20 In Anatomy of an Outfit/ Styling Tips

Overcoming obstacles to getting dressed

Getting dressed often entails overcoming obstacles. You want to wear a white shirt, but your favorite one has a stain in front. You slip into your summer pants and they’re too tight at the waistline (oops). You search for your favorite gold and diamond ring and (horrors) can’t find it anywhere.

Are these scenarios made up? No, they are real.

Where does this leave you? You’re forced to think on your feet, rig up some alternative, get on with it and face the world.

Sometimes getting dressed is a challenge because you’re cranky

Not as problematic, but still an obstacle is this: Sometimes you face your closet and you’re cranky! For instance, I wanted to wear this blue Japanese top that’s semi-sheer, but I didn’t want to wear a camisole underneath it. I just didn’t feel like having something snug against my body. I could get over it, but I wasn’t about to.

I’ve worn this top before with the indigo shibori Dressori flowy pant that I wrote about earlier this week.

I wore the two pieces on the special occasion of my summer birthday. I wasn’t troubled that evening by wearing a navy cami underneath the top. It wasn’t a bother; it was simply the styling solution so no one at the dinner party could peer through and see the make and model of my bra.

Refusing to wear a cami

On this particular morning, I was not feeling the whole cami situation. I didn’t want anything snug against my middle.

Still wanting to wear the top but not wanting to wear the proper undergarment, I searched my closet for other solutions.

And then it came to me: Wear the top over my sleeveless navy crinkle dress.

My outfit needed a cami so a substituted a dress

dress worn as a skirt
I love crinkles, they never wrinkle!

I’ve had this dress and a jacket that goes with it for several years. You can see that the dress is more tightly pleated over the torso area and then the crinkles open up and get looser over the hips.

getting dressed in crinkle dress
The top of the dress is more fitted.

With the dress closer-fitting over the bust and waist, the Japanese top is going to skim right over it. The dress will block out the sheerness without being snug. My frown was starting to turn upside down.

The dress, which now looks like a skirt, is the support piece and the top is the star piece as I’d wanted.

Who’s happy now?

Bringing attention to my face

This outfit is about volume. I don’t want to do anything to mess with that silhouette, but I still would like to add a focal point that will bring attention to my face. That’s where my navy silk tassel sparkly beaded necklace comes in. The long pendant brings attention to the center of my body with that beautiful v-shape and the beads lead the eye back up to my face. The silk tassel, although you can’t see it very well, has a sheen that melds with the elegant fabrics in the top and dress.

I have to say I also love adding my Lucite bug bangle as well. It’s whimsical but refined in a funny sort of way.

getting dressed
Simple elegance is the theme of the accessories.
Uber Optics eyewear
Blue frames add to the blue story of my outfit.

Having my blue l.a.Eyeworks frames from Uber Optics was awfully fortunate, don’t you think? I love how this outfit is all about the blues.

Having my blue l.a.Eyeworks frames from Uber Optics was awfully fortunate, don’t you think? I love how this outfit is all about the blues.

getting dressed
Having fun with fashion.

An especially rewarding day is to have it start out a bit cranky and then breakthrough to be a day filled with fun and fashion adventures.

Tell us about your obstacles to getting dressed! I’m sure you’ve experienced one or two. Do share!


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  • Reply
    August 1, 2019 at 4:28 am

    Reading your blog these last couple of years has taught me something: to pre-organise an outfit it you’re going out on a special occasion. Even if you know which dress, get it out, hang it up on a hook, find the pantyhose, check for runs, find the jewellery, change the handbag the night before. Even doing this, there are still things that go wrong at the last minute – the hair won’t behave, the weather has changed and you have to change your outfit or find your coat. All this while the husband waits, huffing and puffing about being late. It’s anxiety provoking. And for a while, I stopped wanting to go out with my husband because I would get so anxious that something would go wrong, and I wouldn’t give myself enough time to start getting ready and have everything pulled out and ready to put on. Ok. We are going out together in 3 weeks time. I am mentally preparing myself and will do the practical preparation well in advance. Thank you Brenda. Xxxxx

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:24 pm

      You are so welcome. Would you be surprised to know that what you have in the past gone through before going out with your husband has been reason enough for women to call me and want my services? Once we’ve worked together, the husbands are so so happy! It’s a more common problem than you may think. I’m glad you’re sorting the solution out, TJ!

    • Reply
      August 22, 2019 at 2:11 pm

      TJ and Brenda, I need to take a lesson from TJ’s comment. I’m too quick to think I know just what I’m going to wear only to find… at the last minute… something is wrong that I can’t fix. Thanks for your comment. I’m making a mental note! Brenda Coffee

  • Reply
    August 1, 2019 at 8:05 am

    I do all the above but add the extra step of trying everything on day before right down to the lipstick.

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:21 pm

      I love the way your mind works, Roseanna!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2019 at 11:53 am

    Love your solution and love you in blue. New lipstick you must try Mabelline Super Stay Ink Crayon. It’s new. I bought three colors you and I love. Stays on, not drying, amazing!

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:20 pm

      You know what? You need to be our beauty ambassador. You always have great new ideas. I’m writing that down right now, Sandi. Yes, you know how much I love lipsticks!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    The top over the dress — an inspired idea! Opens new possibilities. Thanks.

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:19 pm

      Indeed, Mary. Hope it may prove to be a solution to you too someday.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    What a wonderful solution to your outfit dilemma! Each piece chosen works beautifully together. The blue glasses set off the whole look (lucky you had them!)

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:19 pm

      I know. I love how that worked out. And I agree about the blue glasses. So glad to have been talked into those by Nancy, owner of Uber Optics in Petaluma!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    Great idea! I’m going to keep that in mind.

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:18 pm


  • Reply
    August 1, 2019 at 10:50 pm

    When I have an hour of time to fill I go to my closet and plan outfits for those evenings I have to react quickly and without long thinking about what to wear; I write the solutions down, add a Beauty Bundle (or two, according my mood…) and have a stock of wonderful stressless dressing pieces – how relaxing this is!
    A new-bought piece starts at once the “motor” of combining existing parts (trousers, skirts, bags, jewellery) to this piece…

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:17 pm

      Doris, I love this! I know your comment will be inspiring others! It’s such a great idea.

  • Reply
    August 2, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    I can’t really function in the spur of the moment when it comes to getting dressed. I plan my work outfit the night before. Of course I may wake up not feeling like I want to wear what I selected (a fat day, a too tired to function day or something similar) but 99% of the time I still wear what I planned. My biggest obstacle is myself. I overthink and analyze things. So much so I doubt myself and allow those crazy “Jeez Louise you look bad” thoughts to take over. Instead if talking to myself I should probably see if my clothes will speak to me!

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:16 pm

      Oh, I love that! Instead of talking to yourself, listen to your clothes. Perfect! I’m a Jeez Louise person as well. It was fun to read those words! Do you ever wonder who the original Louise was? So many of us use her name! Good luck with listening to your clothes! Thanks for sharing, Kathy.

  • Reply
    August 3, 2019 at 11:05 am

    You inspired me to wear an open weave organic lace top (which has to be worn over something) with a green sleeveless jersey dress today. I’ve been cranky about my entire closet after an increase in sizes and this is the perfect solution. Thanks Brenda!!

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:13 pm

      I’m giving you a standing ovation, Sarah! There are countless reasons to get cranky about wardrobes but the one you name is probably the most popular. Been there, my friend! And will be there again, I’m sure!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2020 at 4:27 am

    Please tell me about your shoes……..all the time !

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