15 In Anatomy of an Outfit/ Getting Dressed

Wearing white jeans with a fall casual chic Wine Country outfit

fall fashion

Gearing up for fall


I’m pretty sure this white jean outfit is one I’ll never forget wearing. First of all, I was excited to take on the challenge of creating an outfit that looked more like fall than summer even though we were still steeped in warm weather here in Sonoma. Secondly, J.Jill had gifted me a great down quilted coat that I fell in love with instantly and was excited to wear. Thirdly, this is the outfit I was wearing on that Sunday night date night with Russ just hours before unusually high winds started howling, firetrucks began blaring their sirens, and the smell of smoke was overtaking the air. Yup, you guessed it: It was the beginning of the California firestorms that burned out of control over the next several days in beautiful Wine Country counties.

I’ll always be struck by the innocence we enjoyed that night. When Russ was taking these photos we were laughing and being silly. (This guy’s got the patience of someone working on Friday’s New York Times crossword puzzle.) I was happy to be the subject of his photographic skills as I was feeling smart and sassy about this outfit and getting excited about sharing it with you.

So much happened between then and now. You can read about our personal experiences with the fires here and here. But now I’m ready to share with you what you’re used to seeing on this blog: fashion solutions, shortcuts, and styling tips. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be launching into the details of this outfit! Let’s check it out.


This outfit started with white jeans

I started out wanting to pair two things together from different seasons: the cozy fall down quilted J.Jill coat and my white Chico’s jeans that I wore all summer. I was already giving myself props for breaking the “Don’t Wear White After Labor Day” rule. Even though I’ve protested against this rule for years it’s been in our fashion lexicon for decades. It pops up in our minds willy nilly even though we know better.

But it’s not just about breaking rules; it made sense to wear my white jeans now. We’re still having days where it hits 80-90 degrees in the afternoon hours. We’re asking ourselves, “Is it fall or is it still summer?” Please note I was wearing my white ankle jeans, not my white cropped jeans. I respect fall enough to at least stick to the longer length. I’d have given myself a fashion citation if I’d worn the cropped white jeans.

I still had to figure out how to turn my white jeans into a proper fall outfit. I thought color. I grabbed my burgundy J.Crew Tippi three-quarter sleeved sweater for the first time this season. It was nearly 6pm; it was cooling down a bit. This sweater is made from Merino wool but it’s lightweight. Perf. I loved loved the contrast of the white next to the burgundy, the summer next to the fall.


Cole Haan ankle booties

My spiffy Paul Green booties get their almost-premiere

Adding nougat booties and handbag

I could have worn sandals that night but I couldn’t have done that with a clear conscience. I mean it’s fall, folks! My outfit needed to act like that! I’d be comfortable wearing booties with my SmartWool Women’s Secret Sleuth Socks.

I’ve been wearing those sleuth socks all summer inside my sneakers. They’re perfect for booties right now while we can still bare our ankles and be comfortable. They cover my feet and help absorb moisture. They make my footwear more comfortable to wear for long hours.

I knew the boots I wanted to wear: my new Paul Green ankle booties in a color they call Nougat. What the heck is a Nougat? I didn’t know so I looked it up and it’s a candy that’s sweet and sounds delicious and is the color of Grade A maple syrup. Paul Green is a company that gives great cushion and support in their shoes. They get an A grade from me.

I had in mind to pair it with a fall bag of mine, a Botkier.


Fall handbag

Botkier bag comes out for fall


You’ve seen this one before. Could this be its third year in rotation? I think so! It’s a mix of leather and hide. It has an elegant casual look with its simple lines and design.


white jeans

Wearing my no-fuss crystal pendant for simplicity


Accessorizing this outfit for fall

I decided to cool off the sweet nougat color by sticking to cooler shades in my jewelry. I wore a textured gunmetal earring and a necklace that Erin helped me create. I’ve been wanting some bulky pendants. I’m not a delicate person and although I wouldn’t call myself bulky, I can wear larger scaled accessories especially if they’re the focal point.

I fell for a couple of large scale crystals when Erin and I were at a gem faire recently. In true daughter fashion, Erin said, “Are you getting all Goddess-y on me? Are you going to start reading Tarot cards?” “Well, no Darling, I just like them!” I said. Truth be told, I did feel like they could be great talismans representing feminine power.

She helped choose the chain to put with it and put it together for me two days later. Can I just say that I wore it every day for four days and got compliments each time? (So there!)


Adding a crystal pendant

Wearing my new crystal pendant


The contrast of the burgundy sweater and the white jeans was sharp and modern. I wanted just one piece to tie those two colors together and this pendant was perfect. To my delight the beads (and I don’t know what they’re called) are white/gray. I especially love how the beads echo the white of the jean.


Nougat colors for fall

Repeating colors with boots and bag in nougat


This outfit needs a fabulous coat!

I was aiming for a more fall looking outfit than a summer one and this lightweight J.Jill quilted knee length coat said, “I can do that for you, Brenda! Just watch!” Now my color happiness was peaking. The coat color is called peat but I’ll call it olive green. I loved the triangle of fall colors: burgundy, nougat, and olive green. And it all looked sharper by having the white jeans in place. I love how white calls attention to itself and then your eye goes from there and takes in all the beauty around it.



A fair amount of thought went into putting this outfit together and getting the elements just right but what I like most is that it doesn’t look that way. It’s simple. Each clothing item is simply designed. The bag and booties are simple but they look high quality and will last. They aren’t fast fashion. The jewelry pieces are unique but fairly quiet in their design. This is one of my favorite kind of looks: sophisticated casual with ease. I can’t wait to wear it again! By the looks of our temperatures, the warm weather isn’t leaving very fast. The white ankle jeans are sticking around!

What are style words that resonate with you? What do you want your clothes to say about you? As always, I LOVE hearing from you.

Blessings to you all!


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    October 24, 2017 at 5:43 am

    I love this outfit! Every single thing about it! It makes me want to run to the craft store and start making my own pendant, go find some white jeans, and get serious about finding booties that will work with my foot problems. Most of all, I love your haircut. I searched your site for some details about your hair but didn’t see much. Have you always worn it short like that? Do you just blow it toward the front? Hair products? I’d love to know.

    • Reply
      October 24, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Nancy, I never expected to get hair questions! I get it cut in Petaluma by Ruthie. I basically wash it and use my fingers to move my hair around while blow drying it. Then I use a texture styling creme to separate it a bit and add more texture. It’s as close to wash and dry as I can get!

  • Reply
    Cindy Berge
    October 24, 2017 at 7:12 am

    I like the outfit, but not the brown booties. They are too heavy looking for white jeans. I would have worn some brown flats or loafers. I do love the necklace!

    • Reply
      October 24, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks, Cindy!

  • Reply
    Cindy La Ferle
    October 24, 2017 at 11:19 am

    I love the way you put this outfit together, Brenda. The coat from J.Jill is wonderful (great color!) and looks so fresh with the white jeans. Can you tell us where you got the crystal necklace — or recommend something similar? I love it!! Thank you, and I am glad you remain safe.

    • Reply
      October 24, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      I bought the materials at a gem faire and my daughter Erin helped me assemble it. I’m getting more interested in simple jewelry to add to my collection so I made it myself (with a little help from EK!) Not sure where to find ones like this. I haven’t seen them in normal stores.

  • Reply
    Trinnie q
    October 24, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    How beautiful and poignant, thanks for sharing, the details and feeling of an enormous time capsule , in your life. Sending peace and love from O z x.

    • Reply
      October 24, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      Boy, you nailed it. That outfit goes in the time capsule, Trinnie! As always I appreciate receiving peace and love from Oz. Right back at you!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Style words right now would be quirky classic and chic casual…changes from time to time. Always with unusual jewellery. I love this time of year to get out the short boots again, have more than a dozen and love them. Yours look like my style, and I love them too. Good to know you are trying for normalcy again.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Style words would be relaxed, modern with a twist of mystery. Shaken not stirred if I were a martini. I like the coat, the boots and the crystal. Those theee elements make the outfit. I applaud the white jeans because you dared to break a rule!!! The secret rebel in me is pumping my fist! Go girl! Life’s short so stretch as far as you can each day!

  • Reply
    Carla J
    October 24, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    Brenda, love your outfit and style. I have great luck with Dansko booties for my problem feet. I feel uplifted reading your posts, they are helpful.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    All of those colors together are beautiful.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    As a nougat addict, I am astonished you had to look it up – seems in US that fabulous sweet (i.e. the “brown” nougat) is not as widespread as in good old Europe…It was invented in Turin (“Gianduja” is a person of the piemontese carnival) around 1850 and has the wonderful Piemontese hazelnuts, very fine ground, in a chocolate mass. Sometimes it comes in layers of lighter and darker colour (“Schichtnougat” in Germany). A delicious treat is when you take a bit of nougat on the tongue and let roll a sip of old Armagnac over it…Heavenly!

  • Reply
    Jenny Bolt
    November 11, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Do you hang or fold your tippi sweaters? Also do you wash them or dry clean?

    • Reply
      November 13, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      Hi Jenny, great question. I have hung them and I’ve folded them. Right now I’m back to hanging them. I dry clean them. And I LOVE them!

    Leave a Reply