Effortless Style Tips

Modern, effortless style is about finding the right balance between looking dressed up and casual. Wearing trendy bright colors and busy patterns isn’t effortless. Instead, wearing what we already own and using creativity in place of constant shopping is a better choice for our style, wallets, and the planet.

I was on my way to the dentist and the grocery store.

Similar if not idential items are linked. Jacket here (or cardigan here) – TopScarfJeansBootsBag. (Shopping links may allow me to earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.)


The effort comes as we carefully plan our purchases. I stopped impulse buying a few years ago, and it changed my life in many ways. My bank account has undoubtedly benefited. (It isn’t a bargain if you never wear it!) I highly recommend investing in neutral garments that look best on your shape and save for the highest quality you can find. Add pieces that work with what you already have, both in color and attitude.

If you prefer a timeless, chic, and sophisticated style, look for pieces that won’t fade away—mix tailored items with more casual elements to look modern. For example, wear your favorite fitted blazer with a pair of high-waisted jeans and a simple white or grey top underneath. On the other hand, if you get bored with the same formula, mix it up a bit with unexpected combinations. Here, I wore two prints together to make a blazer I’ve had for about four years look less predictable.

Avoid big statement necklaces, earrings, lots of rings, and bracelets that can look unsophisticated. Adding shoes, belts, and bags with a lot of bright hardware and logos, are the opposite of effortless.

Oversized clothing is challenging to pull off, and it’s usually more flattering to define your waist. Layering can help to give you a more shapely silhouette if you do not want to wear a belt. Proper fit allows us to achieve effortless style while feeling comfortable in the clothing we wear.

Wear the right bra size and style for your shape. Don’t wait too long to refresh your bras and pajamas. You deserve to look nice even when you are lounging at home.

When I ordered a new bra recently, I also got these elegant gray pajamas with white piping trim. The bamboo fabric is soft and luxurious against your skin. Shapeez long line bras are here. (These are the only bras I wear.) Pajamas here. Earlier I showed you the black pajamas here. My posts are never sponsored, and my items are rarely new. Instead, I freely share the guidelines I use to make my days more effortless and pleasant.

35 Comments
  1. This example of pattern mixing is so clever!
    I’m grateful for your simple explanations and examples on each post.
    A couple of weeks ago, I realized that I had begun to miss the mark of looking effortlessly stylish.
    I wore a beautiful dress to church, and because it was a sunny morning, I had sunglasses on when I entered. My husband was with me in his jeans. Friends started to compliment me…but then the conversation turned into comments like “You look like a movie star, and your husband looks like your groupie”!
    Not the look we were going for!
    Time to reassess the goal (effortless style) and plan my wardrobe differently.
    Retirement, for me, needs to look a little more relaxed, but still stylish.
    And honestly, the effortless part is important. I think I might have been trying too hard.
    I love this look, Susan, thanks again!

  2. I have a question about belts. I am large busted and so short waisted I rarely , if ever, tuck my shirt in. I don’t wear a belt under an untucked shirt because I don’t like the buckle bump it causes. Do you wear a belt under an untucked shirt? I have seen those stretch or adjustable belts that have no buckle that look like a possible solution. Do you have any experience with them? What do you do? Thank you.

    1. I bought an adjustable belt, but it smelled so strongly of chemicals, I threw it away after airing it out for a week with no change. So I only wear a belt when I tuck in the shirt and wear a jacket or cardigan. A slightly fitted shirt that ends mid-hip might be a better styling option if you don’t have much space between your bust and your waistline.

  3. Just want to say again–the Shapeez bras have changed my life. I started with the non-foam cups–Silkee Short style. I have recently “graduated” to the tankee & long styles. I was initially reluctant because I am DD but petite and they are a bit long on me but I have the option of hemming them (I did so with one but I am finding it may not be necessary). The long style is particularly great for the winter under sweaters! They last a long time and are a good investment. Thank you Susan! (P.S. My favorite tip for making coats, blazers, sweaters and blouses look “less predictable” is to change up the buttons!)!

  4. Enjoyed the post. I kind of have the same issue as another person who commented…my shape doesn’t accommodate tucking and belting. I find that tops with rounded hemlines rather than squared off seem to look better if having to leave untucked. I wanted to comment on the pajamas…I just recently told myself the same thing. I deserve to sleep in nice sleepwear. Just because some of my very worn pajamas still have a little life left doesn’t mean I can’t get rid of them and get new ones! So I did! Can’t tell you how good it made me feel.
    I have been wanting to try a shapeez long line bra now for some time. I think I’m just going to go for it!
    Have a great day.

  5. Thank you. I do try to stick with that style top . I have a couple pairs of pants that tend slide off my waist as the day progresses ( too much spandex content) so a belt would help hold them in place until I can replace the pants in question. I would not like a smelly belt either so thank you sharing your experience.

  6. I really enjoy your blog. I like the idea that you aren’t always showing new clothing but how you are styling your clothes that you have. Yes better for the wallet and planet. I like classic clothes and my taste is similar to yours. For awhile there I was wearing the longer tunics and fuller tops. I found that they really don’t do anything for me. Thanks for all your tips and ideas. I wish you and Mr. Mickey a blessed day.

  7. Hi Susan, have been following you for many years and purchased the Shapeez Bra and they are excellent. However now the postage is as much as the bra purchase price for us living in Australia! Wish they could find some way that it would be more reasonable postage for us! Maybe simpler packaging! Have enjoyed your blog over the years, thankyou.

  8. I so agree with you re logos, much metalware and so forth.
    I always remember Coco Chanel’s advice of looking in the mirror and removing one thing before leaving the house. Simplicity is all.
    Also interesting about the ‘big sweater’ look. I bought two blue ones this month because they are ‘my’ colours. Both ‘big’. I wore each once or twice, hated the body-look as I’m only 5’3″ but loved the colours against my face. So out came my pins and sewing machine. I tacked them and tried them on twice before I was happy and on one, removed about 3 inches on either side. On the other about one and a half inches. Much happier and more svelte now.
    Cheers.

  9. Can I ask, do you step into the Shapeez bra or pull it on over your head? Also do you find that it rolls up? I have something similar and if I’m not wearing a belt it rolls up to a smaller part of me (my waist). I’d love something with the bra built in but worried about getting it on.

  10. Think you are my kind of lady! You’ve challenged me not to be a binge buyer, but to stick with the never out of style classics. My closet was over flowing with quick spur of the moment purchases that I really didn’t like; trendy…but not my style. Thanks for your help!
    Jonty

  11. Susan, loved the striped shirt and colorful scarf! Looks great together and I would have never thought so. I love reading your blog and appreciate your style ideas. Recently I have rid my closet of clothing I bought before taking your advice; clothing I never wore anyway that took up space. Keep the posts coming, I always learn something new.

  12. Thanks Susan…..I love your efforts to mix, match and work with what you have. A more mindful approach. I would venture a guess that MOST of us have more than what we need.

  13. Susan, I love to see your casual outfits as that’s what I wear most. Even your casual looks fantastic! Thank you for sharing your pearls of wisdom! I read every word of every post….sometimes twice! It’s helped me realize what style should look like at my almost 60 age… and what to avoid. I am going to try one of your favorite bras. Thank you for sharing your great sense of fashion!

  14. Susan, this is the first time I’ve heard of Shapeez bras. I’m a petite 5’ gal but still have problems with the obvious muffin top and back rolls. Do you think I would benefit from this type of bra or are they designed for taller ladies? I’m definitely not overweight but I guess aging causes the body to change. Thanks for your help and also I’m a real fan of your “wear what you have” styling.

  15. I must admit that my weakness is the Talbots classic and perfect shirts. But am following your advise about spending. I love denim jeggings but since I am only 4’11”, it is difficult to find any that fits. When I can find a 25 1/2″ jegging or slim ankle jeans, from Talbots, I grab it. I recently bought the jeggngs with rhinestones. Since I am not a rhinestone person, I had the buttons changed to metal buttons and now I love them.

  16. I bought my first shapeez bra one and a half years ago, I just purchased 2 more. They make me look pulled together and my outfits flatter more. I’ve learned many tips from you and am so very grateful.

  17. Have you ever tried the wireless shapeez bra? I seem to find wired bras so uncomfortable that I’m afraid to try the one you linked, but thought perhaps there’s a wirefree option that might work if you’ve tried it.

  18. Hi Susan,

    Greetings from Massachusetts!

    Thank you, again, for your valuable styling tips. I always have the conversation with myself before walking out the door . . . “what would Susan wear” or, “would Susan wear this” and then I’m either good to go, or back to the dressing room. Sometimes I pull up your old posts to get more help from you depending on what I’m doing for the day or evening.

    Please, don’t stop helping us look our best!!!

    Thank you,
    Julie Johnston

  19. I love the jeans and am happy to have a source for them. It seems in the stores near me all I see are skinny and/or those awful tattered jeans! I think straight leg or bootcut are so much more flattering.

    Thank you, Susan, for another great post!

    1. If the dominant colors are light, yes, you can wear them with white jeans. However, if the colors appear darker from a distance, you might want to wear them with darker jeans to look long and lean.

  20. I saw a jacket like the one you linked to in the pic where you were headed to the dentist, but it had a bit more shoulder pad. Are shoulder pads making a comeback?

    I have a nice jacket that I can’t bear to get rid of, but it has just a touch more shoulder pad than the current fashion. I would love to wear it again.

  21. After I posted, I looked some more on that Neiman Marcus link. There is an Armani jacket with the same outline my older, navy, Pendleton jacket has. It is very crisply tailored, but no linebacker look! Those were the days, or not.

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I blogged for five years as Fifty, not Frumpy. Now that I am in my sixties, I am sharing ideas and inspiration for using and loving what you already have.

Thank you!
Susan

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