24 In Anatomy of an Outfit/ Shopping Tips/ Styling Tips

Part Two: Perham Beauty Bundle finishes a dress outfit

Beauty Bundle

My Beauty Bundle experiment at 125 Apparel in Perham, MN


You’ve been waiting patiently, and now it’s time for the big reveal: Outfit number two from the shopping trip at 125 Apparel in Perham, MN. That’s where I did something I’d never done before: I built a beauty bundle first (usually, I’m creating it last) and then created two outfits to use with that same beauty bundle.

Like I mentioned in part one, Build a Beauty Bundle and the Fab Jean Outfit Will Come, a beauty bundle is three or more items that go together, but it’s not an authentic beauty bundle until those three or more exact items are used in two or more outfits.

A Beauty Bundle is the thread that ties an outfit together. Most importantly, a Beauty Bundle is a shortcut to getting dressed.


Creating a Beauty Bundle

Beauty Bundle: A gathering of items that relate to each other and will complete several outfits


This Perham beauty bundle focuses on light, soft colors as you can see in the handbag, booties and tassel pendant. The scarf worked its way into the bundle once I got started.


Light colors define this Beauty Bundle

This Beauty Bundle focuses on light colors in the bag, booties, tassel pendant and scarf


The first outfit that used this beauty bundle was the jean outfit with shades of ivory. Remember how dreamy and feminine that outfit turned out to be? Do go back and check it out if you’ve forgotten, because we’re definitely changing gears!


Jean outfit

The first outfit turned into a feminine jean outfit


Let’s make an outfit with a dress

So what happens when I create a new outfit and start with a bold plaid multi-colored dress? Do you think the light-colored, soft beauty bundle will work with this bold print? You’re about to find out!


Plaid dress at 125 Apparel

This outfit will center around this bold-print dress


I took a look at the dress and decided it needed a legging. I’ve been curious about pairing dresses with leggings. I see it from afar and admire the look.

I love all the warm tones in the dress so I chose a chestnut brown legging. I thought briefly about pairing it with a jean, but it’s always tricky to put a knit fabric over a jean. So often the fly front and button closure  adds clutter under the knit and makes it lumpy and bumpy right there. If you were to wear a jean under this dress, I’d choose one that’s got a flat front, or I’d cheat and use a legging with jean details.


Adding a legging to a dress

Adding a smooth legging for under the dress


Our dress needs a jacket

I spied this collarless jean jacket.


Collarless jean jacket

I spy a novelty jean jacket


Take a look at this sleeve detail! The fiber artist in me loves all the stitching, the rows, and the texture. It’s hard for me to pass up anything that has rows. I think it’s a childhood thing.

Look at how that honey-colored row, outlined in bourbon, pops out. It relates to the colors in the dress. Don’t you just want to touch those pom poms?


Jean jacket with great attention to detail

Falling for decorative rows


That sleeve detail reminds me of the handiwork in a Chico’s jacket that got restyled this year. If I was wearing this denim jacket, I think I’d keep looking at my wrist, like I was checking my watch. In truth, I’d be admiring the rows of stitching.


Denim jacket and dress

Three pieces are ready for a Beauty Bundle


Bring on the Beauty Bundle!

It’s time to finish this outfit, and we’ll do it in record time. Since we already have the beauty bundle, it’ll take less than sixty seconds to finish this outfit.


Light-colored booties are fashionable

Adding the light-colored booties


I love the light-colored booties with this outfit. They’re a bit unexpected. We’ve been seeing lighter-colored shoes and booties this year; it feels fresh and modern.

And now we add the blush tassel necklace. See how the gold beaded wrapping on the necklace relates to the top-stitching in the jean jacket? Repeated design or color—the color in the top-stitching and the color in part of the necklace—can entertain my eye all day long. I love connections!


Making connections in an outfit

Note the relationship between bead detail and topstitching


The plaid scarf was such a fun surprise. The colors in the scarf are soft versions of the colors in the dress and denim jacket. Swoon. And now we have double plaids. Double swoon. The soft white shoulder bag just slides right in there. The scale of the plaid in the dress and scarf is another repeat.

The soft white leather handbag relates to the colors in the dress and scarf and brings a lightness to the outfit. A brown-colored bag would have worked, but it would have been the expected choice. I went with the unexpected one.


Who is the person wearing this outfit?

Well, let’s just daydream about that, okay? I think of the dress outfit as kicky and sassy. It wants to have fun!


Completing the outfit

Here come the other pieces of the Beauty Bundle


It feels like an outfit someone would wear who loves spending time with friends. She enjoys being in an action-packed bar or hip restaurant where the music makes everyone want to move. She understands the ingredient list on the specialty cocktail menu and can make a quick decision about what she wants to order. She’s quick on her feet. On a whim, she can rally her friends to go bowling. They’ll all follow her, put on those bowling shoes, throw some gutter balls, laugh, and have a blast.

This is someone I want to be around. I really like her. Everyone needs a friend like this.


My Perham shopping experiment comes to a close


Beauty Bundle

Thank you Beauty Bundle. Good job!


So here we are. Two outfits on the rack and one beauty bundle that connects them. It’s been a fun challenge to build the beauty bundle first and then the outfits. I’m not sure I’ll do it again. It took mental fortitude to do it this way. I suspect that mental activity could be likened to working Friday’s New York Times crossword puzzle. I don’t do them, but I understand the crossword puzzles get harder as the week goes on.

If you’re just getting used to the idea of beauty bundles, I’d start with the easier Monday version where you create an outfit and then finish it. If the pieces you used to finish that outfit could finish another one, you’ve got a beauty bundle!


Shopping is easy, finishing takes discipline

I believe shopping for clothes is fairly easy for most people. But finishing outfits can be challenging. Thinking about what completion would look like—even before you leave the store—is a good practice. It’s something that’s always on my mind when I’m shopping with clients: Is there anything we need to purchase right now, today, so you can wear this outfit tomorrow?

What’s your thought process when it comes to completing an outfit? Are you good at completing or do you need more help with it?

I hope I’ve inspired you to think of beauty bundles as your tool for putting your outfits together.

Happy beauty bundling, my friends!



PS Have you heard the term Minnesota Nice? It’s so popular, because it’s true. People are so nice there! Here’s an example: Lexy, the manager at 125 Apparel would like to offer you a 15% discount as a special gift for you. If you order online just use the code BRENDA15 at the checkout to get the lower price. Lexy, that’s so nice of you!

PPS The lovely photos are by Kristen McMartin from Perham. Thanks, Kristen!

Kristen McMartin Photography, #kmphoto #kmseniors #kmsports



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  • Reply
    Cathy D.
    November 26, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    Brenda, thanks so much for these two very interesting and useful posts. I have trouble building beauty bundles. I can get two items that go together well, but get stuck on the third piece. For example, my navy sneakers with orange trim and white soles and my navy, white and orange print scarf. These two items work with several different outfits, but that’s only two, not three pieces.

    Unbelievably I just thought of a possible third piece, something I already own. My pearl studs. They’re white and will look good with the sneakers and the scarf. Maybe I’m not a lost cause after all. Maybe I’ll try for a second beauty bundle.

    Thanks for all your help.

    • Reply
      November 27, 2018 at 7:19 am

      An orange bracelet is begging to be your friend. Maybe an orange nautical rope bracelet. IMHO

      • Reply
        November 27, 2018 at 9:57 am

        Love this idea!

      • Reply
        Katherine Cramer
        November 28, 2018 at 7:32 am

        My thoughts as well. I love orange as an accent piece.

        • Reply
          November 28, 2018 at 8:48 am

          When I look around my house, it’s clear how much I love orange. It’s even in the pouches I use in my purse. It’s fun to imagine that beauty bundle devoted to orange!

    • Reply
      November 27, 2018 at 10:00 am

      Yes, the pearls are a great idea. To be a beauty bundle, that third and/or fourth piece can relate to the others in color, feel, texture, or theme (modern, vintage, Victorian, etc.) Yes, do try a second one!

  • Reply
    November 27, 2018 at 4:16 am

    I love this! I’m a visual person and it helps to see this and say a hah! With your help, I can do this! Thank you!

    • Reply
      November 27, 2018 at 9:58 am

      Fabulous! I’ll keep on styling outfits and hoping there are more a-hah’s! Because you CAN do it!

  • Reply
    jodie filogomo
    November 27, 2018 at 5:34 am

    I think the softer colors compliment that darker dress so perfectly Brenda. It’s a great contrast and really finished it off so nicely.
    And even without the jacket, I think it’s perfect!!
    What a fun challenge!

    • Reply
      November 27, 2018 at 9:57 am

      I like the way you explained that! I agree! xo

  • Reply
    jackie parkinson
    November 27, 2018 at 8:01 am

    hi brenda been following you for a few months now.love all that you do.if you are ever in the uk you are more and welcome at my house.my wardrobe needs you jackie x

    • Reply
      November 27, 2018 at 9:57 am

      Thanks so much, Jackie!

  • Reply
    monique arends
    November 27, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Like the 2 outfits but not feeling the denim jacket. I would have paired it with either a suede or leather moto jacket.

    • Reply
      November 27, 2018 at 9:56 am

      LOVE your ideas! I didn’t have those item choices in the store but it would be perfect. I can see it! Maybe it would be at home in that person’s closet.

  • Reply
    November 27, 2018 at 10:54 am

    I love the outfit, would wear it right now! I often wear leggings with dresses and top them with a jean jacket… you’ve been such a good influence on me

    • Reply
      November 27, 2018 at 11:39 am

      Thanks, Lea! I want to try that look more for myself. Your words encourage me!

  • Reply
    November 27, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Hi Brenda
    I have been reading your posts for a few weeks now and find them really inspiring! Love the idea of beauty bundles and look forward to trying this idea myself. All the way from cold and wet Scotland, where inspiration at this time of year is particularly welcome.

    • Reply
      November 27, 2018 at 11:39 am

      Well then, I’m so happy to be sharing some inspiration right now! Welcome from Scotland.

  • Reply
    Gill Hall
    November 27, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    totally wonderful dress and I can see it with long chocolate boots and I long chocolate coats for really cold days. Add a caramel pashmina and a long string of pears I’d I’d be a very happy girl. I’ll have to wait til winter though. It’s a bit warm in Australia at the moment.

    • Reply
      November 27, 2018 at 5:19 pm

      Tuck this idea of yours in a safe place, Gill! So you remember! Love all your ideas.

  • Reply
    November 27, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Hi, Brenda
    I love watching you build an outfit! When I choose an outfit for the next day, I love to hang it up on the edge of my tiered hanger in my closet so that I can see how it’s going to look. Sometimes I get an even better overview of it if I stand back a little further to see how it works as a whole. I can hang a scarf or shawl over the shoulder of the top to see how it goes. But if I choose the jewelry at this time, it doesn’t always look the same when I put it on. Once I have the outfit on, a picture just pops into my mind about what accessory it needs. It’s like I have an artistic eye that can see what belongs in the composition. If I’m setting out my outfit and can’t figure out what accessories are best, I just decide to wait until I put it on. I enjoy the art of dressing. My inner child loves to play with it. Thanks for the beautiful pictures! 😀

    • Reply
      November 27, 2018 at 5:19 pm

      Isn’t that so true? Dressing can be so fun on many levels. I love “watching” how you get dressed! Thanks so much for sharing the details, Angie.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    My most creatively-dressed friends of all grown-up ages find their treasures primarily at the thrift stores here in Richmond, VA. Maybe they have one full-price piece in the mix, but most of the clothes and accessories are from a range of thrift stores. Do you do beauty-bundling at the thrift stores (not resale shops with designer items on consignment) in your home town? We have so many in RVA and they have a range of donated items from inexpensive stores and finer goods stores.

    Oh, and we have really great cake, cupcake and proper pie (sweet and savory) shops here, too! And coffee roasters!

    • Reply
      December 4, 2018 at 2:06 pm

      I’m coming to visit! I could probably make beauty bundles anywhere. I haven’t taken on that challenge of doing it at a thrift store but maybe I will. I’ll drive up to towns near and far and make beauty bundles all the way!

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