Bright Can Be Right

A couple of years ago, I stopped buying new items for the fun of it after realizing I would never live long enough to wear everything more than twice, which is a waste. I have been selling, donating, and giving away things to friends. Fewer pieces in neutral solid colors and high-quality fabrics serve me well and are worn much more often.

When the weather warmed up recently, I realized the need for a brighter color to liven things up for spring and summer. I showed you a new coral color that goes with everything in my wardrobe in the previous post. I wore the knit jacket and tank to dinner on Friday evening to rave reviews. Both are the color “Malibu Punch” from Chico’s. I love to wear a true red, but this softer coral color is not so intimidating. The jacket is made from a supple knit, so I can push up the sleeves and wear it with white or blue jeans just as easily. Items that can be dressed up or down get top consideration when I shop.

Before buying something new, I ask myself a few questions. Would I wear it tonight? Will it go with 90% of the other items I own? Is it something I honestly need? If I answer no to these questions, it goes back on the rack or stays on the website. If you love all the items in your closet and you own different textures and fabrics in solid colors that work together, you will never again say, “I have nothing to wear!” Accessories can personalize and update the basic pieces in a variety of ways.

Pant styles are a stumbling block for many of us. A few years ago, I only wore dark, tailored trousers that fell straight to the top of the foot, but I started to feel dated, boring, and predictable. I don’t buy that style now. I also stopped buying khaki chino pants because they never look good on me. I don’t want the new items to look just like the pieces I have been wearing for twenty years. Pants with straight legs and ankle-grazing lengths in brighter colors or different fabrics can boost the style and be much cooler and more comfortable in warm weather.

The pants shown here have been worn about a hundred times. They have a modern silhouette with a little split at the ankle, are lightweight, go with everything, pack like a dream, and are very comfortable. The crepe fabric reflects light and skims my body without clinging to anything on the way down.

The lip color is Beautycounter Red. It is the perfect color to wear with Malibu Punch! You can find it here (I am a Manager for Beautycounter, so I will receive a small commission if you purchase from this link). I have no affiliation with Dillard’s or Chico’s.

The shoes are from a couple of years ago by Gianni Bini via Dillard’s. I no longer buy heels. The fun embroidered bag is old.

We enjoyed a delicious wild-caught fish entrée with basil pesto and mushrooms at Gourmet & Company in Johnson City. When we eat out, we look for salads, sides of steamed vegetables, wild-caught fish, or organic chicken dishes. Some restaurants are thankfully starting to offer vegetarian dishes, which usually are our first choices.

  1. Good Morning Susan—You look lovely in this outfit. I’m amazed that the coral color looks so great on you. I’ve never seen an orange shade of any kind in the cool color palettes. You’ve definitely proved that wrong. I’m not sure if I could wear that color. Any idea why you think this shade works so well on you?

  2. Another spectacular outfit Susan! You should have a business association with Chicos – I bet their sales in anything Malibu Punch is selling out fast 🙂
    I have the asymmetric top in blue sitting in my “cart”, but am waiting to see how you style yours first. With international shipping rates, $ exchange, duty and taxes I have to be very certain when purchasing from the U.S.

      1. Thank you Susan. I was thinking with white ankle pants also.
        Our weather is back to winter as of Friday, so I have lots of time to plan my spring wardrobe. Have a great day.

        1. So I ordered the asymmetric top. 🙂 For any other Canadian readers who may be interested: the top was $69 CAD but I signed up for Chicos newsletter and got a 20% discount. Shipping is $9.95 via Canada Post and duty was much less than I expected for a total of $72.32. Overall much less than I thought it would be. One thing I thought interesting was that the top in Malibu Punch was $10 less than all the other colours!

  3. I’m so with you on not wasting purchases. Isn’t it such a sad fact when you face the reality of time and usage.

  4. Susan, you always look beautiful….I want to make a request….I’m a young 75 and would like a line of clothing that is more sheer and breathable to wear in the summer with long or three quarter sleeve to cover my arms. Do you think you could help….please. Love your style but can’t live in a jacket all the time. Thank you for all your help.

    1. There is a three-quarter length sleeve top in several colors on my site. The fabric is breathable, and the style is classic and basic. The designer lives in Florida, so she understands dressing in hot, humid weather very well.

  5. You look so lovely! I passed Chico’s yesterday and went in to see what “Malibu Punch” actually looked like, as on my computer screen it varies from cherry to pinkish-red (punch) to coral-red. In person I felt it has strong orange overtones and it IS very bright–reminds me of a Begonia color. It may not be for everyone so beware of on-line color if you aren’t buying it in the store unless you know that bright orangey-red looks good on you. (It’s not for me.) However, I do LOVE red & turquoise, which I learned about from an necklace and earring set my husband bought me many years ago on Valentine’s day. I’m more of a cherry-red or true red type. Idea for a future post: How to dress up a simple solid pieces for “black-tie” events where tuxes are required for men but gown length not required for women?

    1. I too found the color to be more orange and NOT coral when I went to Chicos yesterday. Wish I could wear that color but cannot–too orangy for my skin tone. The jacket looks great with black pants. The “Malibu punch” jeans just added weight to my lower half so not a good choice for me. Susan looks great in this outfit.

  6. Lovely as usual. You have made me save so much by just asking myself your few questions when I’m shopping. Love Love live your posts

  7. I went to Chico’s yesterday to see what the color Malibu punch really looked like as it seems more red in your pictures. It is really pretty pinkish, which I don’t care for. I wish it was the color that it shows up on my iPad. I’m glad to see you are adding more color. This color really lights up your face and gives it life!

  8. You look beautiful in this bright color, Susan. Wonderful outfit. Thank you for all your insights and inspiration!

  9. Susan, you look fabulous in that color! I visited Chico’s yesterday and bought three tops in the Malibu Punch, such a mood and skin brightener!

  10. Susan, what colors do you see as brighter yet that go with the neutrals? Many of us struggle with the color subject.

    1. Red, yellow, blue, green and various hues of these colors can go with your neutrals. The trick is finding the tone that works well with your coloring. For example, a blue-red looks good on me, an orange-red, not so much.

  11. I’m headed for Chicos to check out the coral color. I’m leaving for Hawaii soon and it would look very nice with my basic pants. Beautiful color on you! I always feel color near the face is important to not look washed out. It is either that or add more color on cheeks and lips.Have a good day and know how fab you look!

  12. I love your small clutch but I’m so far unsuccessful in finding a small wallet which holds cash, change and a few cards and doesn’t provide too much resistance for my arthritic fingers….would love to see what you use. Definitely love the coral and the lipstick.

      1. Thank you so much for sharing which Chico’s tank you’re wearing in this photo. I love the microfiber tanks for exactly that reason. They keep you looking trim and do not add bulk!

  13. This color is stunning on you! I’m shy about bold colors, especially reds, but you make me want to go try on a few shades to see if I can brighten up my wardrobe. And I must comment on those shoes–sexy and sensational!

  14. Hi,
    Your outfit is beautifully put together and very flattering! Best of all, I think is is a classic that won’t go out of style. I really like the idea of buying clothing that will be worn many times.
    I haven’t consistently tried to dress for success, but in the last few years, it has become important to me to look stylish. It has certainly been a learning experience, and I have spent lots of unnecessary money along the way. So I am grateful for posts like yours that encourage prudent, but stylish clothing purchases.
    Thank you,

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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.