13 In Getting Dressed/ Styling Tips

Twists and tips to styling shirts for the modern woman

Wearing a shirt and tie
My COS print shirt gets adorned by Dad’s print tie

Last week was both a short week and a styling shirts week for me. Coming off the long weekend, my work week started on Tuesday instead of Monday. Office Tuesday looks a little different with my office mate on maternity leave.

Caitlin’s taking care of Viv on Tuesdays instead of my business

I’m still trying to figure out what to do with myself until Caitlin comes back. I decided to gather up some work files and my computer, get dressed and head south to my alternate office/dream space/clubhouse called Twelve A. It’s a space I rented months back and promptly started tormenting myself with, “What the heck did I do that for?” questions. Things are starting to change on that front. I’m discovering the two places I’d like to spend time at include wherever my granddaughter Vivienne is or Twelve A, my intimate little studio space.

Styling my black and white trapeze shirt courtesy of a fantasy flashback

As I started to put my outfit together to head to Twelve A I got this fantasy in my head that I was a guy from the 60s putting on a shirt and tie and heading to the office with my briefcase full of very important files, ready to punch in my time card and get stuff done.

In the modern version of that fantasy, my white shirt was actually a crewneck white T-shirt. The shirt-suit jacket (which I popped the collar on) is a black and white small scale print in a trapeze style shirt by COS. Cropped and rolled AG jeans are my “slacks”. The necktie is actually my father’s tie which I’ve also used as a belt.

My black Rosa Mosa Oxfords with white laces look pretty darn businessy. I’m going to seal some deals today!

Office Tuesday work attire

A yellow shirt wants her way with the buttons

I peered into my closet and the bright yellow of my Banana Republic slinky blouse said, “Brenda, Brenda, wear me today!”

I complied and then started working on the rest of the details. Deciding on a column of white, I utilized that same white T-shirt I wore in my business fantasy outfit and paired it with my latest no-stain white ankle jeans from Chico’s. Thinking I might keep the blouse open and wear a long necklace in the center, I started going through some possible contenders.

Styling shirts with a twist

But n-o-o-o-o-o! Yellow Print Shirt had other ideas! It wanted to have buttons undone, like several buttons undone. It thought it would be sexy that way. “Honey,” I said, “there’s a white T-shirt underneath you that comes all the way up to the neck. I don’t think you’re going to achieve the look you want this way!”

“I don’t care,” said Yellow Print Shirt. “I want to be open, flyaway, flirty. Don’t button me all the way up!”

Well, okay then!

Yellow Print Shirt says, “I want to be free!”

I fiddled with which buttons to open and close. With two buttons open, the blouse created a long V shape that opened up near my hips. I have to admit, it was pretty spunky!

Adding my brooch-infested jean jacket and a lemon quartz necklace with a bee charm on it brought some delight.

Styling the polka dot shirt

My polka dot shirt was calling my name on Friday morning. I always stay in Sonoma on Friday just to avoid Friday traffic, but once again I felt Twelve A was where I needed to be.

Starting with my classic ladylike polka dot blouse, I added a lovely beaded necklace at the neck. Then I decided to wild things up by adding my ages old Dana Buchman leopard print coat–the first piece of leopard print I ever bought. My distressed caramel-colored Lucky booties (they kind of came that way) were my choice because of the warm tones blending with my blouse. It’s almost sandal weather but not quite. I did have some in the car just in case.

The tuck!

We’re all familiar with the thumb tuck, right? It’s where you essentially tuck shirt or T-shirt into your pant and give it a more casual, modern look. Well, the latest tuck has been around for a while. I’d never tried it but because it was Shirt Adventure Week, it seemed like the right time.

I’ve shied away from this half in/half out shirt tuck but it really is well suited to my proportions. I like how it gives you a long line (on one half) but is casual and relaxed on the tucked-in side.

Imagination Park in San Anselmo honors homegrown moviemaker George Lucas

Styling shirts in your closet?

Do you think you could go into your closet and look at your blouses or shirts and consider styling them in new ways? Please tell us what you’re doing with shirts these days!


P.S. Stay tuned. More adventures to come from Twelve A once I finish reading this book!

More adventures to come out of Twelve A

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  • Reply
    June 3, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    Welcome and hello, Viv. Can’t wait to see more of you.

    • Reply
      June 5, 2019 at 9:45 am

      And you shall!

  • Reply
    June 4, 2019 at 3:53 am

    It looks as though Caitlin is taking care of very important business on Tuesdays!!!! How adorable is that?! Your next employee in training will probably be joining you sooner than you think. How wonderful you have 12A. Sometimes that creative space is exactly what we need. Doing the same thing means we need to change things up episodically. Good for you. I haven’t done anything inspiring with my clothing lately (no half or full tuck included). However I love your pics and will be duplicating them with my own twist soon! Best Kathy

    • Reply
      June 5, 2019 at 9:49 am

      I love that you’ll be doing your own thing, Kathy! Can’t wait to hear more. It’s been a fascinating thing to create Twelve A (still in process) and the more I decide what I bring in and what I put where the more it is turning into that creative space. An electrician was there with me yesterday and he talked about it as an art studio (we’d only just met and he’d only just looked around) and my heart expanded inside! I think it’s going to be a good thing for me just like all my friends have been saying all along!

  • Reply
    Deborah Lilly
    June 4, 2019 at 7:21 am

    I love all three. In my mind I never would have put the polka dot blouse and leopard coat together. With the jeans and the boots, the whole outfit looks great! Thank you for the inspiration.

    • Reply
      June 5, 2019 at 9:50 am

      Deborah, true confession time. I NEVER would have put those two together either except that something made me do it that day. “Can I really do this?” I asked myself. And then myself just did it and walked out the door. It grew on me as the day went on. I’m not always this bold!!!

  • Reply
    Deborah Costa
    June 4, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Love all of the shirt ideas; very creative. When I was working in an office years ago, I had on my pin striped pants and a white blousy shirt-grabbed a tie from my husband’s side of the closet and the look was a winner! I love the denim jacket-need to get one and combine with some white tops for summer…

    Your space looks inviting…

    • Reply
      June 5, 2019 at 9:51 am

      I LOVE the outfit you put together for the office! It’s a winner in my mind when I look at that combo! Wearing it that day made me want to look for ties beyond my dad’s closet!

  • Reply
    Sandi Skalicky Mcdougall
    June 5, 2019 at 10:05 am

    At first I doubted the polka dot & leopard together but then it grew on me. I just need to wear my shirts instead of knit tops. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Reply
      June 5, 2019 at 10:19 am

      Well, that was a first for me to wear those two prints together. By the end of the day, they’d grown on me too. Being “different” feels more and more comfortable to me!

  • Reply
    June 10, 2019 at 9:21 am

    I Guess I MISSED THE BIRTH………….

  • Reply
    Trinnie q
    June 11, 2019 at 4:00 am

    That little Viv ( gorgeous name ) is the cutest accessory I have seen in years ! Also, how adorable are those outfits! The happy yellow shirt, white pants and denim jacket !!! And the spots and leopard print ! Magnificent!!! I love that you have your new creative space Brenda.. Newbeginnings all round. What a natural mother, your Darling daughter seems to be ! How beautiful ! Sending much love from Oz x

  • Reply
    Rosann lowry
    January 31, 2020 at 6:05 am

    Love your outfits. I write them in a notepad and when I need a new outfit to put together l go to to my pad.thank you.

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