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Outfits in Real Life: Birthday Dinner

Last week, I turned 43. 

I’ve never said this about any other year before, but 42 was amazing. 

Not that the year wasn’t without its challenges because it was, big time, but it was perhaps the best year of my life because I’m ending it finally feeling like the best grown-up version of myself, like someone I can be really proud of. 

With my birthday so close to the holidays, I ease into a New Year mentality a few weeks early.

This time last year, I was in bad shape physically, emotionally, and mentally. I was lost, and sad about a lot of things.  

But I committed to making significant changes and stuck with them. 

Now, I’m on the other side of a year of deep personal work, and I can tell you some magical stuff happened the second I prioritized my peace and started to learn to love myself. 

And I’ll share more of that maybe later but for now, if you’re having thoughts like, what if I just went all in this year? 

Do it. Do it. Do it. 

I’m walking into 43 feeling incredibly optimistic, confident and grateful about this next chapter in my life. 

And a date night that required a bit of dressing up was the perfect way to celebrate another trip around the sun.

Outfits in Real Life: Birthday Dinner

I knew I wanted to build an outfit with my coated jeans from Banana Republic Factory because they are comfortable but look special.

I like these so much that I have two pairs:  the slim cut in a size 10 and the curvy, above, in a 8.

Finding a top was challenging because I was in a mood and didn’t like anything.

So I opened the drawer where I keep my delicate/embellished tops and pulled out the sweater above, with exaggerated shoulders and pearl detail on the sleeves, and thought, “maybe?”

I bought this sweater by the brand Pomander Place from Tuckernuck this time last year, thinking I’d wear it around the holidays.

When it arrived, it didn’t fit, and I couldn’t return it. 

I remember putting it on and being in tears. I was beyond frustrated. I gained so much weight over COVID and other nonsense that my body didn’t feel like it was mine anymore.

This was the starting point of being so fed up I changed everything. 

When I put it on last week, it fit perfectly, which felt rather poetic. 

I’ve lost 25 pounds so far, and while I have a ways to go, I am starting to physically feel like myself again.

And listen, this year was about so much more than weight loss for me. So while it’s nice to fit into my clothes, it’s a lot deeper than that. 

Before you ask, I didn’t do any crazy diet. I just started working out like I did before the pandemic, paid attention to what I was eating and dialed back booze. 

Anyway, I’m surprised by how much I love this top because it’s a bit extra for me, but it’s fun, and I adore the pearl details. 

This style isn’t available, but they have some other interesting pieces. This one is the same shape without pearls.  I also like this simple black top with sleeve detail, and  this tee-shirt weight option with a similar shoulder in black, white or stripe.

I brought pearls into the rest of the look with the Juli Vos Penelope Pearl Studs. These are gorgeous. Above I’m wearing them in the large size. 

For bracelets, I wear a combination of the same bracelets everyday. Here I’m wearing our two top Amazon sellers: this  Cable Wire Bangle, a David Yurman Dupe and this CZ Bangle, a Cartier Love Bracelet Dupe. Both under $20. 

Then, I added the Sam Edelman Brit Jewel Mule. We’ve featured these a few times over the last month or so. 

Above is the color cappuccino, which comes across like a classic light neutral. You can find these on Amazon here.

I also have them in this rich saffron color, you can get them and several other colors on sale at Nordstrom

Are they comfortable? Sure. I’m not going to run a marathon in them, but for dinner, or a holiday party, they’re great. 

And that’s it.

I found this snakeskin print hard case clutch with a pearl closure in the back of my closet, I bought for a steal at H&M ages ago.

So, keep those little bags in classic styles, you never know when they’ll totally make an outfit. 🙂


Related Posts

 Join Megan Kristel for a comprehensive, 3 hour long, LIVE Virtual Workshop sharing personal style and shopping tips for women over 40 on March 31, 2023.


Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Wednesday 7th of December 2022

First off, Happy Belated Birthday! I love your style! I am wanting to order the curvy coated jeans but not sure about sizing. I am 5’4 and my weight fluctuates between 154-160. Definitely have a booty, small waist, and muscular thighs and calves. In brands like Evereve and KUT from the KLOTH, I wear a size 4 or 27. Any suggestions about sizing (up or down)? Would definitely appreciate any help.


Wednesday 7th of December 2022

Happy belated birthday! I so appreciate your blog & all your hard work. Your mention about how you took care of yourself this year is so inspiring! Thank you so very much for all you do!


Tuesday 6th of December 2022

I got this coated jeans and they fit! However,I need other shoe options- booties? Flat loafer? I ve tried them on and just not sure it looks right without at least a little bit of a heel. If I wear booties, should there be skin showing between pant leg and top of boot? Help!


Tuesday 6th of December 2022

You look fabulous!! I love the outfit too! It is special when you share real life situations and real life outfits. So happy to hear of your journey and it is going so well! Inspiring.

Tracy Gray

Tuesday 6th of December 2022

Happy birthday! And I love the outfit you look great in it.

Elizabeth Walker

Tuesday 6th of December 2022

A beautiful outfit worn by a beautiful woman! Thank you for inspiring all of us each day :)

Melissa Hawes

Tuesday 6th of December 2022

Happy Belated Birthday Meg! You look great. Thanks for sharing your story.


Tuesday 6th of December 2022

Hi Megan, you look fabulous. The coated jeans look so good on you that it makes me want to buy a pair for myself. I am on a little weight loss journey myself and have experienced similar feelings when clothes did not fit that used to fit well. Thank you for sharing. Really enjoy the Outfit in Real Life series. Donna

Jessica Moran

Tuesday 6th of December 2022

Just when I think your blog can’t get any better you post something that I can totally and completely relate to! Thank you! Keep on keeping on! You are amazing