Building Upon A Base

The Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of “Building upon a Base” is to use success as a foundation for achieving more success. Once you have identified your strengths, you can leverage them to achieve further success.

In the upcoming posts, I aim to share how I use two basic clothing items to create the base for endless looks. Jewelry, handbags, jackets, vests, shoes, and scarves can make the same two items look very different. I hope this project helps you create easy outfits for almost any event while using items you may already have.

The first tip is to choose pieces that flatter you, fit well, and provide a cohesive color story with the other items in your wardrobe. Tucking in your shirt or wearing a shorter one gives you pleasing proportions and is more flattering than one that cuts you in half at the widest part of your hips.

The refined scoop-neck tee is here. I am wearing a size medium. Layering tees should be smooth and fit close to the body to avoid adding bulk. The ponte knit pants are here. The pants are a size larger than what I wear in jeans. These are size 1 (8 -M). I always go up a size when I buy leggings or dressy slacks. I wear pantyhose most of the time in winter. Here are the hose I am wearing in these photos.

Part 1: The Afternoon Walk

If you combine your afternoon walk or exercise class with a trip to the grocery store or post office, you may appreciate this very casual combo.

The Coach leather tote is at least thirty years old, but I still use it often. When I’m running several errands, it holds all the small purchases, essentials, mail, and receipts. A similar tote is here. The lightweight quilted vest is here.

A hat to keep my hair out of my face and at least a few pieces of jewelry make the look more intentional. The faux leather baseball hat is here. The leather sneakers are here. The watch is here. The silver hoops are many years old, but these are similar.

The pearl and silver stretch bracelet is here. You can still use the code SAS10 for $10 off any one item at Beauty in Stone Jewelry.

Recent posts are summarized here. I purchased all the products I show since I no longer accept gifts or products to review. However, referral links on this site may allow me to earn a small commission without cost to you.

  1. Susan, I am looking forward to posts like this. Because of your tutelage, I view items in my closet differently.

  2. Susan, I appreciate your tips and styling advice. You are always dressed perfectly for the occasion. Can you please tell me how you care for your silver pieces? I do not reach for mine often because they tarnish easily.

  3. This is so smart. After reading your advice for several years now, I find I just don’t really even have to worry about getting dressed, for any occasion. There are always things in the closet I can pull together that coordinate with each other to achieve the look I’m going for. Thanks, Susan!

  4. This is a great post. The link for the shoes, though, goes to the pants at Chico’s. Would you mind sending a corrected link for the shoes? They are just what I have been looking for.

  5. Your posts have been so helpful. I’m more conscious of what clothing flatters me and what does not & why! Love this casual outfit.

  6. I have that same Coach tote. Yours looks so much shinier than mine! Unless I have JUST polished it, it doesn’t have much luster. Any tips?

  7. These posts are exactly what I love to read for inspiration from my closet. There will always be something new to buy, but not always practical to make purchases so multiple ways for style gets greater wear! Thanks for continuing to inspire your readers.

  8. I’m realizing that I need a black, flattering-to-me hat for my casual, daytime wardrobe.
    Baseball caps don’t look right on me, but I am going to be on the lookout for something that will work.
    My hair has thinned considerably from aging and 2 bouts of Covid, so a hat is not only for style, but to help me feel more confident.
    Thanks for your example!

  9. Thank you in advance for this series of posts. This information will be very useful in working towards a core capsule wardrobe for myself.

  10. Love this look Susan. Really nice outfit. Love all the ideas you give us. I have been looking at some of the things in my wardrobe and pairing different things these days.

  11. Your topic of ‘building on a base’ is so perfect for me! You introduced me to layering long sleeved t shirts a few years ago. As we get further into Fall, I’m wearing them all the time, either under a cardigan or jacket. They’re almost always appropriate! I’ve adopted so much of your advice over the years and I ALWAYS look forward to your posts.

  12. I loved this post! Please do more of them. A Coach bag that is 30 years old will last forever.
    The quilted vest is very cute.

  13. What a great idea to have a series of posts that are layered just like clothing and accessories!. Presenting information, in a series, that will add to the previous one. You always amaze me with your ability to bring relevant information to such a large and varied audience. You spend a lot of time and energy making our lives better and are very appreciated!❤️

  14. This is a a good one. Very helpful. I did just order the pants because I needed a pair to add to my wardrobe. I have to definitely clean out my closet though. But when I saw how casual you can style these I made the purchase.
    I’m looking forward to more ideas like this.

  15. Susan, these are the kind of blogs from you I appreciate the most. One, seeing the top on you two ways sure shows the difference big time at least for me, especially when you explain the differences. Two, I am so looking forward to your showing us how to add items to change the looks of a base outfit to wear for endless looks.
    I tried to copy your picture to print so I could add it to my “Susan” album I collect to remind me of the awesome way you dress, however I was not able to copy this one….Have you put a lock on the pictures so they can’t be copied?.
    Anyway, love the tips you share and learn a great deal from your blogs. Thank you.
    Clara from Iowa

  16. I’ve learned so much about basics and enjoy your posts. May God see you through your cancer. Looking forward to many more. Just wanted to say Thank You for them. Thanksgiving seems a good time for remembering all I’m thankful for.

  17. Hello Susan,
    I love receiving your emails and fashion tips. Praying for continued healing for you.
    Be Blessed

  18. Another great post as usual! My closet is starting to look different as I slowly implement your suggestions. I did another closet clean out yesterday, as there are so many things I no longer wear. Thank you for continuing this blog. Happy Thanksgiving from Alaska!

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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.