25 In Styling Tips

Up close: Two arty friends and their effortless style

Blogging friends Sandra, Elizabeth, and Cindy

Arty blogging friends who met and fell in love


I think you’ve already met my blogging friends. This picture of us was taken near the end of May. Oh, seeing them again in this photo makes me want to give them all a hug! Anyway, yesterday I called Sandra (in black and white polka dots) and Cindy (in turmeric linen over all black) and quizzed them about style and how they styled the outfits they wore that day so I could tell you all about it. Sandra Sallin, is an artist extraordinaire from Beverly Hills, CA and my buddy Cindy Hattersley from Monterey County is an interior designer.

They both have must-read blogs.

Sandra’s blog is Apart from My Art, obsessions of an artist obsessed. Cindy’s blog is Rough Luxe Lifestyle.

Our other buddies, Elizabeth Kirkpatrick (Miss Tall in green) and Mary Ann Pickett (who had to dash before this photo was taken as Paris was calling her) are from the Bay Area. Unfortunately we don’t get to see each other often as a group because of the physical distance between us. It’s amazing how I met them all for the first time a year ago and feel today like I could count on them for anything! That’s how friends are.


My blogging buddies

Elizabeth, Cindy, Me, Sandra, Mary Ann last year when I first met them


Staying with our “lunch at Neiman Marcus” theme we met for lunch but in Walnut Creek. Both Mary Ann and Elizabeth had to leave early but I got to hang out with Sandra and Cindy a little longer.


Cindy Hattersley and Sandra Sallin

Love the style of Cindy and Sandra


Cindy up close

As I was talking to Cindy, we chatted first about her interior design business. I was listening and said, “Wow, you really ‘wear’ your brand.”

Here’s how her interior design work has been described: “Her layered, curated look comes from the pairing of high and low, the imperfect and the worn, and the antique and modern for a fresh take on tradition.”

She said, “I really do like to dress the same way I decorate. I like mixing in vintage pieces. I don’t do anything shiny. I like patina, tarnished metals, and lots of texture. It ties into my Rough Luxe.”

She only wears linen shirts and linen dresses in the summer. It’s very hot in her part of California. The tunic she’s wearing comes from Tancredi & Morgen, a must-visit store in Carmel.


Cindy Hattersley

Cindy’s personal style is much like her design business


When you listen to her talk about where she finds her fashion and accessories you can absolutely see the designer in her at work, the one who’s willing to hunt down the treasures that are just right. Tancredi & Morgan sells home decor, one of a kind pillows made from vintage fabric, and select clothes and accessories. In other words, it’s not Macy’s!

She loves vintage accessories like her horn bracelets as well as contemporary pieces like her necklace. This bracelet bundle includes vintage pieces she purchased from eBay except for the black wooden orbit bracelet that came from Cost Plus. (High/low, vintage/new.) She also buys clothes and jewelry from Etsy. Talk about a savvy shopper! Her style is very organic, artistic, and luxe. “Texture is what I love in design. I’ll always choose texture over pattern.”


Horn vintage bracelets

A mix of high and low, vintage and contemporary


She only started wearing glasses full-time a year ago. Her tortoise frames are by Warby Parker.

One more thing about Cindy. Her hair has been going gray for about six or seven years. It was really dark brown, almost black. She’d be at the hairdressers every three weeks getting a color fix. One day her daughter said, “Your hair looks like a frizzled mess.” Against every hairdressers advice (they thought it would be an awful shade of gray), she did stopped coloring it. Can you believe that beautiful head of hair? Oh my gosh! She’s 63. She gets oodles of compliments. Indeed!

Sandra up close

Sitting next to Sandra at lunch, I kept studying how she accessorized her polka dot tunic. It was unexpected and I was coming up with why I thought it worked so well.

I loved the juxtaposition of the warm-toned brooch with the cool black and white dots. The colors in her brooch make the polka dots pop and vice versa. I loved how the colors in her tortoise-framed glasses and the colors in her brooch were talking to each other. And I particularly swooned over her nothing earrings. I talk about how necessary nothing earrings are when wearing something necklaces. In my mind Sandra’s wearing a something brooch and her nothing earrings are beautiful on their own but don’t take attention away from the brilliance of the brooch. They just slide right in there, completing her look without being demanding.


Sandra Sallin wears her mother's brooch

Sandra charms with her sparkly vintage brooch


I explained my theory to Sandra and she said, “I didn’t even think about it! I dress by the seat of my pants. It’s all about trying it on and saying oh that looks good. It was an intuitive decision.”

Well of course! She’s an artist!

You’re going to love the story of her brooch. Her husband is a filmmaker and producer. In fact, Sandra met him when she was a Hollywood actress. She writes a lot about those years and her family and how her mother played cards with a woman whose son, Dustin Hoffman, was a fledgling young actor. She writes breezily about her friends like Carol Brunett and being on set with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. You know, stuff like that!

So you’ll understand that she and her husband were cleaning out a room in their home getting ready to turn it into a room to show films. In a giveaway pile in a corner she found boxes containing this brooch and others. She’d set them aside to give to grandkids when she adopted the idea that wearing brooches would make her look older.


Antique brooch

An unexpected pairing that hits the mark


She told me, “What was I thinking that this gray-haired woman was going to look old if she wore brooches? Who am I fooling? I’m 77. Screw it, I am old.”

We had a giggle.

She said, “I’m kind of shocked that I’m 77. I have friends in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. I don’t think of myself as being invisible. I think I’m bolder now and freer. I want to look good as opposed to young.”


Elizabeth, Brenda, Sandra, Cindy

Blogging friends are the best friends


She’s a big fan of the Tokyo tunic-dress. (Just type in Tokyo tunic into Google and they’ll pop up.) She said she’s constantly doing a search for them. She has them in different colors and prints and enjoys wearing them over leggings. It’s almost like her uniform. “I put it on and it looks good. It’s always fun to wear. It’s like a man wearing a different colored polo shirt every day.” Simple.

She said, “I think I’m going to get more brooches and crazy frames.” She can easily pull off a dynamic, unexpected look.

I wanted to know about her nothing earring. She didn’t call it that. She just knew she “needed an earring that’s there but doesn’t draw attention to itself.” These earrings are by Ted Muehling. His work is at August in Los Angeles. She said, “They mean something to me but no one says, Oh I love those earrings, I have to have them. The artist actually worked with his hands to make these. They aren’t machine made. They are hand sanded, hand carved, hand worked.” Can’t you just feel the love from one artist to another?

Both Cindy and Sandra have a clear sense of what works well on them. They have a love affair with their carefully chosen accessories. They do such a beautiful job of just being themselves. They’re comfortable in their own skin and in the clothes they wear. How divine is that?

There will be another post or two when you’ll hear more about Mary Ann Pickett, interior designer from San Francisco, whose blog is called Classic Casual Home. And my friend Elizabeth Kirkpatrick who is La Contessa and blogs about fashion, gardens, Italians, antiques, food and so much more on her website called the Vintage Contessa.

Like my arty friends, do you have certain styles or combos that are your uniform? Do you have a curated jewelry collection that spells out Y-O-U? How do you put it together? Can’t wait to hear your secrets.


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  • Reply
    June 13, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Love this post. I know Cindy and Mary Ann via blogging and you are so right Cindy’s attire does project her design aesthetics beautifully. I love others in texture and always admire that look. I’m just a preppy gal to the core and I too dress like I decorate my home. Funny how that works. Sandra is a fascinating woman and I love reading about her. Always enjoy your thought provoking post. Thank you so much.

    • Reply
      June 26, 2018 at 7:24 pm

      You’re so welcome, Kathysue!! Just love these ladies and glad you know them too through their blogs. Mary Ann is the closest probably to being a preppy gal. The wonderful about studying style and studying other people’s style is that I come to appreciate them all! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Sandra Sallin-Apart From My Art
    June 13, 2018 at 11:36 pm

    Wow! I love it. Brenda, thank you so much for featuring Cindy and myself on your blog. What a lovely thing to do. Funny as I was reading about Cindy, I realized we had tortoise shell glasses from the same place, we both wear those Tokyo dresses and what color hair do we both have? Small world and we came together in it. I so love our get togethers. We need days not hours. So much to gab about. You are a constant delight to read. Your eye for details amazes me. Your a good and true friend and a delightful writer. Always a treat to read you writing and observations. Thank you dear friend.

  • Reply
    Kathy Little
    June 14, 2018 at 4:38 am

    I’ve been following your blog for a few months now and have loved it! One thing I’ve noticed about you….. you’re very “generous”! You champion women — you promote them — it never seems to be “just about you”! But it really feels like you want to help us all become a better “us”! I love how you shared your friends and were such a cheerleader for who they are. I’ve now bought a couple of your books and have really enjoyed them and enjoyed how you not only craft style but you have a real gift for crafting WORDS! Thanks….. from Tennessee!

    • Reply
      June 26, 2018 at 7:21 pm

      Kathy! You have put into words what’s in my heart. Yes, yes, yes, that is exactly how I feel. I’m glad you have the books. It’s so funny, I was looking something up in one of them yesterday and cracked myself up! It’s been awhile since I’ve read them and it was just fun. I LOVE my readers. I always feel like they are in my heart. As you are. So happy you said what you said. Really made my day!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2018 at 5:33 am

    I love hearing about your friends, Brenda!! And exactly what Sandra says “I think I’m bolder now and freer. I want to look good as opposed to young.” I think that’s such a fun place to be. When we were younger, it was all about dressing like each other and looking the part—but now we have freedoms and experiences!!! It’s almost a relief!!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2018 at 7:24 am

    OH, I ADORE this write up…………..you all look dolled up for SPRING and I am ready for WINTER!I met SANDRA first……and we CONNECTED over jewelry!We both enjoy ANGELA CAPUTI which most people have never heard about!She has had a FASCINATING LIFE and is still going STRONG!Cindy,I connected with over two years ago as she asked me to be apart of her Design series on making a BED!I was TERRIFIED!!!!!!!Here we are now doing an AGELESS STYLE SERIES once a month together!!!What a FUN DOWN TO EARTH WOMAN WHO HAS STYLE COMING OUT HER PINKY!!!!!!!MARYANN,IS A JOY AND LIVES ABOUT 20 MINUTES FROM ME NO TRAFFIC!!!!!SHE MOVED NORTH FROM MY OLD STOMPING GROUNDS IN Southern California AND I RECALL READING HER BLOG THINKING……..”OH, BOY THIS WILL BE A HARD TRANSITION!”I THINK I WAS COMPLETELY WRONG!NOW WHAT WAS YOUR QUESTION BRENDA?
    YES and YES………I tend to wear long flowing pants and dresses to cover my legs and always a FLAT SHOE!NO HEELS EVER!
    The jewelry has to be GRANDE!If it’s NOT GRANDE enough I add another piece like my rings I tend to STACK them all on one finger which I refer to as THE ENCRUSTED LOOK…………to make it a BOLD STATEMENT.I’m not a BOLD person but I like color and something to LOOK at on people!
    Beautiful write up on TWO WOMEN I ADORE!

    • Reply
      June 26, 2018 at 7:28 pm

      It’s so fun to read about you and the ladies who I can now call my friends! It’s funny to hear you say you’re not a bold person. I need to get to know you better! I can’t wait. Can’t wait for our next get together!

  • Reply
    Nancy Molstad
    June 14, 2018 at 8:11 am

    I enjoyed meeting all of you via Brenda’s blog. I recently retired and am reworking my life and my looks. I wondered how artists dress, and now I’m so inspired by your spirits and styles that perhaps I’ll find that joie de vivre within myself.

    Keep on being beautiful!

  • Reply
    Diana Amato
    June 14, 2018 at 10:00 am

    I am very Happy to read this post this morning. I have had the most wonderful pleasure of meeting Sandra and Elizabeth over the past year. I love the way Sandra’s beautiful personality always compliments what she is wearing and accessorizing! She is a Dynamo! I cannot wait to someday meet the rest of you! Keep up the Beauty and Spread it Wide!

    • Reply
      June 26, 2018 at 7:29 pm

      We’ll do our best! I can’t wait to meet you too, Diana. It’s a small world after all. xx

  • Reply
    June 14, 2018 at 10:30 am

    The genuine friendship of your group fairly leaps of the page! How blessed you are to have such wonderful friends to support you and encourage you in your awesome sense of fashion. The women look wonderful in the leggings. I have had two full knee replacements and am totally embarrassed by my ugly swollen knees which are currently as good as they will get. Can you recommend a brand of leggings that are not too constrictiing.?I am 5’7” and love the look of tunics and legging l on my currently overweight body. At age 74. Many days I get discourage, but when your blog comes along, my day is suddenly brightened amd I mentally run through how your ideas would work for me. Please keep your fashion, your explanation of your choices, and your wisdom coming – love them.

    • Reply
      June 26, 2018 at 7:33 pm

      I’m happy to hear you’re playing with my ideas and hoping you’re finding some that are just right for you. Yes, oh yes, the changes our bodies go through! I think J.Jill has good leggings. Artful Home has leggings too that I’ve heard are great. I would just be sure to not buy them tight. When I’m shopping with my clients I go to the size that’s not skin tight. I think leggings look best when there’s some easy, not baggy of course, but so they look like your cells are breathing underneath. You can totally rock the leggings and tunic look! Your knees will be happy and so will your mind! When you focus on fashion that’s working for you, you won’t focus on the parts that are challenging, like your knees which I hope feel a whole lot better now. xx

  • Reply
    June 14, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Hi Brenda!
    Well this was fun to read! I follow all of these ladies’ blogs and on Instagram, and was lucky enough to have the pleasure to meet and spend time with Elizabeth at her first Instagram luncheon. We are now in touch fairly regularly, and I just love her style and her warmth. If the others are anything at all like her, I know they are great! It’s terrific that you have all become friends in real life! Funny how social media can transform our lives in so many ways, but I like it best when it brings people together face to face!
    I admire the casual yet elegant way all four of you dress, something I aspire to. And I enjoy your writing! You always have such a positive vibe and nice things to share – about clothing, people you find interesting, special memories, tips on staying centered – all kinds of things I find interesting, too.! I love seeing an email announcing your newest posts, they make my mornings!
    Xo Heidi

  • Reply
    Trinnie q
    June 14, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    Hi Brenda, yes, all of the above, especially about your generosity about your friends and their style. How inspiring, all of you ! My go to, in winter which it is here currently, is a layering of light wool under tees, and a colourful , either patterned or plain long sleeve shirt, with a wool cardigan , or vee neck light jumper. Then black, white or navy jeans or trousers, and various booties. Add an assortment of scarves and jewellery, and I am done . It is a lot of fun mixing and matching all of this. Sending love to you from Oz x

  • Reply
    June 14, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    What a great group of stylish and vibrant women that you are lucky to call friends. I live in NYC and my uniform of choice is a variety of slim jeans, fitted tops and interesting jackets which I highlight with bold and interesting jewelry. I look forward to the next installment about your fabulous friends.

    • Reply
      June 15, 2018 at 6:37 pm

      Rebecca, I can picture your look. So classic and lots of possible variety too. I sure do hope to write more about them! I’ll be seeing Sandra at her home in LA in July. I’m sure we’ll have fun!

  • Reply
    June 17, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Brenda, I know don’t Mary Ann, but I adore Sandra, was invited to lunch at the Contessa’s home last month, and Cindy profiled me on her blog this spring. How wonderful you’re all able to get together from time to time. I used to have a very tailored, Armani work style, but since I started my website, I’ve been having fun, finding a new style which included flat shoes only. As I said on this week’s Fashion Friday post, the monthly trips to NYC I used to take influenced me to buy more black, introduced me to designer, Rick Owens’s, clothes, and I bought a pair of black leather pants. While I still like black, I’m craving color. The last few fashion posts have featured plum and a soft pink… a color I never saw myself wearing! You didn’t tell us about what you’re wearing in these photos. I love your monochromatic look, and please tell me about your gorgeous blouse. “The Other Brenda”

    • Reply
      June 21, 2018 at 2:53 pm

      Hello other Brenda! I adore you already! I have been asked about my look so will address that soon. You know what? I was supposed to be at that gathering! I would have met you! Darn! Instead I was with a friend who was retiring from 35 years as a nurse at SFGH and wanted me to spend the day with her. She knows how very much I appreciate her work there and how much her job has meant to her so I couldn’t say no. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to meet sometime. Best, Brenda

  • Reply
    June 18, 2018 at 8:27 am

    Ladies, your glasses are FABULOUS!!!!

    • Reply
      June 21, 2018 at 2:47 pm

      You caught that too! I agree!

  • Reply
    M. Evelyn Dunbar
    July 25, 2018 at 5:47 am

    Just finding your blog and loving it! I turned 50 last November and have been trying different styles and reworking my wardrobe into what I love and is comfy. I love hearing about you and your friends. It’s delightful and inspiring to read about confident women. It helps me feel more confident with what I am attempting to do.

    • Reply
      August 1, 2018 at 11:14 am

      I’m so happy to hear that about the confidence! We are all stronger and more confident together, aren’t we? Thanks for sharing. Enjoy those fifties!! Glad you’re here.

  • Reply
    Valerie Judy
    October 3, 2019 at 6:09 am

    Great site! I’m turning 60 and I love fashion, but I’m not really sure what I should be wearing at my age. But, because of your blog, I now feel more comfortable wearing some of the trendier styles!

    Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      October 17, 2019 at 11:00 am

      Wonderful, Valerie! You’re at the magic age where you can do whatever you want. It’s nice to have guidelines, but it truly is freeing. Glad you’re feeling more comfortable!

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