Follow A Formula

How often do you get dressed, look in the mirror, and think, “This is a good look for me!” I encourage you to break down the elements of that look so that you can repeat it as a successful formula. A successful formula is one that makes you feel confident, sassy, and comfortable… the best version of yourself.

Jeans here – Top here. (Other items are old.)

Color, fabrics, textures, and seasons need not be considered. For example, my best formula is a slim-fitting top with a plain low neckline tucked into flare-leg full-length pants with an open third layer.

The same formula can include a cashmere sweater with wool pants, a heavy jacket, or an open vest in winter.

This combination or formula is successful for me for several reasons. A lower, simple neckline makes my face appear more slender, the bust less full, and I look taller. The top tucked into full-length flare-leg pants makes me look taller and more slender. The open third layer shows only a small portion of my waistline. I have an inverted triangle shape with a thick waist. My legs are shorter than the top part of my body, and my calves are muscular.

In summer, my ideal formula could include white cotton jeans, a white tank top, and a blue and white oversized shirt left open, but it remains the same.

Packing for Short Trips Outfit - Susan Street After 60

Proportion is another facet that affects your formula. Notice how the longer top or jackets looks better with narrow, straight-leg pants. The fuller-leg pants require emphasis on the waistline.

These photos are from the YSL SS2024 show via Pinterest.

Photo from Instagram.

I’ve used this third formula for years, focusing on bag organization. I organize the contents of my bags using small zip-top pouches, a card holder, and a key keeper pouch, making it easier to change to a different handbag often.

My photos in this post are repeats from earlier ones, so the items may no longer be available. If you ask me in the comments below, I’ll gladly help you find something similar. The shopping links I share may allow me to earn a small commission without cost to you.

  1. I would love to know where you purchased your V neck cashmere sweater in the second photo. Or maybe get your recommendations for the best cashmere sweaters (price/non-itchy value). The V neck style is so hard to find !
    Thank you!

  2. I am loving that orange bag n the first photo. I am sure it is a long shot if still available?
    Thank you,

  3. Although I have a rectangle body style, I use the same formula of flare jeans/pants, tucked in shirt and longer open front top, jacket or blazer. The flare pants make my legs look so long. I especially like your outfit with the flare jeans and navy Moto jacket. It looks amazing on you. Thanks for your great inspiration.

  4. Would love to know where you got the vest. I love vests but they seem to be hard to find.

  5. I have exactly the same body type and I can really see on you the flattering effect of all outfits dexcept of one . The open oversize shirt over white straight leg pant really emphasises the unbalance of a wide on top,.Big breast because there is no curve in shirt, no waist and nothing to compensate on bottom. I know critic is not what I meant but when al the other looks really complment you the open shirt somehow stands out.

  6. Susan, I’ve learned a lot from you over the years and I appreciate your teaching.

    I love knit pants, but you are absolutely correct that the wrong kind can show all the imperfections that we really don’t want to show.

    So, with that in mind, I’ve switched to denim pants, and they do look better; however, I’m finding denim to be rather heavy and constricting.
    Do you have any recommendations for a lighter denim fabric or any lighter fabric for pants for Springtime wear? (I will purchase some linen for summer, but I’m looking for something to wear when it’s a bit chilly in the Spring & Fall)
    Thank you!

    1. Pants in summer weight wool, gaberdine, and chino cotton are good options for summer weight pants that conceal the bits we would rather not show off. Gabardine fabric is known for its breathability, which makes it comfortable to wear even in warmer climates. This characteristic is due to the fabric weave, which allows air to circulate through the material. It has a silky and luxurious feel, making it perfect for summer.

      Merino wool in hot humid weather doesn’t wilt or wrinkle like cotton and linen. Wool and polyester blends are ideal because they combine the softness and natural odor-resistance of wool with the durability of poly.

      Lightweight hemp fabric naturally wicks away sweat by absorbing moisture from the skin.

  7. Hi Susan, i’m wondering where you got your beautiful orange bag as well as your burgundy bag. You always look so smart and stylish.
    Thank you.

  8. I took your advice awhile ago to put my purse items in a couple of small bags. It is so easy to change purses. Remove those few things and place them in the desired purse, and I’m ready to go. I like all the looks you created in this post. I need to give more thought to what my formula is and how to fine tune it. I’m short with longer legs and an hour glass shape. Enjoy the weekend!

  9. Susan, this is another wonderful post! As always you share wonderful tips and ideas.
    My question is about belts, I purchased a beautiful gray belt similar to the white one in this first picture. I did not even consider the width of belt and loop sizes, very careless. Now I find it will not fit any of my pants. The belt is exactly 1 3/4 inches width and it seems all my jeans or other pant loops are 1 1/2!!!! I never had this problem before. I guess I had previously purchased more narrow belts. Belts not something I frequently buy and don’t always wear, even with looped pants I guess.
    I have considered sewing/tacking some elastic loops on the pants I want to wear the belt with but that seems nutty!
    The only option I have to use the belt is over a longer top or a dress which I almost never wear.
    Appreciate any ideas.

  10. Great post Susan. So many helpful tips. I am going to try your handbag idea with small pouches right away. My handbags are always too full, too heavy and impossible to switch over easily. I keep telling myself that I need all that stuff but do I really?

  11. I love the summer look. I think the belt defines your waist and the dark stripes elongate the look. I am definitely going to copy it. Do you have a source for the shirt? Thank you.

  12. Thank you, Susan. I definitely need some good “tutorials” on how to style my outfits when I wear the wider pants, especially the wide crop pants for summer … Flat shoes? Heels” Long or short tops? With wider pants, are tunics totally wrong? (What will I do with all those tunics?!) Anyway, your suggestions are always welcome, especially on proportion!

    1. Wear your tunics with slim-fitting pants and platforms or heels. Wear wide-leg pants and cropped pants with shorter, slim-fitting tops. Cropped pants always make one look shorter, but I know they are cooler than long pants.

  13. Susan, could you show us how you tied your scarf in picture #1? I think it is a bit different and I like the look a lot. I really look forward to your styling tips.

  14. This is helpful and I really like the emphasis on proportion. You mentioned you legs are shorter than the top half of you body so you want to make your legs appear longer. I’m not sure where to measure for that. From the hip down and the from the hip to the shoulder? I really would like the flair pants because I really like your outfit in the fourth picture. You’re right I think once that is figured out then dressing is easier. I’m not sure I’m ready to tuck shirts in and wear a belt though. I need to shrink my tummy. I like how tucking in the shirt makes your legs look longer though.

  15. You are as classy as it gets, Susan. I have a similar formula but as a short, apple shaped woman, I rarely tuck in my top. This formula as served me well over the years for work environments, casual and formal events. Blessings to you and Mr. Mickie!

  16. I have been using your idea to keep things in a bag liner and then find it easy to swap handbags. It is very very useful. My one doesn’t fit everything but still most things so it is still easy to swap bags.

  17. Hi Susan. Thank you for all the wonderful information you give to us. Can you offer a general formula for a pear shape? Also, how do you decide what color belt to wear? Thank you in advance!

    1. Wear plain, slim-fitting, but not tight, dark-colored pants and skirts with lighter-colored, bright, or ornamental tops having details that draw the eyes upward. If you have a slim waist, always focus on it.
      Wearing a belt in the same tone as your top will make your waist look lower. The opposite is also true: a belt that is the color of your pants will bring the focus up to the top of the belt.
      I match the color of my bag to my belts since they are worn close together. I wore the cream-colored belt because the hardware matched the belt exactly.

  18. Always great! My body type also.
    Do you still wear the Covered Perfectly brand?
    Where do you get your tops? I
    Needing a card holder and key holder.
    Awesome advice!!

  19. Hi Susan – I LOVE your posts and have learned ALOT! Can you speak to your purse organization, like what do you keep in the various three pouches…… and it makes it so easy to switch out purses…. yet where is your wallet? Also I love the straw purse pictured in final picture, any links to that? Thank you in advance!

    1. The only wallet I carry these days is a thin credit card holder with my ID and a few other cards I might need. I abandoned the bulky wallet situation long ago. If you look closely at the photo there is only one zippered bag for cosmetics etc. The other two are a key keeper and an eyeglasses case. That’s about the look of my bags inside.
      The small straw bag in the final picture was from Mango last year and the larger tote is several years old.

  20. Susan, your advice is so on-point for me. As a 64 year old woman, recently retired, your outfit inspirations are so helpful. I’ve learned that solid color tops (worn with the proper accessories) work best for me and, in contrast, florals are quite aging. By following your advice and tips, you’ve saved my sanity and quite a bit of money. Many, many thanks!

  21. Love all these looks on today’s posting.
    The pop of color with the handbags and the flare or straight leg slacks looks so sleek on you.
    Your hair and its length are so becoming.
    You get better looking and styling every year!

  22. Hi Susan. I always enjoy your posts. I am still on the search for an orange bag like you have in the first photo. I know you have used another orange bag (Donny & Burke) in previous posts. Any suggestions where I should look? I always admire your style.

  23. Great post but I especially love how you have organized your bag…..thank you for this as I’m always rummaging around in my bag for things.

  24. Hi, Susan!

    How did you tie the scarf that you are wearing in the first photo?

    Thank you for sharing your fashion tips with us .

  25. Sorry to keep bringing up my belt issues but if you ever have an extra minute (or 60) could you do a lesson on how to style and wear belts.

    1. For the past three years I have been editing my jeans and pants. I have given away and donated any that were too tight in the calves. Some of the remaining straight leg pants are in the storage unit for now.

  26. Love this post Susan, I have been following you for many years and you have really helped me style my clothes.
    I managed to find and buy a faux fur vest you wore in a previous post but I’d love to find a sheer sleeved top to wear under, similar to the one you wore. Do you have a link for that please?

  27. When you have a large bust, and wear an open shirt as a third layer, how can you stop the breeze from blowing the shirt open to expose too much of the bust you are trying to minimise? I end up clutching the two edges of the shirt rather inelegantly.

  28. Spot on! You always are well put together! I have learned so much through the years from you. I follow most of the time, still struggle with too many clothes! Thank you! Have a lovely week ❤

    Ps…I cleaned the silver on my beautiful red leather lariat necklace yesterday!

  29. I have a similar body type except that you are taller and thinner than me (still working on that). I follow that formula, and when stray from it, I lose the confidence you mentioned. Thanks for confirming that I’m following the correct formula.

  30. This was very helpful. I seem to be the opposite. I am short. 5’3”, 125 pounds and have short waist line. Thicker around middle. Long face.
    Ideas on what would be best to look taller and thinner? Round neckline, slim pants, longer jackets, color from top to bottom as in black pants and black top with longer jacket? Oh plus I am 80 years old!!

  31. Susan I totally agree with your formula idea. For me it’s a slim fitting sweater or tee, not tucked, with slim fit, not skinny, pants. In the winter I put a jacket over it. In the summer it’s an a-line midi dress with a light jacket or sweater. I love skirts but I’ve just decided I don’t look good in them. If I don’t look good I’m not comfortable and at this point life’s too short for that!

  32. Susan, I am a fairly new follower. I enjoy your posts so much and they are quite helpful. Can you tell me how tall you are. I am 5’8″ and wonder if wide leg pants will,look good on me.

  33. I appreciate your Susanafter60 advice and pictures. I’ve been borrowing from this look and your suggestions since joining and often get complements on my “put together look”.

    Thank you.
    Hope you are doing well!

  34. Your outfits are gorgeous! They remind me of what Coco Chanel supposedly said, that when you are ready to go out, remove one thing. I think this is the secret to classic, casual elegance.

  35. Thanks for another great post. I have many similar items in my closet, but now I’m learning how to put them together to my best advantage.

  36. Susan – I have learned so much from you and totally updated my look. One question, I love the above photo with the neck scarf. I’ve tried that myself, but feel it brings attention to my neck which at my age – do not want as a focal point as it’s not my best asset. Lol. You’ve pulled it off perfectly in the photo. Maybe, I will get the courage to do. Thank you for your posts! You’re the best. Hugs, Vicki

  37. Susan—what a great post—so educational! You may have addressed this before, but my question are 1) if you don’t wear heals or pointy toes (bunion issues) what shoes would you wear with wide leg trousers? Also 2), I am 73, 5’4” 125 lbs., a bit of a waist but I don’t ever tuck in my tops—is that necessary to pull off the wide leg look? I am having a difficult time embracing this look! Thank you!

    1. To balance the wide and flare-leg pants, you would need to wear a slim-fitting top that ends at mid-hip if you aren’t going to show your waistline by tucking it in. Straight-leg pants and jeans with whatever shoes you find comfortable and a hip-length top might be the right formula for you.

  38. I love the way you both dress and how you coordinate your outfits when going out – you both look amazing, thank you

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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.