1 In Series

The Anatomy of an Outfit: Working the pleats

The pleats challenge

The pleats challenge

Sunday morning I woke up to a fashion challenge: wear something I haven’t worn.

Here’s the background. I have a soft pleated Carlisle skirt that I haven’t worn yet this year and I’ve wondered if I should consign it. The truth is, I don’t think I wore it last year either…or the year before. Pleated skirts are totally on my radar as they’re a big fashion trend for spring. I’m already scouring my clients’ closets for pleated skirts to make new outfits with. So why not take my own styling advice and wear a pleated skirt I already have in my own closet, right?

I also feel a little guilty about a Stella and Dot necklace I purchased last summer. It’s sparkly and I love sparkles. It worked with a summer outfit but that was then and summer is six months away. The cost-per-wear is still high. I need to wear it more often. I should find a way to wear it in January!

My destination for Sunday was Walnut Creek to meet with the Bellas, a trio of image consultant friends that have been meeting every month for over 13 years. The plan was to go to brunch and hang out together for a few hours. Before I thought about what to wear (I like to look nice for the Bellas), I decided to take on not one challenge, but two: wear the skirt and the necklace.

This Carlisle skirt has a lot of swish to it. It’s a crepe fabric (a viscose/poly blend) and I’ve just had a hard time figuring out what to pair it with. It’s a dusty chocolate brown color. I was wishing I’d picked up my white blouse from the cleaners because that might have been an easy choice but that wasn’t going to happen. I looked in my closet to see what I had in the white/ivory/light taupe color range. I chose an oatmeal-colored bias cut knit long-sleeved tee shirt by Brunello Cucinelli. I tucked it in and added one of my faithful Carlisle belts that married the two separates.

What to add as a third piece became the next project. And that’s where the AG jean jacket came to the rescue. When in doubt, wear a jean jacket. Jean jackets can stand on their own. They don’t have to match anything. Gosh, I love that about them so much!

These easy pieces created a simple background for the Stella and Dot neglected sparkly necklace. I added a pair of gun metal faceted bead drop earrings, my go-to taupe Calleen Cordero wide leather and metal cuff and a gunmetal arty ring my daughter, Erin, found for me. Oh, and the brown suede Aquatalia boots that I nearly gave away to Erin the week before because I didn’t seem to be wearing them either. (Can you tell I’m in a purging mood?)

In the end I had a comfortable Sunday outfit to wear to meet my Bellas and it was so much easier than I thought! I like the neutral colors of brown and oatmeal. All the fabrics were on the soft side but the accessories added the harder edges the outfit needed (belt, cuff, ring, necklace). It would have been a mistake to see this as a dressy necklace (my youngest daughter borrowed it to wear to a wedding). It blended with the colors I was wearing and became more of a textural element than anything. Finding a way to bring attention to the face is what I do when I’m styling outfits for my clients. Wearing this necklace just added a little somethin’-somethin’ to the outfit and made it Bella-worthy.

Like you, I don’t always wake up with the time and creativity to create something new out of what I have, but I’m glad I did this Sunday. I’ll wear this combo again!

You Might Also Like

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Michele Burgess
    January 21, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Brenda, you look beautiful and on-trend. Loved that you were wearing your Stella & Dot necklace and I’m relieved that it is not still in the box in a drawer. I hate to hear that my customers are not wearing their pieces and will always offer an exchange if I find this to be the case. The Kahlo looks amazing worn casual with the jean jacket! Thanks for your Stella & Dot shout out. michele

  • Leave a Reply