16 In Getting Dressed

Roundup of Fashion Feats and Surprising Hits

Brenda in black and red

Sitting on this side of the New Year


Did you ring in the New Year in style? Or in your pajamas? As usual, I was in bed well before midnight having happily consumed two episodes of the new season of The Crown. Don’t tell me what happens! You may have already watched it but I’ve been holding back. I’ve been saving them up and trying not to read about them either. I decided I’d download episodes and watch them while I’m in Minnesota. And I’m glad I did. I’m not leaving this warm building if I can help it! Baby, it’s cold outside!

I’m enjoying doing a year-end review of my fashion life. Oh, the fun, the new combinations, the surprising hits! If there were misses, I’m either in denial, experiencing memory loss or I deleted the pictures!

Today I’m going to share my fashion experiments and the items that garnered the most attention. I’m sharing some fashion fixes, redesigns, and pieces that came back to life unexpectedly in the next post.

Both of today’s categories are unpredictable ones. I never know if the thing I’m experimenting with will be a bust or actually be a bonafide fashion feat. Likewise, I have no idea which clothing items people will end up responding to over others. Ready to dive in? Let’s go!

Fashion Feats

In the fashion dictionary in my head, I’d say the definition of fashion feat is doing something you’ve never seen done before or wearing something in a way that was not intended. When you accomplish a fashion feat, you feel fearless, quite clever, and have a grin on your face that can’t be explained. Here are three examples.

Triple Denim: The Devil Made Me Do It

I don’t know why it feels devilish to me to have created an outfit using not one, not two, but three pieces of denim at once. I felt like if I could make it happen, I’d be getting away with something. It’d be like when you’re in high school and you get dressed in an outfit you don’t want your mom to see it because she may tell you to go back to your room and change your clothes so you duck out of the house early. Or maybe, in this case, the homeroom teacher would say, “Brenda, you’re wearing three pieces of denim. That’s over the limit! Report to the principal’s office!” I’d straighten my shoulders and walk out of the classroom knowing that it was all worth it.


Wear three pieces of denim in the same outfit

Crossing the style finish line in triple denim


The three pieces of denim I used were my jeans, my jean jacket, and a sleeveless jean dress that I wore as a tunic over a T-shirt. I created a Beauty Bundle with the shades of brown in my booties, my belt, and the scarf I tied around my neck. I still love how much that scarf adds to this outfit.

Here’s the original post where I gave details about this fashion feat. Triple Denim, a New Record

A Man’s Tie Becomes a Woman’s Necessary Accessory

I loved this black and white checked blouse I bought. Having been exposed to a fashion season of very flouncy blouses which seemed impractical to me (how do you eat soup with sleeve details floating beyond your fingertips?) I was determined to find a blouse with modified flounce. I did! This one had a boxy body and the sleeves were finished off with two rows of ruffles.


Work outfits

Going to work in my classic-with-a-twist outfit


When I went to style it I was actually a bit stumped. It looked too plain. It needed a little somethin’ somethin’. But what was it? I studied this for a while. I tried belting it with traditional belts but that didn’t look right. Then I got the idea to use my dad’s tie as a belt.

I did a happy dance when I got this to work. The mix of black and white prints is one small feat right there. The fact that it’s a man’s tie and not a belt is a fun feat. But the fact that I’ve seen Dad wear this tie so handsomely and now I’m wearing it handsomely gives me the added bonus of sentimentality. That’s a win/win/win.


Wearing a man's tie as a belt

Dad’s tie is perfect with this outfit.


Here’s the full post about using Dad’s tie to give a modern twist to a classic work outfit.

Using my iPad bag as a handbag

Now you may not think of this one as a fashion feat but I do believe it deserves to get an honorable mention.


iPad becomes a handbag

This bag used to carry my iPad. Now it’s my regular handbag!


I got lots of compliments wearing this “bag” with the leather tassel with my outfits. I even wore it with my black and white polka dot jacket! Double dots are fun! But I have to admit that when someone who works in Nordstrom complimented my on my handbag and asked, “Is it Kate Spade?”, I got that fashion feat grin on my face. I’d fooled someone. Of course, I told her the truth. The bag I used to carry my iPad around in has been retired and now is only being used as a handbag.


iPad bag as handbag

Mixing my dots

The items in my closet that earned the most compliments

I have the capacity to love all kinds of clothing items. Nothing comes into my closet unless everything about it says yes, yes, yes. So with a closet full of yeses, I get dressed and feel good in each and every outfit because I’m wearing things I love.

While I don’t play favorites, the public casts unsolicited votes on the items they especially like. Strangers, friends, and family expressed appreciation out loud whenever I wore these three jackets.

The Chico’s Tribal Jacket

My most complimented jacket was this Chico’s Tribal jacket. I wore it often to see different clients. Once we were down in Los Gatos to spend two days with a client. We spent the night and went to breakfast the next morning at our favorite French bakery. They make the best quiches! A tall young man standing in line ahead of us turned around and started complimenting me on the jacket. Erin said, “This happens to her all the time.”


Chico's tribal jacket

The Tribal jacket from Chico’s was the #1 fan favorite


I wore it in summer and in fall. Here I’m wearing one of my J.Crew Tippi sweaters under it for added warmth. I’m giving it a short vacation until maybe February or March and then I’ll bring it out again.

My Dries van Noten jacket purchased at a consignment store in Santa Fe

My daughters are proud owners of a consignment store so when I spotted one in Santa Fe I thought of them and had to check it out. I bought it and wore it that night and the compliments started coming.

This jacket is a crowd favorite. And it’s a favorite for me because of the amazing print. It reminds me of many scenes in Nature: water, sky, rich earth, plants, and animals. I’m a girl from a farm in North Dakota so this resonates with me so strongly! There’s something about wearing this jacket that makes me feel like I’m home.


Dries van Noten jacket

People fall for this print just like I did


The Misook Multi Topstitch Jacket

Misook invited me to try one of their jackets. I picked this one. When it arrived I pulled it out of the box, slipped it on and Russ said, “Great jacket!” When I styled it and wore it the first time I got compliments from the coffee guy, the restaurant guy, my daughter, and a client. It continues to garner attention.

It’s quite traditional looking, right? I don’t think of myself this way but boy, it feels so right!


Misook jacket

Swooning over this traditional looking but modern jacket


For details about how I styled two of these fan favorites, here are the original posts about The Chico’s Tribal Jacket and the Misook Multi Topstitch Jacket.

Will you share? Tell me about your personal favorites or fan favorites from this year. These items deserve some love and appreciation from all of us!




You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    January 2, 2018 at 3:28 am

    I wish you had included your paisley pants and your yellow vintage coat. I do believe a round of applause is due those two items and a curtain call!!! These two hit my top 10 list. I think the reason is that they were unexpected and colorful! I think you did a wonderful job this year!
    I don’t have fashion fans but I do have groupies (family). I don’t really remember getting a compliment this year on any outfit I wore. So my challenge this year is to move out of my comfort zone and engage in a fashion feat!! Game on!!! Have a good week Brenda!!!

    • Reply
      January 2, 2018 at 5:29 pm

      Great memory. I will say I paused at both of those outfits. I love how you remember them! Stick around; I know you’ll get more fashion feat ideas here and from the community. I love your plan for the year.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2018 at 4:43 am

    I absolutely adore your style and ability to add accessories that I would not think of. I am a collector of jackets, so I am swooning over all of them, but especially the Dries van Roton. The white blouse you are wearing, do you know where you got it? Thank you for your inspiration to experiment with new styles. Also, im curious, about how tall you are? I am 5’3″ and feel like we may be similar in height and proportions.

    • Reply
      January 2, 2018 at 5:28 pm

      That blouse is a Chico’s blouse. I have one in cotton and one in linen that are both great under jackets. I’m 5’5″. Thanks for the shout out for that jacket!

  • Reply
    Diane de St. Germain
    January 2, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    My favorite didn’t make the list, the hard to style black, orange and tan jacket. I love everything about that jacket, how you found it, how you styled it and how you look in it!

    • Reply
      January 2, 2018 at 5:25 pm

      Wow! Well, I looked at that and considered it. That outfit says, “Thanks for remembering me!”

  • Reply
    Nicole K
    January 2, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    What a great way to start the New Year! I can’t think of an outfit of yours that I didn’t love as well as the way you write about choices. Always so thoughtful and thought provoking. Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply
      January 9, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      Really, my pleasure Nicole. So happy you enjoy them!

  • Reply
    Sandra Sallin-Apart From My Art
    January 2, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    Oh, I love that Dries jacket. What a find. But to be honest, I love you in all your clothes. You really get it together. Maybe you should do this as a living? ( joke) I love the way you look and the way you write about it. You’re just top drawer! Happy New Year. Oh, I took your advice and bought those lantern pants from Artfulhome. Love the style.

    • Reply
      January 9, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      I really saw that pant on you!! So glad you got it. And thanks for your kind words. Meeting you in 2017 was a real highlight. You rock my world!

  • Reply
    January 3, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    I second Kathy, I love those paisley pants! So happy and stylish and different. Happy 2018 Brenda, looking forward to what you wear and write next.

    • Reply
      January 9, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks so much. I’m curious myself about what I’ll wear and write about next. I always feel like change is afoot when the new year rolls around. We’ll have to see! Thanks for your readership!

  • Reply
    Trinnie q
    January 3, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    Hi Brenda, I am down the coast with limited Wi fi, but so happy to get a chance look at your New 2018 posts! May it be a wonderful year for you and the Community. Love , love all your creative outfits, and photos and backdrops!! Keep on inspiring us , please! Sending much love fro Portland, South West Coast of Victoria, Australia xxxx

    • Reply
      January 9, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      And sending love back to you, Trinnie, from Sonoma!

  • Reply
    Katherine Cramer
    January 5, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    I’m on board with most everything you create. Looking back at 2017, I especially love the black and white emphasis (gingham blouse with sleeves peeking out of a black jacket and your polka dots) since I gravitate to black and white combinations. I love your blue water color dress and navy dot dress for the ways to style them. Your wine color handbag was inspirational. Your creative use of brooches and links to personal meaning. Your Griffin coat/dress and animal print beret . Dogwood print coat as an homage to Nature and your many nods to comfortable shoes. Most memorable is your warmth and courage to share your Self. I am looking forward to 2018 and the Bundles of Brenda.

    • Reply
      January 9, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      Katherine, I’m melted on the floor. You’re so kind. Thank you for your keen eye and your thoughtfulness. Bundles of Brenda. That is the best! It’s my pleasure and it’s nice to have it be appreciated!

    Leave a Reply