Eliminating Items From My Wardrobe

“Are there any looks you wore in your fifties that you would not wear now?” Today, my answers to this question are focused on my most casual looks.

Since I often work at home, a pair of soft knit black pants, a tank with a cardigan, and a pair of slip-on sneakers were mostly my uniform. I am slowly replacing those casual knit pants and some of those tank tops with something more substantial. Lightweight fabrics that are slim fitting and smooth often show too many lumps and bumps, even when they are black. I am now finding that casual tops made from materials with texture are much more flattering and comfortable. I will be more mindful of fabric textures with future purchases.

I have become very aware of the way garments fall and move. Having my picture taken hundreds of times each week in all lighting types has taught me things I would never have known otherwise. While I am cropping those photos, I am often struck by how different something looks in daylight and a natural setting. In the mirror, it looked okay but not so much in real-life situations.

Last year, I learned of the Focus line from my friend Mitzi. She wears their tops all the time, and she looks great even when just hanging out at home. The fabrics have texture, but they are lightweight so that they flow across your body or stand away from it so that every lump, bump, and roll isn’t showing through. The designer of this line always uses decorative buttons and other details to look put together even without accessories. This is my newest top by Focus, and I got it from ShopMyFairLady.com. I like the fact that it buttons down the front to also wear it open like a jacket over a tank for another look on a cooler day. This look is comfortable for wearing at home, but I am also acceptably dressed to make a run to the post office, bank, or grocery store.

These ankle-length pants are a new style in a vintage denim fabric from Lior Paris. The pants have a smooth, soft waistband, and the material is very soft and supple, not stiff like regular denim. The pants are also from ShopMyFairLady.com. (I just made another purchase from them today, and I can’t wait to show you those items too.)

The Espadrille style sandals with stretch straps are by Ralph Lauren via Dillard’s last year. The wicker bag is from J.McLaughlin purchased last year.

  1. Thoughts on white sandals? Just returned a pair that my daughter felt were dated. What to wear with white ankle pants? Thank you, Susan.

    1. Nude shoes always look much better than white. My personal rule is, always wear shoes the color of your ankles. That means if you have on black pants that cover your ankles you can wear black shoes.

      1. Great look, more casual insights please.
        What colour shoes are best to wear with navy or blue ? Is it worth dying white shoes nude or a darker colour?
        Must be on your wavelength bought a pin tuck blouse/shirt today that opens fully.

  2. I’ve been considering the Jag jeans you’ve featured and will definitely check out these that you featured today. I love the idea of a smooth band around my tummy. However, my biggest problem is psychological. I keep thinking giving in to elastic waist pants puts me in the “old lady” category. Not that you look like an old lady at all. I’m sure I got this idea from my mom who is approaching 92 and refuses to wear elastic waist pants!

    1. If you think about the buttons, snaps, zippers and loops of jeans causing lumps under your beautiful tops, you will understand why I love the smooth lines of pull on a wide waistband or even side-zip slacks. If I am tucking in a shirt with a jacket and wearing a belt, the jean style pants with a zipper are most appropriate.

  3. Helpful and easy rule to follow. I am old enough to have been raised with the concept of matching shoes to hemline. That didn’t work with the white ankle pants. Thank you, Susan.

  4. I am excited to watch what you wear this blog session. i enjoy seeing you dressed to the nines, but a simpler, casual attire will be most appreciated as that’s more my life style. Alas, I feel either way over dressed, matronly or frumpy day to day living life. Thank you for the help on correcting this!

  5. Excellent advice on shoes…I think a couple of summers ago white shoes were on the fashion radar but soon fell away. Nudes shoes are the bee’s knees. Love this casual look…

  6. Susan, you always look great, and I have definitely learned from your blog. I think you are too hard on yourself but I know we each can have our own standards and our own comfort levels. I want to encourage us over 60 folks to not be afraid of our bodies. If you have crepey skin not the best arms becasue of your genetics ( I’ve inherited my bat wings – mom, grandma, aunts all have them) but enjoy wearing shorts or tanks – do it! If you have some extra fat in places where you didn’t, but overall can celebrate that you’re a healthy person who does her best to be physically fit within your capabilities, then accept that nature takes its course and learn to embrace all the other features of YOU that are beautiful. The other day I wore shorts to the grocery and noticed in the door reflected back at me an image of a fit, strong, confident woman but one who definitely has less than tight skin on her legs. Despite my rigorous work out schedule, they have some sag and veins. But, I still wear shorts because I like them and I like the way I feel in them and the freedom of movement they give me. So, appreciate the special tips and encouragement that Susan gives us to look our best, but also appreciate all your body has given you and enjoy wearing what YOU choose to wear despite the fact that our bodies are not looking like they did when we were in our 30’s or 40’s. Enjoy your summer, in whatever you love to wear! Oh, by the way, I have vitiligo too but I still wear bathing suits and clothes that expose my spotted skin. Life is good!

  7. Any tips to tell if a garment that looks good in the mirror will also look good in real life situations?

    1. Try taking a selfie with your phone by looking in the mirror. If you can get a friend to snap some photos of you as you are moving about naturally (not posing) for your only your viewing it will be very helpful. Digital cameras are great for this!

  8. Thanks for showing clothes that stand away from the body. That’s a trick that really, really works, and is cool in warmer weather. I call them “clothes that fall from the shoulder” as opposed to a top that grabs the bumps and doesn’t give up.

  9. So interested to read this, Susan. Only today I cropped photos where I was wearing a black jersey top over jeans. The top looked fine in the mirror, fine in the indoor shots but the shots taken in the garden were awful. In natural light, lines showing my zip and belt were clearly visible. I’m now rethinking how I wear jersey tops, possibly just with skirts and maybe restrict trouser wear to pull on jeggings only. So yes, you are so right, it’s a good time to review fabric and its hang.

  10. You are on point about clinging tees and tanks. I am now buying solid colors in shirts and blouses to wear with my slacks. Even a jacket can’t cover a clinging to the belly tee!

  11. Thank you so much for all of your ideas. I now feel that I can stop fighting with my wardrobe & make peace with comfortable stylish clothes that suit my figure.

  12. Susan, I love this blouse. I am wondering what size you chose.. It looks much nicer on you than on the model on the website!

  13. Appreciate you showing a different look with the straight leg pant, but in my opinion you look best in the tighter leg. You always talk about your short legs and so be it, but your legs are very shapely which is covered up with the straight leg. That all said…we don’t always every day, every trip to the post office need to look like the very best of ourselves. Sometimes, good enough is good enough. And I think it’s great you are showing different degrees of dress for life in general. Thank you for writing this Blog. You are a Star!! ( I hope that all came out right )

  14. Interesting because I’ve been working with what I wear at home during the day. I want to be comfortable but not sloppy, I tend to be cool so I like an extra layer, but I like sleeves that push up. I like elastic waists for a smooth look. .just like my 97-year old mother did.

  15. Nope — still wearing many styles in my 70s that I wore in prior decades. Of course, styles have become more casual, so I have happily gone in that direction. And I certainly don’t matchy-match anymore.

    For example, today with weather here in the humid mid-80s I’m wearing 501 Levis with a twice-turned cuff, a white collared, long-sleeved button-up blouse (Brooks Brothers) with rolled up sleeves, a Gucci belt I inherited from my husband who thought it was “too fancy” for him (I trimmed down the black belt blank so it fits me), ankle-high pumpkin-colored leather wedge sandals, a blue topaz statement ring and an enamel blue “H” bracelet. When I head out to the grocery store, I’ll slip on a cross-body navy canvas schoolbag purse.

    That’s the kind of everyday outfit that makes me feel put-together, but not overdressed. 🙂 If I were dressing up that outfit I’d switch to a nicer purse and, depending on the weather, add a scarf, shawl, blazer or outerwear.

  16. Have just discovered this blog and, wow, are you on point! I am with you on the covering up! I remember the late Dixie Carter saying in her autobiography that the older one gets, the more one should cover up. I guess if the crepey skin, wrinkles, spider veins, lumps, bumps don’t bother you, go for it, but don’t expect everyone else to agree with your choices! By the way, Susan, how tall are you? I am 5′ 2″ and have to search through petites.

  17. I enjoy your articles every day for some time One thought has lately been plaguing me. Would you be brave enough to share your measurements. It would help me figure (no pun intended) comparisons out.

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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.