30 In Getting Dressed

When aging makes you younger, your outfits need restyling

Outfits get updates on BrendaKinsel.com

This dress needed refreshing this year

 

Outfits get stagnant while style evolves. That’s why this year when I pulled out my watery blue-green silk print dress I knew the old way I wore it wasn’t going to work this year. I needed an update!

I remember how I wore this dress last year. I paired it with a gray swing cardigan and grayish wide leg linen pants. I added a glitzy necklace and thin bangles that climbed up one arm. I wore an Alexis Bittar cuff on the other arm. I carried my Calleen Cordero mushroom gray leather handbag. I remember being quite pleased with the outfit. I tracked down a photo to double check my memory.

When I look at that photo this year, it looks dreary to me. Nice. Not bad. But not quite the 2017 version of me. It needed a styling do-over.

 

How I styled this dress last year

This is how I wore my watery silk print dress last year

Aging has made me younger

I can’t explain it; I feel more youthful this year than last. I feel lighter, brighter. It could be circumstantial. I’m further away from the double loss I experienced when my brother and mother passed away. I don’t feel as heavy. In fact, the scale reflects a lighter version of me as well. I’m friendlier. My daughter Erin says I’ve always talked to strangers, but I don’t believe her. In one week’s time I’ve met three incredible women, strangers, and even though they don’t live near me, we’re excited about getting together when I visit their cities.

 

Enjoying this fresh way to wear my watery blue dress on BrendaKinsel.com

Wearing my watery print dress with white jeans this year

 

Styling my dress to be more current

Last year when I wore this dress I was self-conscious about the exposed neckline near my left breast. I got a lasting skin reaction after radiation treatment for breast cancer back in 2004. The radiation treatments left a pattern of redness on my chest about the size of my hand. If I could blow up the picture below you’d see it around the neckline of the dress. The glitzy necklace is supposed to keep your eye focused further up.

 

 

Worrying about the neckline on this dress on BrendaKinsel.com

Last year’s version of this outfit centered around my dress

 

A white tee solves my problem on BrendaKinsel.com

Using a white tee for coverup

 

This year I didn’t want to worry about that. So I got the idea to wear a very thin white T-shirt under the dress. This made it more casual so I kept going. I put on my Chico’s So-Slimming white jean and rolled the hem into a narrow double cuff.

I added my perforated  Caslon slip on sneakers from Nordstrom ($89). I love the layered flower petals with tiny pearls at the center of each one. I’m happy to wear them for comfort sake and delighted whenever I look down at my feet. “Too cute for words,” Mother would say. They were perfect for a busy day on my feet: a client appointment to make outfits in her closet and then off to do a shopping trip with a second client. I also brought my Eileen Fisher linen soft black jean jacket for an extra layer, which I needed for half of the day.

 

Adding new shoes to this updated outfit on BrendaKinsel.com

Enjoying my cheerful white shoes this year

 

I felt zippy and young. My outfit felt fresh and approachable. It’s easy to be friendly when your outfit starts conversations for you! I love this new way of wearing this yummy dress.

Practicing what I preach; outfits expire

I have a way of recording outfits for my clients using my Wardrobe Charts. Maybe you’ve used them too. You can learn about them here and download the charts I use. When I make outfits for my clients I document every single detail so they can create it again without even thinking. I keep these wardrobe charts in a binder to manage all their outfits.

At the top right of each individual chart (one chart can record five different outfits using the same bottom) I always write the date I made the outfit. I guarantee it for two years but after that I tell my clients, “By the time two years goes by you’ll have new shoes and accessories that I’ll want to use to update it. Fashion will have changed and I’ll have new styling ideas. Plus your style may have changed by then.”

If there’s a wardrobe chart in their binder that is 2014 or earlier, it gets tossed. In my case, I needed to refresh the way I wear this dress in one year’s time. Although I’m wearing the same handbag as last year, my necklace by my friends the Sol Sisters is new within the last 6 or 8 months. The shoes are new. The cuff is several years old. Jeans are maybe two years old. The tee shirt I’ve had for years and years.

So with a couple of newer purchases and a more buoyant heart, I’ve got an outfit that feels brand new.

Have you started styling your summer things in new ways? Tell me all about it!

 

 

You Might Also Like

30 Comments

  • Reply
    Cindy La Ferle
    June 6, 2017 at 5:04 am

    I really enjoyed this post — and you look wonderful in shades of blue, teal, and aqua! And I love the way you updated the dress, which is definitely a keeper. (It looks like an artisan piece.) I also liked the previous (past season) version of the outfit, but agree that your update is more youthful and flattering — the white jeans really make the dress/tunic pop! Also, I believe the slim jeans are more flattering with the flow-y top. I’m finding, for myself, that wide-legged pants look better if they are worn with a top that’s not too roomy.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      June 6, 2017 at 8:16 am

      Every once in a while I love the all flowing, all the time type of outfit. It’s graceful. But this rendition feels more me this year. And I guess that’s my main point. I always tell new clients that I want to style them for who they are right now, this year, this month, this day. Time changes everything, right? Thanks, Cindy!

  • Reply
    Pat
    June 6, 2017 at 6:00 am

    Oh, Brenda, thank you for the inspiration. I have two dresses I like to travel with, one short sleeve gray green, the other three quarter sleeve dark olive. I am going to find a way to wear these dresses at home, year round. Lighter accessories may be the key component during warmer months (as you discovered with white tee, white pants and shoes). White is too white for my coloring but there are lots of other options, sea glass, coral, creamy shell beads, humm!!

    Just remember, you are so unique and beautiful, no one looks at scars, etc., only at your
    warm, friendly, smile.

    A faithful fan,
    Pat

    • Reply
      Brenda
      June 6, 2017 at 8:20 am

      Thank you my dear faithful fan! I’m so glad you got inspiration about wearing those dresses in more ways! I actually thought about trying to play with tees that related to any of the multiple shades in this dress. But in the end, I went with a column of white (tee, jeans, shoes even) and put the dress over it. I do think it pops and you see the dress even more this way. In last year’s version, it all kind of blended. This has more contrast. I’m just thinking about this out loud right now. Enjoy those dresses!!!
      Faithfully yours,
      Brenda

  • Reply
    Susan B.
    June 6, 2017 at 6:41 am

    This post really resonated with me. I find myself wanting both a bit more lightness and structure in my wardrobe these days. I really like how you’ve re-styled the dress…you look wonderful!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      June 6, 2017 at 8:21 am

      Thanks so much, Susan! I think it’s so important to feel up to date with ourselves. Follow your fashion muse. Can’t wait to see how that plays out!

  • Reply
    Cathy D.
    June 6, 2017 at 8:37 am

    You look wonderful in the silk dress, jeans and sneakers. I think it’s the lightness of the colors and especially the sneakers that make the outfit look so different, and so youthful. Due to a foot accident, I now have to wear sneakers nearly all the time. This was a challenge at first and I had to fight against becoming depressed. I really had to work to create outfits that look good with sneakers. Now I have about 10 outfits that look even better with sneakers than with other shoes, outfits that look young. Before the accident, I only wore sneakers for sports, so this is a big improvement for a not-so-young woman who was stuck in a traditional and unflattering style rut.

    • Reply
      Pat
      June 6, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Cathy, I am so impressed with your determination and perseverance to make the changes you found necessary. How great that your loving the new looks! I too would like to incorporate some cute sneakers into my daily wardrobe. Would you please help me with a few descriptions of how you put your ensembles together, and why you liked them so much? I have been a classic, business dresser my whole life, now it’s time to have some fun with clothes
      Thanks so much for taking your time to help a style sister.
      Brenda’s faithful fan,
      Pat

      • Reply
        Cathy D.
        June 6, 2017 at 6:24 pm

        Pat, I’m so flattered that you’ve asked for my advice. Like you, I’ve worn business clothes for most of my life. Now that I’ve retired, the way I dress is fairly casual. I always wear pants, and find that I much prefer sneakers with ankle pants. Full length pants somehow don’t look right on me with sneakers, although full length ponte leggings and slim jeans (rolled or not) look fine. I also don’t wear a lot of jewelry and like bags that aren’t too structured or formal. My favorite outfit is navy, navy crepe ankle pants and linen knit tee, both from Eileen Fisher. With these pieces, I wear my navy and orange New Balance sneakers and a navy and white scarf with with a touch of orange. I wear simple stud earrings (pearls or diamonds) and little other jewelry. I’m looking for a navy backpack that’s not too large, but in the meantime am making do with my black Tumi tote. Sometimes I substitute my black and silver New Balance sneakers. These accessories work with white crepe ankle pants, a navy v-neck Eileen Fisher sweater, and several other navy or white pieces in my wardrobe. The trick is to make the sneakers look like an important part of the outfit, not just something that poor me has to wear to be able to walk comfortably. Hope this helps.
        Cathy

        • Reply
          Pat
          June 7, 2017 at 5:58 am

          Thank you, Cathy, for taking the time to share your style and head me in the right direction. I love your combination of navy, white and orange, but alas, these are not my colors. Your description helped me breakdown my clothing and color style, thanks so much. Looking in my closet I see teal, olive green, Coral, cream, khaki, (you get the point) I think I’ll start looking for sneakers in bronze, burnished gold, copper, etc. I found your description of pant lengths to be ever so helpful. This may have helped me to discard a look as not working when all it needed was an ankle tweek.

          Thank you again for your thoughtfulness.

          Brenda’s faithful fan, now yours too,
          Pat

          • Brenda
            June 7, 2017 at 11:35 am

            Just a footnote to all this great advice. I took some pants in this spring to be shortened because of wearing sneakers. I inched them up a bit to show my ankle. What a great difference. The pants are so well made and it was a shame to not be using them. I ditto what you’re saying about Cathy’s advice!

        • Reply
          Brenda
          June 7, 2017 at 11:27 am

          Love seeing all of this, Cathy! Thanks for sharing!

      • Reply
        Brenda
        June 7, 2017 at 11:25 am

        Loving this style sister exchange!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      June 7, 2017 at 11:24 am

      Isn’t that amazing when circumstances we didn’t invite force us into new things that we actually like better? I love this! It’s so inspirational, Cathy!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    June 6, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Love your posts Brenda as we are very similar body shapes, and possibly style essence (I describe myself as Tidily Creative). I know what works for you will probably work for me. And I love using funky accessories to update an outfit. Welcome back to lightness. x

    • Reply
      Brenda
      June 7, 2017 at 11:25 am

      I LOVE your style words. Just the best. You’re right, I’m not a messy creative, more a tailored creative. Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

  • Reply
    Laurice Gilbert
    June 6, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Another great post. I so look forward to morning emails that tell me there’s a new Brenda to read. It sets me up for the day, even though we’re in different seasons. it’s got cold here, and styling multiple layers that include woollen sweaters is a challenge, but your inspiration means I never give up trying to look and feel great. I’ve just realised I’ve put my sweater on inside out this morning, so an instant improvement coming up! Thanks for everything you do for us, Brenda.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      June 7, 2017 at 11:23 am

      Oh, I’m having a giggling fit! Yes, turning the sweater around will be an improvement! I love your enthusiasm about my blog posts and so glad you’re finding value even on the other side of the world! Big hugs to you, Laurice!

  • Reply
    Rose
    June 6, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Hi Brenda–I love the styling of this dress and I agree with others that it seems to pop against the white jeans. It definely looks more youthful and up-to-date. The sneakers are so cute. Just wondering if they’re comfortable and light weight? Did you find they run true to size? The Nordstrom website states they run small and to order the next size up, but yet a reviewer states they ran wide. Thanks. . .
    Always look forward to your posts–so informative.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      June 7, 2017 at 11:29 am

      Okay, Rose, let me run and check the size … be right back.

      Mine are 8.5. I wear 8.5 or 9 sometimes so it’s pretty true to my size. They are lightweight and I wear them for hours at a time so they definitely score high for comfort. Hope they might work for you!

  • Reply
    Sandra
    June 6, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Love your updating. Funny, I think you’re right. The older I get the younger I seem to dress. Just bought some Tulip tops that are very youthful paired with scrunched capris. I’ll post on IG soon. If you ever get down to Los Angeles, please call. Would love to meet with you and show you the city.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      June 7, 2017 at 11:32 am

      I’d LOVE to meet you! And I will get to LA, just not sure when. Maybe you can email me your contact info. Just saw some Tulip tops in a store here in Sonoma. They looked really cute!
      Oh, and I lived in LA for a few years. I lived in the valley and I lived in West Hollywood. Loved my time there. My son was born in my West Hollywood home, in fact! Last time I was down there Melrose Ave. had changed a lot. That was my hangout area. It would be fun to get an LA update!!!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    June 7, 2017 at 3:30 am

    A new you and a new version of a lovely dress! Very appropriate!! I love the color of the dress and your great advice on a two year time limit to re-evaluating an outfit. You always challenge and inspire! Thanks Brenda!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      June 7, 2017 at 11:33 am

      Thanks so much, Kathy! Yes, I’m very strict about my two year expiration. I got no resistance from my clients. They WANT to be up to date!!!

  • Reply
    Jackie
    June 7, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Never worry about anyone seeing a scar…..we all have them if we have reached a certain age! They are part of life’s experiences, you have survived! Someone I know was told by her husband that her scar was part of her. If she didn’t have it, he would no longer have her. That said, lovely outfit(s). I must go through my wardrobe and see what I can resurrect!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      June 7, 2017 at 11:21 am

      Thanks for your sweet words! I’ve actually had that feeling of “well, whoever sees this has to deal, it’s a part of me” at times, and other times I just don’t want to have it in my thoughts at all. But you are right, so right! Happy resurrecting!!!! Thanks, Jackie!

  • Reply
    Maria Köhler
    June 7, 2017 at 11:15 am

    You look amazing on the new version of the dress!! I loved it 😉

    • Reply
      Brenda
      June 7, 2017 at 11:22 am

      Thanks so much, Maria!

  • Reply
    TGCHI13
    June 13, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    You are SO right! Last year’s version doesn’t capture your youthful spirit like this year’s version does!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      June 14, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      That’s what I thought!

    Leave a Reply