Do The Math

Are you an impulse shopper who loves a good sale? That was me, until the day I added up what I had spent on the items in my closet that I never wore. The shocking amount of wasted money changed my outlook forever. For that amount, I could have bought a fabulous blazer, a great fitting pair of jeans, and a silk shirt of the highest quality, all at full price from the finest department store. Those are all items that I would often wear with confidence.

The dark navy wool blazer is by J. Crew from last year. The white jeans are from Chico’s a couple of years ago. The belt is by Ralph Lauren via Belk. The bag is an inexpensive no-name purchase from the Little Shop inside the Martha in Abingdon, VA. The VANELi Aliz Slingback Pumps are from Nordstrom.

The white Simple Comfort tee is from Covered Perfectly here. (I am an affiliate for Covered Perfectly, so I will earn a small commission from any purchase you make from this link.) The Classic Red lip color is by Beautycounter. It is from the new line of Color Intense Lipsticks here. (I am a senior manager at Beautycounter, so I will earn a small commission from any purchase you make from this link.)

I folded the bold silk scarf on the bias before wrapping it around my neck and pulling the ends back to the front.

I only make well-planned purchases in the best quality and fit I can find. For example, this blazer, which fits well and lands at mid-hip, is an excellent choice for me. I have worn it many times. The classic style shoes can be worn with my pants whenever I want to look a little more dressed up. The bag is the perfect pop of color, and it is just large enough to include what I need for the day. The scarf consists of bold blocks of royal blue and bright red, which are my favorites. These are a few examples of purchases that will get lots of use and enjoyment. I will never regret them!

On Sunday, Mr. Mickey and I drove over to Asheville to enjoy dinner at the Biltmore Estate. While the tulips were struggling to survive during this fickle spring, the high mountains were blanketed in snow. Hopefully, sunny days are on the way.

  1. Great outfit (especially the scarf) and I totally agree with your advice. I was brought up by a frugal Scottish mum who taught me early to buy wisely (investment dressing). I have accessories and coats over 20 years old that I can still wear and be fashionable. I will however buy inexpensive trendy pieces to mix things up a bit.
    I’m so looking forward to warmer weather – we had snow overnight!!

  2. So true! Now I just need to put that plan into action going forward.

    Your new hairstyle looks fabulous and is so very flattering!! Love it!

  3. Thank you for the photo of the tulips. They are my favorite flower. Unfortunately Florida is too hot for them. Your legs look great in the white pants.

  4. Thank you for this great post. Wonderful advice on buying pieces that will last. Your scarf is lovely and I really like the method you used to style it. I’m going to practice today!

  5. Susan, Glad to see you back and posting. I am a “sale” shopper but since I have found your blog, I buy nothing that won’t go with several other things and keep in mind the colors that look the best on me.

  6. Gorgeous outfit! Great post. Your advice is helping me shop more strategically to find items that fill in gaps in my wardrobe.

  7. Loving your classic style, …which never goes out of style, so it’s always a smart choice. But, an missing some of your edgier pieces you were doing before. A little edge now and then to mix things up a bit. 😉

    The tulip photos are gorgeous!

  8. You are absolutely right about the amount of money wasted on clothes! Especially in my closet, I think!
    I agree with you about buying the basics and wearing them many times, then buying the best basics to replace them.
    Think of the money saved!
    It’s really hard to edit my closet but with your help and guidance, I’m getting there.
    Thanks so much for your great advice! I really like the look in today’s blog.
    Chris Waters

  9. Dear Susan,
    You are very smart dressed like that : and I do think that elegance is the style in wich you are the best.
    A kind of post which inspires me very much : because it seems to me that it is much easier to find something casual.
    Thank you very much for all your efforts to explain so accurately, and quite daily, your choices, your reasons to do this or not this, and so on : it HELPS us VERY MUCH.

  10. Another classy and elegant look. I am enjoying the shoes! I am thinking of getting a similar pair. I can see how they will go with just about everything and take the look up a notch. Thanks for taking the time to share with us. I’m so glad your computer is up and running again! The new do is very cute and flattering.

  11. Susan,
    Would you please consider doing more posts on packing for vacation? I would like to see how you would pack for a variety of different lengths (e.g., 2 weeks, 7 days, etc), different locations (e.g., France, Canada, Thailand), and different seasons. Thanks. Love your blog!

    1. I can only dream of such a wonderful extended vacation! Where you are going and what events you have planned will determine what you should pack. I always try to take pieces in neutral colors which can be layered and mixed and matched to create appropriate and comfortable looks. A variety of accessories and two or three pairs of comfortable shoes for walking as well as a pair to wear to dinner will serve you well. I will give you an example of a possible outfit to pack in tomorrow’s blog.

  12. Yes! It took me longer than it should have to figure this out, but I use it for everything now — even when I’m grocery shopping, I work out a cost/serving. Often what appears at first glance to be the cheapest option isn’t (in anything). It makes you really pay attention to who you are, too. For instance I wear big, bold jewelry, so buying a classic string of pearls at even the best sale price in the world would be a waste of money. Same with dresses. I never wear them & never have but have wasted tons of money in the past by buying them because they were on sale & I loved the look of them on the mannequin — and then never taking them out of the closet. There was once a time when I did a brisk business at consignment shops selling off clothing I’d never worn 🙂 Thank goodness most of us smarten up eventually!

  13. It’s great that you can wear past purchases, but I find that winter weight gain has forced me to purchase larger clothes. I have a rack of size M clothes that I can no longer wear! Sad situation!!!

    1. I used to have that same issue. In the past seven years, I have been able to keep my weight at about the same point for the first time in my adult life. I hope that you can find the same success.

  14. I really like the colorful scarf, Susan. Really adds a nice elegant touch. I’m so sorry you have received unkind comments on your blog and I agree that everyone has a breaking point with this sort of thing and you don’t have to tolerate that as it’s your blog. I think it’s very clear you do your blog from your heart to give others creative fashion ideas and to enjoy yourself creatively too and I think you do a great job and you look lovely too. Kudos to you for creating a nice life for yourself. I also appreciate the good customer service from you when I ordered a jacket from your store awhile back and when I am ready, I’m going to order a couple more pieces. I simply fail to see why anyone who’s reading a free blog would take their time to be unkind rather than just not read it at all if they don’t like it. God bless you for all you share on your site and keep the fashion faith! 🙂

  15. After seeing your post, I just bought those shoes; I think I’ll get a lot of wear from them this spring (if it ever actually comes!) and summer. I look forward to, am inspired by, and learn a lot from your posts–THANK YOU.

  16. Susan, your posts are so very helpful and are really addressing many of my own fashion concerns. I feel I have wasted far too much on clothes that don’t provide a great core wardrobe and I’m trying to work on that now. I appreciate your posts and videos, so much!!

  17. Susan, you look really amazing in this outfit. The classic pieces, colours and your new hairdo, all look fantastic. My trouble now is that I bought lots of great clothes and shoes over the last few years (most of which I have worn) but now I am working from home and so don’t need as big a closet as I have. I am loathe to get rid of it all though, in case I change jobs and go back to working from an office again. (my clothes are stylish mostly classic pieces rather than corporate so can be worn if I go out). I think I might donate a few pieces here and there but now I have our spare bedroom as a dressing room, I think I will hold onto most of it. I am a sale shopper but am now sticking to pieces I know I will really use. Thanks for all your advice and comments. You have the best blog!

  18. Dear Susan,
    Thanks for all your information. I love the picture of The Biltmore Estates. Gorgeous!! You look beautiful as usual. Where did you eat there? I would like to go there for lunch or dinner with my husband.

    Best Regards,

  19. I have a question about wearing white jeans. Don’t your undies show? Is the best underwear color choice nude? I’d like to buy another pair of white denims but have had my dear husband make a comment that all white pants show through. I’d love some feedback
    Thank you so much.

  20. You always look terrific in white pants. What do you wear in the way of underwear to prevent see through and panty lines? I would love to wear white pants but am faced with the problem of what to wear under them. Thank you.

  21. You inspire me…….everything you said is me. I buy a lot of clothes I see thinking, oh I’ll wear that but usually only ending up wearing it once. I LOVE clothes and the sales call my name! I only wish I could stop buying. I wanted to also comment on your hair cut and the way you styled it in this post… it blow dryed toward your face! I am 58, retired (so I don’t need to go shopping all the time) I’m letting my short hair grow out just a little…..we shall see.
    Thank you for your post.

  22. Thank you Susan for all the good points. I could have taken a trip around the world with the money I Have wasted on bad purchases. It is a change in the thought process. Thanks for the encouragement.

  23. Hi Susan – enjoy your posts & have learned a lot & keep learning little tops. I PARTICULARLY like those flats you’re wearing- the nude section makes them seem so much more elegant than one solid colour. Kind regards, Kitty.

  24. Hi, I have been enjoying your blog for a couple years now. I must say your hair looks especially good in this post. The new style suits you well, and is very flattering. I like the way small earring are visible. Well done! What brand of jacket is this? Do you ever buy Talbots jackets?

  25. Oh gosh Susan you could be speaking about me – love a sale but I have so much in my wardrobe that I never wear because they really don’t feel right/look good/already have several of the same or similar. When I was young my mother taught me to only buy quality items, even if I had to save up for them – she was always about quality not quantity which when I think about it is rather ironic in another aspect of my life……she would save for a whole year to buy a top quality expensive pair of shoes that fitted well, lasted a long time and went with everything……she was a very elegant woman

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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.