9 In Getting Dressed/ Series

The upside down cardigan trick

I recently found a watery print silk dress on sale at Robindra Unsworth in Petaluma. Half-price. I couldn’t pass it up. Not because of the sale price but because I loved it and could imagine wearing it immediately!


A sale tip

A caution about purchasing things on sale seems relevant at this moment. I believe every woman needs to slow things down when looking at a rack that says 50% off. Breathe. There’s a natural adrenalin that kicks in when perusing sale racks. Take time to answer a few questions like:

Can I wear it tomorrow?

Is this like something I already own?

Would I purchase it at full price?

When you see something you love and adore and you’d like to wear it first thing tomorrow and it’s on sale, well that’s when it’s safe to purchase sale items. I only bring this up because in my 30 years of working in peoples’ closets I’ve seen a lot of great sale items with the tags still on them: never used. That’s not a bargain.


Worth full price mantra on Brenda Kinsel website

From my book 40 over 40, remember you’re worth full price!


Turning this dress into an outfit was harder than I thought

But that’s not what I planned to talk about. I planned to talk about a solution I came up with in order to wear this dress and be comfortable in it. It was tougher than I expected it to be.

This dress that I love so much–slinky, dreamy, yummy colors–needed a third piece. Sounds easy, right?

The third piece could be:

  1. A jacket. I tried every one I had. Even a jean jacket wasn’t right, which I thought would work for sure.
  2. A silk, sheer shrug with long sleeves. Yup, tried that and it was pretty good. I liked it alright. But I knew there was a better solution.

I almost started asking myself, What was I thinking?


Wearing a cardigan and full pants with my tunic dress on Brenda Kinsel website

Teaming the dress with a long swing cardigan and full linen pants.


Wide pants helped

But then I got the idea to put a wide legged linen pant under the dress. The pants aren’t black, navy blue, or gray. They are sort of slate gray, blueish-grayish-something, a mystery color. They were perfect for my watery colored tunic dress.

Hmm. What could I wear with this dress and linen pant? I remembered a summer weight cardigan that I used to wear with these pants. It was blueish grayish as well. I didn’t wear it once last year and when I unpacked my summer clothes this year, I put it on probation. If I didn’t wear it this summer, it was going.

It was slinky like the dress. It hung longer at the side seams like my dress did. The cardigan was shadowing the lines of the dress. Boom! I had found a solution in my closet!


Left the house one way, came home another way

I left for work. First stop was to help a client with a problem top she had. She bought the top, loved the top (love is always important) but couldn’t find any solution for what to wear with the top. (Gee, this is sounding like my morning dilemma!)

We met at Nordstrom and the perfect solution nearly fell off the rack at us. It was a light blue, lightweight, DVF flared cotton pant. Sold.

As we were standing at the cash register, my trusted style guru, Mariam, commented on my outfit. “You always inspire me!”
she said. Of course, she ALWAYS inspires me! We giggle and enjoy our mutual fan club moment.


Turning a long cardigan into a short shrug by flipping it upside down on Brenda Kinsel website

Turning the cardigan upside down so it’s a shrug


Then somehow we get on the topic of cardigans and turning them upside down. She’s the one who first taught me this lesson. I’ve shared it with my clients. It’s such a fun trick. I demonstrated it to my client while the transaction was going on. I took off my cardigan, turned it upside down, and put it back on.

All three of us liked the upside down version best because of how it brings focus to the waist. The dress that was hard to dress now has two great partners: the right side up cardigan and the upside down shrug version.

You MUST try this in your closet or wow your friends with this tip. It doesn’t work with every cardigan but when it does, it’s fabulous!


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  • Reply
    August 12, 2016 at 5:39 am

    This is so amazing and I love that you are not afraid to layer and have fun with your looks. I have to try wearing the upside down version of the sweater good eye!


    • Reply
      August 12, 2016 at 9:07 am

      Thanks so much! Can’t wait to know how the upside down version goes for you!

  • Reply
    November 29, 2016 at 2:08 am

    Yes, this is great. I use to wear gardigans upside down for over 20 years now. As well as blouses with the backside on the front. But offcourse it depends on it’s shape.

    • Reply
      November 29, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      Love your adventurous spirit!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2017 at 5:50 am

    Will definitely try your tips!

  • Reply
    Laura Clow
    September 8, 2017 at 2:20 am

    What a totally fun idea! I’m going to try this and plan to be smiling all day while wearing upside down clothes!

    • Reply
      September 8, 2017 at 9:59 am

      It totally does put a smile on your face to be doing something so unexpected! Enjoy!

  • Reply
    April 5, 2018 at 11:12 am

    My mother used to say, “you can go broke ‘saving’ money!”

  • Reply
    May 24, 2018 at 7:31 am

    I never like to be less than positive but the first version looked like you were out in an old pair of Pj’s but then you did the upside down trick! I love your posts, always learn something. Thanks.

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