Sharon Stone tackles aging and we can too!

fashion after 50

Let’s not be scared of aging.

Sharon Stone talks about Sharon Stone in a Hollywood Reporter article I read last night online.

I was especially interested in what she says about being 56 years old.

Here are some excerpts:

“I actually find aging a benefit. I don’t choose to make growing older a negative. I choose to get older. Growing older is my goal.

“That’s because in 2001, I had a massive brain hemorrhage. So I know what the alternative to growing older is. I bled in my brain for nine days. I spent two years learning to walk and talk again. I came home from that stroke stuttering, couldn’t read for two years. I was in an ICU for nine days and the survival rate for what I went through is very low. I don’t need someone to make me feel bad about growing older. I’ll tell you what makes you feel bad: when you think you might not. So I feel really good about talking and having my full vocabulary. It’s been a humbling journey: I was on Law & Order (which is not what I’d hoped for; you get sent all the way to the back of the line to guest star on Law & Order) and I had a hard time with my lines. I can talk about it now because I’m OK now.

“And how am I OK now? I work for it. I work at everything. To me, discipline is a kind of freedom. I belong to 24 Hour Fitness and go four or five times a week. It forces me out. Celebrity can be so introverting. I’m inspired by watching what other people are doing there. I eat clean, I always have. I’m off gluten. People don’t want to see a fat Sharon Stone, do they? I know my brand!

“The key to looking good as you get older is, it all comes from the inside. You have to do what you like to do. If you hate to go to the gym, don’t put yourself on a gym regimen. Do what you like to do, but do it every day. I love to dance, and I dance hard. When I started thinking about aging, I thought, “Who do I want to look like as I age?” And the answer was dancers.

“I don’t think I did a movie for two entire administrations! When I felt shut down, I got to start looking at other things. It opened up opportunities for me to work with amfAR and A Better LA, which works to end gang violence. I’ve done lectures with Desmond Tutu and spoken to the prime minister of Israel on the phone. And I created that. No one will do that for you. So why not just be alive and free in the truth of what you are?”

Questions worth asking oneself (thanks Sharon Stone)

I found some stimulating points to ponder from this article. I’m a few years older than Sharon Stone but what she says could pertain to many of us.

1. I may not be as good at some things as I was in my 20s or 30s. But I’m still breathing, talking and walking and perhaps that’s good enough. I don’t need to expect the same things from myself now that I did back then.

2. Looking at growing older as a goal is a great idea! There’s so much pushback about aging but heck, as Sharon Stone points out, the alternative is not desirable. There’s so much I want to do, read, and experience. Having more years ahead is a great goal.

3. Sharon Stone’s brand involves being fit. I get that. It made me wonder what my brand is. I’ve decided my Brenda Kinsel “brand” is to have fun with fashion and style and show others how they can do that too. It was my brand thirty years ago and it remains my brand today. It’s probably more important now than ever with all the media focus on celebrity and youth. Just because we’re older, we’re not deaf and dumb to style.

4. Sharon says we need to do what we love doing and to do that every day. Writing every morning is my meditation. I do that every day. I feel inspired to think about other things that bring me joy and doing them daily. Do some things come to your mind?

What’s your wisdom about getting older?

Want to read the whole article? Here it is.

What to wear when it’s flooding

What's not to love about a puddle?

What’s not to love about a puddle?

‘Tis the season for rain in Northern California (at last!) and that gives us another opportunity to have fun with fashion!

What are the essentials? Rain boots, rainproof jackets, rain pants.

When it comes to cuteness, Kashaya is rolling in it! The tutu is my favorite part of her fabulous ensemble. Once the jacket and the boots are off, she’s ready to dance!


Storm warnings and fashion choices


When we were in the middle of the storm of the century/decade/last three weeks, I couldn’t wait to get out and check out the creeks. Of course, my cell phone had gone off a couple of times with emergency warnings about creeks flooding in my area. However, as long as I’ve lived in Sonoma, the creeks that are closest to my house have never gone over their banks. I wasn’t fearing for my life so I donned my trusty layers and headed out.


Flashy fashion in flood zones


I think I felt about four-years-old, just like Kashaya.

I took my iPhone with me so I could snap some pics and ended up taking some videos of the creeks.

When water isn’t destroying your property, it truly is amazing to watch it and to listen to it.

I posted a few of the sound effects on my Facebook page. A friend commented that he was sure I was in fashion form as I was out exploring. So I decided to share what I wore. Here it is:


From the waist up

My REI waterproof hooded jacket with plenty of pockets in hot pink

Lipstick color to harmonize with the jacket: Laura Mercier’s Plum Orchid

Scarf accessory is charcoal and white wool dots from Nordstrom ages ago

White tahari short sleeved shirt (not visible, but layer #1)

Black and gray reversible Lululemon long layering T-shirt (hanging below the jacket, layer #2)

Black v-neck cashmere sweater, not visible (label has fallen out, layer #3)


From the waist down

“Walking” jeans (because I only wear this pair for walking) by C Pink from McCaulou’s Department Store in Sonoma (not visible)

Waterproof pants by Lululemon (not attractive but oh-so-functional)

Smartwool socks from REI

La Canadienne knee-high boots, waterproof, from a store in Dublin, CA (too worn to wear with regular outfits but perfect for activities exactly like this)

Layered up and ready to explore storm damage

Layered up and ready to explore storm damage

I love being able to play in the rain and it’s much more fun staying dry the whole time.

Are you out in the rain? What are your go-to pieces?

Holiday Fashion Tips: Add pizazz to your holiday outfit


Some holiday get togethers are casual affairs over lunch or are family gatherings where little children will be running around. You might not want to be wearing your most delicate holiday frocks. But you still want to look like you made an effort to honor the holiday season. So here are some tips for dressing up a little bit.


Holiday Fashion Tip: Make your feet holiday perfect


Now that jeans have crossed lines no one ever thought they would—from casual to couture—you can pull on a pair and wear them as evening wear. Add shine, sparkle or luxury to your holiday steps. Look for flats or heels in shiny finishes, metallics, deep gorgeous colors in patent, or leopard print. These will look great any month of the year but in this month, they’ll make a casual outfit look oh-so-special.

Go for heels if they’re comfortable for you. Of course, the higher the better as the extra height makes your legs look miles long. But be sure your jeans are long enough. If you wear jeans with flats as well as heels, buy two pair of the same jean and hem them for the two heel heights. You can’t fudge the difference and wear one pant length with both heel heights. It doesn’t work.

shoe solutions

Walk your holiday talk


Holiday Fashion Tip: A wrap will do it


You’re looking through your closet and just can’t find something that stands out as a party outfit. An easy solution is to buy a shawl or wrap that looks luxurious and special-occasion. This must-have holiday piece can give any outfit a “bring on the eggnog, I’m ready for Santa” attitude. Throw it over your simple black dress or add it to your jeans and bold pumps ensemble. It’s a quick way to get a casual dressy look.



Attractive wraps

Holiday Fashion Tip: Keep it simple


We enjoy simple things around the holidays and if you’re looking for simplicity, you’ll find elegance. Simple lines, simple cuts can all be a part of your Zen party outfit. Wearing a column of color while mixing textures is a fashion trick that goes way back. Think white, black, deep navy or deep forest green. Wear one color but mix up the textures and materials. How about suede, leather, silk, fur, or lace? But to keep this one-color dressing from looking too staid, all you need to add (while not disturbing the elegance) is a contrasting clutch handbag. Find a handbag in a ruby red, bronze, gold, white, or leopard. Or look for a bag in satin, decorated in beads, or in a deep paisley print.


Clutch your clutch


By adding a special shoe, wrap or clutch to your casual outfit, you’ll feel “dressed” but still relaxed and ready to sip those beautiful holiday cocktails!


Holiday Fashion Tips: Looking fit for the holidays


Ready for some more slimming tips for the holidays? These next two tips are so darn obvious. You’ll say, “Why didn’t I think about that!” But these are actually two things that many of my clients struggle with. Maybe you do, too!

Have you been wearing the same bra style for so long that you look right past it when you look in the mirror? It could be doing NOTHING for you! It’s happened to the best of us! Have you ever resisted going up a size? You don’t like that idea? But what if I told you it would make you look thinner? Read on! These fit tips are for you!


Holiday Fashion Tip: Get your bustline in the right place

(This adjustment cancels out the effects of sugar cookies.) 


Nothing can make a woman look matronly and heavy quicker than a sagging bustline. When you look in the mirror, your bustline should be right in the middle between your shoulder line and your waistline. If it’s lower, hike up those bra straps or go indulge in one of the many styles of bras that lift, lift, lift.


slimming tips

Look slimmer with a simple adjustment

Holiday Fashion Tip: Buy a bigger size

(This hides eggnog consumption.) 


Really. If you’ve been living in clothes that have been getting snugger, you may not be noticing the way the too small size is distorting the drape of the garment and adding the illusion of more poundage. Going up a size isn’t defeat, it’s a weight loss device. Flattering styles can promote apparent weight loss as well. Remember, wherever there is strain, create ease. If your upper arms are thick, try a dolman sleeve. Relax the belt that sits on your waist if your waist is an inch bigger than it was a few months ago. If you pull it tight and make your flesh bulge over the edges of the belt, you look heavy. Let the belt out a notch and you look thinner. Instantly. To make fuller thighs happy, wear a dress or a skirt that graces over them.

fashion fixes

A dolman sleeve is a great distracter


Bonus Holiday Fashion Tip: Fake it with figure flattering undergarments

(Slims the results of eating too many caramels.)


Modern technology keeps improving body shapers. The new styles come in all formats – from waist to thigh, from just under the bust to your calves, from the bust to the tummy – any area that could use a little slimming has a solution in great stretchy fabrics that take inches away instantly. Okay, maybe not inches but you can look trimmer and smoother. It’s worth a visit to a lingerie department where a specialist will recommend the best product for you. Bring the clothes you plan to wear to your next important event or party. Try a few shapers and see what makes you look and feel good. Don’t buy them in the size you wish you were in; buy them in the size you are. You really don’t want to be uncomfortable. They are great for providing ease. I don’t recommend reliance on these items but once in a while you want what they can offer you.

shapewear tips

Shapely in shapewear

This body shaper has worked well for my clients and I just bought one, too! It’s DKNY Under Bust Bodyshaper. I’ll wear it under dresses that skim over my curves.

See how easy the appearance of weight-loss is? You can use these tips all year-long!


Meeting the filmmaker and subjects of Advanced Style


My friend and colleague, Sue Jacobs, was at the Toronto Film Festival in April to see the screening of Advanced Style the Documentary with the filmmaker, Ari Seth Cohen, and several of the subjects of his film. Sue shares her experience with us now!

Filmmaker Ari Seth Cohen and Sue Jacobs in Toronto in April

Filmmaker Ari Seth Cohen and Sue Jacobs in Toronto in April


It was a dreary, rainy evening Tuesday, April 29 and I was beside myself. I was going to meet Ari Seth Cohen at the World Premiere of his Advanced Style documentary at the Hart House Theatre. To say I fussed about what I would wear is a completely ridiculous understatement. 

However, once inside, walking down the long carpeted aisle to my seat, taking in all of my surroundings, for a moment, I forgot. And then I spotted them. Just behind me over my left shoulder. There they were all five of them, seated front row looking like the rest of us. Expectant. Calm. Excited. 

I calmed myself down before approaching and introducing myself. Making that gesture was incredible as Ari immediately rose, actually so did Joyce and Debra. Ari took my hand in both of his and thanked me for my support. We chatted and then Debra reached over and flicked my necklace telling me how much she loved it whilst Joyce extended her hand to quietly thank me for coming and introducing myself. She and I stood a moment talking about things, honestly I cannot recall what. It was a surreal moment for me. We had pictures taken, our arms around each other’s waists. I was thanked humbly again before I took my seat. I was floating.


sue and debra


The film captivated the enormously jammed packed theatre. Not a sound was heard. All eyes were forward. After the film, the ladies took to the stage for Q & A’s. They talked. Some deliberately, some in turn, sometimes all at once. It was like eavesdropping on a gathering in one of their living rooms.  I looked around observing the audience. Not a single eye faltered. Full-on smiles and grins on every face. Not one mobile device in sight.

These women were extraordinary: in their individuality, their energy, in their unmistakable beauty that rose from somewhere deep down within, in their zest for doing exactly what they want and in sharing their struggles and triumphs. Their message was solitary: Be your authentic self. Do it for you. No apologies. 

They weren’t acting in the film. They were living their lives—their way.  


Sue and Joyce

Sue and Joyce


It was an amazing experience. Meeting them before they took to the stage was very shifting. That was as much of my experience as the film, and their candid conversation on stage. They were real women who have collectively lived, loved, survived, and been successful, struggled, never married and suddenly infamous. The two I met were as down to earth as you and I. What a lesson in being and owning who and what you are no matter what. We’re all good enough. We just have to believe it.

(P.S. And I love that we’re friends on Facebook and that last week Debra wrote how much she liked my picture!)


Brenda here, Thanks Sue for sharing! If you can’t find this film in a theater near you, check it out on Netflix or on Amazon. You may find it transformational!


Advanced Style Blog

Advanced Style the Documentary

Holiday Fashion Tips: Look Thin This Season


In our house we always know the holidays are upon us when a package arrives in the mail marked “Perishables” and the return address is Fergus Falls, Minnesota, the home of my brother and sister-in-law Wendy. Inside that box are sealed Tupperware containers with red lids nestled in crumbled up newspapers. The containers hold caramels, peanut butter cups, and peanut brittle—all homemade and insanely delicious.

The days between now and New Year’s are marked by caloric insanity. Oh you could counter the effects by upping your exercise program between your trips to the mall, wrapping gifts, putting out holiday decorations – all consuming activities but not aerobic. Those extra reps and steps may get lost in all the bustle. What’s a waistline to do? You can look thin over the holidays with a few strategic tricks.


Holiday Fashion Tip: Put the focus on your assets

(Sure to fake out fruitcake nibbles.)  


The easiest fake out of all is to direct attention to your assets. Do something special with your most beautiful features. Great hair? Have it styled with a fresh cut that flatters your face. Schedule that blow out!

Have great hands and fingers? Show them off with the latest in cocktail rings and a fresh manicure.

Great legs? Wear some fancy pants or wear a skirt and decorate those legs with a great textured pantyhose.


Wear something to show off your gams.

Wear something to show off your gams.


No one’s going to see the addition of a pound or two when you keep the spotlight shining on your best assets. Go ahead, choose a couple. Is it your waistline? Your arms? Now what clothing item, color or texture will put the focus there? If you want people focused on your bustline, not your thighs, choose a colorful, shapely top to wear with a basic black pant.


highlighting the waistline

Go ahead, show it off!


If you’re still stuck on this one and you’ve chosen your favorite assets but don’t know how to highlight them, look through magazines or just people watch and be on the lookout for examples of things that work. The next person that crosses the street may be wearing the solution you’re looking for.

Stay tuned for more slimming tricks tomorrow!

(P.S. This tip is a great one to use twelve months out of the year!)


Fashion Over Fifty: There’s No Expiration Date on Style

style after fifty

I want to be in the same club as my colleagues, stylistas Adena and Karen, who look just plain great!


Ari Seth Cohen is changing the country’s image of aging women one confidently dressed woman at a time. Ari, blogger and author of the book Advanced Style, defines his subjects as women over fifty who embrace their age and leave the house feeling great about how they look. His blog posts on Advanced Style feature women who are having fun with fashion and breaking our notion that fashion is only for the young people.

His movie, Advanced Style the Documentary, was released in the US this fall. I’ve been watching for it and when I saw it was coming to the wine country I called a few friends to make a movie date. We gathered the Thursday before Thanksgiving for the 3 o’clock showing at the Cameo Theater in St. Helena (great theater, by the way!). Nearly the whole audience was in Ari’s demographic. In our foursome, three of us are just barely in our 60s and one person is in her 50s.

We couldn’t wait to talk about the movie as soon as it was over but we all needed a bathroom stop first. I was standing in line while audience member was washing her hands. She took a look at her face in the mirror. “Wasn’t that a great movie? I cried so much all my makeup is off!” she said. We chatted about how inspiring the women were. “Well, you look great, too!” she said, looking me up and down. I took the compliment with grace, even though this movie might make you want to rethink your outfit, go home and come back out into the world dressed up just a little bit more.


The Discussion


We went off to enjoy Happy Hour at Archetype. I started out by asking my movie buddies if they had tears too. I sure had them! My friend Debra said, “I got from somewhere that you get to a certain age and it’s over. I just turned 60 and I’m feeling old and not pretty. Watching these women on screen made me flip a switch and see how it’s really in your attitude. Women in their 90s were still doing their thing.”

Joyce, one of the women profiled in the movie said, “I never wanted to look young. I wanted to look great.”

At fifty, sixty, and beyond we don’t have the option of looking young–it’s not in the cards–but we can be inspired by Joyce and choose to look and feel great. I think we can feel youthful while still being age appropriate.

It starts by waking up in the morning and conciously making choices that will please ourselves throughout the day.


Do I want to wear this? Or that? Do I want to feel boyish or feminine? Do I want to add sparkle or texture? Do I want to wear a dress or my favorite jeans? Which accessories do I want to wear today to finish my outfit?


Where do the tears come from?


I would love to hear more from people who shed tears during that movie because I’m not exactly sure what mine were about. Maybe hearing other people talk about it would help me figure it out. Here’s a possible list for starters.

1. Could it be that it’s a joy to hear women talk about their love of fashion? Especially women of a certain age?

2. Could it be that despite their hardships–and life has hardships–they still cared about how they looked?

3. Could it be that I realize what has passed and I can’t change that?

4. Could it be that I am acutely aware that I don’t know what the future holds?

5. Could it be my heart was full seeing women with courage to stand out and be visible in a country that tends to disregard its elders?

6. Could it be the heartache I have witnessed from years and years of working with clients and seeing the pain women when they judge themselves harshly, compare themselves to unreal airbrushed images from the media, or make fit issues in clothes mean that something’s wrong with their bodies instead of the clothing?

Are we still struggling with self-acceptance?

More magazine’s Dec 2014/Jan 2015 headline cover.             Is self-acceptance going to become a nonexistent problem?


My rough experience selling the world on fashion for the woman over 40


I remember vividly back in 2000 when my first book, 40 Over 40: 40 Things Every Woman Over 40 Needs to Know About Getting Dressed was a few months from hitting the bookshelves. My publisher called me to break the news. “We’ve hired a PR expert to handle your book launch. She says your book is going to be a PR problem, not a PR opportunity.”

“What do you mean a PR problem?” I asked.

Advanced stylistas

Advanced Style movie group discussing the film at Archetype in St. Helena

She said, “In the PR world, no one’s interested in women over 40. They don’t see women over 40 as a group that has  style, glamour or anything to offer. The media is interested in young people. We don’t have a lot of expectations for getting this book getting much traction.”

OUCH! I was outraged. Women over forty and well beyond are my clients and they have a lot to offer the world. I’d written a whole book on the subject of fashion and women over 40 and no one was interested? How could this huge demographic be written off like that? That PR person was so wrong in my view. We do matter! We do count! We are fabulous!!

Well, you can imagine my delight when 40 Over 40 got plenty of attention without help from the PR person I might add. The Chicago Tribune did a full page article on the subject of my book. And guess who lived in Chicago? Oprah! And guess who called me wanting to have me share some tips with Oprah’s audience of … oh, maybe a bazillion? Yes, The Oprah Winfrey Show. That book made it into several languages so I guess perhaps there was some interest out there after all. I felt vindicated!

That was about fifteen years ago and I’m still here and my clients are still here and we’re enjoying getting up and dressing to express themselves and have fun with fashion. It doesn’t end. Fashion doesn’t expire with advancing age.


Advanced Style is a winner


What do the women in Advanced Style show us? They show us what it looks like to be willing to stand out and be noticed. They show us confidence and beauty, radiance and aliveness. Thank you Ari Seth Cohen for catapulting “advanced style” into the modern age.

Read the Advanced Style blog.

Buy the Advanced Style book.

Buy the Advanced Style documentary.

Tomorrow I’m sharing the impressions of a friend and colleague, Sue, who was there in Toronto in April when Ari Seth Cohen premiered his film at the Toronto Film Festival. Not only did my pal get to meet Ari, she got to meet some of the ladies in the film as well!

Holiday Fashion Tips: Over-the-top dressing for the festive season


It’s December 1st. You’ve got time. Time for what? Time to get a drop-dead gorgeous outfit together to wear to a holiday event; time to schedule a blow-out and a makeup session for a special party. Don’t have as many events as usual? Well, that’s true for a lot of people. Things have gotten more universally causal (much to the dismay of many). But if you have any inclination to go all out and dress in a spectacular way, this is the season. You don’t need to provide a single explanation: It’s the holidays!

Why not succumb to the glitz? Life’s serious much of the time! You can go back to worrying about the state of the nation/world/economy/fill-in-the blank once you’ve put away the sequins. Just for now, imagine fun and frivolity, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, beaded dresses and sequined pants. Rock the party house in tempting holiday looks.


Holiday Fashion Tip: Let your dress say it all


If your dress has a lot of personality to it (lots of things going on) don’t clutter it up with too much more. Add a pair of long over the elbow gloves and keep the earrings on the simpler side. Don’t upstage your own dress.




party dresses

Go for the holiday gusto


Holiday Fashion Tip: Attend to all the details


Glamour is all about the details and connecting the dots from head-to-toe. If you’re buying something off the rack to wear to a holiday party, it’s pretty easy. A clothing line is created with the idea that you can wear the pieces in several combinations. You’ll find the slinky skirts with the sequined tops on a T-stand and just at the right of those will be the satin or velvet coat meant to go with it. You’ll need to travel to another department to find the stockings and shoes.

Don’t leave the store until you know you’ve covered every detail. An Affair to Remember starring Deborah Kerr is a must-see movie for attention-to-detail inspiration. Every night and every day of the cruise where she meets Cary Grant, she is in a head-to-toe ensemble. Breathtaking! Sublime! Fantastic! Every night is a new creation. There’s no mixing and matching on that cruise. Let Deborah be your style muse.


Holiday Fashion Tip: Bring out the bling and say “yes” to being pampered


Get the key to your in-home safe and pull out the good jewelry. A dazzling necklace will make a room dance when the sparkles play with the candlelight. If you’re going with a green emerald necklace outlined in diamonds (costume jewelry is okay, you don’t have to skip out on a mortgage payment to dress for a party) add a cocktail ring and possibly a clutch that also has that bling quality. Make sure your key jewelry pieces and the handbag look like they’re related. They don’t have to match but they do have to relate.

Determine whether your bling is more effective with your hair down or up. Better yet, schedule a blow out. You’ll feel so pampered and a professional blow out usually will last a good week (if you’re someone who doesn’t insist on washing your hair daily, which by the way, isn’t a great idea anyway).

And go for the full makeup too. A dab of lip gloss won’t be enough to support the wattage of your accessories so go for a full polished makeup look. Make a bolder statement somewhere – your lips, your eyes, your cheeks, but not all of them. Choose one. A smoky, lined eye will look right with a subtle mouth color. If this is a big deal party, call someone to come in and do your makeup for you. Often, you can go to the makeup counters at the big department stores and ask them who makes house calls. Many of them do private makeup applications on the side and can help you with your look the day of the party.

More holiday tips are coming your way. Stay tuned!!


Brenda’s Fashion Advice: Make Your Feet Happy in Fishnets


Recently a question came my way after I got done touting all the wonderful reasons to wear nude fishnet pantyhose. Did you miss that sermon? Well, imagine me behind my fashion pulpit (wearing fishnet pantyhose, of course). Here are the basic tenets.


The Merits of Nude Fishnets


1. If you have uneven skin tone or even discoloration from scars or varicose veins, fishnet stockings can block the majority of that out while still giving your legs a bare look. When you don’t have even skin tone, a slight pattern tricks the eye into thinking it is.

2. There are long transitional months (at least in Northern California) when the weather is mild and not cold enough to want to wear tights but  too cold to be going bare in open-toed sandals. That’s when wearing fishnet stockings with pumps or boots is just right.

3. Wearing fishnet stockings helps bridge the gap between the top of boots and the hem of a skirt or dress if that skirt or dress is a little shorter than you normally feel comfortable wearing. Young girls may be wearing shorter skirts with booties and no hosiery at all. But if you’re more modest or over twenty-two-years-old, you might want the confidence that comes with wearing hosiery.

4. Nude fishnets are good for women of all ages and appropriate for any outfit. While black fishnets might seem too out there for everyday outfits, nude ones can feel mildly sexy but still appropriate. If the fishnet pattern is fine and not large-scaled, it’s subtle, almost like wearing sheer hose. While straight up sheer pantyhose in a nude color may feel “old” or boring to you, fishnets make you feel more youthful, maybe even a little rebellious, like you’re getting away with something. What’s not to like about that?

Note: I’ve seen fishnet pantyhose in nude, brown, and black. I’ve been talking about the lightest shade but if your skin tone is darker, try the darker tones.

5. Because the fishnet pantyhose blends into your skin tone, it can be worn with any color. They’re also neutral enough to wear with any pattern in your skirt or dress. Just think of them as a texture to your outfit. They add interest and go with anything.

So, fishnets are pretty much perfect for all occasions. Have I converted you?


“Could there be a downside, Brenda?” you ask.


Well, there could be one. Some people find that the fishnet diamond pattern digs into the bottoms of their feet and makes them uncomfortable after wearing them for an hour or two. Now that wouldn’t be good!

I thought about people with sensitive feet and all they’d be missing out by not wearing fishnets so I came up with a solution. Or at least that’s what I thought. In my head it seemed like it should work so I decided to give it a try. Last week I wore nude fishnets with a dress that felt too short to wear unless I had tights or fishnets on. I was excited about wearing boots with my dress, so I decided to test out my theory. Here are the steps I took.


Happy Fishnet Feet in Four Steps


Step one: Start with happy feet.

Fashion Advice, Hosiery Tips, Fishnet stockings

Picture your feet here

Step two: Slip into a warm sock if your feet are at all cold.

Fashion Advice, Hosiery Tips, Fishnet stockings

If you run cold, add a wool sock.

Alternate step two: Slip into a Ped or a low cut athletic sock if it’s warm outside and you’re worried about getting too hot while wearing your boots.

Fashion Advice, Hosiery Tips, Fishnet stockings

You could use a Ped or low cut athletic sock instead

Step three: Put your fishnet pantyhose over the sock or Ped and pull them up like you would any pantyhose.

Fashion Advice, Hosiery Tips, Fishnet stockings

Roll fishnet pantyhose up over your socks

Fashion Advice, Hosiery Tips, Fishnet stockings

Or roll fishnets over your Peds

Step four: Add boots, dress or skirt. Accessorize as you so brilliantly do. Check yourself out in your full-length mirror and say, “Boy, do I look great!” Now go out into the world. See if that extra cushion makes your feet happier.

Fashion Advice, Hosiery Tips, Fishnet stockings

Add boots and dress, accessorize, and out the door you go


I wore my fishnets and boots together all day. When I got home my feet were as happy as they could be after standing on them for five hours.

But I had a different problem. The waistband on the fishnet pantyhose was too binding and dug into my waist. I would have been uncomfortable wearing them for an hour.


Bonus Tip

But I solved that problem fast. I pulled the pantyhose up past my waist and positioned that tight band right under my bra. Fishnet pantyhose are so stretchy. They would have gone higher.

The circumference of your body right under the breasts is often smaller than the circumference around your waistline. This is true for me, so that band didn’t feel as tight as it had on my waist. After five minutes, I forgot the band was even way up there! I considered showing you a picture to illustrate this Bonus Tip but thought better of it. Just picture it in your head. You pull those pantyhose up and keep on going until you get to the lowest part of your bra and stop right there. I had absolutely no slippage all day.

DKNY nude fishnets have been my favorite brand but I’ll probably do some research and see if I can find them with the newer technology that makes them less tight on the waistband. If you find some, let the rest of us know, okay?

In the meantime, try the fishnets with extra cushion and let me know if it’s working for you.


Anatomy of an Outfit: Not Wearing Jeans


There’s nothing I wear more often than jeans. I may even be addicted to them. There, I said it. I love so many things about them.

1. I love how skinny jeans tuck into boots and can make your legs look longer.

2. I love the relaxed jean especially when it’s cuffed and the ankles show. I think ankles are sexy, especially on a woman over 50.

3. I love how durable they are. You can wear them and wear them and wear them. They aren’t like a white blouse where you wear it once and you have to launder it. They’re tough.

4. I love dressing up a jean, adding a pretty silk blouse to it. I like the mix of practical and prissy. A dark denim jean can look dressed up enough to go to a party or on a dinner date.

It would be easy to grow dependent on them!


Starting the anything-but-jeans diet


But something strange has happened to my steady diet of jeans. I think I’ve seen so many pairs of jeans being worn by men and women-day and night, night and day-that I’m hungry for something else! I’m craving skirts, dresses, trousers. Heck, I’d even be okay with silk track pants…well, maybe not silk track pants, but nearly every other possibility but jeans!

Imagine being in a buffet line of fashion choices and nearly all of them were jeans. It would be disappointing, wouldn’t it? So I’ve decided to go on a new diet. For a week I will allow myself to wear jeans only one of the days. The other six days I’ll wear pants of some sort, skirts, or dresses. To motivate myself I’ve clustered my skirts and dresses to the very front of my closet so that’s what I see first.


Anatomy of a non-jean outfit


My Day One starts on the day I’m going to a workshop for writers at Book Passage in Corte Madera. It’s an iconic Bay Area independent bookstore. I want to be casual and fit in, but if I have to introduce myself, I want to look smart and fashionable enough to make the words “I’m an author of books on fashion for women” match my outfit. It’s at nine a.m. on a Saturday. It’s a four-hour class. The classrooms are often cold. I want to be warm enough.

casual chic outfit

Anatomy of a non-jean outfit


The pieces and the reasons


1. My first layer (invisible to the eye) is a Cuddl Dud v-neck tank. It is a guarantee that my torso will be toasty if the room is frosty.

2. Next I create a column of color with my Caslon black long-sleeved cotton t-shirt and my Cynthia Rowley black knit pants.

3. Over that column of color I add my loose cashmere Vince charcoal sweater with dolman-sleeves. The neck is open and the sleeves are just at my elbow so I have a little built in air-conditioning if I’ve overestimated the chilly room situation. A long-sleeved cashmere sweater with a turtleneck would not give me any relief from a stuffy room. I’m feeling confident about my choices so far.

4. I put my black Ecco mid-calf boots over the knit pant. I’ve met my 50-50 formula regarding volume. The bottom half of my outfit is lean and the top half is full.

5. Next comes the gunmetal/silver Beauty Bundle. I wear my Calleen Cordero black studded leather cuff, my chunky gunmetal arty ring. I add interest at the neck with my Carlisle net knotted necklace filled with tiny sparkly beads. My silver bulb earrings are neutral and casual and act as the garnish to the necklace which is the main course in the frame around my face. I add my gunmetal woven leather small bag with silver hardware and handles. The ring, bracelet, necklace, earrings and handbag all share a quiet harmony in color, metal and sheen. That’s what makes them a Beauty Bundle. This same Beauty Bundle gets worn with many outfits–dresses, skirts and tops, and even blue jeans!


Analysis and results


When I got to class, there were seven other people there–all in blue jeans. When I introduced myself as a writer of books on fashion for women, no one gasped in disbelief. The room was chilly and I even wrapped a scarf around my neck for the first half of the class. It was stuffed into my book bag, just in case. I was comfortable (what I also love about jeans), casual enough (another jean loving trait) but happy to have done something different on a day when I could have just worn jeans like everyone else. I in no way want to make it sound like everyone in class looked sloppy in their jeans, because they didn’t. They looked just fine. I suspect I was the only one in the room giving myself a pat on the back for changing things up.

I may keep this diet idea to myself and wait to see if anybody notices.