Fall Inspiration

The most recent inspiration to reality post was very well received, so here is another focus on taking inspiration from high-end professionally styled images. I always use what’s already in my closet to recreate these looks to inspire you to use and love what you have in new ways. Links are included for similar items if you need to add something to your collection to make it complete.

Today’s inspiration photo is from the fabulous Net-A-Porter site.

The photo above includes GANNI Callie croc-effect leather ankle boots $475
RE/DONE Originals High-Rise Ankle Crop Ultra Stretch skinny jeans $225
ACNE STUDIOS Double-breasted wool blazer $700
JW ANDERSON Printed cotton-terry hoodie $370
JW ANDERSON Logo felt and leather shoulder bag $1,335
Please keep reading for my take on this modern look.

I don’t own a hoodie sweatshirt, so I wore a plain gray tee and used a scarf folded into a triangle to create the shape and pattern represented by the logo hoodie’s vibe. My tee is about three years old from Chico’s. Similar here. The scarf is old. The jeans are by Liverpool Jeans Co here. The J.Crew wool blazer is from a couple of years ago, similar here. I bought the crossbody bag and boots earlier this year from Ralph Lauren here. The short boots are here.

Many have asked me to write more about detailed plans for my retirement in a few years. All of the items shown in my look for today represent long-range plans for my wardrobe. When I consider making a carefully planned purchase of a basic piece that needs to be replaced, I ask myself, “Will I wear this for the next ten years?” The boots from today’s look are an example of long-range planning. The low heel and classic design translate to comfortable and stylish wear for many years.

The Ralph Lauren crossbody bag is a classic shape and size that I will enjoy for many years.

I designed and made those gold and silver combo earrings more than twenty years ago while earning my living as a boutique jewelry designer. At the end of that career, I started Vintage Jewelry Supplies Co., Inc., a supply source for artists, designers, and crafters. My retirement plans include selling the company to Mr. Mickey’s daughter, who has been the manager for more than twelve years. I also recently signed the contract to move forward with the sale of my commercial building in the Skyline Industrial Park. (I highly recommend Sam Taylor of The Property Experts!)

As you can see from this closeup, red lipstick would not be the right tone with this look. The color I am wearing is Orchid/Cool Berry from Beautycounter here. I now wear navy instead of black near my face during daylight hours.

A wash and wear hairstyle in my natural color means I only need to go to the salon for a trim about every eight weeks. I get a professional facial, pedicure, and natural buff manicure about eight times a year. I use dental whitening gel in trays (both supplied by my dentist) for an hour about four times a year. That’s the extent of my “procedures.”

Mr. Mickey took these photos on the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center’s grounds in Johnson City, TN. Don’t you love the colors of fall?

The items I show on this blog reflect what I have purchased or received as a gift. I do not do product reviews for companies that send me free items or pay me to publish my opinions. Referral and affiliate links in my posts may generate a small commission for me at no additional cost to you.

  1. What brand of apricot and coconut oil do you use on your hands and feet? I love starting the work week with inspiration from you.

  2. I am looking for some cute but comfortable booties. I need an arch support and prefer soft insoles and low heels. I wear a lot of black pants. Any suggestions?

  3. These recent presentations have been wonderfully inspiring. Although I have always gone in for classics with bright decorative accessories, more and more I have taken inspiration from your outfits to achieve an even better look. Here is a question. Almost all wardrobe advisors, including you, recommend a navy and/or black blazer as a staple garment. I am so very busty (on top of an apple shape) that blazers are always unflattering. They make me look like a Nazi prison guard or an old-fashioned Girl Scout leader (nothing against the Girl Scouts, I hasten to add!). It’s the lapels that have that effect. What are classic jackets (lifetime purchases) that will fill that function and be more flattering?

    1. I search for tailored blazer/jacket styles with few buttons (I rarely ever use those!) and slim or no lapels. If you would be more comfortable in a dark color cardigan, don’t switch. I felt very authentic when I wore the look pictured for today. I don’t believe in changing what you feel comfortable in, just to tick off a box.

    2. I have the same type of figure as you and I rarely wear blazers or jackets, wearing cardigans instead. However, I just purchased a navy ponte blazer with no lapels at Talbots and it is very slimming.

      1. Susan, curious minds want to know if not getting too personal – does your retirement plans include Mr. Mickey? You two seem to enjoy life together so well. I have thought so many times about relocating, but fear leaving family, doctors, etc. Do you have a favorite season of the year that may help determine where you go for weather?? You are an adventurous person that we all find so interesting. Thanks for sharing with us. Take care! Pat

        1. We will continue to enjoy our dates. I don’t have plans to relocate any time soon. I like the mostly mild weather of the upper-south. I am not fond of winter or cold, wet weather at all.

    3. Here is an image on Pinterest for a sweater/cardigan that works for the figures with more bust.
      One reason these work or something similar is because it creates a vertical parallel line down the front of the blouse. You’d want to leave your sweater or jacket open and let it drape ( that way you don’t create an extra layer of fabric over the bust area)

      There are also jacket/tunics that drape or stay open, instead of the boxier blazers. Just buy in a lighter fabric. A baseball type jacket (varsity cut) in a lighter fabric with a zipper down the front could be left open as a drape top.

      I found the Pinterest link below by searching in google for Flattering tops for larger busts. You’ll see many ideas for shirts and tops. What you want to do is take those ideas and find jackets or sweaters with the same cut.


  4. A small question–the jeggings touch the top of your booties, which is stylish, of course. Is it still acceptable to get straight leg or even baby boot that come down further on the leg and break on the bootie? Seems as if that makes my short legs longer looking.

      1. Thank you! I think this look is great on you. Just trying to translate it into something that a petite could wear and still be stylish.

  5. Dear Susan, You don’t own a hoodie (much less one with a slogan) because you have taste. I also applaud your commitment to permanent fashion. Growing up (before The Flood – wink here), buying clothing for the long-term was the only way to approach wardrobe building. It also made more financial sense. Today’s fast fashion is a waste of time and money. And as a last note, I appreciate your lovely uplifting blog completely uncluttered with political opinions. In this particular climate, it is a refreshing site.

  6. That outfit was inspired and definitely able to be reproduced. I like the blazer and brown accessories together so much. Partly because I can duplicate from my current stash and it does look elegant. Thanks!

  7. I have been retired for 13 years and have never regretted a day of it. I certainly hope you don’t retire from this blog. I look forward to every post.

  8. Good Morning Susan! This post for Fall Inspiration is very relatable. Love everything here! I have always been “easy” on my clothes, and my taste has remained pretty constant. Thank goodness I have a “classic” taste! I did experiment some with fashion choices, and now those items are being tossed from my closet much more often than not. My husband will soon be retired, and we are moving back closer to our “roots”, closer to the mountains. I’m only keeping clothes now that will continue to serve my new lifestyle. Thanks for your timely and very helpful tips and advice! I love your style!

  9. I very much appreciate your honest and thoughtful approach to sharing your knowledge without integratng paid-for product reviews. thanks for the inspiration and I’m buying those boots!!!!! Also, excited that you have moved to day time wear of navy vs. black. Black around my face has never been a good idea for me. But navy, periwinkle blue, olives and navys are a big yes. Looking forward to seeing where you take that.

  10. It sounds like you are downsizing your professional responsibilities as well as your personal items as shown in your makeup and clothing choices. As far as your retirement goes, I will be following your blog forever even if you write once a week or once a month. I feel like there is a significant need for personal advice regarding the challenge of aging, mobility, general health. You provide a very reasonable perspective on the overall lifestyle of our generation (and I believe both younger and older) women. No matter my personal limitations I always want to find a way to look my best. Your column is a wonderful service. Thank you

  11. Susan, You look better than the model. You always have just the right clothes that go together and always look sharp. I love your look. Thanks for all you do and your time for us so we can look good. Love the blog and hope you don’t ever run out of ideas for us to follow. Thanks so much.

  12. I really like these posts where you make an affordable look for older women like me that more or less matches the young and expensive look. I could not possibly wear the young and expensive look but I can pull together the one you are wearing. I now wearing 2 long leg braces (it is a good thing) and I use your posts to look great from the waist up. I look pretty darn good. Why give up? Thanks!

  13. I love the earrings. Are they clip on or posts?
    Also the scarf works well to mimic the design on the tee shirt. Love that idea.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  14. I agree with you about navy instead of black. I find since I’m over sixty, I look much better in navy. Just a small change with a huge difference. I also like a nude or coral lip rather than red. Just softening up the look makes you look fresher and more rested.

  15. As always, you nailed it!! Another great look! I know you’ve stated several times that a matching handbag and shoes can date you ten years. I’ve never bought into that theory and still to this day try to match them as close as possible and I’m a few years younger than you. I love the crossbody bag and booties you are wearing and think the combination is very fashionable and so chic. I enjoy your tips and the beautiful scenery.

    1. I got the concept of not matching the bag and shoes from one of Inès de la Fressange’s books. I love the look of a bag, scarf, and shoes in colors that complement but are different from the clothing.

      1. I’ve heard this concept called “French matching”. As long as the tones or textures match, then it’s a go.

  16. This is a great idea to recreate a look with what you have! I love it. I’ve seen a coupe of other bloggers do this too.

    You look great as always! And I love the tips to buy what will look good for many years to come. I often buy an item that I only use for a year or two. And then I end up just giving it away or donating it.


  17. The outfit you’re wearing today is definitely my style. Thank you for showing how all these pieces can come together!

  18. What a great post! I look forward to reading your blog, and always check for new posts! Thanks so much for taking the time to share. I love today’s look. I might buy those booties too! Most of my boots have high heals, and I find them difficult to wear these days. I am a blazer person all the way. I love the way you wear a scarf. I might give that a try too.

  19. You look so wonderful, Susan! I am enjoying these blogs and gain much inspiration from the way you interpret these modern looks and make them your own. I’ve been guilty of falling for fast fashion and trendy buys, but I am trying to make an effort to purchase higher quality items that I will enjoy wearing for a long time. I’ve forgotten; are you from Tennessee? I ask because my fiancé and I are becoming very serious about relocating there.

  20. I enjoy seeing outfits in magazines that I would like to copy. I especially like when I have the separates, but never thought of wearing the separates the way they have mixed & matched. I cut out the pictures and put in a folder. I have many copies of your outfits Susan. When I can’t think of what to wear I check my folder and inspiration is found. Love your blog and look forward to them. I also thank you for taking us along on your weekend getaways. I love to see the beautiful country and dream about your fabulous dinners.

  21. Love this look, Susan. It will by my go-to next Australian summer. Right now the weather is heating up (a lot) into high 30 degrees Celsius in the next few days.

  22. I do applaud your commitment to classic style that doesn’t date. If you buy the very best you can afford you find you don’t get tired of well-made, well-cut clothes in quality fabrics. Simple classics with a stand-out item – a scarf, bag or necklace – can enliven an outfit, and revitalise a classic, as you show so often in your posts.

    I also applaud your aim to look good, rather than ‘young’. The aim shouldn’t be ‘anti-ageing’ but ‘ageing well’ and you are living proof of that and an inspiration to us all.

  23. What a great look! I think jeans, boots & a blazer will never go out of style — although I admit I own just one blazer I rarely wear & prefer leather jackets for outdoors & open shirts over tees for indoors. I wear a lot of hoodies, mainly because here on Canada’s west coast it drizzles & mizzles & is foggy & cold much of the winter & they’re warm under a jacket & when I’m dashing from the car to a store, for instance, it’s nice to be able to flip up the hood instead of messing about with an umbrella (or getting soaked). I think any garment can be stylish depending on how you put a look together & how it fits into your lifestyle (& personal style) — that’s why I especially enjoy posts like today’s where you put items you already own together in casual but classic ways.

    I’m also loving hearing about your retirement plans! We had ours all sorted, we thought. Then my little writing hobby caught fire & suddenly I have a third career & deadlines again & my partner & his brother have decided to turn *their* “little hobby” (restoring vintage motorcycles, mainly Harleys) into an actual business because of demand . . . we’ve never been busier [sigh]. I can hardly wait to see what your next step is going to be 🙂

  24. Susan I just love your style.
    I will be 80 this month and have lost 28 lbs thus far.
    You are an inspiration to me. You prove one does not have to spend huge sums of money to look classy.
    I want to go to gray from my dark auburn for a more natural look but I cannot stand skunk look.
    Any suggestions would be helpful. I need to cut down to basics for budget reasons.

    1. Congratulations and Happy Birthday! Work with your stylist on growing out your hair color. They have learned to blend the color in all sorts of ways since so many of us have embraced a more natural look. Ask about high and low lights to blend the regrowth.

  25. Hi Susan
    Thank you so much for your fabulous blog. You have helped me no end with your wonderful tips and fashion expertise. I am a 70 year old retiree and before discovering your blog I was struggling to find the right clothes to wear on a day to day basis. I worked in an office before retiring and I always dressed quite formally for work and as a result I lost the ability to dress smart casual but thanks to you I am now getting there. Please keep up the good work, you’re doing a great job.

  26. Once again–Who wore it better? Unquestionably Ms. Susan! I wouldn’t be caught dead in a “hoodie” much less under a blazer–the bulk and the heat alone would not be kind to my 60-something petite frame! Nevertheless, the Net-A-Porter site is a wonderful treat for fashionistas and I am enjoying your wonderful twists on the looks they show. I used to always enjoy those “Looks for Less” ($$) type features in the fashion magazines, like InStyle, in the days when I could actually read them and “relate” to the models.

    1. LOL! I wear hoodies all the time at age 60 & haven’t died yet. They work well — & look great — when you have an active, casual lifestyle & live in the Pacific NW where it drizzles all winter & is too cold for a sweater but not cold enough for a coat.

  27. Love this outfit and always love a tailored jacket. I’m 4’11” and much of your advice works for me. Love what you said about purchasing “….can I still use this 10 years from now…” I’m a retired teacher so obviously I live on a fixed income. Thus every purchase comes with the question “is it a need or a want…” Lot’s of school clothes do not get any use now since I exercise 4 days a week so athletic attire is more appropriate…but, it doesn’t mean I don’t still dress up! Heck no! I love to clean up, dress up, and go out! Thanks for your blog….love it!

  28. I enjoyed viewing the styles and found them inspirational. Thanks a million. Keep up the good work and do not retire soon.


    1. Fold a fifty-one-inch scarf into a three-corner triangle. Then fold the folded side over and over again in thin sections until you have the same shape with very long ends. Wrap it around your neck with the small point in the back and loop the ends over once.

  29. Girl – you are rocking this look! In my opinion you look way better that the lady in the original picture. Thank you for the inspiration; it can be difficult feeling like you look good after a certain age.

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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.