Casual Elegance Tips

One might not think of elegance and casual in the same sentence, but you can maintain an elegant style while casually dressed.

Most of my professional life was in the corporate world, so I wore suits, dresses, and heels for many years. Retiring to a vastly more casual lifestyle has provided some challenges. Many of you have written to tell me the same thing.

Please keep reading to learn some tips I use to dress down without losing my personality. For example, when I wear light-wash denim, I try to balance it with a bold solid color such as navy, red, white, or black. The dark navy vest and pure white shirt offset the worn nature of the jeans. Clean white sneakers with blue hiking socks complete a very casual look. (Socks should match pants.) Finally, the color punch from the salmon-colored tote looks intentional. On the opposite side of the color wheel from blue is orange, which is always a pleasing combination. (Similar tote here.) To finish my relaxed, casual look, I wore sunglasses (similar here) and only simple silver earrings (similar here). ShirtJeansVestSneakers

Since a full face of makeup and a bold red lip isn’t cohesive with casual attire, my makeup is limited to Twinkle eyeshadow (here), black mascara, and Dahlia gloss (here). My skincare routine is here.

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  1. I look forward to and love reading your posts. Now, that the weather is getting warmer, your outfit is perfect for days out and about. Your cute white sneakers say spring is on the way.

  2. You do casual elegance so well, Susan. Since I work from home and have done so for a number of years now, I would define my style as frumpy, but I am attempting to edit my wardrobe. I am also more mindful of clothing purchases thanks to your blog. It’s slow, though. Thanks for the information about eye shadow. I somehow thought that I couldn’t wear eye shadow anymore because of my age, but you prove me wrong.

  3. Wonderful post. I was trying to look up the link for the sneakers but it seems to go the the link for the vest.

  4. Susan, you have the most beautiful blue eyes, lucky you!
    Thank you for this clothing/colour analysis and please continue to offer your readers more of these.
    Would you ever wear red sneakers/walkers with dark or lighter wash jeans?

  5. You are doing a casual you very well. I know you have said in the past that you have had trouble with using eye shadow except for Merle Norman. I also deal with irritation from eye shadow. Are you having any issues with Beauty Counter eye makeup? I was surprised the link wasn’t to Merle Norman.

  6. Very Nice! I liked your eye shadow and would like to get some like you are showing. When I click on the link it does not show Twinkle as one of the color choices. Clarify what color you are wearing in this post. Thank you.

  7. I have revisited your blog after a hiatus. I like looking at the colors you are wearing as we have the same hair and eye color and skin tone. Thus I wear all shades of blue with accents of white or red. My style is what I call sporty classic. Today’s outfit (minus the purse; I only carry a wristlet) is right up my alley! Thank you for your inspiration.

  8. Love the casual look, but . . . How will you change it out for a hot summer casual look? Adding the vest would be a layer that you wouldn’t want. Even the shirt, you wouldn’t want a long sleeve.

    Thank you for what you do!

    Gail McKelvey

    1. It was 51°F when I snapped these photos, so the vest was very much needed. I would likely wear the white shirt with the collar popped and the sleeves turned up in the summer. Sandals and a straw bag would complete the picture. Here in east Tennessee, summers are mild, but in the heat of July and August, I would likely wear a midi-dress.

  9. Love that shadow with your blue eyes. I checked on the Beauty Counter link and I didn’t see that color!

  10. Love, love, love your posts! Great, useful information in a concise, easy to understand, and incorporate, suggestions and tips.

  11. Your eyebrows look terrific, but you do not mention any brow pencil or other brow product. Are you blessed with these “as is”, or have you perhaps had microblading or feathering or some such thing? My brows are so fair, I need something.

  12. Susan, thank you for this post. I have come to realize that continuing to purchase pieces I would have worn to work is a waste of time and money. It is a struggle for me at times. Your posts are extremely helpful in my efforts. I love canvas sneakers, but how do you keep them clean?

    1. I apologize for failing to answer your question earlier. I’m always mindful of where I walk, step, and sit since I live in a neighborhood built around lakes. (We have lots and lots of ducks and geese.) But, when I get a stain, I treat it with Shout and wash the item as soon as possible, including canvas shoes. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is great for removing spots on shoes.

  13. Hi Susan! Since starting to read your blog I have gone through my entire wardrobe and discarded clothing that doesn’t suit me or is uncomfortable. I’m taking 5 large bags to the local women’s shelter. Shoes and handbags are next! Thanks so much for your inspiration and insight for us ladies who still love classic dressing!

  14. Hi Susan and Hi to Mr. Mickey. I love the look as we are getting into Spring here soon with no heavy coats. I have a question about the eye shadow. Do you have to apply some kind of primer before the cream eye shadow? I have very greasy eye lids (I don’t know if greasy if the correct term) and most cream eye shadows kinda slide off during the day or even a few hours later. I usually use a primer or my under eye concealer to use under a powder eye shadow. Just wondering what you do and how well it “sticks”.
    Thank you

    1. The way I remove my eye makeup the day before makes a big difference in how my makeup stays in place the next day. First, never use an oily product on your eye area. The eye shadow I used in the photo is buildable, meaning the more you add, the darker it gets. I only put a little on the top lid near the lashes, being careful not to extend it too far in either corner of the eye. I don’t use a primer.

  15. Love your blue vest. I bought it after you featured it last time! I’ve already worn it many times. Thanks!

  16. Hi Susan
    I would like to know where I can get the Goldie Bra saw you in the add . So happy to see your beautiful face.
    I want to get a good bra .
    Appreciate the help!

    Luisa overland
    Houston , TX

    1. That questionable company is using my image without my consent and with a fake name attached to it. I DO NOT recommend those products or that company in any way.

      I DO recommend the Shapeez bras found here.

  17. I’m back to basics on makeup. As a young girl I wore eyebrow pencil, mascara lightly done and natural lipgloss with just a touch of cheek color if I needed it. Now, I wear the same. I’ll have to check out your tutorial on placement of eye shadow.

  18. You are a beautiful example of how to age gracefully. I need your advice about wearing button down shirts. Since I am slightly pear shape, my torso is the narrowest part of my body. I feel frumpy and look disproportionate in button down shirts even though I would like to wear them. Should I choose a tailored button down shirt? Thank you.

  19. Thank you for sharing your approach to keeping a casual look elevated. Your posts are always very insightful and much appreciated.

  20. Susan, I’ve been following your blog for quite some time. I really appreciate all the research you do and sharing your life with us. I am 73 and have your similar clothing style. I was wondering if you have given any thought as to your style when you turn 70? Thanks for all you do. Mary

  21. Finally a place I can come to for true fashion inspiration. Shopping for clothes at my age is disappointing and can be a bit of a nightmare. I’m never really happy with today’s 50+ fashion/attire at Shopping Malls. I want to dress fun, for my young at heart carefree personality, a bit of class, chicness and without looking older because beauty is something to be felt on the inside. Dressing in confidence. New Subscriber here. 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.