18 In Getting Dressed/ Style

How to Make Casual Outfits More Interesting

Adding interest to casual clothes

Adding interest to casual clothes


I don’t think there’s an expiration date on enjoying and wearing fashion. Seth Ari Cohen with his books, like Advanced Style: Older and Wiser, shows us all kinds of profiles of women and men, older and wiser, who have fabulous style and aren’t afraid to flaunt it. I gave a copy of it to my friend’s mother, Dena, who is turning 93. She still never leaves the house without looking great. Dena’s daughter, Debra, who is in her sixties, texted me and said, “My mom loves the book and so do I! These women and men are so inspirational. I want to be like them!”

I was interviewed this week by a woman from the Council of Aging in Sonoma. We talked a lot about the challenges women face dressing an “older and wiser” body. When it’s published, I’ll be sure to share it with you. I was on a roll!

I’d say my #1 belief is that women, especially now, need to be celebrating their radiance and enjoying the freedom fashion brings. What I told Cheri, who interviewed me, is that really, my philosophy is the same as when I started my business. I help women show up in life in outfits that suit their bodies, personalities and lifestyle. I know comfort is high on people’s list of what they want from clothes but comfort doesn’t have to look like giving up.

Simple black and white gets more interesting with a necklace

Simple black and white gets more interesting with a necklace


I think there’s nervousness about bringing attention to oneself at this age. There’s a lot to be confused about. Certainly, in this blog, we talk about ways to get unconfused.

This may be a repeat but being visible doesn’t have to mean wearing over-the-top attention-getting outfits. It’s just getting noticed in a positive way. People would say about women who are visible:

Gee, she looks great!

She looks like someone I want to know.

See that woman over there? She’s got style!

When my clients are out and about wearing the outfits that I’ve styled for them, they notice the difference! They report back to me.

I got so many compliments. Thanks for making me a star!

It’s thrilling to wear items that are able to reflect my personal expression.

Thanks to you and Erin for today’s closet appointment! What thrilling outfits you created!


Women are enjoying style at all ages.

Every outfit needs a decorative friend or two

I’ve been trying to think of an easy way to point out the difference between something that hardly gets noticed and something that gets noticed for all the right reasons. I’d say it’s about creating interest, having focal points in an outfit, giving people something to appreciate about how you look.

A lot of us are in more relaxed clothes these days. Many lunch dates with friends are dressed up casual affairs, not pretty suits or dress like in years past. But those simple casual outfits could use an artisanal cuff or an interesting handbag or perhaps a shiny shoe to help the eye travel up and down and all around your outfit. Think about what catches our eye: shine, shimmer, texture, sparkle, a collection (of bangles for instance), color harmony or contrasting colors. Those elements will bring interest to any outfit. When you’re wearing simple pieces, they become your decorative friends.

Want some examples? Here you go!

A scarf can bring so much life to an outfit!

A scarf can bring so much life to an outfit!


Wrists are a great place to add interest

Wrists are a great place to add interest



Wearing a unique handbag by Calleen Cordero


Jewelry can bring just the right attention to an outfit

This year I had the joy of meeting the Sol Sisters and I’d say their necklaces have spruced up my outfits so easily. When I’m in jeans and a sweater, all I do is reach for one of their necklaces and I’m set. Do you have pieces like this that add instant interest?


Friends making jewelry on Brenda Kinsel website

My friends, the Sol Sisters, make one of a kind jewelry


Signature necklaces add interest

These necklaces have become signature pieces for me


Center cuff is by Calleen Cordero

A bulky cuff or bangle adds interest


Trying a new accessory

I never expected to be someone who wore hats. I’d convinced myself that my face was too wide. Hats are great for a bad hair day; we all know that. But they can be an unexpected style element that completes your look—like the cherry on top of the sundae or the frosting on the cake.


Hats! Who knew?

Hats! Who knew?

Is there a hat in your future?

Going for comfort and style

People are demanding comfort clothes. I suspect if you stopped anyone on the street, mid-day, who is still in their yoga clothes, they’d tell you they’re dressed for comfort. I think it’s hard to make yoga clothes look interesting. They just look like yoga clothes. But if comfort is what you’re after, try a microfiber T-shirt or simple sweater with jeans that have stretch. Then add interest. You’ll be comfortable and stylin’.

What are you wearing right now that adds interest to your casual outfits? I know we’d all love some new ideas. Please share!


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  • Reply
    April 6, 2017 at 5:06 am

    Great tips — and easy enough to do to dress up a simple outfit. I am new to your blog and loving it, especially going over old posts, there is so much helpful information for me. I particularly like your white shirt, black vest and jeans in this post — it’s an outfit I could live in. What is the black vest — is it a simple tank over a white shirt, or is it a sweater vest? Or something else? Love the look, it’s tailored and simple and ready to be dressed up with jewelry, and I’d like to try the same look.

    • Reply
      April 8, 2017 at 6:51 am

      I’m glad you found our great little community over here! The “vest” is actually a top by Babette. It’s got pleating built into the fabric which gives it texture. In the summertime I’ll wear it as a top but I didn’t want to wait that long so I used it as a layering piece outside my blouse instead. I hope that helps!! Xx

  • Reply
    Beverly Feldt
    April 6, 2017 at 5:54 am

    I like the new (revived) style of a neckerchief: a small square or narrow scarf in silk or modal, tied with the ends to one side or with the point of the square in the center of the neck. Adds a lot of pizzazz to simple clothes!

  • Reply
    jodie filogomo
    April 6, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Those yoga clothes!! I understand going to and from the workout—but I have a bright, colored long vest in the car for those times I want to pop in the grocery store with my workout clothes on!!

  • Reply
    April 6, 2017 at 10:51 am

    I love wearing brooches on my vests, blazers, and utility jackets for sparkle and interest. I always receive compliments when I wear them. I also love carrying interesting textured handbags in bright colors. I wear simple classics like fitted white blouses and tailored jeans, so the accessories need to have some punch! Thanks for sharing your fashion genius with us!

  • Reply
    Nicole K
    April 7, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Thanks for this post. It’s one of my biggest challenges! I get the shoes (because I love them) but jewelry, scarves, hats are still a challenge to do and feel like “me.”

  • Reply
    April 7, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    I always wear bracelets and love scarves. They just add some style when I run out the door in my boyfriend jeans. Thanks for the encouragement

  • Reply
    April 8, 2017 at 4:37 am

    When I am out-and -about I want to appear friendly, but in a country/rural area, being too stylish can also look uppity.
    I am finding the right balance challenging. especially stylish shoes.

  • Reply
    Lesley Watson
    April 13, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    I love your blog! Positive and refreshing, and also lots of fun! So glad I found you, Thankyou!!

    • Reply
      April 13, 2017 at 6:11 pm

      I’m so glad you found me too! You’ll also discover a great community that hangs out here and leaves comments. I so enjoy it!

  • Reply
    Cindy La Ferle
    April 15, 2017 at 5:28 am

    I love your blog so much because you wear clothes — and shoes — that most every woman can wear day to day. This post speaks to the way I dress most days, as a writer in her early 60s who works from home. Thank you for all these tips.

    Something you said really resonated and I went back to reread it:” I think there’s nervousness about bringing attention to oneself at this age.” BINGO! You said something that’s been lurking in the back of my mind every time I make an effort to kick things up a notch, or tweak my style — but I never knew how to express this, or admit it aloud. But that’s it. Once we reach our 50s, it seems, we’re accused of “trying too hard” or “trying to look younger” if we experiment with fashion, even in good taste. (I’ve always been offended by that expression, “trying too hard” — because it infers that not caring is better than caring, or that making a big effort isn’t cool. But I digress.)

    Anyhoo, thanks for giving us the courage to try a little harder, and for giving us permission to bring positive attention to our clothing, and to ourselves. And by the way, I love the long black jacket in the top photo …. and can you tell about the jeans you’re wearing too? They look great on you, slim but not too tight. Thank you, Brenda!

    • Reply
      April 18, 2017 at 10:34 am

      You bring up THE BEST POINTS!!! You really nailed it. Yes, why indeed should there be a focus on “trying too hard”. We care! We clothe ourseleves! We express! That’s our right. Do you think there’s too quick a response to judge others? I’d hope not. I’d hope we could be as kind to ourselves as we are to others or vice versa. That’s for digressing. I loved every word of it.
      As for the jeans, they are NYDJ, a recent purchase after I lost some weight. I do like that about them: slim but not tight. Thanks so much Cindy for making this discussion so juicy!

  • Reply
    Katherine Cramer
    April 17, 2017 at 10:16 am

    For me, it’s all about comfort yet I love some fun with jewelry, scarves, eyeglasses, hats and prints. The rain in the West has delayed my full-out hat-expressions except for some rain hats I’ve added. I’m reminded that sun coverage is so important. I’m not a sun bunny however my dermatologist found a spot on my lip. I’m grateful to have undergone a successful procedure and for my growing ability to endure some recovery time. All the more reason to sport a fun hat. Aging and all the facets of living life to the fullest seem well within my grasp since I’m inspired by Brenda and this Community. Love and inspiration to all.

    • Reply
      April 18, 2017 at 10:30 am

      Love to you too, Katherine and for all the ways you inspire me and this community. I was wearing a hat the other day and it someone commented on it. It made me think how gosh darn handy they are! So very very glad to hear that your lip got taken care of. I think I need to wear hats more while I’m driving. Do you or does anyone else have tips about protecting your skin while you’re driving?

  • Reply
    Denise Lampron
    July 31, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Brenda, such great tips. No one wears a crisp white shirt like you do! Your signature necklaces elongate and draw the eye downward, great tool.
    I’m navigating my way around mixing prints to add interest. And always wear earrings, necklace or belt, along with a bracelet, allowing the eye three related landings. I’m also playing with a pop of color at my feet, like red pumps with an ivory dress. Love a surprise element too, such as a sexy, low cut back on a top or dress. Aging = courage + fun. Amen.

    • Reply
      July 31, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      LOVING your aging formula! Yes, yes, yes!!! I like how you said that: “allowing the eye three related landings.” Very clever! Always fun to get your impressions!

  • Reply
    Lisa Besa
    July 3, 2018 at 3:14 am

    Right now I am at work and in scrubs. I hate scrubs, they feel like pjs.
    So to brighten up my olive green scrubs i will add interesting sneakers or shoes and I change my glasses and earings (non dangling) depending on my mood. I will also add different light jacket that get removed when I arrive at work. I have short hair so I can add a headband occasionally for a real change.
    Somewhat limited but at least I have some choices I can work with during my work week.
    Thank you for all your wonderful articles Brenda.

    • Reply
      July 3, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Lisa, I love all your ideas! And I so appreciate the work you do. I bow down to you!

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