25 In Styling Tips

Making transition outfits with sweaters and scarves

transition outfits

‘Tis the season for making transition outfits here in the Bay Area. I’m doing for myself what I’ve been doing for my clients–hunting through the winter wardrobe looking for pieces to pull that will make outfits look springy fresh.

I’m nowhere close to letting go of my sweaters and booties, but I do want to lighten and brighten my look until that day when I’m confident enough to get out my real spring clothes.

Creating a transition outfit with orange and blue

Suddenly this Robin’s Egg blue sweater–a J.Crew Merino wool 3/4 sleeve sweater that I treat as a T-shirt–looks just right. I didn’t pick it once this winter.

I’m getting tired of my wooly scarves so to cheer this weekend outfit up, I grabbed a silk square scarf in a retro floral print. Actually, I think it pretends to be silk, and I think it belonged to my mother, or else I purchased it secondhand because it reminded me of my mother.

springy jean outfits

Floral scarf earns me some pleasure points

(Pleasure points dressing reminder is right here.)

Mother had hearty, weed-free, expansive gardens filled with gorgeous flowers. This was particularly so when we lived on the farm and she had plenty of real estate to work with. She had gardens in the front yard, the backyard, and the side yard.

She’d have worn a happy print scarf like this floral one. Do you suppose she’d wear it because it reminded her of her beloved flowers? Or was it the playful, engaging mood of the scarf that reflected her own personality? Curiously, I’m happy wearing happy scarves in these, my wisdom years. Do you suppose it’s because they remind me of Mother, or do you suppose I’m coming into my playful years?

I’m wearing a long navy sweater coat over my blue sweater and scarf. (Hello Classic blue, Pantone color of the year!) I love how the sweater coat pulls out the blue flowers in the scarf print. (Hi Mom, I’m thinking of you today.)

The moonstone earrings that I don’t save for good keep cast a blue shade and keep the blue reverie going. These sand-colored Lucky booties are getting constant use right now. They’re my first choice as I want that lighter feel to my outfits as the days get longer and the nights get shorter. Wait! That’s a song lyric. Who sings that? Carly Simon? Carole King? Help me out!

Wearing my babysitting blue sweater in this transition outfit

Last week I pulled out this wavy gray-blue sweater that I actually haven’t worn yet this year. At least I don’t think I have. I don’t wear it much in the middle of winter as it’s really not warm enough. This was a TJMaxx purchase, I believe. At the time of purchase, this was a brand new color for me. I was really going out on a limb. I mean, it was nearly blue! Back then it was all about the neutrals–gray, black, white–you know, that sort of thing. I’m getting into more and brighter colors in these wisdom years.

jean outfits in transition

Of course, now, that’s no big thing. I could wear shades of blue every day of the week. Cobalt blue, bright navy, turquoise blue, the list goes on.

Switching scarves mid-day because Viv insisted

I actually starting my babysitting day in a different scarf, one of those woolier looking ones that picked up the blue in my sweater. This gold plaid linen scarf actually covers the fire extinguisher in my studio.

Do you see it over there by the wooden rocking chair? So I’m rocking Vivienne last week trying to earn Grammafoxy points with her mother by getting her to settle down and fall asleep–an activity she hasn’t been interested in much lately.

She hasn’t quite succumbed to my going-to-sleep techniques and takes an interest in that scarf. (Anything but sleeping!) She strips it away from the fire extinguisher. “Okay, Viv,” I say. And then I wrap it around her and continue rocking. That goes on for five minutes or so and she’s out.

I earn even more points with her mother by putting her down in her portable crib instead of rocking her for the next hour as she sleeps.

When Viv got up, I wore the lucky gold linen scarf and we went strolling through town. I quite liked it! I realized that Viv had greatly improved my outfit and made it more springy. (Thanks, Viv.)

That girl knows her style and is doling out style tips already!

Like with the other outfit, I wear my sand-colored Lucky booties. Theme: lightening and brightening.

jean outfits in February

Actually, if I just carry that baby around I’ll be able to brighten up every outfit from here to springtime!

Memories of Dad in that golden scarf

When I look at this golden linen scarf I think about conversations I’ve had with Dad about farming. His favorite crop to raise when he was farming in North Dakota was flax. He was really proud of his flax fields.

I have an affinity to flax only for the reason that it makes linen, a favorite fabric of mine. Neither wheat nor oats turn into fabrics, right. See why I got into fashion? I know nothing about farming!

However, this color reminds me of our wheat fields around August under the sunshine and how the wind would make the grain sway and sway. I don’t have a farmer gene in me but I do love beautiful fields of grain.

Well, I’ve gotten a little side-tracked while telling you about these lightening and brightening tips for transition outfit making this time of year. That seems to be how my mind works these days since Dad’s passing.

Seek pleasure in dressing

But you know me, I’m a pleasure-seeking kind of dresser and wearing things that remind me of loved ones is something that makes wearing them even sweeter.

Are you in a part of the country or world where lightening and brightening your outfits with lighter colors and brighter scarves would work?

Share with me what you’re wearing today. I’m a little lonely right now and could use your company. It warms my heart to be able to picture you in your outfits.


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  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 4:29 am

    I enjoy hearing you speak so lovingly about your Mum and Dad. I picture their kind and gentle faces as I’m reading your words. The style gene obviously runs strongly in your family with wee Viv (cutie!) suggesting accessories! You always look so stylish. We’re looking forward to cooler weather here in Australia so we’re hopefully going to be transitioning the other way soon. Can’t wait to need a coat! All the best.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 5:12 am

    Thanks for helping out a regular gal use the regular clothes in her regular closet to look fabulous and put together.
    You are the best!

  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 5:14 am

    Ventura Highway by America, I think. Love the scarves and want to hear more about the studio.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 5:15 am

    Hi Brenda! I’ll be wearing a sundress today…. full of color because that’s my signature look! 😉
    Here in Naples Florida, our weather is deliciously warm so my go-to outfit is always a beautiful dress with cute flats.
    P.S. I LOOOOVE your scarves. Gorgeous!

  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 5:24 am

    Hi Brenda,
    As you’re getting more into blue, I find I’m more and more averse to it. I’m not sure why that is; I never had a lot of blue anyway. There is this gorgeous peacock blue dupion silk jacket I have; THAT I’m hanging on to, though not wearing. Everything else I’ve been giving away!
    I hope you’re doing well.
    Thank you for the blog.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 5:26 am

    Thanks for tips on transitioning to spring.
    Viv is precious. I know you can’t get enough of her.
    Enjoy your posts and fashion knowledge.
    Have a beautiful day.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 5:59 am

    Your post gives me inspiration to pull items from my closet that will lighten my look for meeting a friend for lunch. I have pieces similar to those you wear in both of your looks, with my lighter booties not making an appearance for months now in Minnesota winter! What an adorable baby Viv is! I remember how you were looking forward to being a grandma this time last year, looks like you are really enjoying yourself!

  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 6:24 am

    Brenda, The vintage floral scarf is my favorite on you! My first thought was how beautiful you look! I enjoy the beautiful memories of your Mother it brings to mind. You lived an envious childhood!

  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 6:39 am

    I am from Michigan but on vacation in Florida. Lightening and brightening feels good and today I’m going to wear white jeans and a yellow and white striped tee with a blue denim shirt dress and sandals.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 6:49 am

    Hi Brenda! I’m sitting in an airport, waiting to go see my newest Rocky Mountaingrandchild. Solo trip. Flying often triggers panic for me, but this year I my theme word is Opportunity. I can not stay home and miss out on fun and family. I am wearing jeggings from Old Navy, a jcrew merino sweater with stripes and butterflies, and my trusty Lems Boulder Boots. Also some delicate sparkly jewelry. Taking a carry-on only…a Lily Pulitzer bag. I am a big fan of yours!!! My cute gamine friend!

  • Reply
    Linda lennon
    February 25, 2020 at 7:10 am

    I live in SoCal in the desert. Moved here a year ago from NY. Slowly shedding all my black and adding fun colors. My cute little 7 year old granddaughter told me last week that I always look “fancy”. That budding fashionista loves fondling scarves and playing with necklaces. And, of course, I encourage her with shopping trips and special finds. My Joy!

  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 7:41 am

    I follow several fashion blogs but yours is by far my favorite. I love that you incorporate stories into your posts. You are a gifted writer (this from an English tea her!). Post more often!

  • Reply
    Barbara Kraus
    February 25, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Viv has quite an eye. It’s hit at least 3 generations now.
    Some days I’m actually changing clothes when it warms up, and then returning to the first outfit once the sun goes down.
    I did recently lighten up an outfit with a lighter weight scarf.
    Realizing I could use a lighter colored pair of boots or shoes for this weather.

    • Reply
      Trinnie q
      March 2, 2020 at 9:37 pm

      Ohh, so sorry for those waves of grief! Like the flax…they keep swaying, but also give, in a funny sort of way! The memories come back, holding us, and then the years, and then the laughing, as we remember something sweet, that our loved ones said, or did…So painful, yet poignant….So beyond all these words, I wanted to tell you, that you were not alone. Of course, your outfits are beautiful too! Sending much love to you, during these soulful days …From Oz , across the seas

      • Reply
        Cj Knaub
        March 14, 2020 at 8:53 pm

        Dear Brenda,
        I’m so sorry for the loss of your father. I imagine losing both parents is an awful passage. But you bring such pleasure and solace to all of us observing your life. I grew up in Mill Valley and left after college of Marin. I imagine myself in another life as you. Instead I live just shy of the Canadian boarder in North Idaho. 15 degrees and snowing today. Definitely still wool scarf weather. And snow boots…ugh. And I enjoy the beautiful way you dress, although it could not be further from my way of life.
        I love reading about your journey with Viv. So much joy coming your way as she grows up. My grandkids spend a month with me in the summer and a few years ago we had a fearful hot spell. We were making a trip to an amusement/water park and I had put on a pair of knee length shorts. Both my knees have been replaced asks though they are ugly and scarred they feel great. I asked the 12 year old boy if he would be embarrassed by the way I was dressed. He was incredulous. He explained…you’re grandma…no one looks at you. I still laugh.
        But thank you for giving us peeks at your life and style, I appreciate you.

        • Reply
          March 22, 2020 at 7:02 pm

          Oh, what your grandson said has me in stitches too. It’s hard to admit it, but it’s probably true. At least to young people. Thanks for your compassion. It means a lot.

  • Reply
    Sandy B.
    February 25, 2020 at 9:02 am

    I’m in PA on a rainy and cool day. I’ve chosen a short sleeve fuchsia dress with purple floral print. Rather bold on its own, so I’ve toned it down with a short black jacket, black stockings and black flats.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 11:23 am

    I dreamt about my mother last night. She was giving me a necklace but later in the dream it was a bag. It was so vvid and now I am wishing I could be with her again. She has been gone for 5 years now. It is still summer where I am and I will be wearing a coral coloured top with I think my black pants. No scarf for me today. Then again perhaps I should were teal blue as my mother gave me a teal blue paper christmas tree a few years back that i treasure.

  • Reply
    Karen H.
    February 25, 2020 at 11:51 am

    Hi Brenda…love your scarves. I’m looking for small square neck scarves in some bright colors. A little hard to find. Yes, all those blue colors brighten my mood. Your little Liv would bring joy to my face everyday! Enjoy Foxy gramma!

  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    It’s been unusually rainy and gloomy in my corner of South Carolina. I need to go through my accessories and find some bright things to perk up my look. I’m ready for spring.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Hi Brenda, I sense your melancholy from far away. Life changes. The older generations leave us and the new ones come and with it, we must learn to bend and move with the flow. You have gained a gorgeously delightful grandchild but your daughter for now is taken up with her mothering duties and not able to be by your side as often. I can see the difficulty in the transition as you are left feeling fragile after such a loss, two losses in a sense, maybe 3. Each new loss brings up our grief for the others we have lost at the same time (something I learned in Grief Counselling). I am awaiting the arrival of our first grandchild in 3 weeks time, maybe sooner as he seems to be eager to come and meet us. Our family will undergo a transition when this happens. The pregnancy caught us all by surprise, and we by no means feel ready to become grandparents, but as the day of his arrival looms, we feel nothing but eager with anticipation of holding him for the first time. We are now planning to sell up and move to be closer as all our lives we have said we want to be involved in our children’s and grandchildren’s lives, even though we love where we live and thought our children would come here eventually. Such is the demand to bend and flow. We can rail against it or we can just go with it. We have chosen to go with it. On a fashion note, I popped into a store totally impromptu on Monday, probably similar to your Chicos, and they had some delicious new stock – tailored cargo pants. We in Aus are still in the heavy hot grip of one of the most horrific summers ever endured in this country – massive bushfires (I know you know about that), high heat, humidity and flooding rains. We have had the lot this year. It has left our country in a state of mourning, much discussion and finger pointing, as humans always want someone to blame. Anyway, back to the pants. They came in camel and black. I also found a sweet little white linen bomber jacket to pair the pants with, it can be worn as a shirt by itself or over a t-shirt. I bought the lot, including 2 tops and a cami, so I have several outfit choices, plus they will go with many other things I already own. I have been wearing the camel ones for the last 2 days. Such a change from shorts and skinny jeans. I am over skinny jeans. I love how the fabric in these pants drapes around my legs, they have a high waist and remind me of the ‘baggy jeans’ of the ’80’s but these are very nicely done with tortoise buttons on the leg pockets. The outfit reminded me of a Ralph Lauren Vogue shoot from the ’80’s all fresh out of the jungle in white and camel. There, hope you’re feeling less lonely now you know you have been heard and understood. Life can be full of joy, it also has it’s challenges, even when they seem like happy ones. Keep on sneaking in the pics of Viv. She is a delight and we all see the connection between you in the pictures. Love from hot humid exhausted Australia. Xxxxxxx

    • Reply
      February 25, 2020 at 6:57 pm

      You Australians have been so on my mind. Such upheaval. We see the reports from here. Yes, life turns and churns and we move with it. I will continue to sneak these pics of Viv in here. So excited for you and this “transition” into grandparenting. I also enjoyed hearing your foray into non-skinny pants. I’m headed there too! Also, I do know what you mean about how a new loss brings up the other ones. Especially feeling that with now the loss of half my family. Thanks for writing and sending healing hugs to Australia and to you!

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Following Augustine
    February 25, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    Your scarf is the colour of a canola field in bloom! I don’t know if canola is grown where you grew up, but it’s a common crop in this area and in June the bright yellow fields are really something to see!

  • Reply
    Mary B
    February 25, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Brenda, you are so inspiring! I always look forward to your posts with your explanations of how outfits come together. And I love your warm smiles (and baby Viv’s smiles, too) — so like your dad’s. In cloudy Pittsburgh today, I wore a teal tunic and charcoal velvet leggings to yoga class — and socks printed with bright pink roses. That doesn’t sound too brilliant, but it beats all black! And my yoga mat is emerald. I like your phrase “the playful years.” This winter, I have been exploring playful Josef Frank prints in bright, clear colors, mainly in sofa pillows, but look forward to adding more tops in clear colors — like your pretty blue sweater. Thanks so much for all you do to make us more creative and open to new possibilities.

  • Reply
    February 28, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    Brenda – the way you styled your floral silk scarf was the perfect teaser for warmer Spring weather. It really is a great way to transition between the seasons. I can’t wait to see how you style it for the Summer!

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