33 In Anatomy of an Outfit/ Getting Dressed

Invite me to your party! I finally have the right pant to wear!

Artful Home Lisa Bayne pant

Fancy pants makes for easy party dressing

 

Here are two things you might not know about me.

  1. When it comes to pants, I feel gifted. Pants are the easiest thing for me to buy.
  2. When it comes to pants, I feel challenged. Pants are the hardest thing for me to buy.

Could both statements be true? YES! And I’ll tell you why!

 

I’m a straight pant girl

Me and straight-leg pants get along great. Buying and wearing a straight leg pant, slack, or trouser is as easy as eating apple pie. They just work! And when something works, you just keep working it, right?

 

Straight pants

Straight pants are my basics

 

There’s only one problem and that leads you to my deep, dark secret.

I get a shaking-like-a-leaf feeling when I’m invited to a dinner party, attending an art opening, going to the theater, or celebrating someone’s birthday. I never feel like I have the right thing to wear. I work SO HARD to get a straight leg pant into an outfit that looks celebratory and when I arrive at the gathering, I always feel like I missed it by a long shot.

So what do I do at such events? I cling to the person I came with–Russ and/or family members. Instead of being a reveler or a merrymaker I’m a party pooper. I insist on heading home early and tell myself it’s because I’m more of an introvert than an extrovert.

 

Lisa Bayne pant

The Lisa Bayne Crepe Barefoot Pant from Artful Home is a non-straight pant

 

But now, after playing around with a non-straight pant, I think I know what the problem is: I never had the right pants to wear!

I’ve been working on this for a while. I observe people and observing is so easy to do when you’re hiding in a corner being shy at a party! The thing I noticed was that other people were wearing happy pants, fancy pants, novelty pants. They wore pants that didn’t look like they’d just come from the office. People wearing them looked interesting. I imagined they had interesting lives, hobbies, and homes. I’d probably enjoy talking to them!

Weeks go by while I’m avoiding parties and then lightening strikes. I meet Lisa Bayne, CEO of Artful Home, which is a catalog business that features art and apparel for the home. All 20,000 items shown in their catalog are created here in the U.S. and in small batches. She invited me to choose a couple of things from the catalog and try them. When the holiday catalog arrived, there was a picture of a woman wearing a pant that looked like one of those pants I saw on other people at festive events! What are the chances of that? It was way out of my comfort zone because it wasn’t a straight leg but I felt compelled to try them. Was I hopeful? Nah, not so much. But I was curious.

 

Artful Home

Artful Home holiday catalog with the lantern pant on the cover

 

I ordered it. It’s called the Crepe Barefoot Pant by Lisa Bayne. Right, Lisa is the CEO and a hands on designer for the apparel.

I love crepe. It’s got an elegance to it that always makes me happy. I haven’t had a crepe pant in years and when I did it was a trouser cut!

They arrived this week in the mail. And what happened when I tried them on? Oh my. You should have been there. I slipped it on and peered in the mirror. A smile showed up randomly. The shy, introverted person I’ve claimed to be felt excited inside. Maybe I’m actually a life of the party person! Hugging a corner wearing these pants at a party was out of the question. I felt ready be in the center of the action wearing them!

Am I overstating the difference a pant style can make? NO! Let me tell you about a client we have. When Erin and I start creating outfits for her in a styling appointment, we do things she’d never do on her own. She looks at herself in the mirror and can hardly stand still. She says, “Okay, I’ve gotta leave now! I’ve got to wear this outfit right now! See you guys later! Life is calling.”

Well, that’s how I felt after making three party outfits in less than fifteen minutes using this new pant style.

 

Outfit number one: The Sassy One

 

Sassy Party Outfit

The sassy outfit in the Crepe Barefoot pant by Lisa Bayne

 

I call this first outfit the Sassy One because I’m wearing a navy blue/maritime blue Banana Republic top from this season that looks like neoprene but feels like a sweatshirt. It has a tied bow on each side. They call it a Couture Sweatshirt. I slipped the couture sweatshirt over my head, added my blue silk tasseled necklace that I made, dug through my small handbag department and pulled out a teal blue little bag and said, “Beam me into a party right now!”

I’m wearing black microfiber socks with my Aquatalia pointy-toed suede ankle boot (waterproof). I’m comfortable, feeling like an interesting person myself, and ready to enter a room wearing this outfit and a smile. Clock it, less than five minutes folks.

 

Easy party dressing

Banana Republic navy top

 

Oh, did I mention the Crepe Barefoot Pant has an elastic waist and pockets? POCKETS!

 

 

Outfit number two: The Pretty One

 

Pretty Lisa Bayne pant outfit

This is my I Feel Pretty outfit

 

Next up, the Pretty One. I feel so pretty and ladylike in this outfit. I’m wearing my gray Tippi Merino wool sweater, the one I use as smooth T-shirts under jackets. It’s a J.Crew classic piece that I’m still recommending. (Read here for why it’s such a great support piece.)

 

Shades of gray for a party outfit

Gray and gold are my outfit accents

 

My daughter Erin thought I might like this necklace that had come into her and Caitlin’s consignment store last week. It’s got chunky gray beads and pearls and has some gold in it. I love it with this sweater. I added the crystal necklace I made with Erin’s help. I really like the fact that the beads around my neck are chunky, the beads on the pendant are daintier, but the crystal pendant is chunky. The necklaces relate to each other but are different. I added two Alexis Bitter cuffs, one on each wrist. They are mushroom colored with sparkle detailing. My sparkly leaf ring joins the gathering.

Erin gave me a getting-back-to-normal gift bag after we got back into our home once the Wine Country fires got under control. It’s a sweet little leather bag, perfect for party-going. She said, “It’s called L’il Smoky.” It might have been a little soon to have a memento of the fires but I said “Thank you” and knew I’d warm up to it. That was quicker than I thought as it’s perfect for this outfit.

 

Dressing my Lisa Bayne pant

Ready for that invite!

 

To keep the gray theme going, I added this scarf over one shoulder. (Wouldn’t a lady just toss a scarf over her shoulder like that?) It was a gift from my Swedish friend, Maggan. (Thank you, Sweetheart!). On my feet I’m wearing my AGL patent pointy toe flats with velvet bows. More ladylike details. Invite me, invite me please!

 

Outfit number three: The Kinda Sexy One

Next up is the Kinda Sexy One, the outfit that makes me feel romantic. I’m wearing my vintage Chanel sweater with all those darling appliqués attached to the lace inset. I often wear this with a black tank underneath it so it reads all black. But I figure someone’s party can handle me wearing it so it looks like NOTHING is underneath but my skin which of course is a lie. I’m wearing a nude colored tank top. I added my bee sparkly necklace and some gunmetal bangles, my sparkly leaf ring and my satin bow bag.

 

Chanel vintage sweater

Lisa Bayne pant with Chanel sweater

 

I kept my AGL booties on with my microfiber socks so I could be kinda sexy and comfortably warm at the same time.

 

Crepe Barefoot pant by Lisa Bayne

Party on!

 

Chanel Vintage sweater

Nearly sexy sweater goes with my Crepe Barefoot Pant

 

Three outfits ready for festivities

There you have it my friends! I am so ready for events. I may have to create some just so I can wear these outfits ASAP.

Here’s what I discovered when I went out of my comfort zone. When I wear a pant that says, Hey, let’s go have some fun!, it makes dressing the top part of the body so easy! Before, when I was trying to make a festive outfit using my tailored pants, I had to work really, really hard to get enough party atmosphere going on above my waist because there was no party atmosphere going on below the waist. I had to rely on two pieces to do the work: a top and a jacket and of course, accessories and still ended up feeling a bit uptight.

How fun to experience something new and have it work out so well. Who knows what’s going to happen next? I may have a more interesting, exciting life now that I changed my pants!

How are you when it comes to party-type outfits? We’ll all have some sort of party coming up soon so let’s share tips!

XO

 

Artful Home sponsored this post. The words, opinions, and ah-has are all mine. To get a catalog delivered to your door, sign up here.

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33 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathy
    November 8, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Oh my Brenda! Was that you in the corner with me? I was so nervous I didn’t make eye contact. I do badly at getting dressed for, going and participating at events. I agonize over the right outfit, hair and makeup…I make myself miserable. I have two go to outfits in my closet. A satin pant and tuxedo blazer which changes looks with the top I wear and the accessories. My other outfit is a lace 3/4 sleeve A-line dress which can go almost anywhere. I’ve gotten my money out of these two outfits. If I see you in the corner next time we’ll laugh at ourselves and make everyone think we are the two most interesting women (and well dressed) in the world!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      November 8, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      Oh Kathy, we’ll have the most fun together! Well, I’m impressed that you have two go-to outfits. I was waiting until the last minute feeling confident that I knew what I was doing and then getting the deer in the headlights response when I realized I was going to have to fake it one more time. In those thirty seconds before flying into fashion emergency mode I’d always say, “I HAVE to figure this out! This is crazy!!!” So now that I feel confident I’m sure I could even walk up to you at a party and say, “Wow, love the satin pant and tuxedo blazer. What’s your name?”

  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    November 9, 2017 at 3:06 am

    ohh you two are so funny! I really relate! I get nervous going to those events too. I love the three outfits you have created Brenda, with your new pants, the main star! So clever and beautiful all of them. Yes , it is so important to have a kind of buffer, at these times, the clothes acting as a type of shield almost, trying to get our emotions to catch up with us!
    Even when I go to a function with people I know or work with, a kind of , In the spotlight, selfconciosness , creeps in! What is that? I too can be sure of an outfit, but as the time creeps closer, be racked with a scathing, mean kind of self doubt ! I will have to work on this clearly! Thanks for the food for thought girls. Sending much love from Oz x

    • Reply
      Brenda
      November 9, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      Yes, you will have to work on that scathing mean spirited voice. You can work it out right here. I’ll support you to find the kind voice that just wants you to have a life you enjoy. I’m super excited to discover whether my nervousness will go away now that I feel I have the right outfits to wear to events. I guess it’s having outfits that I don’t have to work at at all. That takes half the stress out of it already! Sending you kind, loving messages that will be ringing in your ears, Trinnie. Love from Sonoma!

      • Reply
        Trinnie Q
        November 10, 2017 at 2:10 am

        That is beautiful, Thank you Brenda.x

  • Reply
    Deanne
    November 9, 2017 at 5:23 am

    I rarely have events that call for truly formal clothing, but this post makes me want to think differently about going to celebrations in general. We all go to birthday parties and other events where we should be stretching ourselves in terms of what we wear. So I have some Eileen Fisher velvet pants, never worn, because “I don’t really go to many fancy events.” Guess what. The pants are out now, gong to be hung at the front of the closet so I will think about where I can wear them this season! Thanks to this post, Brenda, and the resurgence of velvet this season, I will look for times to wear them. The tags are coming off!! Thanks as always, and your outfits are a true inspiration!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      November 9, 2017 at 7:47 pm

      Yay!!!! Bring out the velvet pants!!! I think it’s important to celebrate life every chance we get. And dressing in a way that pleases us helps us do that. I bet you’ll come up with three quick outfits in no time!

  • Reply
    Sarah Morgan
    November 9, 2017 at 5:46 am

    I’m a similar shape to you, and always stick to straight trousers. You have inspired me to try something different. I’m 5’1” so I reckon I could rock the visually lengthening ‘sassy one’! Thanks Brenda.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      November 9, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      Go for it, Sarah! Rock the Sassy! This gives me a fantasy about having a line of clothing or maybe just clothes and then showing the Sassy version, the Pretty version, and the Kinda Sexy version. You got me going, Sarah!

  • Reply
    Lea
    November 9, 2017 at 6:35 am

    Dear Brenda! You always show up at the right time!!! I’ve been nervously eyeing these pants for a looong time, thinking I was too short, too old, wouldn’t know how to style them… and now it seems so simple because of your work. Thankyouthankyouthankyou Brenda!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      November 9, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      Oh Lea, how thrilled am I to have demonstrated the “how” about these pants. I say never too short, never too old, just go for it! I saw two friends today who had read the post and were going to order these pants. One thought she was too short but I know she won’t be. If you hear a voice in your head that says, Just try it, it’ll be me. But you’re already half way there having had your eyes on them already. Have fun!

  • Reply
    Cindy La Ferle
    November 9, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Brenda, I love the Artful Home catalog, and their clothing always inspires me to try something different, more creative. I’ve ordered several things from them, and I am always pleased. I’m a fan of the new pants you’re wearing, too. Full disclosure: I own a similar pair, but haven’t worn them — yet — because I wasn’t quite sure about which shoes to wear, and I didn’t quite have the courage. You’ve changed that. I love the look of the ankle booties with these wider pants — and can’t wait to wear them out now.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      November 9, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      Cindy, you bring up a good point. But first, I’m glad those pants you ordered are going to come out of the closet!!! But back to your point about shoes. Since the pant was outside my comfort zone and my feet are so troublesome when it comes to shoes, I was worried that I’d have a new problem to solve: figuring out what kind of shoe I’d need to get to make them work. How incredibly delighted I was to discover that my pointy toe booties and my pointy toe patent flats worked so very well! I did a happy dance! So I do hope to hear how you wear your “new” pants!

      • Reply
        Cindy La Ferle
        November 13, 2017 at 11:11 am

        Brenda, thank you. I have a pair of black suede Eileen Fisher ankle booties, and will start with those. I need to get a pair with pointy toes, though — thanks for that inspiration. Those pointy toes dress up the pants and give them the edge they need, in a great way! You rock, Brenda!!

        • Reply
          Brenda
          November 13, 2017 at 4:48 pm

          Good luck! I think that will make a big difference!

  • Reply
    Ann
    November 9, 2017 at 7:22 am

    Well, Brenda, this is a great topic. You look great in every outfit, but I confess, I wouldn’t have looked twice at those pants, much less tried then on. I have few, if any dressy events (I live in a very casual place) but love to dress up (okay, l used to love to dress up but now that I think about it, I agonize if i do NEED to dress up, and worry and fret, and then give up) This year I’m trying a new approach for me by finding individual pieces to give a “dressed up” flavor without looking so dressed up that people make weird comments. I’m “mostly” over the comments at this point but sometimes I get tired of the “side eye” and yes, I second guess myself. I tell myself I don’t care, but if I’m going somewhere where I don’t know anyone, it’s hard for me not to really care and to just dress to please myself.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      November 9, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      “Caring” is great. I think women get a bad rap sometimes because we’re supposed to look like we don’t care but many of us do and there’s nothing wrong with that!! That’s not true of everyone of course but I do think it comes up. I admire people who dress to please themselves and who dress in a way that’s different from others because that’s just who they are. I love your idea of creating that dressed up flavor. Hey, I’ve got your back! I support you! Regarding the pants, I often bring things to the dressing room when we’re on a shopping trip, things they’d never have thought to try on. Invariably, they turn out to be their new favorites. I think that’s what’s going to happen with this pant. I would have normally passed it up but a voice in my head said, “Try it, Bren.” The truth is, what I was doing wasn’t working so “something different” was worth a try. So glad I did! Keep up the good work, Ann!

  • Reply
    Tracy Webster
    November 9, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Brenda – reading your blog makes me so happy – it is a little bright spark to my day! Those pants look great – the whole outfit is great.I am a plus size girl but I try and emulate your style in a plus size way:) I am bouyed by your enthusiasm for fashion.
    Have a fabulous day – from New Zealand!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      November 9, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      Thanks, Tracy! Where in New Zealand? I have been there and love it but then everyone who goes there falls in love. So happy to hear about the emulation! I’m happy to be an instigator around fashion. I hope you enjoyed your day too. Thanks so much for checking in! Hugs from Sonoma.

      • Reply
        Tracy
        November 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

        Hi again
        I am in Wellington – the Coolest Little capital in the World (its our tag line:)) Have been watching the devastation of the fires from this side of the world – so glad you and your family are ok. We are still thinking of those who now have to rebuild and wait for homes. Take care

        • Reply
          Brenda
          November 13, 2017 at 4:49 pm

          Thanks so much, Tracy! If I get back there, we’ll have to have tea!!

  • Reply
    LA CONTESSA
    November 10, 2017 at 7:41 am

    HOW AM I AT PARTY OUTFITS………………….OVER THE TOP!
    Now, the pants LOOK GREAT ON YOU………but tell me about that flat shoe with BOWS!!!!!!!!!!
    Will I find it in stores this year?I doubt it……….but am still asking!
    WONDERFUL POST for ARTFUL HOME.She has GREAT TASTE in picking women who can WEAR the garments and write them!
    MORE PLEASE!!!!!
    XX

    • Reply
      Brenda
      November 10, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      Elizabeth, sadly I haven’t found the likes of this shoe still since I bought it last year. It’s AGL and gosh, I wish they’d bring it out in other materials and patterns. And yes, there is no doubt in my mind that you are the centerpiece at a party. Hope I’m at one with you one day!!!

      • Reply
        Valerie Crane Dorfman
        November 15, 2017 at 8:30 am

        I just found the AGL shoes on Ebay…and in my size! And new! If you look around sometimes you can find these things!! How do those wonderful pants run…I’m in between sizes and am not sure whether to go up or down…

        • Reply
          Brenda
          November 15, 2017 at 12:23 pm

          Wow! Good for you!! I’m in the XS and lately my pant size has been a 4 or 6. They have excellent customer service so if you have any doubts, you can give them a call. I love that about them!!

          • Valerie Crane Dorfman
            November 16, 2017 at 10:30 am

            Thank you!!

          • Brenda
            November 17, 2017 at 9:17 am

            You’re welcome!

  • Reply
    cindy hattersley
    November 10, 2017 at 9:35 am

    I am with the Contessa the second number is my fav!! I was on the same bandwagon as you with the slim pants. Guess what I reached outside the box as well. I featured the casual french terry version of the pant on my blog today! I LOVE THEM!!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      November 10, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      Okay, Cindy, I’m going to need to get the kind you got. I truly do need to up my loungewear game! Folks, go to Cindy’s blog and she all her great ideas for using the lantern pant in a different fabric than mine, in loungewear. She’s at http://www.cindyhattersleydesign.com.

  • Reply
    Mare
    November 10, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    This post is brilliant fun! The barefoot kid wants to know how to make socks sexy!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      November 10, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      Oh my, well I’m just going to have to work on that! Because I definitely wear socks in the winter. You’ve given me a subject to work on, Mare!

  • Reply
    Jacqueline UK
    November 11, 2017 at 12:34 am

    I bought some similar pants in grey slub silk this summer to wear to a very large wedding, held in a marquee in a field. I already had a loose white silk / linen seersucker shirt that I love but needed to find some trousers that weren’t my usual straight black & navy. At 70 I aim for chic rather than prettinesss when I go to these type of events. Stupidly I have packed them away as summer wear, so today will get them out and see what else I have that might go with them. It’s pouring with rain here so it seems like a good day to do some ‘outfitting’.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      November 13, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      Love the idea of a day of “outfitting”! You make a great point about choosing to aim for chic rather than pretty. I like the way you think! Thanks for your share and hope you pulled them out. When I find a pant style I like, I often buy it in different fabrics to cover all my bases. Thanks for sharing!

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