized my answer was totally not what she expected! So that just might have to be something I share in the future! Thank you, faithful fan Pat!!!

  • Reply
    December 2, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Brenda, just wanted you to know I added a link to this post on my blog for this coming Friday, Friday Favorites. Great advice!

    • Reply
      December 14, 2015 at 10:40 am

      Thanks so much, Libby! Hope your readers enjoy it too!

  • Reply
    Cathy Bonnett
    December 5, 2015 at 7:02 am

    How do you store or remember your beauty bundles?

    • Reply
      December 14, 2015 at 10:38 am

      Cathy, I do take quick photos of them with my iPhone and never erase those pics! But also, I get on a roll with a Beauty Bundle and I’ll wear it for days (while changing clothes, of course) so it does become ingrained. But then I get inspired by something else and switch it up again. When I’m creating outfits for myself, I always use my Wardrobe Charts to write everything down. So that would be another place where I could go back and review what I’d done in the past. Hope you try it and have good luck with it as well!

      • Reply
        April 5, 2019 at 8:46 pm

        Oh, you are speaking my language, now! I have only just discovered your world—I live just up the road in Oakmont. I keep my “beauty bundles” as you call them in those sheer little fine mesh bags (with draw-strings, so things can’t fall out). Sometimes keep a bag in a purse that I know wants to play with them. LOVE to style culterally, thematically: Southwestern, classic, BoHo, family pieces…am still amazed at pieces from my mother (who passed four years ago) and grandmothers…it’s like they’re all here giving me style lessons!

        Have been reading/trying to catch up on all your past posts—what fun! So delighted to have found you!

  • Reply
    Kathleen Ashcraft
    December 20, 2015 at 10:22 am

    You’ve inspired me!
    Years ago I “retired” a bunch of jewelry that I never seemed to wear…just taking up space in the jewelry box, I thought. I bagged the stuff up and put it in the back of a drawer in my guest bedroom. That was years before I ever thought of combining necklaces or bracelets. I just wore one necklace at a time, period. Well, thanks to you, I’ve rethought my neckline and what I put there. So when I had a fit of cleaning out in the guest bedroom, I came upon the bag of stuff. As I pulled out the pieces, I realized that I didn’t have to go buy anything to make some very nice jewelry combinations. I already had plenty! Who knew? So now I’m “fearlessly” combining pearls, beads, chains, pendants, stone, crystal, gold, silver…the possibilities are endless! Lots of better beauty bundles in my future!

    • Reply
      December 29, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      Gosh this is exciting! I can just see those fearless Beauty Bundles taking shape! I LOVE that you rediscovered the things you’d discarded and now they’re brand new again. Thanks for sharing, Kathleen!

  • Reply
    December 20, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Brenda! Love your books and newletter! I also love the idea of a beauty bundle, but like the 1st comment above I’m a little flummoxed. I took her advice and found a couple of online quizzes (how could I resist?). Now my problem is that one said I was “Frumpy” (OMG), and one said I was “Simply Relaxed”. Goodness! What’s a girl to do? I am quite casual, and can dress pretty “down” for work, so nothing fancy for me, but I do like to look fairly put tgether, and I love to dress according to my mood on any given day. Suggestions for my frumpy, relaxed self? 🙂

    PS – I dig your new specs!

    • Reply
      December 29, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Oh dear, frumpy? Maybe you need to take the test again! Simply relaxed sounds like an aim. I wonder if I should try and put together images of Beauty Bundles for different style types. Maybe that’s a bigger project than I have time to tackle at the moment, but let me know if you think it might help! You’re not frumpy, trust me.

      • Reply
        May 21, 2016 at 7:14 am

        Please,please, if you can find the time, please put together bundles for the types. That would be so helpful. I am new to your information after spending years looking at other stylists who never mention anything like this. I quickly saw the sense in it, though still not sure how to store the bundles and exactly which accessories would go in them but I am very excited to spend some time putting a few bundles together and make getting dressed and looking polished easier. The only other question is how do we know it’s bringing the eye to the face and not just to the item? This is an awesome concept! Thank you!

        • Reply
          May 22, 2016 at 11:34 am

          I’ll definitely keep posting about the Beauty Bundles. I first named them in my book Brenda Kinsel’s Fashion Makeover (Chronicle Books). There’s a section in there called Building Beauty Bundles (pages 136 through 143). I mention this to you because there are illustrations that show different “types” like you mentioned. It will bring the eye to the face if it relates either to your coloring or your scale or a quality of your personality. That is such an excellent question! I’ll give more thought to that for you. Take care!

  • Reply
    June 4, 2017 at 1:52 am

    To me, a beauty bundle is also all kind of accessories in just one color range…
    like all blues or all reds etc. So if you have shoes, a necklace, a hat, bracelets etc (but usually not more than 3x usually, depending on personality) in one color range (doesn’t necessarily have to be the exact same color as far as it works together) you can wear them for instance with another color or neutral outfit.

    • Reply
      June 6, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Yes, that’s so true. A beauty bundle can be combos like a shoe, belt, scarf that look great together as well. You just transfer that bundle and wear it with all kinds of outfits. Yes, yes, yes, Anyel!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2020 at 10:31 am

    If I came up with a look as good as this I would take a photo.

  • Leave a Reply