16 In Anatomy of an Outfit/ Women Now

What I Wore to My Daughter’s Birthday Brunch

party clothes

My daughter Caitlin’s birthday is on January 4th. I won’t lie. While she was growing up, it was hard to find the energy after the holidays to throw her a big birthday party.

Now my challenge as the mom of this adult is simply getting on her calendar. She has many friends and several celebrations.

A few years back the Kinsel girls started honoring her January birthday with brunch at a nice restaurant. Some champagne, ordering off a menu, dessert with a candle in it, and nothing to clean up. Now that’s a party!

Happy Birthday, Caitlin, 2019

I remember last year. I got to the Buckeye Roadhouse restaurant on the early side. It was raining. As soon as Caitlin opened the door, and she was glowing. A green hooded jacket with fur trim framed her face, her long blond hair tumbled out around her shoulders, her lips were bright red. She was radiant and pregnant. Would our tradition continue once the baby was here?

Finding a party dress from my closet

I made the reservation at the Buckeye Roadhouse for three babes and a baby. The next thing to do was to figure out what to wear.

I woke up that morning so ready to put an outfit together as I’d spent a week in jammies suffering from a bad cold.

Lafayette dress

This Lafayette 148 dress won my vote. The pattern of it reminds me of snow falling in the Midwest. In this next blurry closeup, it looks more like gusting snow, which for some reason, warms my heart. Growing up in North Dakota, winter was my favorite season.

Putting the outfit together

I slipped the dress on (the easy part) and then worked on the shoe situation. I have fewer shoes in my closet than any of you, unless you too have fussy feet, in which case we may be tied.

I could wear tall, flat riding boots. Too ominous. I could wear calf-high flat boots. Too casual. I could wear patent leather Chelsea boots. Too flashy.

I settled on my black suede ankle Aquatalia boot. What delights me about the distance between the top of the ankle boot and the hem of my dress is the hosiery I’m wearing.

Fishnets with dress
Fishnets and ankle boots with Lafayette 148 dress

I could have worn opaque black tights, but I wanted a lighter feel and these fishnets gave me exactly that.

Accessorizing my sheath dress

Some body shapes can wear sheath dresses so well. Mine’s not one of them. In order to make this sheath dress fit me better, I need to add a wide belt. This leather and faux fur Carlisle belt from years back does the trick.

Belting a dress
Adding a belt to my dress

Wearing my jean jacket over the dress

This dress is sleeveless, so I looked through my blazers and jackets for that needed second piece but I was uninspired. My jean jacket starting talking to me, though. It said, “Hey, Bee, check me out!” So I did. It had the right feel. It was a spunky solution for making a grownup dress look less serious. (“Thanks for speaking up, Jean Jacket!”)

Dressing down a dress

My jean jacket needed decorating. I thought about how my girls call me Mommyfoxy. And so far, my grandmother’s name is Grammafoxy. There was no decision to be made. I’d wear my red foxy pin, which was sent to me by my friend Suzanne in Australia.

I somehow knew Viv would like it. I was racking up pleasure points galore just thinking about wearing this outfit to the gathering. (For more on pleasure point dressing, check this out.)

A larger-scale necklace is my choice for the dress

chunky necklace with dress

This dress has all those dabs of white on it. It’s a pretty small print. I decided to decorate my neck with a large beaded necklace in shiny gray and black. I wanted my necklace to bring focus to my face while relating to the dress, and I loved the contrast in scale. Big shiny beads, tiny matte print.

I added simple, nothing earrings. “Nothing earrings” are very important when wearing bold necklaces. To read why statement/something necklaces need nothing earrings, check out this post.

I zeroed in on a faux fur foldover clutch in black and white. The texture was making me deliriously happy. Would Vivienne like it?

My pleasure is her pleasure

Guess who appreciated my accessory choices? Viv!

I arrived at the Buckeye Roadhouse ahead of time. As soon as Caitlin walked through the door, I reached out and took the baby. What did she go for? The foxy pin, of course!

Viv loves those touchy-feely board books. The big patch of texture from my bag kept her hands entertained for several minutes at the table.

During brunch, Viv ate her little morsels of things that looked like Fruit Loops but aren’t. She did have her eye on my salad though, as you can see.

Collecting new birthday memories

I think what I’ll remember about this birthday celebration is not what Caitlin was wearing, but what I was wearing. I had so much fun putting this outfit together, anticipating Viv playing with my accessories. I’ll remember the feeling of Baby Viv in my arms as we went on field trips around the restaurant. I’ll remember how this is the year family life changed forever. I will remember joy.

The Kinsel girls

What’s your most recent memory of an outfit? Is it associated with something that was happening that day? We all want to hear all about it!

Please share, dear friends!


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    January 16, 2020 at 5:33 am

    My most recent memory of an outfit occurred just the other day. We went out to dinner to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I wore a new coat that my husband insisted I buy. I had seen it in a Pendleton shop over Thanksgiving weekend in Jackson Hole. It is ivory wool with four stripes (black, red, yellow and green). I call it the Hudson Bay pattern but they call it the Glacier National park pattern. It is luxe but sporty, and I’ve been going with a sporty vibe lately. It was very expensive and I didn’t buy it. After Christmas my husband called me and told me it was on sale, he’s on their mailing list. I looked and said it’s still a little pricey but he said buy it, you have to get it. Isn’t that sweet? Anyway, at the restaurant a woman at a table I walked by said she loved my Hudson Bay coat! We’re going to Albuquerque/SANTA Fe next month and it will be perfect.

  • Reply
    cindy hattersley
    January 16, 2020 at 6:18 am

    You ladies are radiant! What beautiful daughters and a darling baby! I think my most recent memory would be your approval of the crazy outfit I wore to Mary Ann’s luncheon! We need to get together!

  • Reply
    Karen H.
    January 16, 2020 at 7:33 am

    All of you Kinsel girls are beautiful, and Viv resembles you Brenda! Looks like you had a fab birthday celebration. Happy New Year!

  • Reply
    January 16, 2020 at 8:15 am

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!I have been behind in my commenting here in COMPUTERLAND!
    Sorry to hear you have been under the weather……..
    I too will be a GRANNY end of APRIL!
    RAIN TODAY AND WIND……….stay inside!I am such a WUSS………..is that how you spell that word?When it comes to weather!

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Following Augustine
    January 16, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    My outfits the past few days have been all about staying warm! We’re in a deep freeze here in Alberta, Canada. In fact, I read yesterday that it was colder here than at either the North or South Pole! At -35 to -40ºC (-40º is where celsius and fahrenheit are the same), I’ve been happy to be able to stay home in jeans or leggings and warm, comfy sweaters! I love reading about how you put an outfit together!

  • Reply
    January 16, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    So much gorgeousness, so much joy. Thank you for sharing the joy and the love. I recently bought an interesting piece from one of my favourite Aussie brands, Country Road. It is a mesh kimono sleeve top in a chocolate colour, bought the short linen skirt in off white to pair with it. The mesh top is a loose design and needs a cami or singlet under it. The colour is different from what I usually wear, and I have worn it out 3 times with 3 different sets of friends (gosh I’m lucky!) and they all loved it on me, so I have been really wearing it a lot due to the compliments. I plan on wearing it again tomorrow for lunch with a friend. I loved this top so much, I bought it in apple green, peacock blue and navy as well. Now I can have the joy of working through the different colours, although, really, if I’d just bought the chocolate colour in the first place, I wouldn’t have bought the others as well. But they were on sale. Oh well. We are in the midst of a hot summer over 30c every day. No fires where I am in Brisbane, but my brother and his family had a near escape 2 weeks ago on the South Coast of NSW. Some fires are still burning. Ash and air particles are now the biggest worry, they can’t keep their homes clean because of the airborne ash. Our country is in mourning but support is rallying, I just hope it gets to the people who have lost everything. Even those who have not lost their homes have been impacted because so much of the countryside is just blackened. I know you had your own fires a couple of years ago. Blessings XXxxx

  • Reply
    January 16, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    I have a skirt with a similar pattern to your dress. I tell you, it is perfect camo for figure flaws. Too cold now for such things.

    You have the most joy of any blogger ever in dressing up. I like occasions, and I like clothes, but clothes do not bring me joy. Marie Kondo would probably have me throw them all away.

  • Reply
    January 16, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    Brenda I am so happy when I see your name in my inbox! I love your style both in fashion and your views on life. That little passage in this post where you talk about remembering the joy of walking that little sweetie around the restaurant…’I’ll remember joy’! That is just beautiful. Someday Viv will read that with tears of joy in her eyes. Your daughters are lovelyBTW. I am blessed with two sons and a grandson, a second grandchild will be making his way to us in March. Like you I take the greatest pleasure in my grandchild, his hilarious two year old personality has me laughing at every visit. .how much he reminds of his father and uncle at that age. I remember joy!
    My outfit memory is a little sad though. I lost my mother this fall at 92 years. As I thought of what I would wear to her funeral I considered several outfits. I wanted to wear something Mom would have liked so I chose a grey dress with large orangey-yellow roses splashed about ( trust me it is much more chic than it sounds!) my mom had complimented me on that dress several times so I knew she liked it. With it I wore my great grandmother’s gold locket and my mom’s late sister’s gold bracelet. In my purse I carried my grandmother’s sterling and Austrian crystal rosary. I felt like the women of my family were with me that day in spirit and that those loving spirits would in turn guide my mother home. To lift my mood and because that late fall day had turned unseasonably wet and cold in Toronto I chose my high black suede Aquatalia boots which are warm, waterproof and comfortable. My Mom had a large silk scarf that I chose to wear over my black coat. It had all her favourite fall colours in it. My Aunts and cousins complimented me on the outfit but more importantly my mom would have loved it and that’s all that mattered.

    • Reply
      January 18, 2020 at 2:59 pm

      Oh how lovely of you to be able to feel surrounded by the women in your family on such a challenging day. I wear my mothers diamond band every day and feel her with me always.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2020 at 8:28 am

    Delicious post! Love to all of you beautiful Kinsel gals from cold Fargo. PS Your outfit was inspirational to me. Loved, loved, loved it!

    • Reply
      January 21, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks, Sandi! Thinking about you in cold Fargo and sending warm hugs.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    I thought Viv would eventually work her way up to your necklace as babies always do! You all look so happy. I am happy for your family.

    • Reply
      January 21, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      Thank you so much, Phyllis. When I think about it, I don’t think she did go for the necklace. The foxy pin was most exciting for her!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2020 at 6:59 am

    Your outfit and your accessories are beautiful (especially baby Viv). You always weave such a lovely recounting of how you put your outfits together. You ability to write is a wonderful gift. I wore a lovely gold vest recently with a black fur collar and I decided to put a gold long sleeve tee under it. I added gold and black accessories and I really felt stylish! Oh I added a bold lip in true red which really brightened my face! That outfit made me feel visible, polished and put together. Since I’ve let my hair go gray I often feel invisible…like I lost my groove with dressing and makeup. I struggle with that and finding what works now.

    • Reply
      January 21, 2020 at 12:30 pm

      What you described doesn’t sound like struggling. You did it! The aim of mine is to help women “our” age to “feel visible, polished, and put together” and honey, you did it! It takes time to discover what colors will work with your “new” hair color. Maybe you could seek the help of an image consultant or a color consultant. It could provide a shortcut to discovering your best look. Kudos for the effort that paid off!

  • Reply
    Trinnie q
    January 30, 2020 at 1:13 am

    Four darling girls….glowing with the warmth of celebration and love ! How utterly beautiful. If I were there at another table in your roadhouse restaurant, I would secretly be glancing at your table all the time, mesmerized by the obvious joy and laughter, that seem to eminate from your faces., contagious ,in the best possible way ! Look at darling Viv, such a treasure..Thank you for the inspiration of your outfit. As always, I think strategically ahead, to the dominant season that will be coming soonish…Though currently hard to imagine, next season here in Oz, will be Autumn. i have been wondering what I could add to that wardrobe, as I need something to lift the outfits of long sleeve shirts ( button ups), and jeans/ trousers , cardigans, jumpers, and boots….Then I saw it ! Your jean jacket ! Perfect! I do have a lighter white denim one, but love the modern one you had on ,at this birthday brunch Brenda …..food for thought as usual ! Take care darlings ! May angels keep you safe..Sending love from Oz x

  • Leave a Reply