Classic Prints

Do you wear prints? I have never enjoyed wearing a print on my body, but I love to add something extra with a print scarf tied to my bag or draped around my neck. The classic prints can work with anything in your wardrobe, and they always look elegant.

Classic prints include chains, equestrian and nautical, dots, stripes, geometrics, and the Greek key. Floral prints can be tricky to wear repeatedly because they tend to be so memorable. There is also the tone on tone print, which is technically a print but uses different textures. The pants I am wearing in these photos are black tone on tone in a reptile print.

The top is by Covered Perfectly here. I tucked it in and then pulled it out a bit for softer draping because I didn’t want it to be longer than the jacket. The jacket was from White House|Black Market a couple of years ago. The pants are by Eric via Stein Mart a couple of years ago. The shoes are also old by Franco Sarto. The bag was from Express a few years ago.

I will wear something for a couple of years, and then all of a sudden, I put it on, and it no longer feels right for me. Such is the case with these pants. They are now in the donate box. (The jacket may be next. I like it better with white than black.) Having my picture taken so often allows me to assess what is working for me and what is decidedly no longer appropriate for me. This practice is not being overly critical, just realistic. These pants fit in the waist and hips but look too tight in the legs.

Another reality is that my body is changing as I age. Weight shifts and the body changes, so I am careful to tweak my wardrobe along with these changes. My hair was starting to thin a lot on top, so I got it cut shorter. Long thinning hair is never a good look. The texture and shape of my face are also changing, so I stopped wearing foundation. Instead of enhancing my features, the foundation settled into the creases and lines and brought attention to them.

When I cut my hair shorter, a few people wrote that I looked younger with longer hair. The truth is, I don’t aspire to appear more youthful. Looking my best at whatever age I am is a much more realistic goal for me. I am celebrating living past the age of sixty. This is the very best time of my life!

Below are some examples of the classic prints I mentioned above. As soon as the weather breaks, I will do a wardrobe recap from my latest vacation. (Today, we have snow.) Without adequate natural lighting, taking photographs is a futile effort.

The scarf above is in a geometric print. The scarf above is an example of a floral pattern.

This scarf shows an example of an equestrian print.

The scarf above shows an example of chains combined with animal print. 

A classic print that I failed to mention is paisley.

The goldtone border shown on this embroidered bag is the Greek Key pattern.

This lace-trimmed jacket is another example of tone on tone.

  1. I love how you continually evaluate your looks from your pictures. She who aspires to look her very best is wise to follow your example. You never look frumpy and are always put together. Paisley is another classic print that I appreciate.

  2. Well how refreshing! “I don’t aspire to look younger.” But your approach is to look your best at whatever age you are.

    I would love to hear this message from more outlets.

    This was the jewel in your post today. A big thank you for encouraging us!

  3. Hi just in the throes of packing for a ling cruise. I have all my clothes ready on a rail and I am dismayed at how many prints I have. I am always looking for block colours but they are hard to come by at the moment. Will just have to keep searching. Love your french kande necklaces.


  4. Susan, I totally agree with you about avoiding prints (except in scarves, and occasionally in blouses peeking out from under jackets). (1) Prints go out of date so easily. (2) If we go by cost per wearing, solid colors can be worn repeatedly and no one will notice that you have had them around for a few years, but wear a print dress or tunic top more than a few times a season, and you know people are thinking “Oh, here she comes again in that print.” (3) It’s so easy to get tired of our own prints, too!

    Now for a question: If you don’t wear foundation, how do you deal with the little uneven places that develop in mature skin?

    1. I cleanse twice daily and exfoliate about three times a week. I use layers of moisturizer always in the type that is appropriate for the season. (Heavier in the dry winter months.) A tinted moisturizer or BB cream can be all you need when your skin is in good condition. My favorite products are the Nourishing Line from Beautycounter here.

  5. I appreciate your honesty. 60’s are a special and specific time in a woman’s life, and I enjoy your public navigation.
    I live in Vermont for 6 months, and FL for 6 winter months, and they offer interesting and contrasting challenges for dressing. Carry on!

  6. Hi Susan, You may want to hang onto that jacket: last week a New York Times article on the fashion shows for Fall 2018 focused on the revival of 1980s trends, especially jackets and blazers with a strong (padded) shoulder. I think the combination of indigo and black is very sophisticated and looks great with your cool coloring. With the wintry spring weather we’re having, the combination of deeper colors with lighter weight garments, like your linen-y jacket, is a great solution to this transitional season. Like your other readers, I deeply appreciate your positive and realistic attitude toward aging. Style blogs that relentlessly emphasize the imperative to remain youthful into advanced middle age disturb me. As a woman in her early sixties recently diagnosed with a chronic health condition, who also has a once-stylish mother in her mid-90s who is now beyond caring about fashion, I think that we baby boomer women are setting ourselves up for ‘failure’ by demanding that we remain youthful and current. It is almost as though the societal pressure to be slender that dominates our lives from ages 10-70 is replaced by ta new demand to look youthful and stylish ’til the grave. I do not mean to imply that it is a good thing to ‘give up’, but rather that it is important to remember that aging gracefully almost always involves recognizing that, in the end, our bodies do age. Thanks again for sharing your style journey and, especially, for your generous and positive outlook. — Dianne

  7. Susan, thanks for all your tips. I too have noticed changes in my face and body as I age (66). My coloring has changed a lot! And colors that used to look smashing on me are now overpowering. I put on a pink, muted green, and aqua scarf the other day—it was just the lift my complexion needed. These were not ever colors I would have chosen in my younger days, but now I may go shopping with a softer palette in mind. I have decided to embrace my natural curl, although not my grey (one change at a time please!)
    I find the use of a good B.B. cream is enough coverage for most days. Nothing worse than caked on makeup on anyone!
    I truly appreciate the documentation of your journey, and how you aspire to look the best you can at this age. Fresh and different from the usual message!

  8. Susan, this is a very informative post. So much of it rings true for me as well. I’m 67 and lately I’m seeing those changes. I’ve done the same, using B.B. cream, (Dr. Jarts+) and going with shorter hairstyles. I never wear floral prints. But I’m curious about taking vitamin B12. Have you noticed any changes with that, and what dosage do you take? Thanks for the great blog post!

      1. Susan, I am taking Nature Made Super B-Complex which also has Biotin and Niacin which are good for hair and nails.

  9. I do wear prints a lot because they work for my figure (pear). When I wear a printed top (trompe l’oeil is a pear’s best friend), everything else is in a solid color. It’s usually a case of everything else being the same color, right down to my shoes. Prints are tricky, no doubt. I don’t like tiny florals. I prefer geometrics or abstracts, but nothing too busy, or with too many color, or out of proportion to my size and bone structure. I never carry printed handbags, because I keep it simple when wearing prints. It’s also helpful to match my handbag to my pant color for the sake of minimizing my hips (but I don’t always; a girl has to have fun!).

    Trust your instincts, fellow pears.

    1. I wear many prints, too, as I feel they work best for my pear shape. Usually I am too warm to wear a jacket or to drape a scarf around my neck.

  10. I’m with you never have liked prints on my body,but love scarfs and jewelry to accent the solids I wear! Love your posts and all the wonderful advice ♥️

  11. By the way, your hair looks fantastic in this photo! Because of you, I’m considering cutting my hair. I totally agree, we have to be aware of the changes in our body and just accept the aging process and work with it not against it. Keep up the blogging!!!!

  12. Love your thoughts on embracing your age and celebrating one’s beauty (inside and outside) at whatever stage of life you are in. You only need to read books like A River In Darkness. One Man’s Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa to reinforce how thankful we should be for our abundance – in age, and so much more. Thanks.

  13. I’ve always thought that there are very few mature women who can carry off long hair. It tends to drag the face down and accentuates thinning hair. A shorter, soft hairstyle with fullness at the top lifts the face, and a style that follows the jawline makes the face look less “jowl-y.”

    My body changed so much in the two years from 59-60 that, at 61, I’m still a little in shock. I’ve had to replace almost my entire wardrobe, which is the silver lining, I suppose!

  14. I love your formula using a tanks or a long sleeved tee in dark, medium and light colors. I also love scarves, because they always elevate a look. The only time I wear prints if it is too hot to wear a scarf. Light tops reveal too much tummy, so I will pick a low contrast printed top in a classic print, such as animal print or muted paisley.

  15. I appreciate your honesty that clothes that worked for you a couple years ago no longer fit or feel the same. It gives me permission to put those pieces in the donation box, too.

  16. Susan,

    You are such a beautiful woman inside and out. You are real and authentic. I started following your blog four years ago and my style has evolved to reflect my assets and minimize those parts that aren’t so great. I have bought a few bags and scarves from you to compliment my wardrobe and always get compliments on them. I have followed other blogs for short periods and have felt sorry for women over fifty who are fighting their age, continue to dye their hair, wear hair extensions, try every injectable, wear clothing way to young or way to faddish, it must be exhausting.

    I appreciate the lessons you have brought to my attention, such as letting things go when they don’t work and admitting that mistakes can be made in purchasing clothing and the importance of diet and exercise.

    Thanks Susan, for being you and sharing your bright life with all of us.


  17. I like to wear prints, mostly stripes, although I like the occasional small floral print too. I just like them, they make me feel cheery, but also I think they’re a bit more forgiving of the less than perfect body underneath. I’ll happily wear them many times, I try not to care too much about what other people may be thinking.

    Susan I understand you cut your hair because you felt it would be more becoming. But I think there is a general idea that older ladies should have short hair, and that bothers me. If you (generally speaking) are happy with your hair, wear it as long as you want. I’m thinking of Heather from Awesome over 50 , and Janice from JLJ Back to Classic. They both have long hair and I think they look great. I know you weren’t saying that at all Susan, and I love your new cut.

    1. You are correct Karen. I never imply that others should give up what they love. I am just sharing what works so well for me and explaining to the best of my ability why in hopes that it will help the reader find their own unique style solutions.

  18. Love your comment about not trying to look younger-just trying to look your best. It is a privilege to grow older.

  19. I like your hair shorter, Susan. I have had short hair once and it did not flatter me at all. Mine is down to the collar bone which is short for me but if I let it grow it makes me look like an old hippie (I just turned 60). I have gone grey in the last 2 years and the artificial color is now completely out of my hair so it is salt and pepper – more pepper now but I’m sure that the salt will win out eventually! I take vitamins and try to eat well to keep healthy and to keep my hair looking its best. I am scheduled for a keratin treatment next week. That makes my hair smooth and shiny and it dries faster as well. Looking forward to your new Spring colors.

  20. I must agree with the comment that it is a privilege to reach sixty. I had some close friends who have died early and so I accept all my physical differences with gratitude. As I had breast cancer a few years ago and had a partial lumpectomy I find that print tops are my best friend as they do not draw attention to my uneven breasts. I am not ashamed at all but do not feel I need to advertise the change. I also find I am usually too hot to wear a scarf but I sure like the look! Susan, I do read your blog regularly and have learned so much from it. We all have to remember to do what works for us, and that is what makes us all so different and interesting. I do appreciate your sharing and excellent advice. As you tend to post early your blog is one of the first things I look for as I make my morning coffee. Thank you for all the effort and sharing. It is like a chat with a good friend.

  21. I too had my longer bob cut yesterday for shorter layered bob . Love having the hair away from my face even if it dies make me look older. But the look of thicker hair is much better. I’ve worn the same bob for way too long. Thanks for commenting about your hair!

  22. I wear prints all of the time. Bohemian is my style, so that works for me. I am almost 6 ft tall. I can handle them. I think you look great with long and short hair. Amazingly getting younger looking as time is progressing. You have beautiful skin. Monet

  23. Most of your wardrobe is black but I notice you rarely have black in your scarves. Is there a reason? Other than the Animal Print and o e other, one have black print in them.

  24. Susan, I must disagree – I think you look younger with that shorter hairstyle! Don’t change a thing!

  25. I beg to disagree with the person who said longer hair made you look younger. I thought your haircut had a subtle facelift effect. Bravo to you for embracing your age though!

  26. Interesting. I realize after reading this that I come & go with prints. I haven’t been wearing them for a few years, sticking to mainly jeans & plain white or black V-neck tees, but in the past year bought 2 tunics to wear with leggings that are both prints. But they’re subdued geometric designs, one a silvery-grey swirl on black (I wear tons of black), the other a black design on taupe, a colour I never thought I’d ever wear & yet this blouse looks very elegant on me (& I don’t “do” elegant). I wear them by themselves or over a cami & really like how they look on me. And I just bought a pair of low taupe boots with cut-outs & 2″ heels to wear with the one blouse (& pants, obviously! LOL!). One of my favorite-ever garments from many, many years ago was a black silk blouse with big red poppies on it. I used to wear it with a pair of red denim jeans that fit like sin (I was young & could get away with it then!) or a black ankle-length velvet “hippie” skirt & boots. I still think wistfully of that blouse. In fact I’d love to see you do a post on your favorite clothing memories; I suspect we all have that one garment or outfit we loved & hated to say goodbye to.

  27. Hi Susan i was reading about your thoughts’ on Prints! I do agree, but, it is really difficult at times to find an item of clothing without a print!…..the last few months’ I have been sorting through all of my clothes & have donated a LOT!….which is a good feeling too! I have changed shape the last year my hips have definitely more padding than they used to & what I would like, i did have my left hip replaced last year & it has taken a while for me to get back into walking! slowly but surely!… also mentioned you never buy New so how do you dress yourself? also you mentioned that you are now wearing flats more (i have to as well) are you more in favour of a bootleg type long lenght pant than a straight leg?, I would say now at my age I am still a Pear shape but, I am finding now that I do not really have the waist anymore so resemble more of an apple (a little around the middle) so what type of dressing would you advise for that? I am 5ft 6!!!
    Thank you! Kind regards Margaret from South Australia!

    1. I do buy something new occasionally, but new purchases are well thought out. I try to get things that work with all the others in my closet. I feel more comfortable in solid neutrals than prints and bright colors. I have owned many patterns and prints but always gave them away after a short time because I tire of them very quickly. I find that I get more wear out of solids which saves me money.

  28. I just love you Susan! You are a natural beauty at any age! Thank you for being an inspiration to those of us after 60. I enjoy the advice you give and I appreciate you for celebrating your life at any age! I am so tired of these companies catering to the 18 to 25 crowd. I may scream if I see another 18 year old doing a wrinkle cream commercial. Wake up companies as the “baby boomer” generation is the largest purchasing factor in this economy.

  29. I just turned 60 yrs on March 20th. I feel the same about not so much looking younger but looking my best at my age. My Dad died at 60 and I’m so happy I made it here. I love your blog.

  30. Zowie! “The truth is, I don’t aspire to appear younger. Looking my best at whatever age I am is a much more realistic goal for me.” That is how I ended up here. I had ordered a gorgeous nude Marchesa sheath to wear to a family wedding and it just looked bad when I know that years ago it would have looked amazing. I set about to learn what to wear and ended up here. I think I googled “how to wear nude after 50.” I ended up wearing an emerald dress from Anthropology that I love.

  31. Wow, you look GREAT with your hair as it’s shown above… even better than about a month ago when you first had it cut. It’s inspiring me to do something “drastic” like that. I have worn my hair medium to long hair for a long time… You look terrific and YOUNGER!!!
    Forget about you looking younger with your hair long, you dont… Today’s look is your look (in my humble opinion)

  32. Susan, your blog helped me come out of an aging slump. I love how you embrace your age and not try to look younger. Good health is what’s important. I have been following your blog for several months now and have made some significant changes in my life style. Since making wardrobe changes, I have had more people compliment my look. I am built larger on top than bottom and since wearing solids instead of prints, I and others have noticed that I look slimmer and more stylish. I recently cut 6 inches off of my hair and I feel so much better. My hair is healthier and doesn’t weigh me down. I will be turning 60 this year and I am not planning on trying to hide that fact but instead embrace the new me at 60!

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, recommendations and more with us.

  33. I so appreciate your appreciation of who you are and how we change with time. It’s so true that our bodies, hair, weight, height, all changes. I have started taking photos of myself because I notice things in a photo I don’t seem to pick up on when looking in the mirror. I kept looking for the pic of you in Black with blue denim jacket with one of your bright scarves. They always light up your face! Thanks for all you do for us over 60 gals. Oh maybe when you are wearing a scarf Mr. Mickey is taking the picture, and it’s actually him who lights up your face!

  34. Hello Susan.
    I think your hair looks great shorter. I would rethink giving away those black trousers…they make your legs look l o o o n g….

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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.