Favorite Items

In 2019 I made significantly fewer purchases of handbags, clothing, and shoes than in the past. Ironically, I have been much happier with my daily looks. My fashion missteps are much fewer now. Simplicity serves me very well.

My focus is now on using and enjoying the items I own in various ways, not on new acquisitions. There are no more impulse buys of things that never see the light of day.

My style is classic, timeless, and practical, so I gravitate to multitasking pieces. I wear these items in combinations that can work for any occasion with a few tweaks. Statement bags, shoes, scarves, and jewelry update my classic style and change my basics’ attitude.

A structured well made handbag can elevate even the most uninteresting clothing combinations.

The bags I carry most are here, here, and here. My best footwear choices for the year are here, here, here, here, and here. (I wear black booties almost every day in the fall and winter.) The Bejeweled Shoe Clips are here.

I often wear cashmere cardigans here and here with tops, camis, or shirts. A navy V-neck cashmere sweater with white jeans is a classic combo. My favorite V-neck is here, and the crewneck style here keeps me super warm.

Crewneck cashmere sweater here.
My denim blazer is old. Similar here.

Denim is core to most of my looks. The best jeans offer a perfect balance between smart and casual. A well-made pair of jeans sculpt and smooth jiggly bits, making me appear to be a lot more toned than I am. The best denim style for my shape is here, here, and here.

I like the denim styles I linked above because they have proper pocket placement, the legs are not too tight, and the button zipper closures are much less bulky than many of the other jeans I’ve worn. I appreciate that these three brands of jeans do not stretch out to a larger size by the end of the day.

I learned which style fits my shape by trying on many different cuts. Denim with less than 2% Spandex (or Elastane) will stretch out least. Avoid putting your jeans in the dryer for more than ten minutes. I leave them in the dryer on low heat just long enough to get out most of the wrinkles, then hang them on a pant hanger on a rail to finish air-drying.

My J.Crew wool blazer is a few years old, but the blazer here is very similar.

The most versatile blazers have a one-button closure and end at mid-bottom. White, black, and navy are my most often worn colors. Knit is never a good fabric for blazers since they lose their shape so quickly. Look for wool, gabardine, denim, or brushed cotton, which are lightweight and drape well on the body.

These shoes are here. That’s a cashmere crewneck sweater from last year.
The flattering, lightweight jacket above is here.
The sandals are here.

While I love a good blazer, the most flattering jacket style is a simple moto jacket. The best one I’ve found in years is pictured. I like this one so much because the hardware is minimal, and there are no wide lapels or epaulets on the shoulders to make my neck look short.

A relaxed fit cotton (or polyester) shirt is a year-round staple. Here is my favorite. I have been wearing these shirts in a variety of colors throughout every season. They are perfect in the summer with the sleeves turned up and work equally well with a vest, blazer, or cardigan layered over them in the colder months. Cotton requires ironing, so if you are allergic to irons, try the polyester style here. They come out of the dryer in perfect shape.

Relaxed fit shirt in blue here.
The sandals are here.
Covered Perfectly Tees are here.

My favorite knit tee here has a feminine scoop neck and long slim fit so that I can layer over it while never adding any bulk. It works perfectly with scarves, belts, vests, and blazers.

The vest is on sale here. The cashmere V-neck is here. The Foxy Suede booties are here.
Camisole here.

My most often worn camisole is here. It has a double layer and a flattering V neckline. It is long enough to tuck in, belt, or leave out. I never remove my outer layer, so the spaghetti straps are not an issue for me. I have several colors of the same cami, but black, white, silver/gray, and red are the colors I wear most often.

These are the same jeans I’m wearing in the video below, and the gray lariat necklace is here.

Lariat necklaces are great options since they are so appropriate with casual attire. The silver and gray lariat necklace is here. The pearl lariat necklace I wore in the video below is here. Use the code SAS10 at Beauty In Stone for $10 off any item. (Pictured below) The bracelet is here. The silver and pearl earrings are here.

These are the pieces I show in the video at the bottom of this post.

Take 15% off your Nordgreen watch purchase here.

The tops below, necklaces, watches, Shapeez bras, Teddy Blake bag, Everlane navy blue cardigan, and black Boss booties were gifts of my choosing. The shopping links in my posts may result in a small commission for me at no additional cost to you.

Shapeez Ultimate bras here are the foundation on which I build every look. They smooth the torso, lift the bust, and help me look my best no matter what I am wearing.

The sandals are here. The handbag is here.

When an invitation to a dressy occasion arrives, I reach for purchases from my favorite boutique here. Clara Sunwoo jackets or tunics with white pants here or black pants here or here are my choices for a more elegant event. The red top above is here, and the same top in blue (below) is here. A great pair of shoes, statement jewelry, or a colorful scarf, and a small evening clutch are all that are required to complete the look.

The Valentina Signa top is here.

Better skincare, highly nutritious food, lots of filtered water, regular exercise, and keep it simple grooming are my essential beauty tools. The best choice I made for my skin this year was to start using the Countertime Regimen here.

Countertime Regimen is here.

Enjoy the New Year festivities. Cheers!

  1. Wow – you are an inspiration. The outfits look great and are so much your style but are also looks I can aim to replicate thanks to your information about what makes them work so well. Thank you and I look forward to what you show us in 2020. Happy New Year from down in New Zealand.

  2. As the new year approaches, I reviewed some of your old posts. I am interested in the changes we see in your choices. Would you address length of pants at some point? As you are buying less do you miss the shopping and the feeling you (or is it just me?) get when you buy something new at a good price? Thanks and Happy New Year!

  3. You put some time into this post!! 🙂 You look polished in each and every picture. This Christmas I received my first cashmere sweater. How often do you launder yours? I assume it is by hand; do they pill easily?

    1. I turn my cashmere sweaters inside out and hang them to air out for a couple of days. I don’t launder them very often since cashmere repels orders. (Gentle hand washing and reshaping to dry on a towel is your best option. Don’t ring out the water; use another towel to press out excess water.) The Everlane cashmere doesn’t pill nearly as much as others I have purchased.

  4. Susan, have you a blue jean jacket that works with a large bust? I have just about given up on the idea, because they never seem to work for me.

  5. What a wonderful post, love the simplicity and polish of your classic style. Very helpful. I look forward to future posts and videos. Have a happy and healthy New Year!

  6. Absolutely awesome, Susan, thank you. Your recommendations are spot on!
    I have a question about jeans… for the last couple of years, I’ve run into the problem of the blue denim jeans smelling very badly. It is a chemical smell that does not wash out, and it’s happened at several price points and brands. I returned 3 pairs to Talbots, but it has also happened with Not Your Daughters Jeans, as well as Levi’s. The other denim colors are fine, it’s just the blue ones that are a problem.
    Have you encountered this issue? I’ve tried all the solutions that the internet has to offer…airing them out, washing with vinegar, baking soda, oxiclean, as well as combinations of those things. Nothing works and that smell is nauseating.
    Just wondering what your experience is.
    Thank you!

  7. Thank you for this post. I’m working toward achieving a cohesive wardrobe like this. I had an aha moment recently as to why I buy too many impulse items. My plan for this year is to work on that and pare down my closet. Thanks for sharing your great basics!

  8. Love the recap! I’m moving closer and closer to having all basics in my wardrobe and yet get all the bling I need from scarves and jewelry. Thank you for your continued ideas of how to update the basics. Happy New Year to you and I look forward to watching what ideas you have to share in 2020!

  9. Hi Susan. Thanks again for another informative post! You are an inspiration for me in lifestyle. I am curious though …I am not familiar with the expression “ tore up from the floor up”. What does it mean to you?

    1. It is slang. Concerning fashion, it means that your outfit is lacking style or taste, or that it isn’t working for you at all. I changed the wording. My humor may get lost in translation.

  10. I look forward to enjoying my morning coffee while reading your posts in 2020! This year I did a lot of much needed clothes shopping and thanks to you, I coordinated a nice selection of basics, that I enhance with accessories. Jeans are still my favorite (for the same reasons you like jeans) and I love Talbots jeans the most! Enjoy your holiday break and I wish you good health and much happiness in 2020!

  11. Great post with lots of inspiration for this next year! Working to pare down my closet so this info is great. Do you use anything to keep your shirt sleeves rolled up? Some of mine refuse to stay up. Thanks and Happy New Year!

  12. Hi Susan, I love your blog and look forward to it popping up in my e:mail.

    Finding jeans that work has been such a challenge for me with my normal size 10-12 and very thin thighs. Ive worn Chicos Slim Fitting Girlfriend jeans for years but am finding they stretch out so much by the end of the day they look like “saggy britches”.

    Any recommendations? I noticed you did not include Chico’s in your favorite three styles of jeans that work for you.

  13. Thank you for the time and information put into your blog. I have followed your advice and really enjoy going into my closet to find the great combinations. Hope you and Mr. Mickey will have a Happy New Year. Take care.

  14. Dear Susan, I have been enjoying you blog for several years. You are an inspiration. I am 72 years old and have always dressed in classics. You have helped me perfect my look and resist impulse buying. Wishing you health and happiness in the coming year.

  15. Could you tell me where did you purchased the grey sandals… in the picture you are wearing white pants and lightweight zig zag jacket. Thank you!

  16. Hi Susan, I love your video! I went to the Express shop in the link to get a couple Camis. I don’t think those are the double layered ones you are wearing and love. Did you purchase them there? Maybe they are out and the Downtown cami is the substitute. I love love the ones you are wearing. Thank you for such a great rundown on 2019. Sherri

    1. Sherri, I too was interested in the camis.
      The ones at EXPRESS were a body suit with thong bottom! This is from the
      click from Susan. I wish I could find
      what she is wearing.

  17. Fantastic review of your 2019 wardrobe! I’ve been striving to utilize my clothes in more ways and simplify my shopping. Yet I still haven’t mastered it. I love a few patterned pieces and/or a fad piece now and then. My goal this year is to truly purge the clothing I don’t wear. One trick is to turn my hangars with the opening to the front and when I wear the piece to return it the clothing rod the correct way.
    Happy New Year!

  18. You always look classy and lovely and I have been trying to copy your style. Curious if you wear white jeans in the winter. I love the look of camel jacket, gray sweater and white jeans but I’m still stuck in the past about not wearing white pants in the winter. Your thoughts, please?

  19. Hi Susan! I hope you had a wonderful and happy holiday! Love all the favorites features today. Would you mind sharing what brand and size black puffer jacket you picked up at TJ Max? The one you showed on your layering video recently. It looks like a good one!

  20. I do really enjoy your posts. I was wondering if you ever wear dresses and/or skirt and top, say for a special event? If so, I would love to see your style.

    1. I don’t wear dresses anymore because my calves are stout and short. When I wear a dress at the knee, I look very frumpy since I can no longer wear heels. The balance is too far off. A long gown or maxi dress would still work for me, but I don’t need to attend formal functions these days. I last time I wore an evening gown was here.

  21. Happy New Year, Susan!

    I appreciate all the time you put into this post. I always look forward to your blog and I learn so much from you. You have become my style inspiration.

    I would appreciate your input on my dilemma.

    My best friend’s daughter is marrying in March 2020 and the invitation says “black tie preferred”.

    Could you please help me with what to wear. I’m 70 and frankly I don’t want to spend a lot of money. I do want to look appropriate. I’m about 5’1”. (I’ve shrunk!) I’m about 120 pounds. Thank you so very much.

    1. Take a look at the selections for formal wedding guest attire at Dillard’s here. There are many dressy pantsuits and gowns that you might like. Some of them are on sale now. Even if you don’t make your purchase there, you will see many ideas that might work for you from any other shop.

  22. I loved your video.
    I bought the same vest and it should arrive soon.
    Love seeing how you were wearing it.
    I have a white blazer which to me would be worn in summer.
    My question would be suggestions on what to wear with it. I have worn it with a black shirt and black slacks and black top. Do you have other suggestions?
    Thanks for your help.

  23. Susan,

    Thank you for 2019, and I hope the best is yet to come for Mr. Mickey and you!

    Happy New Year!

  24. You are lovely. Thank you so much! You have helped me so much with my Simple, but elegant wardrobe. It has taken so much stress off me.
    Happy New Year!!!!

  25. Happy New Year! Thank you for enlightening us with such good advice. I’m retiring soon and will be limiting unnecessary purchases.

  26. I’m never sure when to wear sock with my jeans/ slacks and when to go without. Your thoughts. Also, can you explain the half tucked in shirt that seems to be so popular.

    1. A half tuck or French tuck is the trick of tucking in just the front or side of your top so that more of the length of your leg shows. When we wear long tops with flat shoes, it can visually shorten our legs.

  27. The best post of all time. So much information here. I’m saving this. Thanks you are everything. It makes a huge difference in how I feel about myself. I also eat much more plant based food because of you. Have a happy new year!

  28. Hi Susan.

    Thank you for the great posts.

    Wishing you a very happy and successful 2020.

    Will you be seeing it in in style?

    Dave xx

  29. Hello from Australia Susan where it is very hot and dry and bushfires everywhere.
    Love your blog and have gained much education.
    Are you aware of a distributer in Australia for the Shapeez range of bras?

  30. Thank you Susan for being an inspiration to so many of us. Blessings on you and Mr. Mickey for a healthy and happy New Year.

  31. Thanks for all you do, Susan! I’ve purchased several items you’ve recommended this past year. I’m a Countertime devotee now too (my daughter is a consultant). Here’s to wonderful 2020 blessings for you!

  32. Loved this article. You put so much thought and work into it. I look forward to reading what you have to say every day. Thank you so much for doing this! Happy New Year!

  33. What are your thoughts on the Ming Wang or Misook knit jackets? I know you occasionally featured some of those in the past.

  34. So, enjoy all your tips. I also, have a round face & because of you, embracing my gray hair, from my medium brown color. At the moment, I need about two to three more haircuts, to see the full affect. I love your scarves, & would appreciate seeing, what you still have left.

    Thanks for all your tips,

  35. Dear Susan, I am wishing you and Mr. Mickey a very Happy New Year! Discovering your blog in 2019 was a highlight of the year for me. I appreciate your honesty, openness, and down-to-earth wisdom. I turned 60 this year and with it came some health challenges and I realized I needed to make changes NOW in my life with regards to diet, exercise, and even how I dress. I had no idea where to get inspiration from until I found you! Thank you again for providing guidance for those of us who need a little extra help.

  36. You finished 2019 with the best blog so far! So much useful information. I strive every day to incorporate your ideas to dress effortlessly and it’s working! You’d think I’d know this by now at age 74, but apparently I’ve been pretty clueless in the past on wardrobe “synergy.” Today, last day of 2019, I’m doing a closet purge to start 2020 out fresh. Thanks for the inspiration and Happy New Year!!!

  37. Dear Susan ~ I appreciate the work you put into all of your posts. I rarely comment but never miss! You have changed my shopping style as well as shopping thought process, consequently saving me money. Since following you I make much fewer impulse purchases and no longer buy just because it is “On Sale” and at such a great price. I can now justify purchases that I once thought a bit too costly by applying the cost/wear ratio. I always ask myself if you would make the purchase as “What Would Susan Do” is my shopping mantra. Thank you so much Susan…I feel like we are friends. Happy New Year to you, yours and of course Mr. Mickey!

  38. Just discovered your site. I love your style and choices. I will be looking forward to your next post. It’s very classic and that’s my preference as wel

  39. Hi Susan. I have a question: In the first picture you are wearing a navy cardigan -and in the middle you are wearing a grey strip shirt(jacket)
    where can I purchase? Also, I love the lariats–BUT are they ok for an older women (80) –and very short to wear??
    Thanks in advance.–HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  40. Happy New Year!
    I really enjoyed this post with all the photos. We share similar body types and coloring so your posts are helpful to me. Thank you for sharing your current wardrobe philosophy. You always look great!

  41. Thank you so much, Susan. You have helped me so much in simplifying my closet and identifying my true style. I intend to make a few purchases this winter spring to give more variety to what is already in my wardrobe. Thanks to you, I know exactly what pieces I need and nothing more. Happy New Year to you and Mr. Mickey!

  42. Susan, do you wear the Shapeez Ultimate bra under your cami, or do you wear a strapless bra so the straps don’t show? Thanks for your help.

  43. I am trying to locate the white top you are wearing in several photos in this post. It appears to be a V-neck blouse (without buttons to the neck) and had tabs on the sleeves to roll up. Also, looks to be a bit sheer. Thank you! Enjoy your topics!

    1. It is a different version of the Portofino shirt I linked to. Express offered it without pockets a couple of years ago. I am in high hopes that they will offer it that way again.

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  44. Susan, Wonderful blog post. I was wondering if you still recommend Jag Peri Pull-On Jeans. What has been your experience with these jeans? Thanks so much, Martha

  45. Susan, I’ve read and re-re this post. Not just for the great ideas of how to style an after 60 wardrobe, but also for the first lines of the post. I find myself buying too many clothes right now. I know the reason I’m doing it….it’s entertainment and indulgence that partially offsets having to stay at a job I don’t like. It gives me a good goal for 2020 to stop collecting and start cleverly deploying the current clothing assets. Your blog is one of my go-to’s for ideas on how to do that!

  46. Susan, can you share the source of your shoes in the photo of you wearing jeans, black blazer and white tank with you sitting on a rock wall? Thank you!

  47. Hi Susan—
    I absolutely love your blog. You’re a huge inspiration for me as I work to transform my wardrobe to a simplistic one. I am very interested in purchasing a scarf (or 2). So would like info on that.
    Thank you so much
    Debbie Gabriel

  48. My favorite of your bags didn’t make the cut. But all your choices quietly say, “quality.” That’s my goal with my choices too.

  49. Love this post! Thank you for such great styling information. I am currently trying to get more items like the ones you show here. You and I are very close in our measurements from what I have read in your past posts. I was wondering what size you are wearing in the blue and white Everlane blouses? Their sizing chart is a little confusing. I am a 38;D. I am struggling to find soft flattering blouses. So many are “no iron fabrics” that I find are too stiff.,
    Thank you for the lovely pictures.

  50. I absolutely love your style. Mine used to be like this and I had problems when I turned 70 and tried too many different styles, colors, etc which has made me very distressed with a ton of clothes I don’t like. I am now going through all the clothes to get the courage to let go all of this money I have spent [which has also created financial issues].
    Love seeing your posts!

    1. Please don’t let go of all the clothes you have acquired. The problem may be that you are not using them effectively. Think of wearing statement pieces with neutrals. For example, if you have a patterned jacket in shades of blue, gray, and plum, wear it with a slate gray top and pants. Neutral colors are the ones that go with each other and most other colors. Gray, white, black, navy, and brown can all be used in the correct hue for your coloring to allow you to wear almost any other item without it feeling too overwhelming. Just remember to let no more than one or two things stand out in each outfit.

  51. Loved the video and thank you for all of the links to your favorite pieces!! I appreciate al of your wardrobe building ideas!!

  52. Dear Susan,

    Again – love, love every outfit shown. And you look great in all of them. I especially like the pointy toed shoes and ones with ornamentation and every hand bag is just lovely. I think I would wear everything you put together.

    A lifetime member of Weight Watchers, It is my firm belief that good dressing begins with a gal who is taking care of herself, a gal who is eating and exercising so to keep her body trim. I’ll never be a size zero, but I try to eat right every day and, once a week, I step on the scale at WW. It keeps me from making poor food choices. And I like myself.

    I said to my husband today – show me a fit gal and I’ll show you a woman who is paying attention to what she eats. I see so many overweight women in yoga pants and I wonder which came first – the stretchy yoga pants or a woman whose weight got out of control. It is sad. So sad. It’s one thing that they are overweight and don’t look good. It is that they are unhealthy, probably on meds for gosh knows what – high blood pressure, diabetes.

    And, sure enough, you are fit, trim, confident and wear a smile. You look great.

    Some of the articles I have looked at are a few years old, but the classics never go out of style. Please let me know which website I should look for to see more recent articles. Many thanks.

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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.