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There was a time in my life when I lived in jeans. Straight-leg, bell bottoms, and black velvet jeans were staples in my closet. While I weigh about the same as I did then, my body has rearranged itself. Now I’m short-waisted, and my butt has dropped in altitude which means jeans no longer look as good on me as they once did. Last week I went shopping for some spring clothes that didn’t include jeans, and I have to tell you, I was wowed by Banana Republic’s new line.

Here’s a look at what I bought.

Banana Republic has a new designer and new manufacturing sources, and it shows! Their clothes have taken a quantum leap in quality and design since the last time I was there, and the pieces in their new line are so chic and beautiful. They’re what I call “elevated casual,” and because they’re no where as expensive as Ralph Lauren, but close in quality, I predict Banana Republic will give Ralph a run for his money.

The colors in Banana Republic’s new line are ones found in nature, which means they work well with one another, and they’re made from cotton and linen—no thin, see-through jersey in highlighter yellow—and their sizes actually make sense. No more wondering whether I’m a size 44, and what is a size 44 anyway? Initially, I took size 10s and 12s into the dressing room, only to discover in the Banana Republic world, I’m still a size 8. I know we’re supposed to disregard sizes and shop for clothes based on how they fit, but mentally, a size 44 makes me feel like I’m wearing a bedspread. 

Banana Republics’s PALMA WIDE-LEG LINEN PANTS satisfies my desire to wear the wide-leg trend. Over the last year, I’ve ordered at least ten wide-leg pants—some jeans—from other companies and sent them all back because they made me look frumpy and bigger than I am. A lot of wide-leg pants only look good with some kind of a heel—I can’t wear heels anymore—and they aren’t cut to flatter our hips and thighs because they have too much fabric in all the wrong places. But this Banana Republic natural linen pant is perfect! It comes in Beige, Camo Green, and Black. I bought them in Black and loved them so much, I bought them online in Camo Green.

Banana Republic’s PAOLA UTILITY PANT is a fresh take on the vintage cargo pants. The color is Olive Green, and I love them. Unless we’re tall and very thin, most of us have no business wearing cargo pants, because the pockets on the hips and thighs make us look humongous. But because these pockets are down near the ankle, they’re a seamless part of the pants. Brilliant! 

TIP: Pleated pants can be very unflattering unless you have a flat stomach and you’re tall and thin. These may be the only pair of pleated pants I own, but somehow they work for me.

Their CRUZ LINEN UTILITY TOP hits at the waist. I bought one in White and one in Black. It also comes in Buffalo Brown. The White looks so smart with both the PALMA WIDE-LEG LINEN PANTS and the PAOLA UTILITY PANT. The TOP in Buffalo Brown would also look great with either.

TIP: If you want to be in fashion, let your shirt hang out over your waist except for the part in the very center and a few inches to the right of center, and tuck that into your pants. It looks more modern. My mother would have been horrified with this trend. I can hear her now. “Brenda! Surely you’re not going out like that. Tuck in your shirt!”

I also bought the DAZE STUDDED SUEDE BELT in Light Tan. It looks great peeking out between the PALMA WIDE-LEG LINEN PANTS and the CRUZ LINEN UTILITY TOP. It’s a beautiful belt and the neutral color will go with most anything, and it’s on SALE!! I bought the medium and am using the last hole which means if I gain weight, there are 10 more inches of holes to accommodate me.

TIP: Even if your waistline is a lot bigger than you’d like it to be, a belt helps define your waist. It may seem counterintuitive, but without a belt, we look even bigger than we are because we look shapeless. Like we’re a big block.

How about a midi or a maxi dress as a welcome change from pants?

Other than my new found love for Banana Republic, my other favorite brand is one I discovered online during Covid: Jenni Kayne. Their fabrics are all-natural, and they look and wear like a million bucks, even the cashmere. Jenni Kayne’s maxi and midi dresses can go from casual to dress-up. They look great with sandals, sneakers and espadrilles, and they’re a great way to transition your wardrobe into spring and wear through fall. 

I have two, Jenni Kayne, raw silk (not clingy), ankle-length, RIVIERA SLIP DRESSES. One is in the color Safari, and the other’s in a Teal Blue which they no longer offer. They also have one in Black. Since it’s more skin than I want to show, I wear them with an all-cotton, shortsleeved, white t-shirt underneath. Add a belt, or not, and some jewelry and you’re good to go.

Everything I’ve purchased is considered expensive, but I buy quality instead of quantity. All of these are classic pieces that will last me for years and years. I’m still wearing things I bought twenty and thirty years ago! And I don’t feel bad about buying them because, I haven’t updated my wardrobe in six or seven years. 

Montana. Photograph by Rob Beach.

In this picture, I was about 35, and I’m wearing jeans, Lucchese cowboy boots, a long denim duster, and a Stetson hat, all of which, except for the jeans, I still wear. You can tell by my expression that I’m having second thoughts about photographing a wild buffalo that up close and personal. Actually it was one of the dumber things I’ve done, and that’s saying a lot.

Not me although my haircut is similar to the one on the left. Hair by Chris Jones, Salon Bugatti, The Woodlands, TX

TIP: Modernizing our hairstyle, along with a few new clothes, is the easiest way to look younger because they make us appear “with it” and relevant to the times.

When’s the last time you updated your hair or your wardrobe or you bought a new purse?

Here are some ideas for spring and summer purses, sunglasses and comfortable shoes.

Please let me know what you think of my fashion tips and choices. Then hop on over to see what Mary Ann from Classic Casual Home, Cindy Hattersley my Ageless Style partner, Annie from Most Lovely Things, and Eugenia from The Age of Grace have on their Over 50 Fashion Spring and Summer Wish List.

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Hi Girlfriends,

I’m proud to say that 1010ParkPlace™ has been voted one of the Top Ten Blogs for women over 50: the best-educated, wealthiest, most powerful demographic in history.

Here you will get a glimpse into the lives of other women, learn how they handled things life put in their path like divorce, the death of a spouse, serious health issues, low self-esteem, addiction and how to reinvent yourself after a major life change. You will find like-minded women and relevant conversations about finances, fashion, sex, books, music, films and food. We feature interviews with inspiring women along with straight-talk and bold conversations to reawaken your passions and make life count.

Brenda’s Blog has between a 58.4% and a 68.7% click thru rate, which is unheard of. My readers tell me it’s because I’m sassy and transparent, they trust me and no topic is off limits.

Tell your girlfriends, sisters and coworkers about 1010ParkPlace. We have lots of exciting interviews planned and stay tuned for updates about my memoir! 

#WhereStyleIsAgeless   #MakeLifeCount   #WhatAreYouWaitingFor


  1. Oh these are beautiful Brenda. You have such impeccable taste. I always read your tips but I don’t have your classy way of putting things together. Xo, Barb

    • Thank you Barb, but I think you sell yourself short. One of the great things about fashion and dressing is that we all have different style and ways of putting things together. The key is knowing what looks good on you and resisting the urge to buy the things that don’t. xoxox, Brenda

  2. Love this post Brenda. I haven’t thought about Banana Republic in a long time so I’ll take a look. You’ve always had great taste, even when photographing buffalos in the woods! You’re such a badass girl. You inspire me!

    • You’re a sweetheart. Thank you, Dana, and thank you for reading and leaving me a comment. Brenda

  3. Hi Brenda

    I completely agree with you regarding Banana Republic. I love that they are going back to their roots. All of their things are just lovely. Some don’t suit my body type, but I really like where they are heading. Thanks for joining us. You always bring your A game to the plate!

    • Thanks for including me in the group! I appreciate it. If you visit one of Banana Republic’s stores or their website, I think you’ll find a lot of pieces that would look great on you. You like wide pants, long skirts and linen. Some of their things are right up your alley. xoxox, Brenda

  4. You always weave something funny into your blog posts and something that makes me identify with you, like what is size 44 and your mother telling you to tuck in your shirt. I’m with Dana… you look stylish even when taking pictures of buffalos. LOL! You go girl. Keep on inspiring us!

    • Thank you, Lynn! You’ve made my day. I think of my blog as a team effort. It’s me and you, and without women like you who enjoy my posts and leave me comments, I wouldn’t be here. So happy you enjoy them. xoxox, Brenda

  5. I love my jeans and won’t be giving them up anytime soon. I tried the wide leg pants and thought they made me look huge. I also didn’t like all that material. I’m going to pass on this trend.
    I’d like to get into wearing dresses – one and done! I wear them when we travel and find I love the comfort and ease of dressing but once home I feel out of place. I live in a casual, laid back community and rarely see one in a dress. I spend a lot of time in my garden where a dress is impractical. I also hike every day. You see! A dress makes no sense for my lifestyle so I’ll stick to my jeans and chinos.
    Happy Easter, Brenda!

    • I know just what you mean, Joanna. I didn’t think I’d ever stop wearing jeans, but they stopped loving my body. And I hear you about wide-leg pants and all the material, but the ones from Banana Republic are different. They’re cut to flatter a woman’s body. I’m not sure most brands give any thought to how much material is in their pants. They design for skinny models, not real women. I also hear you about feeling overdressed or not needing a dress for your everyday lifestyle, but I’ve always loved fashion and worn what makes me happy. Happy Easter to you as well, sweet lady! xoxox, Brenda

  6. My figure has changed completely in the last 2 years… and none of my jeans or tops flatter anymore. Thanks for the direction – I have always loved trousers and the ones you show are beautiful. I planned to go to Nordstrom today, but will stop by B.R. first thanks to your post! Their new line is beautiful.
    XO Donna

    • Hello Girlfriend! We’ve survived so many things in our life, and I know we’re both grateful to be here, but this aging thing is the pits! It’s all the little things that add up. The things Dr. Barbara Bergin has blogged about here on 1010ParkPlace. At least I know why I’m more short waisted than I used to be: Barbara said it’s because our discs are compressing, making us shorter. Gravity is having its way with us! I’d rather it was some fabulous looking man, but it’s not… Yet… Hope you find something smashing to wear! xoxox, Brenda

  7. Brenda, this is a such good insight into Banana Republic again. Their flagship store was in San Francisco and I loved shopping there. Now that we are in Florida, I will check what you show online. Thanks for doing this with us. Great finds!

    • Hi Mary Ann, I loved being part of the group this month, so thanks for asking. Yes, cruise your local Banana Republic store or their website. Lots of treasures there are still tugging at me to go back! xoxox, Brenda

    • Kelly Clarkson is a perfect example, Carolyn! BTW, Banana Republic has a Boho blouse that made me think of you as well as a couple of vests. Don’t know if you like linen pants, but you’d look smashing in most everything they have. Thanks for stopping by! xoxox, Brenda

  8. Love the BR wide leg pants. Thank you for sharing and I will be trying them with my flats. Like you I have returned some recently but still hoping. Ready for a change from jeggings and other tighter pants in the upcoming warmer months. Because gravity has made my body not suitable for tight tops, I would love to see a post on tops other than blazers and jean jackets to wear with wide leg pants in the summer.

    • Hi Carolina, Banana Republic has a lot of great tops you can mix and match with their wide leg pants or existing pieces in your wardrobe. I’ll be taking the pants to Italy with me and wearing them with white sneakers. Like you, I’m so over jeggings, leggings, blazers and jean jackets. They all look alike. Did you see my post about Julie Maloney? She’s the queen of scarves and wraps and has given me great new insights into what to pair with other pieces. You might take a look. Here’s the link. Thank you for reading and leaving me a comment, Brenda

  9. Love that Banana is returning to its “Out of Africa” beginnings! I still love the safari style, but sadly, Banana Republic sizes don’t fit like they used to 🙁 Love Jenni Kayne slip dress – I have a black one and it is a perfect dress! Great style and I love your hair!

    • Dianne, It just goes to show you how different we all are because I’ve decided everyone else’s sizes don’t fit EXCEPT for BR. LOL! Glad you’ve discovered Jenni Kayne! Aren’t they great? Thanks for the compliment on my hair…. I could do months of blogs about our hair after 50! Thanks so much, Brenda

  10. Wow, I love these! You must look amazingly chic in these items! In the last year, I have also returned to Banana Republic, as I have found their new designs and esthetic speaks to me. Now I know why. Had a suspicion they had a new designer…

    • Theodora, Now you know what I’m taking to Italy. Are we taking the same cargo pants? LOL! xoxox, Brenda

  11. I have a few older Banana Republic pieces and will check it out again. Love belts! I purchase Judith Leiber belts on The Real Real. They always look almost brand new.

    • Me too, Colleen! I have a drawer full of belts, some from when I was very thin in my 20s I can no longer wear, but throwing them out would be like turning my back on an old friend, so they’ll always have a home with me. Last fall I sold two Chanel dresses on The Real Real and had THE worst experience with them that went on for months and months. I will not be writing good things about them! Ever! xoxox, Brenda

  12. Are you taking these to Italy with you? The colors look like Tuscany. Love your blogs Brenda. You’re a class act with a huge heart.

    • Thank you, Terry. I’m humbled and grateful at your generous comment. And yes! My Banana Republic haul is coming with me to Italy! Funny, I’ve never liked linen. Probably because I live in South Texas where it’s hot and humid and the first time you sit down, wearing something linen, it looks like you’ve slept in it, but boy have I done an about face! I wish my social life kept me busy enough to need more of their pieces. xoxox, Brenda

  13. I wish I had half your nerve! Look how close you are to that buffalo! Oh my gosh! You’re right about a new haircut and keeping up with new fashions can make us appear to be younger than our years. Love your Banana Republic choices. I must pay them a visit because I thought they were the same as Gap.

    • Hi Rinna, You’re funny! There are a lot of people, including my friend who took the photograph of me and the buffalo, who would say it’s not nerve I have but stupidity! I survived one thing after another until I came to believe I was invincible! Nothing could hurt me. I now realize I’m lucky to be alive. Thanks so much, Brenda

  14. Love Banana Republic. Bought my husband some shirts, too, online a year ago. Some great tips. I wish I could wear things that go in at waist. I miss that.

    • Hi Carole, I know what you mean. I’ve weighed about the same most of my life, but my waistline is in a different place and it’s not as thin as it once was, but we can still wear most pieces. We just have to know what looks good on us and how to compensate for the areas we don’t want to highlight. It may be hard to believe, but belts are our friends! xoxox, Brenda

  15. What a gift you have and congratulations on a much deserved recognition! Hope you are well and your Annie is thriving. Sadly, we lost our Annie very unexpectedly to a rare liver cancer at just 6 last April. Kiss your Annie for me. Be well, and keep up the good work. ❤️

    • Hello Sweet Lady, I’m devastated for you over the loss of Annie. I’ve thought about you so many times and haven’t seen you here. Please let me know what’s happening in your life. Sending you much love, Brenda

  16. Thankyou Brenda great clothes and advice, I am looking up Banana Republic now! Yes our body shape changes and at 80 I am lucky I can still wear most clothes in my wardrobe but it’s my waist size that’s now the problem haha.
    You deliver a great blog Thankyou again. PS I am sooo looking forward to reading of your adventures in Italy ❤️

    • Hi Jo!!! Love seeing you here! No matter what we do, our waist seems to expand and then settle in somewhere under our breasts. Nature plays some cruel tricks! I can’t believe you’re 80. I wouldn’t have guessed you were anywhere near that. I aspire to be you, traveling the world with your same zest for life and people who love you. Thank you for your sweet words. I’ll definitely keep you posted about Italy. Can you believe I’m taking 10 women to Tuscany? We’re all so excited. Be well, Jo. xoxox, Brenda

  17. Brenda,
    WoW! I love your post, I appreciate your transparency regarding midlife body changes. And I agree about Banana Republic’s current designs – better quality and style. I did purchase an opera trench earlier this year from BR. However, the last time I bought anything from Banana Republic, when Marissa Webb was the fashion director/designer.

    • Hi Eugenia, At this stage of our lives, I hope we’re honest with one another. We’re in uncharted territory, and we need all the advice and suggestions we can get. An “opera trench… ” That sounds fabulous! What did you wear it with? I think I saw two trench coats and I liked them both. You definitely have style! Love your input. Thank you! Brenda

    • Eugenia – I almost got that and waited too long and it sold out! Such a cool piece! Which color did you get??

  18. More times than I can count you write about something I’m thinking about! My figure has changed and the brands I used to buy no longer want to reach me and that makes no sense! Women our age have more money to spend than all of the women who are half our age but brands don’t seem to care. Thanks for posting about Banana Republic because I’d forgotten about them. They left me a long time ago. I trust your recommendations and I went online and their clothes are beautiful. I can’t wait to find some clothes that will look good on me. Thank you Brenda! We love you!

    • Awe…. Thank you, Charlotte! You’re right on target about brands ignoring us because women over 50 are the wealthiest, best educated demographic in the history of the world. We spend more money than all the 20-40 something women put together. I think part of the problem is that brands are run by women under 40. As the former Executive VP of Marketing of Lululemon told me, “Women under 45 are no longer relevant!” Say what? I asked her when was the last time she’d been on Lululemon’s website, and she just stared at me. I told her their home page had a photograph of women in a yoga class and half of them had grey hair. At that point, she turned around and left me standing there by myself. Arrogant and rude! Yes give Banana Republic a look, and let me know if you find something you like. Thanks so much, Brenda

  19. Great Post Brenda! I too, love BR!! I’ve gotten several things from them in the last 2 years – I love their new look.

    • Hi Gray, Glad you enjoyed this post. Thanks for letting me know. I read your comment to Eugenia and now I’m even more curious about BR’s opera trench coat. Do you remember the fabric and what colors it came in? You’ve both peeked my interest! Brenda

  20. Brenda, I think BR has looked better than ever. So many beautiful pieces over the last 2-3 years. Thank you for sharing your buys and opinions. My MIL who is 95 says aging is not for the faint of heart, everything sags, and moves. I know what she is saying, I am 56 and sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder who that old lady is looking back. The good news is that she has lots of wisdom!
    Have a wonderful weekend. Happy Easter.

    • Hi Elizabeth! Ninety-five! Yes! She has lots of wisdom and life advice to share. I’m older than you are and I can tell you 56 is a beautiful and youthful age. And yes. You have lots of wisdom as well. Enjoy where you are. Take care of your body and stay active and limber. That’s the only way to deal with the advancing changes we can’t stop. Wishing you a Happy Easter as well. xoxox, Brenda

    • Hi,

      Thank you for this post! Love the pants from Banana Republic.

      Fashion question- Are you tucking in the cropped blouse in the front or leaving it out?


  21. I do like wide leg pants but I agree many have to be worn with a heel. These look fabulous. And agree about the hair. I have been experimenting with mine. Plan to go shorter now….

    • Hi Hilda!! Yes, our hair will grow back so experiment and see what looks good on you. The one thing I’ve learned is that a new haircut won’t make me look like Sharon Stone. LOL! Sending you lots of hugs and good wishes, Brenda

    • Oh, good! I think you’ll find lots of great pieces at BR! Thanks so much, Marilynn, for reading and letting me know. xoxox, Brenda

  22. Banana Republic is back ! Good post, Brenda!
    I had the happy experience not long ago to have some ‘me ‘ time in a BR Factory store.
    We were too early to be in line for our ferry reservation… were going home to Vancouver Island …so what to do!?
    I realized we were just a mile away from a newish mall, and I hadn’t been to a mall for almost 7 years since moving for retirement.
    I recently found my ‘better body’ …somehow lost to me for the past rather stressful 9-10 years…and JOY…every size 10 pant I tried on fit well! Sweaters in spring colours were great with the pants…AND … all at 40-50% off.
    My husband eventually found me at the till ringing up my stash. He now understands the term ‘ power shopping’!

    My bum has dropped too…damn that aging process…and the waist has a different number on the measuring tape…
    but to feel spiffy and fashionable was such a hoot!

    I am now being bombarded with their ads , mostly factory outlet, but online shopping can have its challenges.
    I have ordered a BR thyme green Italian wool buttoned vest and hope it’s a go. Should look good with a tweed blazer come Fall, but with a blouse otherwise.
    That said, their sister brand Athleta has been such a positive experience recently. Their endless pants fit like a dream and are so stylish in an oyster ( abalone grey) colour that came in a matching seasoft sweatshirt top. Great column of neutral colour to play around with. I also discovered having dollars to use from the loyalty programme. Saved $10 on the vest.
    We have to accept that our aging bodies still may give us so much …as long as we care for them with love and respect…and forgive the flaws that might drive us nuts!

    • What a great comment, Cath! Thank you! I’m thrilled with the new Banana Republic’s designs. As long as they continue to deliver chic quality, they will be my first go-to from now on. To my knowledge, I don’t have a BR Factory store near m, but lucky you. Retirement, Covid… So many things have kept us from finding ourselves and being out in the world, so it’s time for some new clothes. I’m not a big shopper. Just the opposite. I buy very little but when I do, they’re strategic pieces. Vests are great! I ordered a couple on line but sent them back, but will take another look at BR. You’re right about taking care of ourselves. Our bodies are so good to us and we can’t trade them so we must love them and care for them in the best ways possible. Thanks again, sweet lady! Brenda

  23. I enjoy your blog very much and do love your style! I’m trying to return to classic dressing and getting away from anything trendy and I know my Mother would be happy about it. She was a classic and classy dresser and inspired me constantly. She would be a follower of yours for sure. I hope you will continue this blog. I love it!

    • Thank you, Dinah! What a lovely thing to say! I’m here for the long haul because I love hearing from women like you. I, too, was greatly influenced by my stylish and elegant mother. She was a fashion buyer who knew clothes and her rules of thumb about clothes and things to buy are still in my head. Please stop by and leave me a note again sometime! Thank you, Brenda

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