Evolving Style

Sharing what I have learned over the past decade has been instrumental in streamlining my wardrobe. I make far fewer mistakes now that I always seek classic separates over trendy items. Subtle differences make classics look more up-to-date. For example, a single button slightly oversized jacket looks more current than my double-breasted blazer. I always aim for modern instead of youthful.

Moving away from the high heels, lower necklines, and slim-fitting jeans I wore ten years ago means the long tops and tunics are no longer the right proportion for me. I shop for jackets and tops that stop at mid-behind instead of longer. The looks I enjoy most are the ones that draw attention away from the parts I am least happy with.

An artfully draped scarf or a pearl necklace softens the harsh contrast of black or white. I avoid wearing black near my face, but some favorite pieces remain in my wardrobe. The jacket I’m wearing is about three years old. It is comfortable and versatile for cool days, so I will keep it until I find a modern navy or charcoal version to take its place.

Classic details in architecture, garden design, home decor, and my wardrobe always resonate with me. Those elements in neutral colors work together, so they feel effortless no matter how I combine them.

This is perhaps my seventh pair of shoes in a similar style. Pointed toes and low-block heels in dressy shoes serve me well. The shoes are from last year. Here and here are similar pairs.

Classic pieces also fill my jewelry box, but I add more modern elements, such as the pearl and tan leather lariat, to update my combos. The necklace is here. (Use the code SAS10 For $10 off any one item at Beauty in Stone Jewelry.)

Similar earrings are here. A similar ring is here. The watch is from Nordgreen here.

If I meet a friend for lunch or run a quick errand, I often reach for a smaller crossbody bag since I won’t need more than the essentials. This adorable bag has been in my collection for a few years. I found it here.

A carefully chosen colorful accessory can also update a combination of classic neutral pieces. I resist the temptation to wear red shoes, earrings, bag, and belt. Too many matching accents can look very dated.

A similar jacket in navy is here and here. The shell is here. The jeans are here. Similar sunglasses are here.

I wrote about my skincare products here. Taking care of my skin becomes more of a priority every year.

Investing in better quality items made from natural fibers means I wear the pieces in heavy rotation for a few years. When I was younger, my frivolous buying habits meant wasted money and too many temporary treasures in my collection. All the latest things tempted me, and sale racks were irresistible. As I’ve aged, those items are no longer on my radar. Higher quality basics in solid neutral colors can act as a background for many different looks and always feel more authentic to my style.

How has your style changed over the years? Then, let’s continue the conversation in the comments below.

I am retired, so randomly published posts no longer include collaborations or sponsored products. My items are rarely new, so I share links for similar current elements. Shopping links sometimes allow me to earn a small commission at no extra charge to you.

  1. Susan, I miss your frequent posts, but as expected, when you do post it is so relevant and helpful! I am not yet retired, but blessed to be working full time from home so my wardrobe is trending toward a retirement wardrobe very quickly! Thank you for continuing to provide examples of classic wardrobes!

  2. I have also paired down my wardrobe and have gotten rid of really trendy and ill fitting items. I still like to throw in a few current fashion trends, but keep them more as accents rather then main pieces. I think as we get older we find what works and don’t feel the need to impress others. I lean towards comfort and classic looks. Makes shopping much easier!

  3. I think you look absolutely lovely and have enjoyed your evolving style. With age and experience, we can all determine what looks best on us and you certainly have! Thank you for showing the way.

  4. I have been more focused on the fit of clothing lately. I want comfort, so I look for that when I shop. Purchasing fewer items, but better quality helps my closet work best for me.
    I enjoy updating my closet, but most of all, the outcome makes getting ready to go out much easier. We are going out much more now and many places in our area of North Georgia have eased mask restrictions. Happy week to you, Susan!!

  5. I have been reading your posts for several years now and so enjoy them. I am 77 and have let my hair go to its natural gray, cut it in a short pixie, I like it! I have tried to follow your example and dress with classic outfits with less pattern fabrics. I still have a hard time putting outfits together. I have a closet full with nothing to wear. How often do you hear that? LOL! It’s hard for me to find tops to go with my pants/jeans that I like or looks good on me. I like Chico’s fit in pants, size 0, but can’t always find tops I like. I don’t spend as much time shopping, as I once did, because my husband and I are always together.
    My style hasn’t changed much as I’ve gotten older. I’ve been a homemaker most of my 60 year marriage so my wardrobe has been mostly casual. We live in Missouri in the summer months and have a place in Arizona in winter.
    Keep up the good work because there are so many of us out here that don’t know what we are doing when it comes to putting outfits together.

    1. This is such an interesting post, Pat. I was especially interested in your take on tops to match your Chico’s size 0 pants. I often find their tops are too blousy or boxy. I still have a waistline, and I want clothes that enhance it. It’s not spectacular by any means, but it exists!

      Susan, your input about more form fitting (but not tight) tops would be great! Thank you for this great blog about evolving style. You look sensational in this clothing. Classic with a “wow factor” on you!

      1. You have a lovely dancer’s shape, Rebecca. Belts to define the waist and cinched-in jackets are good options for you. You can avoid anything flowing, boxy or oversized.

      2. Thanks Rebecca for your nice comments. I sometimes find most pants don’t seem to fit my waist so I have some buckleless belts which help to make waistbands fit better. That way you don’t have a buckle bump if wearing tops untucked.

  6. Your posts are so encouraging and edifying!
    We just bought a winter home in a retirement community in Florida, and we just spent a few days there. The appearance of the other ladies was so demoralizing! Denim shorts and low quality tee shirts everywhere!
    I understand that a retirement wardrobe needs to be comfortable, flexible and easy, and I really don’t mean to be critical, but it was rather depressing…I’m grateful to you for showing how we can be comfortable, but also elevated and dignified. Fewer things of higher quality makes a big difference!!!!

  7. This is Very helpful as I am in the process of transitioning my priorities from trendy to basics.—-It’s been a challenge but it helps to follow people on the right track!! Thank you:)

  8. Great advice. I’m 6 years retired now, and getting ready to do another closet purge as there are items that were investment pieces during my later career years but they just don’t have a place in my busy, active but different life now. I need to add to my wardrobe. Your advice will help me focus on the right items. I’ve been struggling with auto immune disease requiring steriods that have resulted in weight gain and moon face LOL. But I’m tired of waiting to add to my wardrobe – I need to feel comfortable in my clothes and feel better about myself as I try to overcome this disease. I won’t hide away and quit doing the things I want to do because I’ve gained weight. It’s hard to put yourself out there sometimes, but life is too short to miss out. Thanks for your guidance.

    1. Dear Pam,

      I am sorry about your battle with an autoimmune issue and wish you the best. I too am battling health issue weight gain, I never thought I would weigh this much but viola here I am. I love Susan’s blog and all of her style advise. I think differently and work on dressing differently. I can’t wear everything she does especially the lovely higher heels and slim leg jeans but the basics with just the right accessory touch works so well. Hope you get better soon and glad you are getting out there anyway.

      Susan B,

  9. I buy what fits me best. And still looks decent on me. I have large breasts and I’m short and over weight, also. So I’m limited. But I’m not much of a shopper fir myself anyway. My husband pushes me to shop more but I wNt comfortable clothes and want to look nice and that’s hard to find. And I really have plenty of clothes. And hate to buy more. His nephew is getting married on May 22and I’m not sure what to wear. It’s a semi-formal wedding and outside in the Mississippi heat.

    1. Natural fibers come from various sources, which can include plants and animals. We are most familiar with plant, and animal fibers, such as those sourced from the plant kingdom, including cotton, flax, hemp, bamboo, sisal, and jute. Silk, wool, and cashmere are others. Cashmere fibers come from goats and are finer, stronger, lighter, softer, and approximately three times more insulating than sheep wool.

  10. I continue to enjoy your insight on wardrobe styles and purchases. I continue to y difficulties with purging my closet. What have you let go of and why, What is out of style and needs to go, shoes, tops and jackets?

    1. I have donated anything with wide lapels or waterfall collars since those details make me look more top-heavy. Pants that were too tight or cropped to end at the widest part of my calf had to go. Four-inch heels and most of the things made from polyester are gone from my closet. Prints, patterns, and bright colors are also gone. The things that look best on your shape will always be a priority over trends.

  11. You are a continuing inspiration for me to ‘up my game’ when it comes to my style and closet. At 64, I’ve had to accept that I have a very hard time shopping for myself. Friends and exes have always said ‘you need to get some clothes’. So I keep working on it! I’ve seriously considered joining one of those monthly clothes shopping services.

    However, I’ve been focused on doing better, forcing myself to shop more and in the year before the pandemic, I got a few compliments. Living in very casual Austin, it’s easy to default to jeans and a top. But you’ve shown me that casual can be polished and that’s what I’ve been aiming for. Thanks for that!

  12. Susan, thank you again!
    I feel like I am imposing on your time with my questions but I get to wondering if there is a general list or guideline for what prints are considered “basic”? I have many items of clothing that have only been worn for short periods of time and I feel like they are still very wearable even though older. How can you decide a particular item is totally outdated. I have never cared what the manufacturers claim but would like to know how you decide what is “out”? I do not wear large prints or designs but I enjoy small scale sometimes.
    For example; polka dots, seersucker, eyelet, checks, small stripes or plaids. I notice ads that will proclaim that polka dots etc. etc. are trending!!!! The next season it could be plaid, or color blocking (ugh) but these designs have always been around.
    I appreciate your generous support for women.

    1. I’m happy to help when I can, Kathy.

      Small repeating prints such as stripes, dots, or geometrics are easier to wear. (For example, a blue and white stripe top is easy to wear with jeans or white pants, and then add a navy cardigan or blazer.) Larger prints always overwhelm me and are usually very memorable, so I avoid them. The scale and placement of floral and abstracts can be overwhelming and bring attention to areas we might not want to highlight.

  13. I must say that following your blog has definitely influenced my style . I am now purchasing high quality clothing in a small color range. I look for items that will last for a long time and work with my other clothes. My style is very casual and is even more so now that I am retired. I look forward to your blog because I love all the tips and amazing photos. Thank you so much!

  14. Having retired a few years ago, this year I have returned to dresses for easy casual wear, not the more formal ones I used for work. It makes getting dressed easy, though, because it is England, I need warm cardigans on top. I have found that dressing for my lifestyle, I don’t need many of the retirement ‘essentials’. My every day jackets are both padded, for the extra warmth! On the other hand, I don’t really bother with light weight jackets – if it is nice, a cardigan will do, if not, the padded jacket!

  15. Some good thoughts on how our style changes as our lifestyle changes. These things we need to consider when we’re wearing different types of clothes.
    By the way I really like your hair a little longer. Looks good!

  16. I’ve been using your idea of wearing a silk scarf around my neck when wearing dark colors. It really brightens the face. You can tie it using different techniques. I get many admiring looks. I have about 6 large (34″ or 35″ square) silk scarves now in my collection and they are very versatile when picking out something to wear. I even wear them to the grocery store! Thanks as always for a great post.

  17. I have always leaned towards classic in style so I wouldn’t say my choice has changed in said respect, however definitely now choose much smaller handbags then I once did and footwear with much lower heels. As to my body type and being in my mid 70’s do notice that there is more of a challenge to get a proper fit as not as toned as I once was, regardless that I am slender. With appreciation of your very informative post. -Brenda-

  18. Thank you so much for all you wonderful advise. It has made a difference in my “mature” style. I am shorter, heavier and much older than you so I do have to make adjustments. Such as lumbar scoliosis prevents me from wearing those lovely heels. And being heavier I have to watch the slim fitting pants so I do not look like “Tweedle-Dee”. LOL I have pared down my accessories per outfit especially necklaces, I was definitely wearing things that were too heavy or wrong length for my bust line. Thank you again.

    Susan B,

  19. I have been reading your blog for quite a few years now and always really enjoy seeing it in my inbox! I noticed that you said you now stay away from brighter colours. I always thought you looked stunning in royal blue and other jewel tones. I find now that I have aged that I gravitate towards brighter colours. I understand that you can add colour near your face with scarves but I don’t always want that extra layer. I also agree that large prints are more memorable and have purged most of them from my wardrobe. So while I have added neutral basics to my closet (blazers, pants, cardigans). I still like to add pops of colour with tops in vibrant jewel tones. Thanks for all your advice as I have learned and continue to learn so much from you!

  20. Susan, I have very classic tastes and personally, I think the double breasted blazer is timeless and it suits you. IMO, he single breasted jackets aren’t anywhere near so elegant and tailored. If anything, I think it’s usually about the length of the jacket and the boxiness of the shoulder line and yours is timeless and classic. I follow a few fashion blogs for the over 50’s-‘s 60’s and their clothing verges on the trendy rather than what suits.
    You always look finished and wonderfully attractive and healthy. It’s a glow that often the others don’t manage.
    Kind regards.

  21. Quality over quantity is good advice. Classic modern well made separates that are interchangeable extend the wardrobe & we don’t then have to put up with a bulging closet. Makes getting dressed so much easier. I personally think you look great in bright colors & also black. I understand black right next to the face ( as in a black turtleneck for example) may not be the best choice, but with your cool coloring & silver hair it is most becoming. I also think that you look very good in bright colors. Where you to wear bright turquoise, royal blue, fuchsia, or purple…jewel tones, I think it would be smashing on you. I do think with stronger colors then a brighter lip color is in order, like the red you sometimes wear. I love the block heeled pointy toe shoes. I have a hard time finding pointed toe shoes that are comfortable on me.

  22. I really appreciate the time you take to remind us about all of your fashion tips and information on paring down a wardrobe to just well designed and quality clothing items. I have been following you for over 5 years and have learned so much but this post is definitely a reminder on what not to wear for me more than what to wear. I just spent two days going through clothes again and hours trying on things and with many things I was saying to myself why did I buy this? I am doing exactly what you recommend with fit. I am not overweight but I carry weight in my arms and legs and also wear DDD bra size and I found pants that were just too tight on my calves and also tops that were tight in the arms and across my chest. I am still making the mistake of buying off the clearance racks but this particular post has encouraged me again to stay away from those sales. The big bags of clothes I plan to donate will benefit others so that’s a good thing.

  23. Hi, Susan!

    I love this weeks look. It’s a classic style with the leather lariat pearl necklace adding a modern edge. The handbag imparts the pop of color that always looks fresh and bright with a black/white combo.

    I agree that style changes as we move through our decades of life. Like you, I followed trends in my teens and twenties. Princess Diana was my style icon in the 80’s. In my thirties I took on a supervisory roll in nursing and required a professional wardrobe. I turned to classic dresses and blazers, bought my first designer handbag, and invested in timeless pearl and diamond stud earrings.

    Now that I’m 58 I avoid most current trends except for possibly an accessory or two. I have no interest in trying to keep up to the fashions of 20-somethings. I’m retired from nursing and now focus on my art and love of history. My taste encompasses the very classic styles I wear when I’m out on the town or as a docent at a museum home, to a relaxed slightly bohemian look when I’m relaxing at home or running errands. I’ve also embraced slow fashion, and often shop gently used and authenticated pre-loved items when purchasing high end handbags or jewelry. I also enjoy shopping for jewelry from small artisan shops. They offer unique high quality semi-precious gemstones set in 925 sterling at great prices.

    Aside from my Princess Diana days, I was never one for jewelry (costume or fine) until I hit age 50. Prior to that I wore only a small gold crucifix pendant necklace, pearl or diamond stud earrings, and my wedding ring. I’m now seeing the value in accessorizing with jewelry as a means to elevate and modernize classic outfits. You’re helping me in this regard. You accessorize beautifully and have a flare for adding those perfect finishing touches. I’m still on the hunt for a ‘just right’ long pearl station necklace to layer as you have done with your outfit today. I’ve had my eye on one by David Yurman but it’s always out of stock, so I continue to wait patiently.

    Thank you again for sharing your style inspirations. I hope you have a fabulous week!

  24. Hi Susan. I love the way you dress and the pieces you wear and match your outfits! I love classic myself. You have changed my style! I was always dressed conservatively but now I choose my pieces for looks, comfort and versatility. I’m 65 and retiring from teaching this coming July so I’m always looking forward to reading your articles and peek into your closet for ideas. Thank you for sharing your tips with us. Very valuable!

  25. Thank you sharing. Yours is the only blog I have found really helpful. I also strive to look modern. Sadly the majority of the blogs by women of age aim for a more youthful look. Their pictures are beautiful but completely impractical for me. I have enjoyed learning how you have transitioned your wardrobe to enjoy a more relaxed, retired lifestyle. I wonder if there are any bloggers you follow and find helpful?

  26. I love that you promote safe beauty however it would be helpful if you updated your skin care video to include Beautycounter’s current products. The Countertime line is so amazing and if you added the All Bright C Serum to the morning routine, your followers would find the results to be stunning!

    I am 64, and have used Beautycounter’s products for three years. I became a consultant in 2018 (while working as a executive in health care) and now retired, I am passionate about educating women about safer beauty.

    Thank you for your fashion blog and for helping women find beauty in themselves.

  27. I loved the choices you made in this post. I too am opting for the more classic neutral items. Thanks for reaffirming that at my age less is more if you choose well!

  28. It is interesting that you are finding that neutrals look better on you today than bright colors. As I am aging, I am finding that my face seems to look more colorless, and I am more likely to get compliments when I wear a top with more color near my face. I think the color brightens my face. Not every color works with my complexion, but I am gravitating to more color by my face. Has anyone else found this to be the case? Maybe it is because I have a “fair” complexion?

    1. I still wear and enjoy bright colors near my face, but they are slightly toned down now. The contrast between my hair, skin, and eyes is much softer than it was a couple of years ago, so black and vivid, highly saturated colors fade me out even more.

  29. Taking your advice I also have updated my wardrobe with more classic styles. I have moved away from longer tops and prints and designs. Much easier to put together many outfits from basic pieces. Thanks for your posts.

    By the way, your hair looks fabulous!

  30. Wow, has my closet ever evolved over these last 10 years. I’ve been steadily giving away Alot of it. I’ve held onto things too long. Your blog has been instrumental in my desire to be more classic in my wardrobe selections. I’ve purchased several things you’ve shared links to and I really appreciate them. I’m 69, retired, traveled alot prior to Covid. Will start traveling across country by car to ski and sightsee in fall and winter. Your blog has helped me dress more with less and be more mindful of the use of tops, jackets and scarves. Letting my white hair grow out was a big decision… embracing my age in this way has been a journey. Your hair is so lovely. I’ll never have Alot of hair again thanks to thyroid probs but you have inspired me to up my game at my age. Thank you!

  31. “How has your style changed over the years?” I found your blog when I turned 60, knowing many of my old styles and definitely the current trends were no longer for me. And my current style has taken a lot of inspiration from your tips! I do look at other blogs for stylish women over “a certain age” but I find myself shaking my head. Not me at all, even though for 66 I am considered to look much younger–still “not me”. I love your look today! Thank you!

  32. Susan

    I disagree about the black. I think a black jacket with white pants is stunning. Having a jacket or tee stop at the waist is perfect on you. However, you always look nice. In fact, you look fantastic. I noted that you wear jeans. I do not like jeans for myself. But, it is a matter of taste and you of course, look great in them

    I am a bargain shopper. I love Chicos pants. I watch the sales like a hawk–almost every day. Many of the $89 pants will go on sale for about $9.99 and I order them immediately. I am a preferred customer and pay no shipping and get a discount which covers much of the sales tax. I usually pair them with black or navy shirts, and I have many. I also have white tees but only wear them under a jacket. At that price I wear the pants around the house and feel so good in them. At that price I will often buy several pair of the same style. So I always have something neat to grab from my closet. The comfort is incredible!!!! The gaudier they are the more I like them but I always have a black or navy shirt to wear with them. I never wear “gaudy” around my face. I am 86 years old. Love clothes. BUT, my closet is a mess and when I shuffle threw it I often say to myself “I can’t remember buying that!” It is all fun–a game I guess. My husband is lucky I am not into fancy boats or cars or…… Just clothes!

    Nancy Miller

  33. Wonderful ideas. Happy skinny pants are going away. Still look forward to all your emails. I’ am going to try 2nd hand shopping for classic items. I am retired as well and don’t have the funds to waste on trendy stuff.
    Take care!

  34. Susan, your blog has certainly saved me money over the last 5-8 years! I am from the deep south and love florals. Seems I would buy floral dresses, skirts and blouses every spring, wear them a few times, then let them hang in the closet. I was also guilty of buying whatever color the stores decided was “in”, then had nothing else to go with it. Now 80-90% of my buys are solids and I’m narrowing my colors. As I’ve aged, I can no longer wear true pastels but medium to bright blues and pinks/roses brighten my skin and highlight my eyes. Nothing in the warm tones.

    Before the pandemic, and hopefully after, we traveled a lot. I try to travel with one regular suitcase and a cosmetic carry-on.

    I’m working on a capsule wardrobe based around white pants with black, blue and pink tops for a two week Panama Canal cruise next spring. I’ll add a few midi-dresses with topper sweaters for evening.

    We will likely spend 5-6 weeks in Europe next summer (two Covid-postponed group trips got rescheduled only a week apart so not worth flying home). That trip will include activities from hiking in the Black Forest to formalish dinners and both river cruising and cruising fjords. I’m working on a capsule wardrobe with 3-4 black pants of varying dressiness, ivory and black tops, a few pops of color, a couple of black and ivory sweater/jackets. For formal evenings I will pack a long black skirt to pair with tops.

    My lake house wardrobe is very casual and shades of blue. Makes life so simple.

    As I paired down my former work wardrobe, I donated to an organization that runs a “store” for women who are transitioning from personal problems into the work world. It makes it easier to part with classic suits or dresses I paid hundreds of dollars for when I know they may help another woman.

  35. I, too, have exchanged my core basic black for navy as I’ve aged. It looks far less harsh on me. Because of rosacea, I still don’t add pinks or reds, except for the occasional red handbag, but can complement navy easily with other lighter neutrals and then tie the outfit together with a scarf or classic jewelry. I get so many outfit combinations that way! Thank you for staying in touch with your online community!

  36. Thank you, Susan, for making my day. You are the most stylish woman I have encountered. Thank you for who you are and what you do.

    Roy in Virginia

  37. You inspire me! I ‘cleaned out’ my closet yesterday! I got 3 piles going: 1) throw away 2) thrift shop & 3) consign.
    I found that last year may not be the best year to do the ‘if you haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it’ rule! As I contemplated items I didn’t wear, I thought well you didn’t go out at all and spent most days with very casual attire on so I withheld a few items and instead put those things in a drawer for future decision making. It felt so good to rid myself of things I’ve held onto for a lot longer than a year, but will never wear again. Who am I kidding? Mini skirts are OUT!!! I wear mainly pants and classics on top – you’ve taught me so much Susan! I go with ‘less is more’ policy now & ‘shop my closet’ instead of the sale rack! Hoping your week goes well.

  38. I hope you will continue to publish this blog. I read the whole thing each time it shows up in my email.

    I think block heels are taking the place of thin heels. I also think they are more comfortable to wear.

    My style has changed over the years in that I no longer desire to wear anything low cut or short skirts. I also don’t wear shorts in public. I prefer skirts and dresses. These are very difficult to find in the length and styles I want, so I sew them. I remind myself that fashion is not designed for anyone over 40. I have to create it for myself. I am so glad I have learned this and that I’m not buying clothing that would look good on my daughters, but never on me.

  39. Susan, your look today is classy and chic-casual. I have to remind myself that I have very similar items in my closet & that this look makes dressing quick without brooding over “what to wear?” today.
    I love your smaller red bag. I don’t own a red blazer (your last post) but I have a thing about smaller red handbags, owning 4 of them.
    I’ll repeat what others often say; please keep blogging, even once a week. Your classy, unfussy approach is a breath of fresh air. And, you are so photogenic.

    1. Thank you for the kind comment, Elizabeth. I will take traveling breaks from the blog, but when I return, there will be new things to share with you, such as what I packed, how I wore it, where I stayed, what I did and what I ate. Those are always fun posts to share because I love combining tips with photos of new places.

  40. Susan, my body shape is similar to yours, and I find that slim fit jeans are by far the most flattering. I’m very sad that they are no longer current. What cut of jeans are you wearing now? Thank you so much

    1. Hi Karen. Straight-leg jeans will always be a classic. I am very fond of buying what suits your shape when you can find it. For those who love high-waist pants and jeans, there are many options available at the moment. I don’t think skinny jeans are going away; it’s just that now we have more options. I have purchased and been happy with the slight boot-cut, flares, and other variations of leg shapes and lengths. The key is to buy jeans that are fitted at the waist and hips. A slight flare that starts at mid-thigh is very flattering on many body shapes. When the flare starts at the knee, the result can look like a costume.

  41. Susan, I really enjoy your blog. I follow another fashion blog for women of a certain age, and most of the time the blogger does not select pieces of clothing that are flattering to her body type. In my opinion, you always look like a “do”, while she looks like an example of a “don’t”. Also, when a follower asks what size she wore in a particular garment, she usually says size 8. However, she appears to be tall and plus-sized! All this is to say I appreciate your candor and that’s why your blog is so helpful.

  42. I recently retired and have gone from wearing business casual to wearing what I used to wear only on weekends only to everyday.

  43. I have worked in retail lately and it seems as though the dress code is black. I have gray hair and I have always been cool-toned as far as color analysis goes. I was glad to read this article and I will be at least replacing the black tops I have in my wardrobe.

    Seems as though everyone around me is wearing black these days and has no sense of style. They end up looking like a bunch of vampires waiting for a funeral to happen.

  44. I’m late reading this but I’m so glad you posted. You always look good in everything you wear. You are my inspiration and I have learned so much from you. Thank you!

  45. Since I retired and moved to Florida, I have not worn suits. I kept a few jackets but seldom wear skirts or heels. I mostly wear shorts or jeans with casual tops. Over the tears I have purchased lots of jewelry and enjoy wearing it as much as I can. I still have several leather Coach purses and love my Dooley & Burke bags. Thanks for all the ways I can use my many scarves.I like to tie the small ones on a purse as an accent too. Talbots and Chico’s are my places to shop, whether on line or in the store(when I feel comfortable again). I do like the sleeveless tees from Target to wear under shirts or sleep in. They are comfortable and easy to care for.

  46. Love the motto “aim for modern instead of youthful”. While I understand the appeal of the ‘one and done’ pieces like dresses or jumpsuits (not my personal preference for a variety of reasons but they look stylish on others), I’ve always been a fan of mix-and-match separates. And I’m learning that solids get more wear than prints and patterns. Thanks for the post!

  47. Your post and useful answers to comments are for me a big style lesson !
    Thank you ,Susan , you are a treasure !

  48. My style hasn’t changed much from my younger years on the surface, as the same colors still work perfectly, although I’ve shifted to adding light grey as this now looks great. Though my hair has greyed to be almost the same light blond shade it was before, my hairdresser told me that since the pigment is largely gone, it does reflect colors differently. I’ve given up buying as many shoes as I used to since my feet seem to keep changing, probably due to two knee replacements I’ve had and have also moved to low heels or flats. Your blog has given me incentive to stick to solids as this is way easier to manage than all the prints I would always feel I should be wearing but that I would tire of quickly. I had never thought about just leaving them out altogether, and spending more on better quality classics instead! I love the simplicity.
    Thank you Susan…it was fun talking about this!

  49. I have to thank you for helping me define my “style.” While I am still working (in my late 50s yet) I have to wear a uniform of sorts (logo wear with jeans); so my more stylish clothing is only worn on the weekends. I have followed your example on several items such as skincare and purging my wardrobe of large prints. I’m gearing towards a more capsule wardrobe for warmer and cooler months. I have not stopped coloring my hair yet so I’m still able to wear black with color but am looking forward to trying charcoal and gray. I will be purging the last of my heels and staying with basic black 2″ heels for more formal and flats for Sundays. My go-to is a LBD with a cardigan and either scarf or long necklace and either diamond studs or silver hoops. One nice thing about dressing this way, it takes less time to decide what to wear.
    Thanks again for sharing .

  50. Your blog, found quite by accident, has been so inspirational to me! I found it when I started a job directing a state department after 35 years raising children, homeschooling and working from home. Suddenly I needed a professional wardrobe (can you say closet full of denim dresses, mom jeans and gym clothes!). I started my first month with two basic slim pants (one grey and one black), one dress (for my interview), two sweaters and 5 shirts (4 of which were the same shirt in different colors). I then discovered a small dress shop with good sales and helpful clerks who helped me out tremendously and I also discovered I liked dressing more professional although I still hate shopping.

    In reading your blog, I learned how to rock a classic style at my age – though being under 5′ 4″ still presents a challenge. I have learned to shop basics and although I’m still working on understanding the capsule wardrobe, I have developed a better feel for what works and what doesn’t.

    Just wanted to say thank you – especially for reminding me that strolling toward retirement doesn’t mean going back to daily gym clothes!

  51. I love reading all of your postings so much. They are a great influence in the choices I make now and I am so grateful for all your hard work and willingness to share with women everywhere.

    Have a lovely summer! You are a blessing.


    Ontario, Canada

  52. Susan, I absolutely love your style and personality. I am tempted to donate my entire closet if I could look as beautifully styled as you. How many basic pieces would I need to provide variety for work, play and day? I work one day a week is an office and dress is office casual. Having a wide foot is of my biggest challenges in buying shoes.

    1. I’m glad that you are inspired by what I share. After you decide which colors you like to wear, determine if those colors can be mixed and matched with each other. For example, I have pieces that are light, dark, and medium colors. White, navy, and pale blue will all work together. You might want to have dressy navy pants, light denim, and dark denim. Between the three options, you can dress up or down. Your lifestyle will determine the number of pieces and styles you need.

  53. Susan,
    I enjoy your articles. Your style is similar to mine. I’m over 70 and have always enjoyed sticking to basic colors that mix and match .
    I basically have a capsule closet to where every item goes with at least three if not four other items.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your expertise.


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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.