A Visit With Ellie

A few months ago, I heard from a lovely follower of my blog who asked me for help with her wardrobe. After a few emails, I discovered that she lives in North Carolina, a few hours away. She had many questions too difficult to address in an email, so I decided to meet her at her daughter’s house, which is even closer to me. After changing our plans a couple of times, we finally got to spend a few hours together on Saturday.

Ellie brought many of her recent favorite purchases and told me about her lifestyle. We spent time creating different looks, discussing healthy eating, makeup, skincare, shoes, and jewelry. It was such a fun day!

I even shared a few modeling tips with Ellie. She is a natural!

After trying on many of the items in her fall wardrobe, we identified a few that weren’t right for her lifestyle or coloring. She realized she needed simple, classic basics to form a more fitted base for many of her novelty jackets and toppers. When the basics are missing, we end up with a closet full of nothing to wear. We discussed shoes, accessories, how to tie scarves, and which colors were best for her.

Mr. Mickey recorded the short video at the bottom of this post as we were starting our style session.

After spending a few hours with Ellie and Terri, Mr. Mickey and I left for the Inn at Biltmore Estate to enjoy a leisurely early dinner in the Library Lounge.

A shrimp cocktail is always a great way to start your evening meal!

The view from our table by the window was captivating. When we left Johnson City earlier in the day, it was raining and dreary, so this beautiful sky was a joy to behold.

It is no exaggeration to say that ninety-five percent of the women I saw this weekend were wearing leggings. They seem to be the most popular garment of the season. (Always wear them with a long top that covers your bottom.) I have to admit they can be warm and comfortable with boots of all types. I wore my leggings over opaque black tights from White House|Black Market.

I purchased my bag from Uno Alla Volta a few years ago. Alessandra and Elisabetta created it in their studio in Italy. 

My Antelope boots are a few years old. Similar ones are here. The leggings I am wearing are from Chico’s. The tank I am wearing is a size large from Express. Referral and affiliate links in my posts may generate a small commission for me at no additional cost to you.

The plum color long sleeve French Terry cardigan by Focus can be worn buttoned at the side to create a different look. I wore it open for most of the day, but it was nice to button it for more warmth in the wind. The cardigan was a gift from My Fair Lady.

    1. Panties and socks will show through most pants. I always wear opaque tights in winter instead of knee socks. It was 33 degrees F on Sunday morning here. There was no sweating.

  1. I think I may be speaking for many when I say we are all envious of Ellie! Love all these looks, especially the plum color.

  2. How fun for Ellie to have a personal session with you – That would be a dream come true for all your followers!!! I love the look of the long black column with a jacket or cardigan , but for some reason I tend to avoid that look on me thinking it is too dressy for my lifestyle. I’ve been inspired to try it this week!

    1. Try the one color column combo using casual materials like cotton knit. Both ladies were amazed at the difference it made in taking the attention away from a tummy area.

  3. That was a really helpful article. I especially liked the video which featured you helping Ellie work with her clothes. Hope you do more videos like that where you are helping people work with their wardrobe. Thank you!

  4. It was very nice of you to visit your fan in person! Not many people would do that. I might give leggings a go if I can find the right top. Always difficult if you are plus sized.

  5. Susan,
    I have followed your blog for quite some time now. I am “of a certain age” and love your style because it is the same as mine. However, I must call you out on two things that really bothered me. I always wear red lipstick because it looks best on me. In one of your blogs you strongly urged against it for older women (I’m 69 and petite) . Now I see that you wear it in every photo. The other bothersome issue is that after telling us that you don’t wear leggings anymore, and we should rethink it also, I see the blog today where you’re touting them. I began to question wearing leggings and bought slim leg pants at your suggestion. I love my leggings and will go back to them. I think I will continue to follow my instinct on certain fashion choices and not self doubt about them anymore. I will continue to enjoy your blog and look forward to see what’s Next! Thank you for providing is with so much good information and style tips.

    1. I remain open to changing styles and try to share insight into how I might wear those items. I have gone to and fro on the issue of leggings, but I have to admit they are very comfortable and they can be the best option available to wear with some boots. As for the red lipstick, I steer clear of dark reds and always try to wear a brighter version of red in a tone that complements the color I am wearing near my face. Remaining flexible in our choices can be very liberating. Too many rules can age us fast and take the fun out of fashion. I’m making an effort to go with ebb and flow of current styles.

    2. I also want to mention that I buy a size larger in leggings to get a more forgiving fit. I still wear slim straight cut slacks or jeans on most days, but I wanted to show how I wear what is very popular at the moment and it seems that all generations are sporting leggings.

  6. Oh my, I am so very jealous. That visit with you would be a dream. I love your cardigan and I love
    the long topper she is wearing. One quick question: can short heavy ladies wear the long topper?
    Your weekend looks marvelous.

  7. One of your best blogs! I learned so much from this one. I’m off to Chico’s today to purchase those leggings. I love that they won’t hug my curves.
    How fabulous a day Ellie had too. So happy for her.

    Your lunch view was breathtaking.

  8. I really enjoy your blog and am often inspired by what you are wearing, just when I need to build my own outfit for the day. I love that plum sweater (as well as the rest of the look) and have something quite similar, but my question is–what do you suggest as the appropriate outerwear to wear over it, when it is colder outside (as in ~45 degrees)?

    1. I have a trench coat in black that I could wear over it. I also have a shorter boiled wool jacket that is full enough to fit over it. Sometimes a big scarf is the best option over a bulky sweater.

      1. Perfect! My black trench coat it is. (My sweater isn’t actually bulky, so that works.) Thank you Susan. You are an inspiration of loveliness to all who follow you, when (at this time in all of our lives) we so need to concentrate on the positive.

  9. I wear ponte pants/leggings instead of leggings. The fabric is thicker and on me they’re more flattering. Regular leggings don’t feel substantial enough. I get them at Talbots or Eileen Fisher when they’re on sale. They have a little zipper on the ankle. I love the plum color on you. That Ellie is so cute, love her hair.

  10. I had replaced my leggings with Jeggings that are fitted but a heavier fabric. I guess I’ll have to pull out my leggings and look for new styles for this season. You look very stylish in this outfit.

  11. How great you were able to help Ellie face to face! I’m so happy to hear leggings are still “in”. This is a look I just love and totally comfortable in. I have many longer tops which I know is necessary.

    1. I would love to have a private session with you, but at this time I can only work out visits with folks who are within a hundred miles of my home in East Tennessee. Travel and my time constraints would make it very difficult for me to do now, but please keep me in mind for the future. I have an idea for a TV show on personal style sessions in your closet, but I have not found a producer yet.

  12. Susan, I enjoyed this video very much, please plan to do more showing us how to use clothes that we have in the closet and maybe a new clothing item to use with current clothes. I like all your post about clothing, have learned so much from your site. You are an inspiration to many women, you are beautiful, wear pretty clothes, and a classy lady. Thank you for sharing part of your life and showing us clothing attire to help us dress in a more fashionable way, like the way you mix and match clothing and use of scarves.

  13. What about small (I’m thinking around 5 ladies) group sessions at a hotel? Perhaps each lady could bring 5 personal items and you could advise her (or the group) on how to style around these. Whatever the cost (maybe a hotel pkg) would work for many; and I’m sure would be more cost effective than a private session.

  14. Per Rosalyn’s comment about the leggings: I strongly believe that Susan never said “do not wear leggings” but she did mention that she was moving away from them due to certain issues that come with age. She is flexible and decided to give them another try. Like CindyLou, the closest I come to leggings are the heavy ponte knit ones and some jeggings. They give a nice look with a top that covers my behind but they are not my only look. Frankly, I think the leggings look will be very dated soon. I prefer the more classic looks.

  15. Great look and I’m planning to buy leggings I have a number of tops, sweaters and jackets to cover and lengthen my overall look. You look happy

  16. Susan,

    As a very new retiree, I recently found your blog. I am a retired educator looking to step away from elementary school attire, Another recent change is that I shed 45 pounds following a popular healthy eating plan! I’d like to lose another 20 pounds perhaps. Currently, I am in the midst of a much-needed wardrobe overhaul. It’s simultaneously exciting and overwhelming.

    I am really looking forward to your post on leggings. I am 5’4” and have shied away from leggings due to my height and previous weight. I didn’t want to look like a bowling ball! I now think leggings are a viable option as my weight and figure continue to improve with continued weight loss and toning exercise plan. I am hoping you can add some styling tips for shorter and curvy women!

    Yours truly,
    Sue G

  17. Hi Susan,

    I wore my new Liverpool jeans today for the first time and love them! I wore my Mark Fisher boots that I got last year with the jeans and I still love them! Both items are so comfortable and well worth the price! Thanks so much for all your suggestions, expertise and advice!

    Kathy Keebler

    (I took a photo but couldn’t figure out how to attach it.)

    1. You can certainly wear them with slip-on sneakers or lace-up sneakers in a casual way. You can also wear them with loafers or oxfords and a long blazer. Slim fitting pants be they, leggings, jeggings or skinny jeans, can create balance with flowing, oversized or long tops.

  18. What a lovely story, beginning to end! I followed the link to Chico’s, but darnit, they didn’t have my size (6). And they were having a buy one get one half price deal, too!

    If you have any other suggestions for great leggings, please share them. The ones in the picture look awesome on you!

  19. Susan, your blog is so helpful. I look forward to each and every post. My one suggestion/request is that you give your height or your model’s height. As a short woman, I am often reluctant to try new outfits that only seem to look good on taller women.

  20. I look forward to your post on different ways to wear leggings and still look elegant and ladylike. All too often we see women wearing leggings without a long top. They appear to be wearing tights instead of pants.
    I noticed you almost always push your sleeves up. Is there a reason for this or just personal preference?

    1. I often have trouble keeping my jacket sleeves up. They won’t stay rolled up (and I’ve tried many suggested ways to roll) or pushed up. Any tips?

  21. Ellie must be in seventh heaven after her day with you! She introduced me to your blog a few months ago and I seem to get a new perspective on how to wear accessories with each visit. The outfits Ellie is modeling in the video look flattering on her — I especially like the way her scarf is draped and will have to give it a try myself.

  22. I enjoyed your blog about a meet up with Ellie and the clothes she wore and got a lot out it which I hope to copy. Thanks. You are a star


  23. On Leggings…I recently took a coffee break in an upscale shopping mall with a focus on fashion. I observed passersby of all ages, men women and children. Not meaning to be unkind, but as this is a style blog, the way most people dressed was not very flattering. SO many jeans were too tight or just ill fitting and not hemmed to the correct length. And the leggings! Why wear leggings or jeggings outside the home or walking trails when there are so many comfortable but flattering pants now days in wonderful, stretchy, washable fabrics at reasonable prices. If you are wondering if you should wear leggings or jeggings out and about, may suggest spending 15 minutes on a bench really takiing a focussed look at what works and what does not on your average human on a busy shopping day in your local mall. It was a real eye opener for me.

  24. Hi Susan,

    Such a great post, and clearly Ellie (and all of us) was thrilled for your great suggestions. I’ve noticed something in the last few years. When I try to wear a black crewneck or vneck top, I immediately take it off!! It’s strange, but it dulls my complexion so much. But, I can wear a black turtleneck beautifully. Black has always been my friend, for years! I suspect it has to do with age, and my neck?. Anyway, I’ve found that I now always reach for white! If I were to wear any of the jackets Ellie had, I would swap out the black top for a white one, and bam! I look alive and vibrant, not dead!!! If I am going to wear a black top, I always use a scarve with white in it. It just brightens things, and I look better. (I have quite pale skin with cool undertones) Luckily I can still wear black jacket and tops as long as I use something to brighten it. This was a really shock to me when I all of a sudden had a problem with black. I basically lived in black during my 20s through 40s. It’s interesting how things change as we ‘progress’, and I love it when I figure out a solution to a problem that puzzles me. You don’t have this problem, you look amazing in black! Thank you for sharing so much with us!

    1. Ellie still looks great in black next to her face. (Lucky her!) I am with you, and also look better during the day in a lighter brighter color. I can still rock black at night, but I also wear stronger makeup then.

  25. Oh good grief! Susan looks wonderful in her leggings! She has on a top that is the proper length and she has a beautiful figure for them. Leggings are like any other fashion, one must wear what is appropriate for their body type. And you have nailed it Susan!

  26. Susan your heart is right up there with your taste in style …. I was so touched with your visit to help Ellie… I have learned so much from you and will continue to do so I am sure . I just turned 73 . I have been following you somewhere around two years and get so many compliments on how I dress and that is all you … Thank you for your big heart and your fantastic style !!!!!! Have a Blessed Day Barbara

  27. Lucky Ellie, and great post with wonderful suggestions. Ellie looked precious in all the looks and really loved her in the black with the tan long vest I know that was a dream come true with a personal session with you!! ! Hope you will have more posts like this one as it shows “clothes already in the closet” and how you can wear them in ways one ( like me) would normally not think of…. I love leggings as long as they are worn appropriately with a long top covering the bottom. Susan, you looked terrific, and I look forward to more posts on what and how to wear leggings….They are very comfortable and when worn correctly, they can look very nice on any age woman! Thanks as always for your wonderful and inspiring posts!!

  28. I’m just sitting here thinking about the impact that words and tones can have on another…even on those for whom the words are not intended. Words are so powerful.

    I look forward to reading your posts, Susan. And, most days, I find that I take something from your experiences and suggestions that you offer…no matter, though, I just appreciate all your work and good will that you put out for the taking while enjoying my morning coffee. It’s always a pleasure for me…well, almost, except for days like today.

    I don’t know about your other readers, but a short, snappy quip or an insensitive tone or unsolicited, insensitive remarks from some readers steal that pleasure from me. I just don’t understand why some feel they have to critique your work at all, much less do so in an insensitive way. I think that those who do so just don’t understand how much work goes into your posts…and, you have said repeatedly that these are just your thoughts, suggestions, etc. and that you’re just sharing and it is there for the taking… For those who feel they must comment in such manner, I suggest that they consider focusing on other blogs more to their liking and let this be a zone of goodwill and kindness which you, Susan, model so well for your readers.

  29. I was thrilled that Susan visited me at my daughter’s house! I just wasn’t sure what clothes looked good on my body and I was frustrated with making poor clothing purchases. After working with Susan, I am dedicated to keeping it simple! I have my closet organized as she suggested, and I have a small list of what I need for my fall and winter wardrobe. Susan really wants to help women look and be their best and she doesn’t take her responsibility lightly. I received one email response from her around 5 AM! She really is beautiful inside and outside and is eager to share what she has learned. I agree with Teresa – let’s support and help each other as women! Thanks! Ellie

  30. This seems like a very personal question, Susan, so I apologize for that……You have shared with all of us the bras that you prefer (I bought them too.) so now I need to ask about underwear. My body seems to be very similar to yours in that I have a rather flat rear. I too, lost quite a bit of weight and the first thing that went was my butt. I want underpants that do not show a line. I have purchased 2 different vanishing edge styles from Soma and am underwhelmed with them both. They feel baggy on my rear because the silicone barely touches my skin. Have you found a brand that you like?

    1. Congratulations on the weight loss Ann. I have been wearing the vanishing edge panties here for the past few years. You may need to try a smaller size. If the tummy area fits without binding, I am happy. I’ve learned to cope with baggy pants in that area no matter what I wear.

  31. Hi Susan , I’m a bit late responding to this post and haven’t read all of the comments yet, but just want to thank you , once again , for answering my “unasked” questions….I am 5’2″ with petite build but have just not felt comfortable going out of the house with leggings….unless I Am running , walking, exercising….but I DO see women of all shapes and sizes wearing them even over 60’s like us…so thanks for simple ideas of wearing tights underneath…and sizing up….and of course the longer length sweaters over top….your advise and examples are well appreciated!

  32. Loved the video with Ellie. I would have liked to see all the outfits you created for her. Please do more like this. Always enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for all your hints and ideas. Happy New Year.

  33. I think one reason you always look so great, and younger, is that you have such good posture. So many women our age are already all hunched over and it adds years to their appearance. Let’s all stand up straight and pull those shoulders back!

  34. Love your outfit. Also the view is spectacular. Here everything is still brown. The food looks yummy too.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.