This month I am featuring Christine Binnendyk as our Facebook Group Member of the Month. My most vivid memory of her is the time she just matter-of-factly mentioned in a group conversation thread that she was donating a kidney. It wasn’t until some of us jumped in and said, “Hold on. You’re doing what, now?” that she elaborated further. I found how humbly and unceremoniously she told us her plan such an admirable quality. She wasn’t looking for praise or recognition, she was just donating a kidney.
I thought it would be nice to get to know Christine beyond her generous spirit. Let’s get to know her and her style too.
Name: Christine Binnendyk
Location: Portland, Oregon
Q: What do you like most about being a member of Bridgette’s Facebook Group?
A: I enjoy hearing from hearing people all around the world who love clothes and are so willing to help each other out with outfit suggestions, shopping, etc. It’s just fun to find a tribe of people who enjoy the same things I do.
Q: What are the biggest benefits you have received from being a Group member
A: Feedback is so valuable, whether it’s “tell me the truth, does this outfit work?” or “how much did you really spend this month on shoes?
Q: What would you tell women who haven’t joined the Group yet?
A: We root for each other. Doesn’t everyone need that?!
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Split personality. I own a Pilates studio, so many people have only seen me in activewear. Yet, I’ve always adored dresses of all kinds, so when I’m not at the studio, I prefer to be wearing a dress. The more color, the better!
Q: How did you discover your personal style?
A: The older I’ve gotten, the less I care what other people think. At this point, I just dress to make myself happy. When people in uber-relaxed Portland turn to watch me walk into Happy Hour, I’m guessing they’re wishing they were wearing my outfit.
Q: What advice do you have for others trying to find their own style?
Be willing to try it on! There are lots of hanger dogs out there — items that need a real body to make them shine. Know that not all styles are for everyone, so please don’t try to change your body to fit a trend. I always tell my Pilates students: use a fitter and buy a really good bra. You’ll be so much happier.
Q: What fashion issues are you currently struggling with?
A: I went off hormone replacement therapy for 6 months after donating a kidney. I just went back on, but wow, my body has changed! My torso is just bigger.
Q: What are the most versatile items you have in your closet?
- Black, plain wash skinny jeans can take me almost anywhere. I have a friend who always compliments me and I keep telling her: these are the same pants you’ve seen me in the last 10x.
- Shift dresses that have their own shape, yet don’t require me to my thinnest.
- Comfortable heels. I feel more put-together in heels; they change my attitude!
Q: If you could go back and change a way you dressed in the past, what would you change?
A: In high school, I lived outside of NYC. I only wore black — I wish I’d branched out more at that time. I thought it made me sophisticated….
The shoulder pads from the 90’s — I cringe when I see those pics now! At the time, I probably looked appropriate. Did I want to look “timeless” then? Probably not.
Q: Is there a fashion purchase you made that you found more useful than you thought it would be?
A: I used to have an employee discount at Cole Haan, back when Nike owned them. I’d drive over to the outlet center, walk in and ask the manager: what’s the best deal you have in the store? (He enjoyed that game!) One day, he handed me a pair on cognac ankle booties that I ended up buying for something like 4% of the retail price. I wore those booties for 10 years before they died!
Q: What about a fashion purchase that you thought would solve all your problems, but didn’t?
A: Well, I’m always buying a fabulous dress that doesn’t see enough wear to justify the price….. (where are you going in that?!) When I was in my 20’s, I definitely fell for those “must-have” lists of things that “every woman should have.” I owned waaaay too much back then.
Q: How do you envision yourself when you look your best?
A: I like to look happy and fabulous for that particular moment. I really do enjoy myself much more if I’m happy with what I’m wearing.
Q: What are your biggest fashion goals for the year?
A: Well, just before the coronavirus crazy happened, my favorite local designer closed up her retail shop. She won’t be doing anything other than bridal ever again. I bought several “end of an era” items at her last sale and I’d like to wear every one of them the maximum amount: a full-length black cotton lace dress (bottom ruffle can go, to make it more wearable); a bias-cut black slip dress (sexy AF); an orange silk maxi halter dress, a navy and white gingham maxi dress, and a pink and white gingham blouse.
Q: What is the best fashion advice you ever received?
A: Get The Dress
Q: The first thing you take off when you get home?
Q: Favorite color(s) to wear
A: Orange, indigo, grey, black, white
Q: Favorite stores to shop?
A: I’m more of a boutique girl. Sometimes Anthro, Boden, J Jill. Lol – yet my fave skinny jeans are Calvin Klein at Costco
Q: What makes you happiest?
A: Playing with my English bulldog, having a cocktail with my husband, being with our siblings (I have 5 brothers, he has 6 sisters — we have a LOT of family spread all over the country)
Q: What inspires you?
A: Nature! I love being outdoors. Flowering trees — the magnolias are making me happy these days!