Color and Softness

My aging journey’s guiding style principle is to add softness to what I already have to make it continue to work for me. That includes hair, makeup, clothing, and accessories.

When I visited with my stylist a few days ago, the word “softness” was mentioned repeatedly as we discussed a new cut and style. As I visited my nail technician yesterday, we were discussing makeup application and colors. (She has worked in a luxury Spa for many years and has seen it all.) The word “softness” came up again. Do you see a theme here? As my features and coloring soften with time, so too should my choices. Softness can be reflected in the necklines of our clothing, hairstyle, and makeup application to make those details most flattering.

Soft lines in my hairstyle and blended makeup with brighter lip color and the soft drape of a colorful scarf or blouse can achieve my goal while making the clothing I currently own more flattering. I don’t intend to stop wearing black, but I will add something to the neckline to soften it. While my next purchases may be more colorful, I have made a significant investment in some pieces that I love, which happen in dark colors.

The lip color is Beautycounter Red and Scarlet. I often use more than one color to get the effect I want. I have been using the skincare and makeup from Beautycounter since last fall, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. You can find all of the products from Beautycounter on my site here. (I am a Senior Manager for Beautycounter, so I will receive a small commission if you purchase from this link.)

My choice is to age naturally while making a few subtle changes and tweaks in my style while retaining my personality. Spending time in Europe as a young woman influenced my style choices for the remainder of my life. It was fascinating to see women of every age look so elegant and put together no matter their station in life. As a result, I have always owned mostly black, navy, gray, and white clothing. While I have gone through some style mishap periods, I always return to my basics. Now that I am in my sixties, I am thinking again about the lessons learned while watching those elegant women I admired on the streets of Athens, Córdoba, and other great European cities so long ago. It was never about how much money was spent; instead, it was about making the best choices for her shape, coloring, age, and style personality.

Mr. Mickey and I were on our way to attend an acapella concert by the world-renowned group from the UK, The Swingles. I wore a black long sleeve Simple Comfort top by Covered Perfectly here. (I am an affiliate for Covered Perfectly, so I will receive a small commission from any purchase you make from this link.) The pants are a simple pull-on style from Chico’s a few years ago. The jacket includes tones of blue, black, and charcoal. It is several years old and by BCBGMAXAZRIA. I wore open toe booties because I didn’t want to mess up the beautiful pedicure I had just gotten a few hours before. The booties are a few years old by BCBGeneration. I no longer purchase high heels, but I can still wear those I have for short periods. The handbag is by Tahari, and it is also at least three years old. The one thing that makes this look more appropriate for me is this oversized square silk scarf. I folded it on the bias (step by step example here) and wrapped it around my neck to add color and softness to the neckline.

I hope you have an adventurous weekend!

  1. Susan, you look radiant and stunningly beautiful. You are such an inspiration.

    Thank you for sharing your valuable insights and style suggestions.

    Honey Bee

  2. You are truly beautiful! Love that closeup of you. Question- what do you use and how do you line your upper eyelids? That is the look I am trying to achieve and just can’t seem to get it right. Thank you!

    1. I add some black eyeliner pencil or liquid eyeliner into the base of my lashes to make them look more full, and the waterline above to appear less prominent. (As we age the waterlines roll forward and get thicker.) Next, I add a dark gray or charcoal color of powder eyeshadow using a brush with short bristles to soften the line above the lashes and to add a bit more color there and then blend well.

  3. You look stunning ! The more you age, the younger you look :- )
    Thanks so much for all your inspiration. You are a real role model to me.

  4. Elegance always looks beautiful to me! You’re so inspiring and helpful to share with us.

  5. Susan, when I pulled up your blog this morning tears came to my eyes. You are such a beautiful lady and the close up picture of you reminded me of my beautiful loving mother who I miss every day. She was such a classy lady and always wore scarves and the basic pieces you mention all the time. You are an inspiration for us all.

  6. Just not fond of the shoes. I’ve seen them a lot on you lately. I could see my 23 year old niece wearing them.

      1. You mention having a natural buff on your hands. I have stopped putting nail varnish on and off but still find I get dry cuticles. Would you recommend using coconut oil to rub in to moisturise the cuticle and nails, or have you any other suggestions? Thanks Susan, your hair suits you.

  7. I love this outfit! The scarf and handbag really bring the dark backdrop up a notch. You look so polished.

  8. You look lovely. In the Beauty Counter line what number would you use in the tinted moisturizer and or foundation?

  9. Oh heavens, I do love those shoes! I’ve been wearing closed boots all winter & am aching to get into sandals or open shoes again, but have decided I “need” a pair of open-toed booties to make the transition (any excuse!). Also: I’ve noticed for some time that you wear your pant legs shorter than I do & I like the look, especially with all the gorgeous shoes you wear. I tried shortening mine & am pleased with the result. As I more or less live in jeans & am not about to go out & buy all new ones, I simply turned the hems under about 1″ & tacked them lightly by hand & am VERY pleased with the result. I wear tapered leg jeans because they make my legs look longer (at 5’4″ you need every inch of leg — real or perceived — that you can get!) & haven’t needed to fiddle with the leg width so far. I swear I look taller AND they show off my shoes/boots to better advantage! Win-win. Great pedi, btw! I love the look of well-tended toes in open shoes — have I mentioned how tired of winter I am 🙁

  10. This is interesting. I like the suggestions about bringing softness into the elements. But beware as well. I started wearing a much lighter neutral( Gray, instead of black) and I felt off. It was just too much of a change, since Black is my best color. But your tip gives me some other ways to bring softness into the equation.
    Thank you.

  11. Is there one of your Beauty Counter products that gives your skin the healthy glow (sheen)? Perhaps a mineral powder?

  12. You look wonderful as usual. I love both of your hairstyles. I used your I suggestions about buying smaller pants that will stretch later. I now have the best fitting pants ever they don’t bag like the others. What I need to know is how to buy bathing suits. One is slightly baggy in the torso, the smaller size is tighter. What is your rule for suits with spandex. Also I want a simple black, plain, flattering suit that can be used for laps. What brand do you suggest. I like the ones that take away inches. I don’t want sequins, ruffles, large gold buttons, see through belly button areas, cut outs etc. I’ve seen all of the above. Thanks so much.

  13. Love this black outfit and shoes to match. Love your make-up and the coloring also. Love your short new hair style. Do you have natural curls in your hair?

    Charlotte Sexton

  14. Hi Susan, Are you offering any workshops or meetings concerning fashion, makeup, etc. in 2018? I always enjoy your posts!

  15. As much as I enjoy your insights on dressing, I would love you to share some insights on decorating. I find myself paying equal attention to your clothes and your backdrops…..especially when you are photographed in your condo.

    1. Thank you for you for this comment. I have always enjoyed interior design. My approach to collecting objects for my home is much the same as clothes and accessories, buy what you love, you will always find a place for it.

  16. Susan, always look forward to and enjoy every post. Could you share the polish brand and color on your toes, please?

  17. I am onboard for your cruise (either out of Galveston or East Coast; please don’t do anywhere in Mexico (I’m over Mexico — too touristy and dangerous).

  18. Another thought: how about a x be day West Coast cruise? I think it’s LA., Santa Barbara and San Francisco? Even if we’ve been many times, there is something for everybody.

  19. Hi Susan. I’ve recently found your blog and wanted you to know you’ve given me hope! I’m 53, and have dealt with chronic back pain for 12 years. I’ve been relegated to wearing yoga pants day in & day out, as I can’t tolerate anything pressing on my lower back. My work and casual wear have been a depressing uniform of black yoga pants & a shirt. After running across your pictures on Pinterest, you have made me realize that the “stretchy” pants that are necessary for my comfort can be stylish! I’ve been inspired to clean out my closet, purchase some more colorful jeggings, and have even been thoughtfully creating outfits that actually look stylish. For the first time in a long time, I feel attractive in my clothes. Thanks!

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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.