Balancing Act

A more appropriate title for today’s post might be ‘Style in a Wind Tunnel.’ Natural light always provides the best option for capturing images for the blog, but sometimes mother nature laughs at that effort.

I’ve been addressing long-range retirement plans on the blog this week. The look for today is from the “Use It or Lose It” rack. I continue to purge the things I rarely wear or use. Books, home decor, kitchen gadgets, and sets of china, serving platters and cookware, furniture and rugs, are among the items that have found new homes recently. High heels, handbags, jackets, jewelry, and other rarely if ever worn items will also be on their way to new homes soon.

I have mentioned before that I am avoiding wearing black near my face during the day. Although I no longer purchase it, black is still well represented in my wardrobe. A dramatic scarf and a silky white tank work together to put the black duster cardigan in the background. The full leg dressy pants are slim fitting through the waist and hip area, which balances with the long duster’s slender shape. The classic shape and size of the structured bag are in harmony with this look and complement the pumps’ tweed texture. As always, I consider a few tips when getting dressed rather than hard-and-fast rules. Fashion should be fun, so allow yourself to experiment.

Scale and balance are significant factors in design, whether decorating your home, designing a building, or putting together a look for the day. Some of the tips that I try to keep in mind as I get dressed are below.
1. Balance the size and shape of the bag with my silhouette, not just the color.
2. Slim fitting top with full shapeless bottoms.
3. Wear long flowing tunics only over ‘skinny’ bottoms.
4. Long straight lines over a large bust. V-necklines, long scarves, or long necklaces.
5. Hair volume balanced with body size. (When I have short hair or a smooth tight style, my body seems more significant.)

We spent part of last weekend in Asheville, NC, at the Grove Park Inn. The weather was perfect for enjoying the fall color.

The three photos above were snapped from our table by the Blue Ridge Room window during Sunday brunch.

We enjoy sitting in The Great Hall, sipping a drink, talking, and watching people. Autumn lasted for such a brief time this year. We are anticipating snow this weekend.

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  1. I’m thinking that I may need to grow my hair out a little. I always try to follow your suggestions. You always look beautiful

  2. You always look so put together. Many times I stand in my closet and think what would Susan wear. Thank you for all the tips on dressing and makeup tips.
    Thank you

  3. Great post again this morning. I find myself looking forward to having a cup of morning coffee and reading your blog. It occurred as I read information and looked at pictures that you certainly have a great classic presence! Thank you and have a great day.

  4. I enjoy reading of your transition to retirement life. I’m actively doing the same right now, ridding our home of the more formal lifestyle to one of relaxation, being at home more and able to enjoy it (I travelled and worked many hours during my career), and having a home conducive to my young nieces and nephews coming over to hang out as well as the toddlers and their young parents who live all around us. Doing this with personal style is my goal and having an open heart to change and positive influence in my relationships. Thanks Susan for your inspiration.

  5. Thank you for the reminders on proportions. This is definitely an area I struggle with. It doesn’t matter how many clothes I have if they won’t work together. I keep telling myself that so I don’t repeat my bad habit of buying a cute piece that goes with nothing. As fashion changes, reminders of proportions are always helpful.

  6. You are such a positive voice in my day! I really enjoy reading about how you evaluate your life and then constructively go about changing things to suit your new situation. I think that may be the secret to aging gracefully!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures. Beautiful area.
    I also wanted to say how much I appreciate your beautifully designed blog and the large print.
    You are truly a role model.
    Best wishes always.

  8. Susan, how are you finding new homes for the things you are purging? I am overwhelmed with this attempt. The scarf is a great way to wear black. Thank you. Pat

    1. I donated a lot of things to a women’s shelter and other charities. I sold some furniture on Craig’s List and other items to my cousin who has an antique shop. The clothing, shoes, and bags which are in like new condition will be on my shopping site soon.

  9. I love reading your blog, for a lot of reasons: that we are close to each other in age, altho’ I am older (71), that we have permanent relationships (I’ve been married for 36 years), that we appreciate beauty in all its forms in nature, food, clothes, photographs, etc, that we are at that stage of our lives when decluttering makes us feel good, only keeping those things we use or are beautiful, that we like being busy with work, charity events, family and friends. The one thing that is significantly different is that you are so disciplined, whereas I yield to my sweet tooth and therefore my weight is way more than it should be. It seems as tho’ if I exercise or not, eat less or not, my weight stays the same.

    I LOVE the picture of both of your shoes………they go together so well !!

  10. I love your outfit! Plus, Susan, you have such a lovely decolletage. Any advice for products that keep it looking so youthful and beautiful? The Beauty Counter facial products I’ve ordered from you have done wonders so far! Thank you!

    1. I have never spent much time in the sun. I treat the decolletage as I do my face with cleansing, moisturizing and protection. I’m glad you like the Beautycounter products.

  11. What a beautiful setting! I love using outdoor pictures on my blog too, but here in the north, winter is upon us again and most of my photos for the next few months will have to be taken indoors. Do you happen to have any tips for indoor fashion blog photography?

    1. The best option is usually to stand in front of a window and place the photographer beside you on the other side of the window but not blocking any of the light. I have four studio lights but, they are a pain to set so that there are no harsh shadows.

  12. Susan, I am trying to weed out black near my face. My coloring and hair is similar to yours. So do you plan on still wearing black pants and shoes? I do like black and white. Thanks!

  13. Susan, I am trying to weed out black near my face. My coloring and hair is similar to yours. So do you plan on still wearing black pants and shoes? I do like black and white. Also, what is the best color for coats?

    1. I’m sure there will always be black in my wardrobe, but I will wear some other color close to my face. Navy, plum, or charcoal are good colors to consider for coats.

  14. I never get over how well the colors of your clothing & accessories compliment your own natural coloring. Just beautiful today!

  15. You are such an inspiration Susan – thank you. Presently, I am having a clear-out and have some coloured costume jewellery. Do you think it is better to stick to gold and silver only please. Thank you and kind regards

  16. Goodness, I sure hope that group of pieces gets to settle in your closet as it looks really pretty with so many looks from them collectively with still other pieces. Your choice of dining spot is such a lovely place; and, yes, snow has come here too. I can almost smell the turkey!

  17. I love your outfit. You always look so classy and polished. Love your scarf and handbag!! I am petite 4”11 119lbs. Constant struggle of trying to find items that fit my frame that don’t make me look frumpy!! Any advice or items that you sell I would appreciate it. Thank you. Dee Gray

  18. Love the information you share. It’s inspirational and pushes me to do better. My issue is I am petite (5′ 1″, 110 lbs.) and am usually confronted with clothes that are either too cutsey or too dowdy. I recently spent an entire day shopping for simple tops for winter and coming home with nothing. It’s frustrating. This over 70 body needs sophisticated clothing or I look awful. Manufacturers seem to have forgotten me. Any suggestions are appreciated.

  19. Hi……I have just found your site. It has been fun reading every article you have put out. Love the outfits, jewelry and fashion tips.
    Keep all of those ideas coming….wish I could invite you over for suggestions.

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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.