When I opened the front door and saw all the wisteria that had blanketed the front walk I knew it was a day for wearing a white jean outfit.
I love this time of year when the wisteria arbor above the front porch gets loaded with blooms. It happens every year at this time. With the front door open you can hear the bees buzzing. It’s the Tabernacle Choir of bees and they sing all day. Looking up and seeing the overhang of beauty and listening to the bees…well, it settles me and all is well with the world. This week we had heavy rains and many of the petals gave way.
Starting with wardrobe staples
Using the soft blanket of wisteria blooms as my outfit inspiration, I headed to my closet and pulled out my white Chico’s So Slimming Girlfriend Ankle jeans. It was fun to slip into these old friends!
It was chilly so I thought I’d wear my gray wool 3/4 sleeve J.Crew Tippi sweater. Two easy pieces, two hard-working wardrobe staples. I didn’t need a coat so I leaned into a denim jean jacket. I love the color of this one for right now (Ci Sono, purchased at TJMaxx). I have a lighter one and a brighter one, but this one felt like the right color value for the gray sweater and early April.
It’s not sandal weather for me yet. I need to schedule that pedicure before any toes of mine are prancing around in the open air. So what would I wear with my white jeans, gray sweater, and jean jacket? My beat up looking caramel-colored Lucky booties from a few years back. I like the lived in look of them and how they pull in the color of the buttonholes on my jacket.
I needed a scarf for around my neck. I don’t feel secure leaving the house without one. Not yet and almost never when it comes to Bay Area living. The wind picks up, it gets breezy in the Valley of the Moon or the fog can roll in. Having a scarf planned for every outfit whether it’s used or not is as necessary as choosing underwear. If I ever leave home without one, I regret it.
I went to look for my shorter scarves. I found one. It’s one I call Mother’s scarf but it’s really not hers. It came from SAX consignment store but it looks exactly like something I’d have found in her scarf drawer. Perfect, I thought. This goes great with my caramel booties.
Next stop: small handbag bin
Ever wonder how I store my handbags? I store them in bins like this one, labeled, and on the top shelf of my closet. Two different brown bags were on my mind. I rifled through the stack and pulled out a vintage one.
Excellent, I thought. I love this vintage bag and I love it with the scarf. But wait. Remember the bed of wisteria on the walkway? That was the starting point, this outfit’s inspiration. This combo was feeling heavier than the mood of the fallen wisteria. Soft beauty. That’s what I was after. This combo was pleasant enough and would be grand on another day but today was about soft beauty. And I’d missed the mark.
Back to the handbag bin
I went back to my small bag bin and took another look. There was the soft (like butter) woven leather shoulder bag.
Because of the lightness of this bag (in color and in mood) I’ve only worn it in spring/summer. It feels right with lighter weight fabrics. I have to be very careful about wearing it with denim jeans, however. The indigo dye rubs off on this soft leather. The backside of this bag shows some evidence of that. But I wasn’t wearing indigo jeans; I was wearing white ones. This was a possibility!
Do you know that I never wore this bag once last year? (Here’s how I used this bag two years ago in a modern work outfit.) As I pulled it off the pile of small bags I wondered how that was even possible. I ADORE this bag. It reminds me of my wearable art years when I created garments using Seminole Indian patchwork techniques. (Here’s an article about Seminole Indian garments if you’re interested.)
Those are really happy memories. I have a real soft spot for this soft bag.
I took off Mother’s scarf, put away the vintage handbag and slung this Caterina Lucchi bag over my shoulder. It was purchased at Robindra Unsworth in Petaluma. It molds to my hip. Now I needed a lighter colored scarf. The first one I found that fit the right mood was this apricot pashmina. It’s so soft to the touch and I love the soft color.
Was I closer to soft beauty now? Oh yes! This was exactly the feel I was after.
I searched through my bangle bins and pulled out three of them. I passed up my more thin bangles and went for some that had weight to them. It’s nothing I spent a lot of time on.
The caramel colored one related to my caramel booties. The angled vintage Lanvin creamy bangle had the light color. I liked it with the handbag. And the Alexis Bittar cuff with white, gold, and sparkles had a feminine feel. It went well with the soft beauty mood.
I was satisfied! Delighted, actually. I took my journal, the newspaper, and a book with me and headed to town. First I went to an exhibit called Barbie: Rescued & Reinvented at the Sonoma Community Center. That’s where I met the cutest cousins. We had a lovely little chat about our favorite Barbies.
Then I went and grabbed a seat at the bar at El Dorado Kitchen, had some lunch and read the paper. It was a lovely, soft way to spend the day. I came home a couple of hours later feeling refreshed and relaxed.
I love how an outfit can set the mood for the day.
How about you? Do you have outfits that help create just the right mood for you? I always say clothes are like puppy dogs; they just want to please you like crazy. What’s pleased you lately? Do share!
Sandi McdougallApril 9, 2018 at 4:29 pm
This outfit has given me inspired me (even though in Fargo it was 32 and we still have snow). I am going to try use your outfit as an example of how I can replicate it with my clothing. (Off white jeans, peach cashmere sweater, olive green jean jacket, beige boots) I so admire how you put things together with accessories and make it look effortless. Damn, I wish I had that talent!
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 11:09 am
Oh, I think you’ve got that talent too. After all, you’re the one that turned a ribbon on a present into a hair ornament for goodness sake! Give yourself the credit that’s much deserved! I love the sound of your outfit and look forward to the day when it’s warm enough in Fargo to wear it!
Your buddy, Brenda
KathyApril 9, 2018 at 5:45 pm
I felt the need to send a no nonsense message recently and opted for dark olive Camo pants (bought them, secretly was repelled and drawn to them at the same time so I hid them in my closet…what a wuss), a cream top, olive green jacket with an upturned collar and tan boots. I thought I looked like GI Jane on a casual Saturday…not looking for a battle but not afraid to engage if necessary. I got so many compliments (secretly I think they were afraid of me so they were being extra nice)! It’s now my superwoman outfit…..waiting to bolster my confidence as I set forth to protect womankind!
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 11:06 am
Oh Kathy, I LOVED reading about your outfit! Thanks for getting out there to protect womankind. I’m grateful. We’re all grateful. And I LOVE the details of your outfit. I’ve got a big smile on my face!
RobbiApril 10, 2018 at 4:46 am
Love the outfit! Great post! You inspire me!
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 11:05 am
Thanks, Robbi, I’m glad!
BeckyApril 10, 2018 at 5:23 am
Just discovered you and am binge-reading every blog post. I’m 67 on the outside and 27 on the inside with a strong design aesthetic. It was destiny that I found you!
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 11:05 am
Yay!!! Glad you found a tribe over here. Love your description of your age! Welcome, Becky!
Ramona PuckettApril 10, 2018 at 5:54 am
I love this! Thank you so much for sharing!
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 11:04 am
Lisa GoetzApril 10, 2018 at 6:00 am
Lovely outfit, it’s so hard to dress in our crazy Missouri weather. Never would have thought of Booties with white pants ! Adorable! Brand of pashmina? I like that the fringe is short. Sometimes I feel like the longer fringe takes away from the look. Thank you for your inspiration ❤️
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 11:04 am
I got this pashmina many moons ago at Nordstrom. I really don’t know the brand. They had a stack of them in different colors. I loved the addition of this to my wardrobe! It’s more a scarf than a shawl although it would be a great lightweight shawl for over a summer dress.
PatApril 10, 2018 at 6:42 am
You look stunning in the color of soft peach, Brenda! Softer colors never seem to work for me…..perhaps it’s the total mix that’s wrong…any suggestions?
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 10:57 am
Well, soft colors aren’t for everyone. But I do think your skin tone can give you an idea of a soft color to wear. Have the color relate to your skin tone and you’ll have one soft color for starters. You can mix that in with your other colors just to give some contrast and interest. Do you think that might work?
Faithfully yours, my friend,
Candice ConstasApril 10, 2018 at 7:06 am
Could you give us some pointers on how a jean jacket should fit? I’m never sure if it should be assumed that the jacket would ever be worn buttoned up. If it is, then, for me it seems too large. Where should the bottom of the jacket fall?
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 10:54 am
There’s variety in jean jackets just like there is variety in jeans. I’m noticing jean jackets are getting more oversized. I have jean jackets that I’d close and one’s that I wouldn’t close. I think you need to experiment and decide what you like for you. Many jean jackets fall just at the top of the hip. I like that in that you can wear sweaters or shirts underneath and let them hang longer than the jean jacket. Hope that helps, Candice!
Sharon OlsenApril 10, 2018 at 7:13 am
THANK YOU for walking us step by step through each option you chose including your lipstick color. Love this look—now if Winter would let go of Spring!
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 10:51 am
Just talked to my friend in Minnesota: 10 new inches of snow! From your lips to God’s ears. Bring on Spring!
RebeccaApril 10, 2018 at 7:14 am
I wish I had known you were at El Dorado Kitchen. I would have stopped to say, “Hello!” I live in Napa but was out walking in Sonoma…and didn’t look NEARLY as nice as you do. I will check out that Barbie exhibit next time I’m on your side of the mountain.
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 10:51 am
I wish you had too! When I go there I always eat in the bar area. Look for me!
MarjaApril 10, 2018 at 8:50 am
Ah in The Netherlands spring finally has come. I celebrate the moment I can wear again my leggings (just below the knee) with my skirts and dresses. No more panties or stockings (?) untill oktober!!! Yeah
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 10:49 am
I’m so happy for you too, Marja! I need to practice that look of below the knee leggings with skirts and dresses. I see it on others and love it. Maybe it will look good on me. Thanks for that image of you in spring!
Sandra Sallin-Apart From My ArtApril 10, 2018 at 8:59 am
I love that you’re wearing those beat up shoes. How cool. You always are an inspiration. The other day I celebrated getting rid of that boot on my foot by having lunch with old friends and wearing a fun gingham dress!
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 10:48 am
Oh gosh, so glad you’re back in matching shoes. Sending you a happy hug, my friend!
Cindy ScurryApril 10, 2018 at 1:35 pm
I love this outfit! I also loving hearing how you put it together! Yay for Spring!
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 10:47 am
Indeed, bring it on, we’re ready!
Georgett CumminsApril 10, 2018 at 3:14 pm
Brenda: Love your tips and encouragement (and white jeans) Was in the library and ran across your book ’40 over 40′ (picked it up again) Loved it then and even now it rings true. Thought I would ask: do you possibly have ‘7 for over 70’ Could use the tips there too. THX in advance
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 10:46 am
I have a little chuckle in my throat, Georgett. It would be divine to write another book. I guess I’m using my blog posts as “practice chapters” as I’m always thinking about women our age! I’m so very fond of that little book, 40 Over 40. I read chapters in it from time to time and yes, so much of it rings true all these years later! So happy you found it in your library! Long live libraries!
Norine LukerApril 11, 2018 at 6:55 am
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 10:41 am
Isn’t it fabulous? I fell so hard for this bag. This year I’m wearing it more!!
Kacky BucherApril 11, 2018 at 12:01 pm
I have just discovered your blog as your pins kept popping up on my Pinterest board and i had to find out who this chic woman was?! Love how you explain your thought process on outfits and I have been reading through all of your old blogs to help me pull together such fun yet sophisticated looks! i will be purchasing your books 🙂
BrendaApril 17, 2018 at 10:40 am
You’re a dear! So glad you swung over here to check out the blog. Welcome, welcome!