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I’ve never been a girly-girl but recently I surprised myself and bought a pale, yellow frilly skirt and a pale, pink, tulle midi skirt with vertical lines of small silver sequins. A grownup version of a ballet tutu for little girls.

How did this happen? Who is this Brenda? 

A couple of times in the last year I’ve written here that “I’m tweaking my style.” I didn’t have anything specific in mind other than I’ll know it when I see it, plus I could adopt Diane Keaton’s style—in a heart beat—if I had someplace to wear it. The yellow skirt and the pink tulle skirt weren’t pieces I was deliberately seeking. They just appeared on my radar and I liked them, or maybe more importantly… I was open to them.

Before now I never would have paid any attention to either skirt.

I love this $34.99 pale, yellow tiered skirt from H&M. It has an elasticized waistband, is lined to the knee and the back is slightly longer than the front which makes it more interesting. The silver Stuart Weitzman espadrilles are 3 or 4 years old; the silver leather belt is from Worth and I’ve had it for decades, and my top is Comme des Garcons and is six years old.

The woven straw bag is fully lined and has a magnet closure. It’s from Serpui, and I bought it last year at a “home show.” It’s gorgeous and I will have it for many years to come.

After James died my lifestyle and my wardrobe changed. Professionally I stopped wearing tailored suits and high heels, and my business wardrobe was influenced by two years of monthly trips to New York City. The women I know there are chicer than chic. They’re at the top of the beauty, fashion, jewelry and PR business, or they’re well-known QVC and HSN entrepreneurs, so what they wear and how they look go hand in hand with what they’re selling. Their style is their “calling card.” 

Annie decided we needed a family portrait and I agreed. BTW, the 100-year-old mirror in my bathroom is a bit hazy and has “age spots” on it. Those little white spots and black flecks are not on me!

Their style influenced me to take my existing love for grey, taupe and white and add lots of black: black sweaters, leather pants, boots and moto jackets. LOL! We are talking NYC!! Everyone wears black, but they make it interesting! In real life I began dressing like my favorite fashion icon, Catherine Banning, Rene Russo’s character in the Thomas Crown Affair. These clothes will always be part of my wardrobe, but now I’m dressing for a different lifestyle.

My lightweight, $12 glass earrings are from H&M. I bought them online, but they’ve sold out. I can see why!

Except for speaking engagements, now I work almost entirely from home. My office overlooks my courtyard where I’ve had to wait two years—until Annie was no longer a puppy—so I could plant something without her digging it up ten minutes later. It’s this Brenda who’s finding another side to her style… the Brenda who’s a little bit rock ’n’ roll, writes 1010ParkPlace and is working on a memoir, goes to the gym three days a week, works in the garden and takes short fun trips.

I’ve always been a minimalist, but this new side to my style is tweaking that as well.

Next month—for my birthday—I’m wearing the pink tulle, silver sequin skirt to see Diana Ross’s 75th Diamond Jubilee Birthday concert.

Part of me wants to say “Who are you and what have you done with the real Brenda?”

If you read Brenda’s Blog then you know this year I’m seeing Stevie Nicks, Diana Ross and Cher … among others… in concert, all women over 70. There’s a lot about them I admire. They’ve gone through tough times; they still look great; they’re still in the game and living life to the fullest.

I’m not sliding silently into my next decade. Instead I’ll be as close to front row center as I can get, singing and clapping and tapping my feet. Yes, m’am! I’m going lots of places this year—by myself—and I’ll be tweaking my style the whole way. No retreating into the shadows for me.

When was the last time you “tweaked” your style?

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Hi Girlfriends,

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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.

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  1. I like your skirt, and I like the way you styled it with the espadrilles. You look cool and comfortable and artsy and bohemian. That’s a good combo.
    We have to adapt to our situation. I used to run a huge operation and appeared regularly on TV. I was all about strict suits. That look wouldn’t fly down here in the south of France, where people come for vacation and everything is laid back to an extreme. All the same, French women manage to look chic even when casual, so it isn’t about dressing “down.”
    Your lifestyle sounds, frankly, wonderful. You seem to have a healthy equilibrium. Thanks for sharing–it’s enlightening to hear how others are doing it.

    • TOF, I used to wear strict suits as well for work but no more and it’s very liberating, isn’t it? I’m surprised to hear what I’m wearing “wouldn’t fly” in the south of France. I know it’s a popular vacation destination, but I’ve always thought of as being more dressed up, but then the whole world has become super casual. “Do I mow the yard or get on an airplane?” From what I see here, many people wear the same thing for either, which is sad. Next week I’m invited to a backyard party after a small, intimate wedding. The invitation says “super casual,” but what I’m wearing is about as “outside of my house” casual as I want to get. Different styles for different folks! xoxox, Brenda

  2. That is a great skirt, Brenda. Funny isn’t it, that as we get older we are still growing and changing our style along the way? I’m doing the same. And to think that when we were twenty we thought that oldsters like us would be done with fashion. Ha.

    • Sue, I hope to be growing and changing until the day I die. If anywhere along the way, we aren’t changing as people, then we aren’t learning and applying what we’ve learned. You always inspire me with what you wear and because we like so many of the same brands and, I love seeing how each of us chooses to dress. It would be fun if a brand would give each of us an “allowance” and let us choose an outfit and see what we come up with and how we choose to accessorize it…. Maybe we should write a couple of emails?? xoxox, Brenda

  3. I love Bohemian style. I’m addicted to Bohemian Rhapsody, too! I’ve watched that movie 4 times already! Brenda, you look fabulous in any and everything you wear.

    • Thank you, sweet Barbara! Bohemian Rhapsody!!! I LOVE THIS FILM! I, too, have watched it so many times and will keep on seeing it. I can’t get enough of Rami Malek and his performance. He’s my new crush. I would pay to watch him read the newspaper. xoxox, Brenda

    • DA, Yes! Carrie Bradshaw! I hadn’t thought of that before you mentioned it. There couldn’t be two more different styles than mine and Carrie’s though. xoxox, Brenda

  4. Brenda,
    Good for you! I’m impressed. Your openness to a style change shows you’re still interesting!
    Funny, when I look back at how I dressed in my 20’s, 30’s, I feel like I was a real frump! It took me awhile to loosen up!!

    • Sally, But you did find your style, and that’s great! I wish I’d been able to choose my clothes when I was in high school, but my mother dressed me… mostly in unattractive things, like the dark green, heavy cotton shirt dress that showed the sweat stains under my arms. Texas school, hot, no air conditioner. And my hideous hair cut!! I saw a photo of mother when she was in high school and I had the same awful haircut like someone put a bowl on my head and cut around it. I sometimes wonder if she was deliberately trying to make me look awful. xoxo, Brenda

    • Sandy, For starters, there wasn’t anything basic about it. Picture Lauren Hutton, Vogue Magazine, the ’70’s. Elegant, Armani… She was my wardrobe role model. My husband was a high-profile entrepreneur and we were always taking venture capitalists or the CEOs of Intel and Texas Instruments or IBM to dinner. I loved dressing up like that. The rest of the time I wore blue jeans, off-the-shoulder white blouses, high heels or cowboy boots and fabulous belts. No purse. Just a camera case. Thank you Miss Fashionista! xoxox, Brenda

  5. Always love your posts, Brenda! Girly, Girl, is my style, and I just love these skirts. I bought a flowy, skirt from a dance shop in the Netherlands. It’s so easy and comfortable. I look forward to your next post.

    • Thanks so much, Christina! I bet a dance shop is a great place to find feminine skirts. Wonderful suggestion! I appreciate you! Until next time! xoxox, Brenda

  6. So interesting, Brenda! David and I have returned to London from our cycling adventure and I went and collected most of my clothes from our storage unit last week. I’ve lost a few pounds so at first I thought my clothes felt ‘wrong’ because of the fit – until I realised I felt like I was wearing someone else’s clothes. I dislike most of the cuts and styles – cuts and styles I’ve been wearing for years! Maybe I’m the someone else though, a lot has changed in a year and I’ve always believed our wardrobes should be a reflection of who we are. Lovely picture of you. Essie xx

    • So great to see you here, Essie! I knew you and David were home and have been wondering what kind of cultural, lifestyle and even your relationship with one another has been/will change through this transition? What an amazing adventure. I’m interested to hear what you’re thinking comes next. A book maybe? I heard Cheryl Strayed waited 11 years before she wrote Wild until she had more perspective about it. You ARE a different person than you were this time last year so I’m not surprised your clothes are for someone else. Like me, you’re still tweaking! I’m so grateful you’re home safe and you had these unforgettable experiences and took us along with you. If you want a place to write them down… I’d love to have you back here on 1010ParkPlace. Our readership has continued to grow since you’ve been gone. Love, Brenda

    • Elizabeth, You are the Contessa! I can’t imagine you changing your style and know I will never see you in blue jeans or leather pants… although you’d look great in black leather with a smashing kimono and some of your statement jewelry!! Yes, I got a new TV and tossed the one Annie broke. Now we’re working on “watching TV” instead of trying to actually “meet and sniff” the dogs on TV. xoxox, Brenda

  7. I love the way you approach the challenge of our changing identity as we grow older. You are very much still yourself, but in some ways freed. To play with some totally new look is to make the most of the opportunities inherent in a changing role. And “tweak” is one of my favorite words.

    • Hi Rachel, Thanks so much! A change in our appearance isn’t that difficult unless we have surgery. We just wait for hair to grow out, use a different color of nail polish or stop wearing certain clothes. I LOVE “TWEAK” AS WELL! It makes me think about “You’ve Got Mail,” when Tom Hanks suggests to Meg Ryan that the guy she met online may have things he needs to “tweak” before they meet. A charming scene. BTW, I’m really tweaking my style this Friday night when I go see Diana Ross in concert. She always looks so fabulous! How can I not dress up? Hope you like it. I’ll do a blog post about her and what I wore. xoxox, Brenda

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