20 In Getting Dressed

Use a cluster of bracelets to adorn a bevy of outfits

Adding polish to an outfit

Polishing an outfit is easy when I reach for my cluster of go-to bracelets


When you hear the words “add polish to your outfit” do you get a little queasy? Uneasy? Like you wonder what that even means? Or why it’s important?

Well, I think I’ll go all fashion-psychology on you. I think it’s essential to add interest or polish to those two-to-four pieces of clothing you’re wearing because it’s what slows down the eye so your audience can engage with you. Your accessories are what makes it “better to see you with, my dear.”

Who’s your audience? It can be your husband, kids, the neighbors, co-workers, friends, or strangers on the street. Our jewelry pieces are wonderful little neon signs that say, “Hey, I’m interesting. You might want to get to know me. You might want to listen to what I have to say.” Jewelry has the power to do the flirting for you through movement, sparkle, interesting materials, eye-catching design. And when I mean flirting, I mean flirting with life; letting life know you’re here, right here in your spot on the planet where you are being you, radiant you.

Adding polish to an outfit is good for your well-being. The message “polish” sends is more useful and meaningful than you can realize. I won’t be discussing all those useful and meaningful ways right now because I bet you’d like to know how to add polish in an easy way. Well, done and done, I’m on it!


These individual items are flirty pieces I use to add polish to my outfits


A go-to stash of bracelets

My easy to mix and match go-to stash of bracelets in similar tones


I’m going to focus on items I wear on my wrist. I’ll be using my Calleen Cordero leather cuff, a gunmetal bangle with cutouts and tiny diamonds, a fringed metal and silk banded bracelet, a cluster of gunmetal bracelets that don’t come undone, and my stainless watch with a black face. By wearing one, two, or three of them at once, I add more and more impact to an outfit. In this case, because they’re all in a similar tone, I can add multiples without it seeming like too much.

As I’ve gotten older, I love to adorn the real estate right around my wrist area. It’s a perfect place to add attention because who doesn’t talk with their hands. Your wrist adornment gets noticed and does much of that flirting I was talking about. (This is especially good if you’re a shy person.) You don’t need to have bracelets running all the way up your elbow but if you do, awesome! I tend to focus on two to four inches of space width-wise.


Jewels that relate to your hair color

My wrist is covered in bracelets that relate to the color of my hair


When I get dressed in the morning, I tend to use what I feel like wearing. There isn’t any one right decision. They could all work.

On this day I wore the leather metallic cuff, the fringed banded bracelet and the bangles that link together. I liked how it filled in that space once I rolled my sleeve up.


Wrist adornment

Adding interest at the wrist


Another day I was wearing my Rag & Bone full cut pants and my high-l0w Chico’s blouse. Wearing my wrist jewels in these neutral charcoal and black colors makes such great magic with black and white. Notice that these bracelets have a relationship to my hair color.

I’m willing to invest in jewelry that repeats my hair color or hair highlights because I know I’ll wear them all the time. When in doubt, wear jewelry that repeats part of your coloring. It’s like adding texture to your outfit. Texture is good because texture is interesting.


Accessories that relate to my hair color

Black and white is alright with pewter colored accessories


On this day, I was wearing my double polka dots: my Chico’s polka dot jacket and my Kate Spade polka dot handbag iPad bag that I got for half price at Toss in San Anselmo. (One of my shoe peeps at Nordstrom thought it was a Kate Spade bag. I didn’t come up with that on my own!)

I wanted my jewelry to take some of the fun out of the polka dots. Polka dots can get a little carried away, like six-year-olds at a birthday party who eat way too many cupcakes. “Woo hoo!” say the dots.

So I wore my watch, my bangle with cutouts and diamonds and my cluster of gray bangles that stick together. It seemed like the right amount of wrist adornment to bring a bit of sophistication to the dots.


Wrist adornment

What time is it? Time to feed the chickens!


Don’t get me wrong! You know how much fun I like to have with clothes. But wouldn’t you agree that the wrist adornment does a good job of curbing the enthusiasm of the dots so you see the whole outfit and not just dots?


Polka dots and bracelets

Wrist adornment keeps dots from getting carried away


Are you ready to create a cluster of items that you can mix and match as you adorn your wrists? I’d love to hear your experience with adornment. I know we all would! Bring it on.

(A special note: No chickens were harmed in the taking of these photos.)

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  • Reply
    October 3, 2017 at 6:02 am

    Brenda, you look great in white! I’ve bought white button-up shirts in the past, but I put them on, feel off, then never wear them, and end up giving them back to thrift. My hair is very gray, almost white on the top, so I’d think the white would look good, but it does not, at least to me (white tees, long or short, are OK). A mystery!
    Anyway, you are inspiring me to wear my silver bracelets more often!

    P.S. I’d never heard of Layfayette pants, and I only buy clothes second-hand, for ethical reasons, but I’m visiting Vancouver to see my father & got out some khaki cotton, with a little bit of stretch, and a narrow leg, pants. Lo, and behold, they are Lafayette “Bleeker crop” (they fit me as regular pants). Synchronicity (but I bought them several months ago & trunked them for cooler days.

    • Reply
      October 3, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Oh I love how you discovered you have a Lafayette pant! I’m glad you’re inspired to wear your silver bracelets more. Don’t hesitate to layer them!

  • Reply
    Sonya Astridge
    October 3, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Hi, what is your style? Classic, sophisticated with an edge?

    • Reply
      October 3, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      It evolves, Sonya. I’d say these words/phrases are what guide me in getting dressed:

      Feminine, yet dynamic

      What about you?

  • Reply
    Margaret E. Murray
    October 3, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Tell us about those rings!

    • Reply
      October 3, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      Shucks, I should have done that!
      Well, there’s the one that’s big and sparkly that looks like a leaf that appears in some pics here. I bought it at an art faire.
      Another one I call my arty ring–it’s that odd shaped one. I got it at a consignment store.
      And you’re seeing a sparkly snake ring which I bought in the junior department of a store for probably under ten bucks.
      There’s one other ring that looks like a cigar band but it’s sparkly–also one of those very inexpensive rings but I love how it blends into the mix.

  • Reply
    Nancy K
    October 3, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    I never thought of my white hair being connected to my collection of silver jewelry. I’ve built it over the years, including a nice group bought on trips to India. I wear fewer colors than you do, but I’ve been adding red lately feeling the need to expand my black and gray. I need more white too. I like your black and white outfits; they really work. I’ve avoided white since I do tend to wear my food! But it’s very graphic, which I like.

    • Reply
      October 4, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      Oh that’s funny! We have a client that wears her food a lot! Red sounds like a great addition. And boy, is this ever the season for it! I’d check it out. In fact, I think I’ll check it out for myself as well. I’ve only been wearing red in lipsticks. It’s time to branch out. I’ll do it with you!

  • Reply
    Trinnie q
    October 3, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Oh hi there, once again, how beautiful and playful, yet sophisticated, all these outfits are Brenda. I don’t do much wrist adorning, but dunce finding your blog, I am experimenting more with this. I am not sure why I don’t. Maybe I have felt a bit shy of drawing attention to myself too much, and sometimes it’s just tooo hot here in summer!! But I open to change since discovering you. So happy for that! I so love how you write, your warmth, humour and sincerity, and grace, thanks for making my day! Wow, my fave is the polka dot outfit, and the gorgeous chook artwork. Living in the country, I have loved my chooks, though we don’t have any at present. My favourite was Veronica, sadly passed on, she would run u p to me when she saw me, and plonk herself on my knee for a cuddle. Anyway, I am digressing, but take care and thanks for the joy. Sending love from Oz .

    • Reply
      October 4, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      I totally love your digressing! How fun to get cuddles from a chicken! Heat can very much make you want to strip off accessories. I can relate to that. I will always totally encourage you to stretch outside of your comfort zone. Great things happen when we do!

  • Reply
    October 4, 2017 at 2:01 am

    Hi Brenda, do you have any tips for people who don’t like to wear things at the wrist? I work in an office and type all day, so although I love bangles etc I find them irritating to wear at work. Forearms aside, the rest of me is fair game for adornment.

    • Reply
      October 4, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      It is true, when I’m typing I take the moving bangles off however I do type with my cuffs. They stay put. I’ll have to think about this. There’s always the earlobe, fingers, or necks that can use adornment. I love when I see women wearing multiple rings. Their fingers are mini museums of interest.

  • Reply
    October 4, 2017 at 3:41 am

    Brenda, you are such an inspiration. Since finding your blog with all the wonderful pictures of your outfits, I have gotten more adventurous with the layering. I love how you have the two sets of necklaces at different lengths. I have realized my ‘sweet spot’ length and now will adjust to make the best length. As for the wrist, I would, before Brenda, usually only wear a max. of 2, but now I am empowered. You are such fun and have taught me that to dress for myself is the best. If it makes you happy, why not.

    • Reply
      October 4, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      You are speaking my language, Diane. I like that you feel more empowered. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!!! And amen to dressing to make yourself happy. Indeed.

  • Reply
    October 4, 2017 at 3:42 am

    You have been inspiring me to combine necklaces of similar tones to get a whole new look I now mix silver and gold together which was a no no when I was growing up. See what hangin with Brenda will do?! Obviously you help get me out of my rut, use what I have to it’s fullest and challenge me to be creative! So glad I found your blog!!!! I look forward to every post and what new adventure awaits in my closet!

    • Reply
      October 4, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      I’m so glad! Yes, there are rules to be broken and it’s fun to do it, isn’t it? I love helping people get out of ruts. I think it’s what I was put on earth to do. So happy to hear it’s working, Kathy!

  • Reply
    October 4, 2017 at 8:56 am

    I’ve tried to wear my bracelets, but I just can’t keep them on. I spend too much time writing, and they get in my way. I have a beautiful charm bracelet I’ve been collecting charms for for 45 years (ack), and I can’t even keep that on.

    • Reply
      October 4, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      Well, certainly, they aren’t for everybody. It’s only been in recent years that I took to them. But there are other areas to adorn! Ears, necks, fingers, tops of heads. Maybe there’s another spot that you can use.

  • Reply
    cindy hattersley
    October 4, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    I adore your posts. I learn something everytime I stop here. I love the advice about repeating your hair color…so true…I love the bracelet combo you are wearing and the necklace combo! Love it all!!

    • Reply
      October 4, 2017 at 8:47 pm

      Well, thank you dear Cindy! We need to get planning so I can visit you and your closet!

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