Festive Seasonal Looks

Thank you for the recent lovely comments and questions. One emailed question was very appropriate for this time of year. “How do you adapt your classic basics wardrobe for more formal events?” All the following looks include a charcoal gray merino wool turtleneck sweater and a pair of black slacks with black heels.

Similar if not the same items are linked and I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Merino Wool SweaterPantsHeelsNecklace (Use the code SAS10 for $10 off any one item at Beauty in Stone Jewelry.)

If the gathering includes close friends and family for a dinner in someone’s home, I would add a dramatic necklace for a refined casual look.


It’s no secret that I love ruanas. I have several of them and wear them all year round. The beautiful abstract animal print includes blues, grays, tans, and black so the colors will harmonize with most of my wardrobe. This combination would be perfect for brunch or any event requiring a more elevated look.

From the front and back views, you can see that a ruana is an open wrap that rests on your shoulders to give you an elegant, dramatic appearance. These felted wool and embellished silk items will be treasured for years to come.


Drape one side of the ruana across the opposite shoulder for warmth or added drama. I can wear this elegant silver, gray and black version to the symphony or any more formal event, including a New Year’s Eve celebration.

The rain has been falling for days, so I had to move the furniture in my office around to find enough light to take these photos. I hope these examples help you visualize how elevated basics mixed with statement items can help you pull together looks appropriate for any event.

These and several of my other ruanas are from my talented friend Sibel. I met her in 2019 when I shared my first purchase here. Her shop (Cybele) is located at 934 Washington Street West, in Lewisburg, WV. You can reach her at cybeleboutique@gmail.com. Her Instagram account where you can see more of her work is here. Unfortunately, she does not have a website since most of her items are handmade and one-of-a-kind.

53 Comments
  1. Oh, I just love how playing with your accessories can take a basic outfit anywhere you need it to go.
    I think it’s interesting how the drape of a ruana has a flattering effect but a poncho would look like a tent on my shape. The two you’ve shown are lovely!

  2. Good morning Susan,
    Great examples for dressing up basics 🙂 I love ruanas as well. They really ramp up a look and even provide added warmth for cool weather if the fabric is heavy enough. I also love how they are virtually one size fits most which is nice and they are great for covering areas I’d like to conceal 🙂
    Looking forward to your after Christmas and New Year posts!
    I hope you and yours have a healthy and wonderful Christmas?

  3. Just gorgeous! My favorite is the navy one you recently wore! You are always so fashionable! Love your tips and ideas. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

  4. Cybele Boutique is found on Instagram and Facebook. Good to know since she doesn’t have a website she can be found and we can see her beautiful creations. What do think about a woman who is 5′ 1″ tall wearing ruanas? Are they basically one-size-fits-all? That’s not really a size and does not fit me but rather swamps my small frame and short stature.

  5. The ruanas are gorgeous. Love the look and colors are wonderful.What a fun way to dress-up very basic pieces.Thanks for sharing.

  6. How beautiful and elegant! It looks simple but. I think a lot of thought has gone into selecting each item so they work together to create that effortless style. I hope I can replicate it for my stature and shape.
    Merry Christmas! Enjoy your week with family and friends!

  7. The looks are lovely, but what do you do once you are inside and the heat is on…..how do you keep you classic Turtle neck and black pant “under” the Ruana elevated once it’s removed due to becoming overheated in someone’s home that you are unable to control their temperature. Thank you.

    1. I always dress in a first layer that I don’t mind showing unless it is summer, and I wear a camisole. I never take off the jacket or cardigan when only a skinny strap camisole underneath. Another option is to wear a thin charcoal gray blouse instead of a turtleneck if you run hot.

  8. Thank you for showing us your beautiful Ruana’s.You are tall enough to carry that look.
    Petite ladies cannot look well in them.
    Any suggestions for the 5’3″ gals.
    Your examples are always appreciated.

  9. These ruanas are just gorgeous! I love having a simple way to uplevel a basic outfit!
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas & a prosperous, healthy New Year!

  10. Like Donna above, my favorite is the navy ruana you wore a while back, but I sure do like the animal print, too.

    I was looking back at your Covid posts. That was terrible for you. Did you ever get checked for antibodies? Did you end up with any permanent damage? I was pretty sick from the second Moderna shot, but only for a day. I just can’t imagine how bad it was to have the real thing. I am very sad that we are facing another bad variant of the virus now.

    You look like a goddess in the dress your friend gave you when you helped her with her closet and wardrobe. Did you find an occasion to wear it?

    Today, I went to a local orchard where I got a bag of satsumas. They also had extra virgin olive oil made from the fruit of some local Spanish olive trees that are over 100 years old. The oil was pretty pricey, but I am saying it’s my Christmas gift to myself.

    I was appropriately dressed for errands right down to my Sheec socks and earrings. Per your suggestion, I bought a tube of brighter lipstick than I usually wear while I was at the pharmacy. It looks good! You’re right, dressing better makes me feel better.

    Best wishes to you , Mr Mickey, and you family for a happy and healthy Christmas celebration.

    1. I am mostly recovered, except for scarred lungs. That is a beautiful dress as are all the things my friend gave me. Unfortunately, we are avoiding crowds and events again, so I may not find an occasion to wear special garments for a while. Be safe and well. Merry Christmas!

  11. Thank you again for educating us on the beautiful and classy touch a ruana can give to an outfit. I had never considered purchasing one because as a few of your other followers, I too am short and have trouble finding one that doesn’t swallow me up in fabric.
    I love your posts where you take simple basics and show us how to dress them up for special occasions. These tutorials have helped me, and certainly others , judging by their comments, to refine and upgrade our wardrobe and look. I can’t tell you how often I receive compliments from people when I am out and about. It always takes me aback since I am a baby boomer, not someone much younger. I have you to thank. I have even had an opportunity to refer some to your Instagram page.
    I am so pleased that you continue to post and I lighten us!❣️

  12. Lovely. Your new hairstyle is fresh and flattering.
    I’ve been following your blog since the beginning and my closet reflects your suggestions.
    Merry Christmas to you and Mr. Mickey

  13. I’m curious about the ruanas. They look great on you. They are long and and wide all the way down so they don’t seem to fit your rules that you posted the other day. I’m sure you have an explanation, but I learned so much from the picture of the hoody compared to the cardigan. I look forward to reading and learning more.

    1. The ruanas are soft and floaty so that they move with you. They are open in the front, and the fabrics are almost sheer, so the coverage is ethereal and elegant rather than bulky like a sweater that would add volume.

  14. The ruanas are pretty but I would like to see more colorful outfits for holiday events. Perhaps a red and silver print Ryan’s or red turtleneck!

  15. Happy Holidays to you and yours, Susan! I appreciate how you optimistically adapt to our constantly changing times yet always look fresh. I also appreciate the soothing (no flashing ads) and informative blogs you regularly produce. I know it’s a lot of work. You don’t show outfits, that while pretty, won’t mesh with other items in one’s wardrobe. Instead you suggest items that blend well with other clothing you already own. The looks you present lately are chic and can be worn repeatedly because the items aren’t filled with patterns or bright colors. They are subdued elegance. It’s been a learning lesson watching your style evolve over the years and not remain stuck in one era. It has helped me sort and let go of many things and regularly try on things to see if they still fit me and the current times. Many thanks for your dedication to always presenting a delightful blog!

  16. Those photos are striking. The first brought to mind Satan’s Florenzia of the Amazonbecause of the print. I have worn my sauna, blue silk with embroidered tripical flowers only one time. At 5’3″” l felt swamped by fabric. Do you have suggestion for wearing it? I also have narrow shoulders and am short-waisted. Merry Christmas.

  17. Your wraps are so elegant and look lovely on you.
    Best wishes for a happy Christmas and Happy New Year. Stay safe and well!

  18. You look lovely as usual Susan. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a happy healthy new year. Please keep writing your blog. I have learned so much from you.

  19. Like you, Susan, I am well endowed (36 DD). While I admire the statement necklaces you wear, I can never seem to pull them off without feeling they are too pronounced because of my bust. Perhaps it’s just my perception. Is there a guide for placement? I would like to try a lariat from Beauty in Stone – and one like you model in this post. Thank you!

    1. I look for necklaces with pendants that land about four inches below my collarbone or well below the bust. It draws too much attention there if they stop right in line with bust. On the other hand, if the necklace creates a deep V neckline, it can help to cut the upper body into smaller sections.

  20. Your basic slacks, sweater, and necklace outfit looks so very lovely on you! The second ruana shown my favorite. My body type is a bit different than yours, so I’ve had to search for another fashion expert, along with you, to balance out which outfits might look best on me. I now follow you along with Kay Harms, Dressed for my Day. Between the two of you, I am getting some expert advice! Again, thank you for sharing your common sense advice that offers practical solutions as to making wise decisions in all aspects of one’s life from health right down to fashion!

  21. I love your posts and look forward to reading them. I really appreciate how you show ways to vary your look using a classic neutral (black or gray) top and pants with a bright accent on top. I am (possibly if Covid permits) going on a cruise in the future and can see how packing neutral basics with some accent sweaters, scarves, and jewelry can vary my look. I would love to see an updated post on what to pack for a trip. I seem to recall you did one at some point. I need to buy a dressier bag to carry for dinner. Any suggestions? Hopefully with links!

    1. Here is one clutch bag you might like. Here is another one. I find that I get the most use out of clutch bags that don’t have too much embellishment or glitter. Look for bags large enough to hold the necessities for the evening in fabrics such as satin ribbon or subtle tone on tone reptile in one color.

  22. You have a beautiful, elegant sense of style! I love it, and I’m trying to focus on buying timeless pieces. I love your blog, and I hope you continue to offer us advice and photos! Merry Christmas from Canada!

  23. Such a lovely collection of outfits….you look amazing in each. And so achievable to copy for those of us who only see lump colors and individual items on hangers without connection between them in our closets.
    Happy holidays!

  24. Such beautiful style and such wonderful advice Susan. I am very small busted but find that a ruana is a very elevated classy look that works well for me as well. Other than at this lovely boutique where would you suggest shopping for nice ruanas?

    1. I’ve seen them at Chico’s, Saks Off 5th, and Nordstrom. Always check the descriptions of the garments since some places call them ponchos or kimonos, which are not the same garments.

  25. Susan, how do you prevent damage that your wool and cashmere items? Like you, I love their warmth, softness, and drape but from year to year am often sad to find moth holes. Any hints would be appreciated. I currently use plastic lidded containers and aromatic washers. Thank you! I enjoy and am inspired by your postings. I’ve loved the Talbot’s ankle jeans.

  26. Cedar planks are not going to do much good in an open, airy space unless the scent is renewed constantly. Diligence in cleanliness, vacuuming, rotating the clothes, keeping the closet open and airy, even vigorous brushing of unworn garments help. I understand moths don’t like heavy scents, so cotton balls soaked with tea tree or lavender oil in an area not touching garments is another trick. Pet dander is an attractant. The same for food and perspiration. Wool and cashmere are luxury garments that require care to protect the investment.

    1. I clean my closet, vacuum, and dust often and rough up the texture of the cedar planks with sandpaper a couple of times a year. After four years, I don’t have any moth damage.

  27. After seeing your beautiful Ruanas I purchased my first one from Bloomingdale’s. It is the Animal Boucle Ruana. I just love it. It does keep you warm. As I an 5’8″ it is just perfect. Looking forward to ordering some more. Thank you for your website I enjoy it so much.

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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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