Dressed Up Evening

We recently attended a fundraiser for the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra. It was the first warm weather after five event for Spring 2018. After going through my closet to find something appropriate to wear, I realized things had changed since last summer.

Pants that looked fine last year seemed too tight in the knees and calves for my liking. Tops that were OK last year didn’t feel appropriate this year. I tried on several pairs of shoes before I found heels that I could tolerate. I have not gained any weight, but things are different now. My body continues to change in subtle ways as I age. I can still hike ten miles and wear a size four pants, but they don’t look the same on my nearly sixty-two-year-old body. I would not likely notice these slight changes if I wasn’t editing current photos so often.

This is the look that won out over others, but a closet purge ensued the next day. I threw out a bra, donated six pairs of pants and four tops.

The layered black tank top is from White House|Black Market. The pants were from Chico’s. The BCBGMAXAZRIA Bowie jacket is from Saks Off 5th. The shoes and bag are by Kenneth Cole Reaction. All these items, including the fashion rings, are several years old.

I use almost the same neutral makeup colors in varying intensity every day. I have learned that daily skincare is much more important than makeup. I use Beautycounter products, and you can find all those items on my site here. In the professional photo, I have a feeling she used filters to make us look better.

Elissa Wood Photography donated part of the proceeds from each photo sold, so we had this portrait done.

  1. The link just takes me to the entire French Kande site, not the specific necklace. Perhaps a description to narrow it down? Thank you in advance.

  2. Love the portrait of you and Mr. Mickey.

    I can totally relate to the subtle body changes you are experiencing, even though your weight is remaining constant. My friend’s mother said that after forty your body starts to get “softer.” It clearly gets more and more “soft” as we continue to age! My dermatologist said that as we age our skin loses it elasticity. I guess that is the explanation for the “softness!”

    I am 66 years old. In my younger years I looked good in structured jackets. And I have admired the structured jackets that I have seen you wear. But now that I am older, structured jackets don’t fit my body properly. I have much better success with flowy jersey cardigan/jackets. Since I am now pear-shaped, an A-line shape that falls below my hips looks the best on me. Since I am only 5’2″ (hopefully I haven’t lost any ground there, yet!) I have to be careful to avoid any garment that has too much fullness – I can easily look as if my clothes ate me!

    Probably my biggest challenge is that ever since menopause I tend to feel uncomfortably warm when it gets hot. And I will be moving to the South when my husband retires, sometime within the next year or so! I can handle pants in warmer temperatures when the humidity is low. But when the humidity goes up, I am miserable in pants and any top with sleeves. I have come to the conclusion that loose-fitting, sleeveless dresses in breathable materials need to be a part of my wardrobe – even if they are not the most flattering choice in appearance. It is hard to look good when you feel totally “wilted.”

    Also, a year ago I discovered a store in my city that carried French Kande jewelry. I discovered them just after they had held a French Kande trunk show. So this year I was hoping to attend the trunk show. Instead, I discovered my store no longer carries French Kande. When I went online, I discovered that French Kande is now sold extensively throughout Alabama, but it is no longer sold in stores in any other state. Do you have any insight about this change?

    1. Hi, Linda:

      At frenchkande.com I went to the Stores tab and used the drop down menu to pick a state. I found many stores in states other than Alabama. It’s just that Alabama stores are listed first and it’s not obvious that other states can be picked from the drop down menu. Hope this helps!


  3. I’m awed and reluctant to say it too often lest it lose meaning, but the new hairstyle makes you look very pretty, young and happy. I need to search for changes that reflect my spirit too. Such an inspiration. Couple photo with Mr. Mickey is great as well. Continue to have great good fun!

  4. There was a mention of you changing your eating patterns. I would really like for you to elaborate more in detail regarding that, maybe even dedicating an entire post to this. As a woman over 60 (66 this year) I want to age well and be healthy. Looking slim and in shape would be nice also.

  5. Susan,
    You look beautiful in everything, the advice you give is so wise, generous and thoughtful.
    I believe I too have learned much from just looking back at pictures over the past years. So funny how something I paid a lot for and thought I looked gorgeous wearing (ha,ha) now looks ridiculous to me. The pictures that almost embarrass me to look at have wild colors, big prints, fake hair color from a bottle, giant purses and too many accessories! I can’t name all the things you have taught me, most importantly that style and trends usually look ridiculous in a short time and how much more attractive it is for a woman to strive to eat and live healthy, to look natural and love her age whatever it may be.
    Thank you for your time and common sense advice, if only I had learned at a younger age.

      1. Kathy – I have to agree on buying trends that now look ridiculous. I have so any cold shoulder tops that I never should have purchased to begin with. I am 72 but everyone I know, including doctors, just can’t believe I’m that old. So guess I look younger. I’m lucky in that regard, but the body is still changing. I’m an apple shape so really identify with Susan and the styles she wears. I’m updating my wardrobe constantly to adjust to Susan’s suggestions on wearing more streamlined outfits. I just gave away bags and bags of clothing that just don’t work anymore for me. And no more cheap clothing store buying!! I have to stay away from those stores!! Quality in clothing with regards to fabric and style work so much better. I’m a big Chico’s and J.Jill fan these days. I never regret what I buy from those stores. They both have good sales, so makes it more affordable.

  6. I hear you about the body changes. I guess I need to get brutal about culling clothing that isn’t working for me.

    This stage of life can be hard on self esteem.

  7. Wow! What a nice photo of you and Mr. Mickey. Black and white outfits always look so good on you.

  8. Actually felt bad that I was so blunt with my comments yesterday. Today you look fabulous. Perfect in every element!

    1. Thank you. Apology accepted. Tunics are longer than tops, and they are trendy. I was trying to show that they don’t have to be worn with skintight leggings to be attractive and comfortable.

  9. Mary’s comment helped me with tunics, long tops and jackets. I started looking at the length of these garments (first your series of photos, then my own tunics, tops and jackets). What I realize now is I can use my wrist and thumb to gage length in dressing rooms. Like most women, I gage where something hits at the waist or hip. I will also put my arms straight down to gage length. However, I never thought about the length of tops with my arms in a slightly relaxed position. Recently, I discovered how short-waist ed I am. Proportion is something unique to all of us. I am finding proportions difficult to work with in the summer! At this age, I look better in structured tops and jackets but I basically live in a desert climate. I am aware my summer clothing choices lack structure and also aren’t proportional. I wear capris to stay cool. I would love to pair tunics with my capris. I will not go sleeveless. I like cotton ruanas or lightweight jackets with tanks. The search is on for a perfect length tunic! I haven’t tried a tunic with an asymmetrical hem but I think that will be one summer solution!!

  10. Susan
    I love all of your photos in this message.
    And the one of you and Mr Mickey
    is very special!

    that I LOVE YOUR HAIR!
    You look fabulous.

    Jean Holmes

  11. You are a remarkable lady. What you said about having to discard clothing that looked good last year, and not this year. Isn’t that the reason it is difficult to plan our clothing for the future. This was discussed earlier in the week about planning for retirement clothes. It doesn’t seem to work for me even through they are classics.

  12. You always look beautiful and elegant. Thanks for inspiring us to be the best we can be.

  13. Susan,

    You look stunning in the picture with Mr. Mickey!

    Katie Thomas
    “Sing All the Verses”

  14. Love the outfit and the photos! I too am finding that even though I’m remaining the same weight, things are shifting around at 59! I’m working out/exercising very well so I’m getting very strong and a little muscular but things move around at my age so I find things that looked well a year or two ago, now sometimes don’t do me any justice.

  15. Some time back you wrote about finding an updated hairstyle, less rounded. It looked very good. And now you are wearing it in this new way, with bangs, and it just looks so good on you! Where did you find the inspiration for it? Did you try a new stylist who saw you differently?

    Kathy L

    1. I got tired of having my hair hanging in my face, so I cut my bangs. I had this look before and knew that it was one I could wear. My stylist still gives me a layered cut that I can tuck behind my ears.

  16. Thank you for all the good information you impart to us. I like leggings but at 68 I understand they are better at home. I really enjoy your blog and pictures. You are an inspiration to me and many others. Thank you again for helping us.


  17. I love your strappy heels. I’m a size 7 and I have trouble with strappy heels, my toes seem to hang over the front. What can I use to stop my foot from sliding too far forward with toes everywhere?


  18. Susan you are giving me such inspiration! I’m seventy four years young and have been working toward a capsule wardrobe but am finding it somewhat limiting. I’m still trying to find my style since I have retired from corporate America. I believe I am a classic casual person, I spend time with my wonderful dog, volunteer at the animal shelter, and enjoy dinner & concerts with husband and friends. We also travel a great deal.
    My wardrobe has streered toward jeans (which never fit right) and black which I don’t look especially good in next to my face. I just love pink of any color and I love pale blues to Wedgwood blues, oh, and I love wearing white tees.
    I guess I’m not only struggling with my style but also my colors. I have blue eyes with a silver ash blond hair. Whenever I wear pink or blue I get compliments.
    Any suggestions?

    1. The trick is to build a wardrobe around colors that look good on you and also work together to be mixed and matched. You can create different looks with the same clothes by using accessories.

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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.