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Ageless Style-Brenda Coffee of 1010 Park Place

It’s my favorite time of the month.  Elizabeth (the Vintage Contessa) and I are interviewing someone with great style over 50 for our Ageless Style Series.  This month I am interviewing the delightful Brenda from the popular blog 1010 Park Place. Brenda’s blog is filled with energizing advice, motivating interviews with other inspiring women over 50, and straight talk about health, beauty, and aging gracefully. It is a landing pad for women over 50 who want to be the best they can be at any age. I hope you love Brenda’s sassy style as much as I do.

How Would You Describe Your Style?
I’ve always been a minimalist, drawn to the clean lines and understated elegance of designers like Armani, but that no longer fits my lifestyle or my wallet. In recent years I’ve stopped wearing business attire and have been tweaking my style, putting pieces together in what I call “elevated casual.” Timeless pieces with at least one thing that makes you say, “Wow,” in a good way.
What Inspires your signature style?
In my 20’s I fell in love with the clean lines and elegant clothes Lauren Hutton wore in Vogue magazine. They were Calvin Klein, Armani and Oscar de la Renta. Since then whether I’m digging for Mayan artifacts or a weekend at the ranch, I want simple pieces that elevate my look like black jeans. I always have several pair of narrow… not skinny, ankle length, black denim jeans that sit on my waist and a couple of pairs of black velvet jeans. You can wear them with something simple like a Gap T-shirt and a fabulous belt, a crisp white shirt or a cashmere sweater and a simple, but stunning piece of jewelry. Boots, flats, cool sneakers… They all work.
What accessory Can You Not Do Without?
My wedding band with five marquise diamonds. Until my 40’s, I wasn’t a jewelry kind of girl. Perhaps that’s because I was more into cameras, racing cars and adventure travel. They were my first diamonds, and I used to tease James they were my “starter set,” because I finally understood the appeal of diamonds! He died, unexpectedly, seven years ago Christmas Day. A few years later I no longer felt married, but I loved the ring. I had it resized and wear it on the middle finger of my left hand along with a Paul Morelli diamond bracelet I bought myself as a reward for a huge accomplishment. It’s simple, a pair of gold strands studded with six small diamonds. Whether I’m at the gym or a business meeting, I always wear both of these.
Favorite Color:
Taupe! I know… but taupe, grey, black and white… I can accessorize these colors with say a pair of plum suede shoes and a statement necklace without having everything fight for attention. I don’t want my clothes to wear me.
Do you have a signature piece that defines your style?
LOL! Other than gym clothes I wear three days a week? I don’t have a signature piece, but there are several pieces I have to stop myself from wearing again and again. A Carolina Herrera sleeveless, grey sweater with fox trim, my black leather pants… not leggings… and a pair of pony skin flats from Arches that are white with black leopard spots. The soles are red rubber. My most comfortable shoes. So comfortable I ordered another pair I’m saving until the first pair falls off my feet.
What are your style strengths?
Knowing what looks good on me. I buy one nice piece in the fall and another in the spring, and because I know my style and what looks good on me, I’m still wearing things I bought 30 years ago, pairing them with pieces I bought recently. My mother was a model in World War II and then a buyer in couture. While she was disappointed I wasn’t a clothes horse like she was, and wore blue jeans most of my life, I learned a lot about good fabrics, workmanship, and styling. Again, I’m a minimalist, but not a stark minimalist like Icon Accidental, although I wish I could pull that look off, but you’ve got to have the hair… It’s the total package. My “elevated casual” style’s not for everyone, but it works for me.

Do you have a style icon?
Funny you should ask because last month I wrote a 1010ParkPlace Fashion Friday blog called, “Do You Dress Like Your Fashion Icon?” What good is it to have a fashion icon if we don’t take our cues from them about style, even beauty? Now my style icon is Rene Russo’s onscreen character, Catherine Banning, in the Thomas Crown Affair. Elegant, minimalist and edgy. It would be sad and boring if we always played it safe with our clothes. Five years ago I surprised myself by buying a pair of leather pants! A while back I read if you wear something the first time around, you shouldn’t wear it the second time around. In other words, you might be too old for that look. While I think good style is ageless, and we shouldn’t be told what we can and can’t wear in our 40’s, 50’s and 60’s like MORE magazine did… used to drive me crazy… I also think we reach an age where we look like we’re trying too hard to hang on to our youth if we’re still wearing mini skirts and stilettos. If you have to ask yourself if you’re there, yet… You probably are.
What are your beauty essentials that you can’t do without?
Last spring I was introduced to Simply Venom. They have a day cream and a night cream I swear by. For my hands I love First Aid Beauty’s “Ultra Repair Cream.” Olive oil, shay butter… all those goopy products do nothing for me, but “Ultra Repair Cream” is a game changer for my cuticles.
Do you have repeat offenders in your closet? if so what are they?
Old gym clothes… My best girlfriend since high school took a “blackmail” photo of me in one of my gym outfits a couple of months ago. I do need to buy some new workout clothes, but I don’t want ones with cross back straps and lots of exposed skin. I’ve worked out since I was in my 20’s, so I’m in shape, but wearing revealing clothes of any kind… I’m past that point, age wise.
What advice do you have for women over 50, or over 40?
What are you waiting for? Get on with the life you want for yourself. Step out of your comfort zone and make it happen! It doesn’t matter what you wear! Just do it!! My first husband and I lived an Indiana Jones life before there was an Indiana Jones. I remember him telling me I’d look back and be glad I did all “these things” and for the most part, I am. From time to time I think about writing a memoir, but it would be a lot for readers to absorb… Let’s just say I didn’t grow up to have 3.2 children and live in a neighborhood. I was in a writers’ group for several years. We wrote memoir. That was the first time I opened up about living on the edge… of everything. After I’d finished reading my pieces to the group, they’d sit there with their mouths open and say nothing. I don’t think one woman ever believed I word I wrote. It’s a lot to take in. Since then I’ve not talked about my life, but I’ve been dropping bits and pieces on BRENDA’S BLOG on 1010ParkPlace. My readers have been supportive and want to hear more, so I’m thinking about it.
Do you have any style rules that you live by?
When I was in my early 20’s, a male friend of mine flipped houses. Sometimes I’d drive around with him as he scouted for his next house. We’d stop in front of a house, and he’d tell me what he would do to it on the outside. I’ve never forgotten his comment about “two colors rich, three colors poor,” and he was right. If you’ve got lots of prints and color going on… At least for me, it’s not a great look. Yesterday I went to a lunch/fashion show where all the models were wearing half a dozen different bold colors and patterns and lots of bling. They were expensive clothes, but for me, they looked like circus clothes. That said… DO NOT TELL ME TO STOP WEARING MY WHITE, SEQUIN, LONG SLEEVE T-SHIRT! Also, other than my Arches shoes, a leopard print scarf I got as a Christmas present and an Ulla Johnson midi dress I bought to speak at the Texas Conference for Women, I don’t wear prints.
What are your favorite online go to sources?
If you go to ShopStyle and type in what you’re looking for, you’ll get a range of items of every price range, where you can find it and available sizes. That’s a good place to start.
Do you have a particular designer that you are drawn to?
The ones I can’t afford… I love The Row. Who would have thought Mary Kate and Ashley would grow up to become fashion designers? They have an amazing eye and design clean line pieces I like, although I don’t own any of their pieces… Too $$$$ More affordable is Vince. I like Alice & Olivia.
Thank you so much, Brenda, for sharing your “foxy, seasoned and wise” style with us. Pop over to The Vintage Contessa to see who she is interviewing this month.  You know she always has someone interesting up her sleeve!




Reader Interactions


  1. lisa thomson says

    Great style post. Brenda reminds me of “Diane” from The Good Fight (previously, The Good Wife). So classy. I love the variety of looks, Brenda shows herself in.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      I agree Lisa what a great comparison. Brenda is an inspiration to all of us over the age of 50 and beyond!!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      She has great taste doesn’t she? And she is full of spunk…I love that!!

  2. Hilda Smith says

    Brenda I love all your ‘snippets’ and want more. I love your style your writings about your holidays, your home…everything…waiting for that book too.

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hilda thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I am so glad you enjoyed Brenda’s interview!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Michelle

      My closet needs attention as well. I hope Brenda gave you some inspiration. I love her style!

  3. Brenda Coffee says

    Thank you, Cindy, for featuring me on your blog! I enjoyed answering your Q&A. It’s always fun and interesting to read what other women have to say about clothes and get an insight into their lives. I loved the Contessa’s comment about black DENIM! She’s funny and adorable! And about me writing a book… There’s rarely been a week in the last 30 years I haven’t thought about it. Books are all consuming, not just time wise but mentally and emotionally. We’ll see… Thank you, again to you and your readers! xoxox, Brenda

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Brenda

      I have been out of the loop at a bloggers conference, so just had time to check in. I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed your style, wit, and spunk! And everyone is waiting for the book!!

  4. Gail storti says

    The women you showcase in this series are so inspiring. I love reading about their lives and adventures and how their personal style has evolved. I agree, Brenda PLEASE write that book!

    • Cindy Hattersley says

      Hi Gail I am so glad you enjoy the series. It is always a challenge to find women my age that are embracing their age and have great style!

  5. Karen B. says

    This is such a fun series. I enjoy seeing how others, over 50, wear fashion. I confess, as a Southern California girl, your style is still my favorite. The casual yet pulled together style you wear, always looks so fresh and wonderful.

  6. kim says

    Cindy love this series! So fun to read about Brenda and her style. She really does have the Rene Russo look about her. I am intrigued to know more about her adventures! I enjoyed reading how she has developed her style and stuck with it. People who can do that always look amazing. I especially liked her leather pants look! Again another great person to know better. Love it! Have a great week Cindy. xo Kim

  7. Shannon Garms says

    Good Evening!

    This is my first time to comment and I’m so happy to say that I just loved your piece! How moving and powerful!!!! Thank you for sharing this profile of Brenda! Wow! It was wonderful!!!!

  8. Sandra Sallin-Apart From My Art says

    You know I adore you. I want to read that book. Consider me your first buyer. I adore black jeans. So there my Contessa. I’ve got to check out the Arche shoes. I love reading 1010 Park Place. Want to know more about your husband and your previous life. Come on we all want to know. Love you’ve sense of style and the way you live your life. You’ve got heart, soul, style and pizazz.
    Great choice Cindy.

  9. Jill Anthony says

    Oh YAY! So happy to see Brenda here! I totally see the “Thomas Crown Affair” fashion inspiration. Brenda always looks to chic with beautiful luxe pieces in subtle colors and gorgeous textures. Elegant ease! And yes, we need a book of Brenda’s adventures!!! This was so much fun! Another fabulous interview!

  10. LA CONTESSA says

    I had to laugh BRENDA as I just told another BLOGGER and I will tell YOU I CAN NOT STAND BLACK JEANS!!!DENIUM……………YES……. BUT BLACK,I doNOT see the attraction!
    MAYBE you can explain them to me cause I just ZIPPED over that bit of FASHION.
    VELVET or LEATHER YES!!!!!!!
    YOU have been through A LOT for your AGE!If the Memories are not TOO PAINFUL I SAY WRITE THE BOOK!!!!!

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