10 In Getting Dressed

Using necklaces to create magnetic focal points

A necklace adds interest to simple clothing pieces on Brenda Kinsel website

A necklace adds needed interest when wearing simple clothing pieces


The other day I was musing in my journal pages. I asked this question: What makes an outfit interesting?

Why strive for interesting?

“Interesting” catches attention, draws people in, gets you noticed. At my age, I feel an exuberant drive to show up in the world, to have presence. I don’t ever want to play into the image of an older woman fading away and becoming invisible. I’ve been an unwavering advocate for women 40, 50, 60, and 70 to express themselves, to be radiant to joyful in their outfits. It’s good for our personal self-esteem and it’s good for society as a whole to see women glowing in their own style spotlight.


Focal points create the way into an outfit

One of the techniques I use every single day with myself and my clients is creating focal points. An outfit needs a focal point. It stimulates the message you’re sending with your outfit. It radiates energy and creates interest. It allows an outsider to enjoy the whole outfit you created. A focal point can lead to lots of “You look great” comments which is also wonderful for our self-esteem, right?

If like me, you have a wardrobe of mostly great basics as opposed to a closet full of novelty items, accessories are essential tools for creating the focal point your outfit needs.


Necklaces make great focal points

Whether it’s a necklace that has some volume to it already, just as it is, or you create your own “necklace” by clustering a few of them together, it’s the perfect tool to create interest in you and your outfit.


Use necklaces to bring attention to the face

A necklace brings attention to the face


In the group of three necklaces above, the blue group is actually made up of three necklaces which I hugged together when I fastened them in the back of my neck. I wanted them to look like one necklace. The other two necklaces (the orange and clay colored one and the one full of floral clusters made of metal) came that way. They are masterful at creating interest. (Thank you beautiful necklaces!)



Multiple necklaces create a focal point on Brenda Kinsel website

Wear multiple necklaces to create a definite focal point.



Sometimes I have to cluster necklaces to get a strong enough focal point. In the outfits above a single necklace wouldn’t have been enough. Because I didn’t have one grand necklace that worked with the leopard print dress I created a focal point and interest by using a few necklaces that related to one another. I created a three-tiered group that shared two main colors: gold and black. They are different in scale. I put the largest one in the middle and flanked it on either side with the finer ones. They all have shine and luster which helps give more design weight and presence to the group. I’d never combined these before but I really like the effect.

The necklaces on the white cutout blouse have color and metal in common: silver tones (including gunmetal) and white (wood beads on one and pearls on one). They are all about the same length and they all have pendant drops. I’ve clustered them near the nape of my neck. I like how they rest on the white top inside the “V” shape created by the jacket which buttons right under the bustline. I don’t care that they are falling on top of one another. It’s part of the messy necklace look that is so popular right now.

Okay, dear friends! Would you share how you use necklaces to create interest in your outfits? I’m all ears!




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  • Reply
    Lisa White
    July 6, 2016 at 6:21 am

    Beautiful necklaces! They surround and highlight your portrait and act like a magnet to draw attention up to your face. Yes, interesting. Interesting is a word I like and I hope when people see me they are interested in talking/working with me. I enjoy creating an interesting “story” with my outfits. You have created fabulous looks that pique interest and suggests you are a woman with an interesting story to tell. Perfect

    • Reply
      July 6, 2016 at 9:38 am

      I love how you’ve added to this discussion. When I wrote that sentence in my journal about wearing something interesting, I figured I’d be exploring that sentence for a while. I love the idea of creating an “interesting story” through our clothing. Perhaps it incorporates our history, our passions, even reflection. I believe we are in a phase of our lives where it’s the right time to share our stories, don’t you think? Thanks for sharing your wisdom and insights, Lisa!

  • Reply
    Sew Ruthie
    July 6, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    I love my necklaces but sometimes they do not have the interest to create a meaningful focal point. Thanks for the suggestions about putting multiple similar ones together to give that impact and focus. I shall give it a try.
    To keep my necklaces from getting tangled I have large cork pin boards painted cream and nailed to the wall. I then use pushpins used to hang each necklace individually. They are arranged by colour so I can pick whatever works with today’s outfit.

    • Reply
      July 6, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      I love the way you’re storing them. I store mine on a hanger in the closet that is made for ties. I put my necklaces on the different “tie” hooks.
      I hope you do give it a try and let me know. I think “more” could be the answer!

  • Reply
    July 8, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I collect and covet statement necklaces and often build my outfits around them! All too often women say to me, “I love it but I couldn’t pull it off like that” or “I don’t know how to wear them”. The assumption, I think, is that only bold or daring women can wear large accessories. Others tell me that they are afraid of looking silly or “doing it wrong”. Most often, my response is along the lines of “If you wear something bold, like a big necklace (or red shoes or a bright scarf) all people will see is a woman with confidence to wear it and wish they could too! I hardly think people will think it looks weird, and if they do, so what?”

    • Reply
      July 11, 2016 at 10:17 am

      Your comment should be in a textbook for dressing. I have been one of those people who thought something would be too bold for me: like hot orange lipstick, or super sparkly statement necklaces, or orange pants. And once I tried it and got comfortable with it, it made me think of other things I might try. Right now with how casual everything is I think people are afraid of “standing out” at all. I believe otherwise. It’s pleasing to others when we wear things that spark a not of joy, beauty, interest, curiosity. Thanks so very much for your points, Tarilyn!

  • Reply
    Barbara Kraus
    July 9, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    I think you posted previously about combining necklaces? I’ve been doing that, and having lots of fun. This week I doubled up an awkward length necklace and it brought sparkle up by my face. And I combined three very different pearl necklaces.
    This past winter I used scarves to bring attention to my face.

    • Reply
      July 11, 2016 at 10:19 am

      It sounds like you are having fun with this! And yes, Barbara, anything that brings sparkle to our faces is a good thing in my book. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2020 at 4:50 am

    I love your style Brenda. I am turning 55 this year and working to upgrade my style by following your recommendations. I love all your accessories but I am conscious of wearing them as I don’t usually accessorize. How would you advice some one who is accessories-shy to start accessorizing?

    • Reply
      January 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm

      Shari, I think I’d just start with one thing. A scarf, one thin bangle, or a handbag that has some detail to it. Look for details that appeal to you or a metal color. Start small! I realize not everyone wears accessories but they sure do add a lot of style and polish to an outfit. I wish we were together and I’d give you some help!

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