Dusty Colors

While vacationing in Florida this past February, the weather was much hotter than predicted. On one ninety-degree plus day, I lost my resolve and bought the first cool lightweight pair of pants I could find in my size.

I’ve struggled with the soft dusty olive color of these pants each time I’ve worn them. In theory, they are neutral, but they do not complement my coloring. They are too pale and dusty. I need to wear clear saturated colors. The colors that do flatter me, like pure white and true navy, always overwhelm the pants’ color.

The shoes in several colors are here.

The tote is a few years old. I found a similar tote here. My top is at least two years old. Similar pants are here. Similar tops are here.

Shopping links may provide a small commission for me at no additional cost to you. I use my Sony Alpha a5100 camera’s timer and a tripod to take my photos.

  1. We all that that one item in our closet that we try to make work. I wonder how that pretty light blue blouse you wore recently in a neutrals post would look.
    Love the concept of your out fit. Simple and classic. You are looking healthier with each new post.
    I have read some comments about you writing a book. I for one would love the information and photos in one reference book. The internet is wonderful but I do love to read and hold a book.

    Take care.

  2. I think the outfit looks great on you in these pictures! Pairing the olive with the navy and the lighter jewelry seems to do the trick. I’m finding the “faded” look, especially in lighter colors, whether it be skirts or pants–not so attractive at this age. Just seems to wash me out, even on the bottom half! (And don’t get me started on women our age who wear those jeans torn at the knees or things like cutoff denim overalls.) I just visited a close friend from high school last week (who wore said denim short cutoff overalls) and the whole time I am thinking–she needs to read Susan! (I sent her your last blog post 🙂

  3. I, too, have a pair of olive pants that do nothing for my coloring . But they look really pretty with black, navy, or red. Personally, I like these olive pants much better on you than the rather tan colored pants you wore recently (with a pretty white top). I had to get rid of my khaki , tan, and beige pants because I never felt just right in them. But I feel good in the olive if I pair them with the right colors on top. And I have great scarves to wear with them in the fall.

  4. I have to tell you, everytime you wear olive colored pants, the first thing that comes to my mind is, “ that’s not a good color for you”. If a color or piece of clothing doesn’t feel right on me, I pass it on. Life is too short to wear something you don’t feel good in.

  5. Try a deep purple top that matches your skin tone. Green & purple are really close to complimentary colors on the color wheel

  6. I wear this color combo often but I have to choose my navy carefully. There are cool navy colors and some are a bit warmer, which I need. The use of the lighter toned jewelry works well for this outfit on you. A white blouse would look nice as well. I always tell my husband that you could wear a black trash bag and make it look chic. I am glad you are feeling better.

  7. I have those same pants, and I love them. I wear black or white or sometimes that red punch color that Chico’s introduced a couple of years ago, with these pants. They’re as neutral to me as black, and they look great on you. As long as the color isn’t near your face you can wear them well.

  8. Always put together and pretty. I love olive and navy together. Hoping you feel better each new day. Hugs.

  9. Hi Susan, so good to see you are improving with your health.
    I have to say that you have pulled this look off perfectly, and with your choice of accessories the look is amazing.
    You have experienced at first hand what the virus can do to you, and considering the ravishes it causes to your body and mind, you have started to pull through with positivity and enthusiasm.
    I only started to follow your blog since the pandemic struck, and have found it very useful and informative during these very strange times.
    Susan, I wish you well with your continued health, and hope you will continue to provide us with dress and health tips. I certainly embrace your advice as I needed some help with my clothing habits.
    You are amazing!
    My very best wishes.

  10. Susan, so glad to see that you are looking healthier. Keep taking care of yourself.
    I couldn’t resist a pair of skinny pants in this same olive shade because of the flattering fit and for travelling (bought 2 years ago). One trick I use when a colour isn’t the best is to wear my trusty old super fine silk leopard print scarf. I think it takes the attention away from the dusty coloured pants and sparks things up a bit. I also wear neutral coloured summer shoes with these pants and the scarf, again, pulls the shoes together with this whole look. The navy you’re wearing looks good, too, and seems to give some structure to your overall look. Best wishes from extremely hot (90 F+) Canada.

  11. Hola Susan
    Me encanta que no te des por vencida hasta conseguir que tus oufits se vean bien.
    Creo que necesito más paciencia para probar y probar hasta que todo se vea bonito.
    No tengo práctica
    Te sigo y espero algún día vestirme bien en 10 minutos
    Tu sigue dándonos esos consejos que tanto nos gustan
    Muchas gracias

  12. Susan, I love that your clothing style is both elegant and functional, interchangeable and functional for many occasions.
    Thank you for sharing, being down to earth for normal older women. Happy you are feeling better and looking like your beautiful self.

  13. I used to have a similar pair of pants.

    One day, I wore a bright tomato-red top with them., figuring it would give a pop of neat color to bump their neutrality.

    Our college-age son took one look and said, “Mom, you look like a skinny martini olive!”
    The pants went to Goodwill.

    Sometimes, you just can’t win…

    But, I have just purchased a pair of coral-red slim-fit jeans (similar to your previous post) and look forward to wearing them (without an olive top!).

  14. Could you dye them? The stitching won’t dye so you need to take that into account. Maybe grey would work as the stitching won’t stand out too much?

    As others have said, it’s great to see you are on the mend.

  15. Very nice look! And I think white would look great with those Olive pants, too.
    You also have so many lovely scarves, I’m sure there would be one that could together a white olive combo and would look smashing!
    So glad you are on the road to recovery!

  16. Susan, Thank you for another very”real” post. Although I think you look stylish and lovely in all your photos, I can understand why you think olive is not your best color. As a retired kindergarten teacher, I had to laugh out loud when our school had Opposite Day (student pairs would dress as what they thought were complete opposites.) The combinations were creative and often hilarious. Well, you and I would be a great pair on Opposite Day! With my peachy coloring, I love wearing dark olive pants (when I can find them) with cream or coral tops!
    I look forward to your ideas and photos every week. You appear to be recovering well; but take it easy. This virus is nothing to take lightly!

  17. Good to see a return of the sparkle in your eyes. You look like you are feeling better. I hope your energy is returning too! I actually like this look for you. The French Kande jewelry helps pull it all together. I did get a French Kande necklace as a surprise gift from my husband. I had no idea he was paying much attention as I babbled about your lovely jewelry!

  18. I know sleeveless is not flattering to most but what do suggest when one has to be outside in 90 degree temperatures? There has to be some linen or gauze dresses out there. Thanks

    1. Linen, cotton, and gauze are great options for tops and dresses. You may have better luck shopping for these types of items in March. Inventory is minimal at this time of year.

  19. Best wishes for your continued recovery. I so admire your sharing your journey through covid. Thank you for your honest and thoughtful updates on your experiences, including the one moment your watchfulness slipped and the results. I have been sharing many of your posts with friends for a couple of years. But I have forwarded all of your posts lately to my friends who still think covid is “like a cold”. I appreciate your dedication to our overall heath.

    And I sure understand the dusty color conundrum. My complexion is like yours, so I also need clear jewel tones. Dusty olive is not at all the same as deep olive or a more clear shade of olive, and dusty colors are not nearly as neutral for some complexions. You are much more patient than I. I’m afraid those dusty pants would have been passed along as soon as I got home from vacation.

  20. I think the whole look is great. The pants just fade away as the top part is the focus as it should be.

    Susan B.

  21. That dusty olive is a standard in my wardrobe. I like it with beige neutrals or, more often other dusty colored tops.
    My advice is to admit your mistake and move on. I can’t tell you how many things I have wasted time and money trying to build outfits around things that don’t easily fit into my wardrobe schemes.
    Next time you go to Florida, don’t pack light!

  22. I do not think ankle straps are flattering for older women on shoes , hey but that’s just me !

    1. Susan doesn’t have swollen ankles or visible veins apparently. I, too, avoid bringing attention to that area due to those problems.

  23. As others have stated, I think you look marvelous! You also look like you are getting healthier by the day.

  24. I think olive bottoms look really nice with a white top and a blue jean jacket- not great for a 90 degree day but maybe when it is a bit cooler. So glad you are feeling better.

  25. Susan, I love this color on you. It really is a nice combo. It makes you look radiant and healthy.
    Happy to see you feeling better.

  26. I like this look on you. I’m wondering if pink would work with this pants color? There are some beautiful pink colors out this year. Chalk pink and geranium pink are two I really like. i think being in lockdown is why I’m interested in adding more color next to my face instead of all the neutrals.

  27. I understand what you mean Susan about olive is supposed to be a neutral. I have a pair of similar pants and find myself most comfortable pairing them with a jean shirt or black T. To be honest I find this color hard to wear and don’t wear them much. It is nice to know someone else feels the same way about this color.

  28. This is a fabulous outfit despite the color of the pants. The saturated shade of blue is perfect for the muted shade of olive. The accessories are spot on. Our coloring is similar so I like to see what colors you wear and how you style them. So good to see you looking healthy and your pretty smile.

  29. Susan,
    I like thus combo together. That shade is more neutral vs. warm. I may be biased but as an ‘autumn’ olive green is one of my favorite colors.
    The navy is a nice way to ‘cool it down’
    My question is concerning long necklaces. With an ample bust, is there a necklace length you avoid ?How do you wear a long necklace without it looking like It is suspended off a cliff ?

    1. Necklaces that rest on the chest (not even with the bustline) are the best option. Longer ones that stop below the bustline are also good choices for us busty gals.

  30. It’s strange we all disagree so much about those pants! I come down on the positive side – I really love that outfit and the soft color is very soothing and cooling in a way that the coral pants were not. This is my favorite combo in a long time. The jewelry is remarkably becoming to your complexion.

  31. I think it’s good to go out of the “box” as they say, as interest and creativity push their strength through. You look lovely and made it work beautifully. Just knowing what works best for us helps us when we are being adventurous in fashion. I am in love with French Kande, looking forward to getting my first piece. I have been looking at several pieces but cant make up my mind where to start.

    My closet consists of about 70% black clothes that I still love and find versatile. I feel the need to add mire more color. A challenge at times.
    You always look classy and beautiful. Thank you for the inspirations

  32. Hello Susan, hope you are feeling much better at this time. Will you share the name of your artwork next to your fireplace ? I speaking of the canvas of a piano
    which I think is lovely . And can you share with me where you purchased it ? Thank you so much in advance.

  33. I like those colors. You look good, hope your feeling stronger each day.
    I just received my white linen top & would love to know a cool summer cami to wear under the top?
    Also, what color Cami under white?

  34. Dear Susan,I discovered your Blog.a few days before.I love it.It encourages me to change my eating and to take a second look at my clothing.To get it better. Please excuse my english when wrong.
    I wish you much health and I hope you get rid with your disease.
    With friendly greatings
    Yours Katharina

  35. I am so glad you are feeling better with each passing day Susan!
    The colors of this outfit look good together. I would look at this pant color as being similar to your camel pants in that neither color is in the “winter” palette, yet work when worn on the bottom and with a complexion flattering top. I look at it the same as wearing camel/tan shoes. I am never without tan shoes yet don’t wear tan near tbe face. I don’t think it matters whether dusty or clear as long as it’s not near the face. And as you’ve shown, choice of jewelry helps tie the look together.
    Thanks for showing looks that you know are not 100% your best but still work. We all make less than perfect purchases at times.

  36. I like the navy/green combo but I would wear navy shoes. Your eye would then totally focus on the navy components.

  37. I have pants like those and yes I consider them a neutral. I haven’t worm them with navy before but I will now after seeing how nice that combination looks on you. Keep well

  38. Susan,
    This is a nice outfit for you. As you say the navy is your color and the green pants add a bit of variety. I might try that look for myself.
    Thanks, Mary

  39. I really like the pants and navy blue top color coordination. But I do not like the shoes . I believe they are too high they make the pants look like floods. I think a lower heel would be better. The color of the shoe and bag work good with outfit.

  40. I have girlfriend ankle jeans in this color and like to wear with black & white stripe tops or snow leopard Covered Perfectly top with them. Solid white or black is too stark for my coloring. Glad you are feeling better.

  41. I do Tai Chi twice a week, and usually wear stretch straight leg jeans and my asic balance shoes for over pronation, these shoes are blue leather with a touch of white. Do you have any suggestions for tops as I have a pear shape. And 71 years old and love your lady like style. Than you for all your wonderful help. Bev

  42. For once I disagree with you. I think the pants and navy top look great together and the whole outfit looks really nice on 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.