Between the Lines: Week 3 and Styling a Simple Black Maxi Dress - Part 1

The next few weeks I want to show two ways for styling a certain piece. This week I am focusing on a simple, knit black maxi dress. The dress itself is very plain. It has a sleeveless tank type top and a straight skirt with no form to it. Some people might use a maxi like this a swimsuit cover up or for lounging around the house when they don't have to go to work. The beauty of this dress is that it is reasonably priced, light weight, doesn't require a slip underneath and very comfortable..

Photo Credit Rebecca Trumbull, Make Up Rachel Christensen

 For this particular outfit I simply threw a gray and black striped tee over the top. The shirt is very light weight as the black stripes are made of a sheer see through material and the grey stripes are lighter weight knit. I added a pop of color with the Buttercup yellow beaded necklace and bracelets and lastly stepped into a very comfortable pair of black espadrilles.

All Photos by Rebecca Trumbull, Make Up Rachel Christensen

This was a very comfy outfit and would be great for an evening stroll along the beach or boardwalk. Or for a casual day of shopping. Next week I'll show you how to dress this simple maxi up for a night out!

Shop A Similar Look:

Black Maxi-dress - J.Crew - $44.50

Gray and Black Striped Tee - Target (longer version - would look cute belted) - $19.99 

Black shoes - DSW - $49.95

Necklace - Etsy - $22.00 or $16.00

Bracelet - Etsy - $9.00

Be sure to check out the next ten Over 50 Bloggers in the Between the Lines series by clicking on the image below. That will take you to Katherine's Corners. Katherine was wonderful enough and ambitious enough to start this series two weeks ago. Every week she features 10 bloggers over 50. These are bloggers who do everything from cook and farm to furniture redos and fashion. Head on over and give them some love!

Spring Colors: Lilac Gray and Buttercup

Photo Credit:  Rebecca Trumbull , Makeup by  Rachel Christensen

Photo Credit: Rebecca Trumbull, Makeup by Rachel Christensen

Today you'll see the second outfit in my Spring color series. The color emphasis is on Pantone's Lilac Gray and Buttercup. I found the button up at a thrift store. We had a hard time finding a similar color, but here is a possibility. The bag I found on clearance at JC Penney and I really like it. This purse is roomy, but not overwhelming. I have a tendency to put everything in my bag. The muted color enables it to be carried with many other outfits, and the gold chain gives it a classy look without making it heavier. We found a similar bag at Kohl's.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Trumbull, Makeup by Rachel Christensen

The buttercup tee (another thrift store find) has an embellished neckline which goes well with the gold on my bag and shoes. We found a similar embellished tank top at Macy's. The skirt, simple black leggings, shoes, and yellow bangle are all second hand store finds but we were able to find you some inspiration from some other stores. Here is a skirt from Kohl's, black shoes from DSW, and a bracelet option on Etsy. As you can tell, I love to thrift shop. If I had been born in an earlier century, I would have been a pirate! Arrrrrrrrrggggg! I was excited to see that the low chunky heel is making a come back!

Obviously, the outfit could be retrofitted for summer simply by getting rid of the leggings and wearing a cute pair of sandals or espadrilles. Carry the button up as a covering for overly air conditioned shops or restaurants and you are all set.

Since, this blog is all about inspiration, I would like you ladies to start digging for treasure in your own closets. See if you have any of Pantone's Spring color line up. Throw an outfit together and have someone take a picture. Then send it to me via a Facebook message or you can email it to me. If you take a pic on your phone you can just text it to my email at I would love to see how I have inspired your fashion sensibilities and you might even get your pic posted!

Now it's time for our next Closet Clean Out Tip.

Closet Clean Clean Out - Tip 3 - Skirts and Dresses

I really do not know why I have so many skirts and dresses. I think it stems from my upbringing. Being raised in the church we always dressed up for Sunday service. As far as that goes, my mother used to make me wear dresses when I was in elementary school. Being a tomboy I grew to loathe skirts and dresses, although, I never stopped wearing them to church...until recently. However, I still do wear a skirt for work once in a while and if my husband and I splurge on a show I dress up.

Once again, I would say, start by organizing. You can arrange by color, length or type of skirt, or seasonal. The same goes for dresses. If you have room you might want to hang from shortest to longest. Organization is for your benefit, so figure out what is going to work for you. As you begin to organize take a hard look at what skirts and dresses you have. Do you love it? Does it fit? Is it in style?

Actually that is not a valid question any more. What isn't in style? Mini vs. maxi, plain vs. print, plaid vs. floral, a-line vs. pencil, pleather vs. leather.....anything goes! Style is what you make it. A dress you wore in the 80's may no longer be in style, but if you throw a chunky sweater over it, or add a black moto jacket and a pair of over the knee boots you can make it work. That's not something I have to worry about, since I can't fit into any dresses that I owned in the 80's. Ha, ha.

I have found that if I am unsure about a particular item, I put it in a pile, then when I have a significant number of items I try them all on. The item has to answer several questions: Does it have a slimming or smoothing effect? Is the pattern or color complimentary? Could I pair it with other items I have to make it work for me, like wearing a dress with a jacket or sweater over the top, or wearing a skirt with a wide belt and a tee shirt or tank top. How can I update my look if it is something I really love? I am getting better at putting things in the donation box if I am not absolutely convinced it works for me.

I hope as you reorganize your skirts and dresses you will be thinking about some of the things you have read here on my fashion blog. As you saw today, I paired a skirt with leggings, something I have never done before. Think outside the box, after all, you are women and we are more like spaghetti than waffles.

Be sure to come back next week. We'll have another Spring outfit and more tips on cleaning out our closets. 

All photos by Rebecca Trumbull, Makeup by Rachel Christensen

Spring Colors: Serenity, Buttercup and Iced Coffee

Here we are! Ready for Spring! I just can't wait for warmer weather. While I am waiting I thought I would try on some of Pantone's Spring color choices.

My outfit this week emphasizes Serenity. It is the perfect name for this light blue that reminds us of warm, sunny days and gentle breezes. 

Spring Colors - Serenity

The light denim button up (similar here) is very close to the Serenity hue. Once again, I am layering and put the top over a summer dress (see Lord and Taylor version) that feels like a tee shirt. Underneath I have a pair of leggings that hit just about mid calf. The leggings are close to Pantone's Snorkel Blue. The outfit would be great without the leggings too. I opted for leggings as I currently have bad varicose veins. The boots (similar from DSW) and clutch (similar here), as well as the belt (seen below) are as close as I could get to Iced Coffee with what was in my closet. My choices really have more of a carmel edge than the Pantone color, but you get the point.

Belt and Clutch

For my accessories I chose the color Buttercup. The vibrant yellow pulls in the yellow on the dress and adds a pop of sunshine to the outfit (Etsy option). Below you can see it all put together!

My hubby liked this outfit! Which says a lot! It would be great with sandals or flip flops for a causal beach vibe as well. 

I hope you enjoyed this week's post. Be sure to check in next week for another Pantone inspired Spring outfit! And keep reading for this week's Closet Clean Out tip!

Closet Clean Out - Tip 2 - Trim the Socks and Underwear

Have you ever noticed how full your sock and underwear drawer are? I have a drawer for socks and a drawer for underwear? Why? I mean I only wear one pair of socks per day and one pair of underwear. If I do laundry once a week that would mean I should potentially have seven pairs of socks and seven pairs of underwear. Heck, I could fit them all in the same drawer. But I don't! I have a whole drawer dedicated to socks and a whole drawer dedicated to underwear.

Okay, I get the need or let's say want, to have a variety of underwear. Casual, comfy, pretty, sexy, cotton, polyester blends, various colors, bikinis, boy cut, on and on the list goes, but a whole drawer? So let's trim down.

Dump out the underwear drawer and immediately discard anything with holes, fraying rubber, torn lace and so on. Next get rid of anything you cannot fit into, or that you do not deem comfortable enough to wear for more than a few hours. Of course it is okay to keep a few sexy items that might only stay on for a few minutes, but get your spouse/partner's input for what they like. The majority of us are wearing those items for them, not for ourselves. I know there are exceptions and many of you may like a lacy thong as your go to underwear. You decide what you want to keep....same rule as last week...try to get rid of ten items.

This goes for bras as well. Some of you girls collect bras like others collect purses or shoes. Do your self a favor, get rid of those ones you cannot wait to take off! If you have a little (or a lot) of excess weight like I do, buy a few new bras that have larger back straps that help smooth out and conceal bulges. Don't buy bras off the clearance racks unless you try them on. And don't be too proud to step up a size. For years I was a 36 B, now I get a 38 C, not because I am so much bigger in the cup, but because they fit better all the way around.

Once you have gotten rid of those items you no longer want, spend a few minutes deciding on a way to organize and keep your items looking neat and easily accessible. Bras really should be kept so the cups are out, not squashed together, which leads to wrinkles and pock marks in the cup area. A bra is supposed to make you look smooth, not like your boobs have indentations and bulges. Underwear is a little more versatile, so feel free to roll, fold, or toss, if that is your preferred method of organization. 

Use the same method for your socks. Dump out your drawer and get rid of any socks with holes. If you have two pairs of sock that are exactly the same and only one pair has a hole, keep the one sock without holes for a replacement for the other pair when one of them gets worn. Sort through your styles and colors. Obviously in the winter you will want a few pairs of thicker boot socks. In the summer you may only use a few no-show socks and the rest of the time be in sandals. Also, think about the colors of socks you have. I usually pair my sock color with my pant color, so most of the socks I wear are blue, because I am a jeans kind of girl. I seriously do not know why I have so many other colored socks. Maybe I am saving them to make sock puppets with my Grandson! Seriously, get rid of what you don't use.

Here you will see a few links for organizers that look cool. Personally, I do not have anything in place yet, but I am hopeful that someday utopia will be reached in my home and I will be organized.

Next time we will talk about dresses and skirts! Stay tuned!


*All Photos By Rebecca Trumbull, Makeup By Rachel Christensen