21 In Shopping Tips

Keith Urban Demonstrates Smart Shopping Tips (in my dream!)

Celebrities are everywhere; even in my dreams.


Most people read about celebrities in magazines. I do some of that as well but I also have up close and personal encounters with celebrities between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am. Sure, I could dish about a squabble or two between starlets while I was styling them for a red carpet event, but I won’t. (Do the names Chloe Sevigny and Selena Gomez ring any bells with you?) Oh, and this might surprise you: Adam Levine is quite tender and attentive. At least he was with me. When I see him on TV on The Voice, he seems pretty arrogant and full of himself but that wasn’t my experience of him.

Once I was styling an outfit for Oprah’s best friend, Gayle King, when Oprah entered the room and was quick to say, “Nope, don’t like it.” I wasn’t phased by Oprah’s pushback. Keeping a steady voice I confidently explained to Oprah why I had styled this outfit for Gayle the way I did. Using the science of fashion I explained how it suited Gayle’s style words and matched the image she wanted to be projecting. Oprah had her index finger on her cheek and her thumb held her chin in place as she listened to my explanation. In the end she said, “Okay, I get it. I understand.” And then she walked into the kitchen.

When multi-Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Keith Urban showed up in my dreams the other night it was like no big deal. He was shopping in a men’s store and he had a handful of fellas with him, probably bandmates or business associates. I can read your mind; you want to know if his wife Nicole Kidman was with him. Nope, she was not.

Drop me into a store where someone is shopping and seems to need some help, and I’ll step right in to serve. I can’t sing, perform, act, or walk in high heels on a red carpet but I can help someone shop. So I helped Keith.


Keith followed the “Don’t shop when you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired” rule

Funny thing, what I learned is that Keith is a pretty gosh darn good shopper! He has a pretty good sense of his style.

I could tell he was clearly following the first rule of shopping: don’t shop when you’re hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT for short). He was perfectly relaxed, not rushing, engaged and interested. There was nothing manic about how he was pulling things off the racks. You’d know the look: It’s as if someone is so thirsty and in desperate need of relief that she dunks her head into the first horse’s water trough she comes upon.


Men's designer shirt

Not the right shirt for Keith


Keith wasn’t like that. I saw him holding a shirt in front of him and studying it. I could tell he wasn’t sure if he should try it on or not. I couldn’t help myself. Using the science of fashion, I explained which colors would work best on him in relation to his hair, eyes, and skin tone, and this shirt he was holding out wasn’t working. He took note and put it back on the rack.


It may look great on the hanger but not on you

I steered him away from colors that were too strong. He looked great in any shade of twine. You know twine, right? It’s what is used to tie hay together in order to make haystacks so you can feed cattle in the wintertime. It’s a good color for Keith. He also looked good in shades of whiskey, bourbon and rye. He’s not drinking anymore but he can still enjoy the colors he used to indulge in.

He wears a lot of black while he’s performing and going to award shows but in everyday life he can wear those warm shades and mix it in with black jeans if he wants to. I was advocating for colors that pulled in every single shade of those great highlights in his hair.

He was very attracted to items with texture in them and details like woven inserts and fringe. Well, all of that relates to the texture in his hair as well. I said, “Go for it!”

Here’s a fringed suede jacket for women called the Greta Fringe Jacket by AG that’s a lot like the one Keith was looking at.

Suede jacket

This Greta Fringe AG jacket reminds me of the one in the Keith Urban dream


Suede fringe jacket

Side view of suede fringe jacket



Check back in with your budget

His buddies stopped hovering over him and I took over leading Keith through the different racks and aisles. I asked the store manager to set up a portable rolling rack near the dressing room so I could put all the pieces in one place that we were considering purchasing. Well, he was going purchase them, not me. He looked at the rack and said, “Brenda, I wonder if I’m spending too much?”

“Well, let’s review what was on your shopping list,” I said. He pointed to something on the rack and said, “This would work onstage.” I agreed. Since this was the first time he’d brought up stage clothes, I decided to go through the items on the rack and pull together the pieces that would be best onstage. Then I created a section on the rolling rack for items I thought would be great for taking meetings, going to the zoo with his kids, or having a casual date night with Nicole. This way he could see that this wardrobe was going to be covering lots of bases..

“How does this look to you now?” I asked. “Do you have enough clothes for each category of your life?”


Ask yourself, Where will I wear this?

It was a lot easier for him to see the collection now. He’s kind of quiet, thoughtful, and his speaking voice is soft. You have to lean in a little in order to catch what he’s saying. I suppose he’s always saving his voice for his performances. He was satisfied with what we’d found.



It was almost decision time but then I saw a jacket on the mannequin in the store window I just knew he had to try it on. I was wearing cowboy boots and I needed to step up into the window area to grab the jacket so I took my boots off first.

Spotting that jacket was a good call. He like it! He thought he’d wear it all the time. In fact, I suggested he wear it out the door. I held it out for him and he slipped his arms through the sleeves. I adjusted it on his shoulders and he was good to go.

Good thing too because the store closed at 6 and it was already after six.

I asked the manager if it was okay to return anything that didn’t work out. He said, “No problem. Just hang on to the receipt.”


Getting a photograph with Keith to post on Facebook

When we got outside it was dim. The whole afternoon had slipped by! I helped him get his bags situated in his tour bus. I was hoping for some decent light inside the bus so I could ask someone to take a picture of us. We’d made a great team. He was game. When I stood next to him and handed his buddy my phone I realized I didn’t have my boots on! They were locked in the store and everyone had gone home. He said, “You can borrow a pair of mine.”

And here’s where I’d be sharing that photo with you except that I woke up and it was a dream. A good dream. A happy dream. I’d helped someone make some great purchases that he was sure to wear for months to come.

When you see him next time in People magazine, he may be wearing something I helped pick out!

Do you think I’m delusional? Well, that’s the way it is with dreams. They seem so real. In fact, I can’t look at Adam Levine on The Voice without blushing just a little!

What are some of your best shopping tips? Or, better yet, what are some of your best dreams?

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  • Reply
    September 21, 2017 at 3:48 am

    Pickles-dill especially-eaten in excess will cause such vivid dreams! I probably would have asked Keith to disrobe and spent far too long in the dressing room than was appropriate. I laughed out loud this morning! What a great start to my day!!!i can’t share my dreams as obviously from my comment I have deep seeded issues! I love the HALT acronym. My best advice is to window shop first, take pictures of items you think you want to buy then go home and see if you already own something similar that you can work into an outfit. Thanks for being you and doing what you do! You bring moments of joy to those of us who follow you. Hope you got your boots back!!!

    • Reply
      September 23, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Oh Kathy, let’s make time for tea and you can tell me your issues! It’s funny, there was no vibe at all like that in my dream. He was just so fun to work with as he had a lot of fashion intelligence and was interested in learning more. BUT, I have been on a shopping trip with a male client and had to spend as little time in the dressing room as possible. I kept totally professional. I averted my eyes as much as possible. Afterwards Erin, my assistant/daughter and I collapsed on chairs and said, ‘OH my gosh, that body!’ The thing was, he seemed absolutely oblivious!

  • Reply
    Cindy La Ferle
    September 21, 2017 at 4:41 am

    What a delightful read, Brenda! And funny thing, now that it’s fall, I can’t wait to wear my cowboy boots again. And I’ve been toying with the idea of buying somethings with fringe. There’s something about that west/southwest look that appeals to me this time of year. (I live in Detroit, where there’s not a single rodeo in sight!) Keep on dreaming!

    • Reply
      September 23, 2017 at 9:28 am

      Cindy, I’m chuckling about you living in Detroit away from any rodeo. But isn’t that the fun of it all? We get to adopt styles even if they aren’t inherent to where we live or how we grew up! Go for it, girl!

  • Reply
    Sandi McDougall
    September 21, 2017 at 6:15 am

    I hope you keep posting about your dreams as I rarely can recall a dream if I have dreamt. I will just have to live vicariously through yours. Now tell us more about your dream with the handsome Adam Levine. 😉 PS. I have that same Entertainment magazine under my coffee cup this morning waiting to get read.

    • Reply
      September 23, 2017 at 9:26 am

      Well, the Adam Levine dream was mostly about attentiveness. He was alongside me and we were walking around somewhere (LA, SF, NYC?). I said, “I’m sure you have a rehearsal to get to or need to get on over to The Voice. You can go, you know, I’ll be fine.” But he just kept hanging out with me like spending time with me was more important than anything else. It was a really sweet feeling. It really wasn’t a sexual thing but when I see him on TV I feel like we have shared something personal, intimate, lovely, and it’s our secret. I feel like I know things about him that the world doesn’t (like how sweet, tender, not pushy and attentive he can be) and how maybe he wouldn’t want the world to know that. It’s odd how strong feelings and emotions can be in dreams! Some dreams you just can’t shake off!

  • Reply
    Katherine Cramer
    September 21, 2017 at 10:12 am

    So Sweet! I see what you mean about Adam Levine. I hate to admit that he intrigues me. I rarely look at men’s fashions. My spouse says that he hates clothes. You’ve reminded me that I can play with fashion in my dreams or in the community you’ve nurtured. I’ve been obsessed with a few items that attractive men have worn. Javier Bardem’s chic tennis shoes in Vicky Christina Barcelona back in 2008. It was difficult to find them back then. Now those minimal styles are everywhere and Rob doesn’t want to wear them. So, back to my dream world where I imagine an eyeglass-wearing gentleman comfortable in his cognac-colored pants or jeans and a fisherman sweater. This persistent image of the perfect man comes from the 1980s. It may be time for an update. Oh Adam…what about this jacket for casual days?

    • Reply
      September 23, 2017 at 9:10 am

      Wow, you know you’ve got me thinking about images of men that I like. I’m so crazy about menswear fabrics and textures. I get very tempted to shop in the mens department because they are just superb! I think of fashion for men and Steve McQueen comes to mind. Maybe because I met him but no, I liked his style long before that! Now my eyes will be wide open appreciating men…and what they’re wearing.

      • Reply
        Katherine Cramer
        September 26, 2017 at 6:35 am

        I shopped flannel shirts in the Men’s Dept. I knew you’d approve. Just what I needed for a trip to Tahoe. Boyfriend fit and rolled sleeves.

        • Reply
          September 26, 2017 at 11:15 am

          So totally perfect! Yesterday I was in Nordstrom and looked over at the men’s department and had menswear envy. Didn’t have time to tempt myself so I’ll live vicariously through your experience!

  • Reply
    Sandra Sallin
    September 21, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Best shopping trip is to dream I was shopping with you!

    Love that fringe jacket but I know I would spill something on it in the first 10 minutes!

    • Reply
      September 23, 2017 at 9:07 am

      Oh Sandra, we’d have fun! One day…and not in our dreams!

  • Reply
    September 21, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    OMG…I was hanging on every word….I have a crazy crush on Keith Urban but in a sane way…I think he is the best singer/songwriter ever and I love his relationship with Nicole Kidman. They seem like the real deal! My husband and I always put on his music and have seen him in concert a few times and he is fantastic! Thanks for the great read even if it was a dream 🙂

    • Reply
      September 23, 2017 at 9:06 am

      My sweetheart stays up late and watches late shows and told me how Nicole was on someone’s show (Colbert, Kimmel or Fallon) and she was so nervous and she asked that Keith come sit next to her. He did and she held on to his hand. Sounds like something I’d ask of Russ! Very sweet. He’s such an amazing musician. Never seen him in person though. Lucky you!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2017 at 7:16 am

    NOT YOURS!!!!!!!
    AN AIRPLANE Landing outside my house in a tree upside down!
    This AM I am DREAMING I will be late for an APPOINTMENT!!!!I DO NOT LIKE TO BE LATE!
    I did meet BEATRIX and VALERIE VON SOBEL this week and have been re-playing THAT out in my BIG HEAD with a smile on my face!They are TRUELY, LOVELY LADIES just for your DATA BASE!
    SWEET DREAMS……………dear Brenda.

    • Reply
      September 23, 2017 at 9:00 am

      OH no! Planes in trees!! Another main dream theme I have is going to fancy conferences in hotels around the country and my cat is with me and I’m always worried she’ll get out of the hotel. What’s that about??!
      So excited about you meeting Beatrix and Valerie Von Sobel. OMG!!! I follow them. So creative. If they ever come to the Bay Area for book events or whatever, will you let me know?

  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    September 23, 2017 at 4:07 am

    How refreshing and gorgeous Brenda. Aren’t dreams extraordinary ! Sending love from Oz

    • Reply
      September 23, 2017 at 8:58 am

      They sure are. It’s amazing!

  • Reply
    September 23, 2017 at 10:47 am

    LOL! You are so much fun. I love that you’re having fun in your dreams. Good on ya!

    • Reply
      September 26, 2017 at 11:23 am

      A girl’s gotta have fun somehow!

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