Form and Function

When I was in my twenties, a wise woman told me, “Never let your husband see you in sweatpants.” Several people left questions and humorous comments on Facebook about my fancy lounging at-home attire. Why would you only dress nicely when you go out and then look your worst for your family or even for yourself?

The top is here. The pants are here. The lip color is Little Black Dress – Neutral Berry here. My sunscreen is here.

I recently upgraded and replaced two totes I’ve had a few years for the one pictured here today. If I buy something new, I donate two similar items. A similar tote is here.

Earlier this year, I was on my way out to shoot photos for the blog. As I was stepping down from the laundry room into the garage with both hands full of various things, I stumbled, landed on my knees on the concrete floor, and my head struck the front of my car. My phone went flying out of reach. It was a while before I regained enough composure to try to stand. Thankfully, I only suffered bruises, but that taught me a lesson I will never forget. USE A TOTE BAG! It is much safer and lots more organized to transport all of your items in one bag.

Similar sunglasses are here. The watch is here. The pearl bracelet is here. The hoops are more than twenty years old. A similar pair of earrings are here. A similar ring is here.

The Cole Haan sandals are a few years old. Similar shoes are here, here, and here.

I used my Sony Alpha a5100 camera’s timer and a tripod to take my photos in my backyard on Thursday. Links in my posts may provide a small commission to me at no additional cost to you. I do not do advertising, sponsored posts, or accept gifts in exchange for reviews.

  1. Thank you for sharing a wise lesson. Will definitely remember it. Happy you were ok after the fall. Have a great day!

  2. I’m so glad to see you are feeling better and getting out and about Susan. And I love that magenta top on you.
    Have a great weekend.

  3. While it wasn’t my taste, I thought your lounging dress was lovely! I have seen so many “cool and comfy” cotton dresses shown lately on some fashion blogs that are the very definition of frumpy on women of a certain age. Knobby knees, old legs, and flabby upper arms. Looks just like something my grandma would have worn (with sleeves, of course). Oh, well, just my opinion, but there are better choices out there to stay cool. You look great, Susan.

  4. I agree with you and I’m glad you’re okay, that’s very scary! I have used Kipling bags for years, but I’m looking for something more structured and a little dressier,( following your advice Susan)! Also, we just moved back to Michigan from Florida to be closer to family and I’d like something I can carry into Fall. Any thoughts? I have trouble with everything getting lost in a big bag, how do you organize it to find stuff?
    Have a great day, Jeanne

      1. First, I am so glad you recovered from your fall. That is scarey. I have several tote bags which are great for work and travel or even for just running errands when I need to carry more stuff. I love the convenience of totes, but do not like that everything gets lost sometimes. If I am carrying a small crossbody bag with essentials , I can tuck that into the tote and the add my laptop and work files – this is usually okay for me to find items. However, if I am using the tote as handbag it can be hard to find some smaller items. I recommend looking for inserts on Etsy – search using the term “tote insert”. I really like the Etsy seller called Original Club (it is based in Turkey, but shipping is quick and the service and quality are great). You can search by the name of the bag in some cases and the insert is designed to fit a specific tote brand and size. I purchased one for my multiple Longchamp Le Pliage nylon totes (love these for travel and as a work tote) and also purchased a plexiglass bottom as the Le Pliage totes are unstructured. I can move the bottom and insert from one tote to the other easily giving my tote a flat bottom and organization. The inserts are a great way to be able to find items.

      2. Susan, this video was very helpful. I never think about organizing my handbag contents and the end of the day it just looks like a stirred up mess. I have a question. I’ve seen where you have sold your heels and was wondering if you ever sell your handbags? If so, I adore your Italian handbag, (toasted tan). My favorite handbags are frame handbags and the iconic Kelly Bag (Hermès) that I will never be able to afford. Thank you for your blogs, I love the different accessories you post and of course lovely pictures.

  5. Searching for ideas for a casual capsule wordrobe and ran across your blog. Finding it very helpful. I love the white Jean’s and have incorporated them in my wardrobe. Since losing 50 lbs and keeping it off 2 years, I struggle with how to dress my 63 year old body. Since I am larger on bottom than the top, what type and length of top would you recommend with white Jean’s for my body type? I am 5’9″ with long legs.

    1. Welcome, Sherie! Always define the waist or at least wear a shorter top. When you have a pear shape and wear a long top, it brings attention to your hip area. Congratulations on dropping the extra weight.

      1. Thank you! I have been wearing long oversized tops trying to balance my proportions. I knew it wasn’t a good look for me but was clueless on what I needed. I am catching up on your past posts and learning so much from you knowledge and expertise.

        1. Hi Sherie, I am built like you and find it helps to wear tops that accentuate my waist. Even though I’m smaller on top, if I’m wearing a top that accentuates my waist, then even with my hips being bigger, it is flattering.

  6. I try to follow your advice about style, Susan, because you always look so put together. As for that story about your tumble, how scary! Please take care and let that be a lesson to all of us – hold onto a rail if available.

  7. I completely agree with your opinion of dressing comfortable, but still looking put together. Why should our families see us frumpy? No reason. It makes me feel better too if I’m not dressed slouchy. Love your style.

  8. So glad you weren’t seriously injured when you fell! Good idea to have a tote bag handy to collect everything. I loved your at-home outfit. Recently I have seen some summer dresses that looked like nightshirts to me. Maybe it was the way the lady styled it.

  9. Susan, one of the reasons I enjoy your blog is the lack of pop up ads that are so prevalent on most blogs nowadays. Thank you for not going that route!

    I’m so glad you were not injured in that fall! Almost 6 years ago I tripped over my sister-in-law’s dog and broke my left ankle in 3 places, so I am extremely aware of the dangers falling can pose, particularly as we age. I try to follow the advice we were given years ago on a Windjammer Cruise, which was “One hand for the ship, one hand for you,” meaning you should always keep one hand free to hold on for balance.

  10. I think your Tote is perfect, and I agree that it makes your life much safer and practical when transporting multiple items.

    I also agree with you on dressing nice at home. It is essential for your well-being and self esteem. Nobody wants to look at a slob all day. It shows that you have self respect and confidence. Who doesn’t find that attractive? You look great, Susan.

  11. Thankfully you didn’t sustain any injuries beyond a few bruises. Good reminder for us all to carry a large tote when going out. I always seem to have so much in my arms including my husband’s phone and billfold, keys, mail, hand sanitizer, masks…..when we go out, and if I put all of it in my own handbag the items get “lost”. I’ll be on the lookout for zippered pouches to better organize everything. You look great as always, Susan. I keep reminding myself to dress better at home, but I’m still not there yet.

  12. I’ve never understood wearing dumpy clothes and messy hair at home. My style is sporty casual, but put together. I always wear a little jewelry and have my hair done and wear a bit of make up. I like being put together and ready for the day. It is good for me!
    You always look like you care about yourself and present an elegant look. You are an inspiration for so many!

  13. You are such a stylish dresser, Miss Susan. I can only wish I would be able to look so stylish at home, or even running errands, for that matter. But, that being said, I agree with this idea. A few years ago, I underwent extensive cancer treatment. I barely made it off the sofa some days. I tried as many times as I could to make myself put on makeup. I’ve always been in love with makeup, and spent many of my lunch breaks running from the office I worked in to Marshall Field’s on State Street to cruise the counters. Primping up helped me so much to feel “human” while feeling the opposite. I can’t say I looked so great, but I tried!

    Hope you’re doing well, and be safe to all who stop here.

    1. Ah those were the days! Fields on State St during lunch break! Many an hour was spent perusing all the floors. What a great memory!

      Susan, love your style, posts and website! So happy to hear you are doing better each day.

  14. I like your idea of giving away 2 items for each new one purchased. I have so many clothes, shoes and purses that are of good quality but probably won’t ever get used again. Life changes, tastes change. Doing the 2 for 1 will whittle away the inventory! Continued good health to you, Susan!

  15. One of my biggest takeaways from your blog is to groom and dress oneself no matter what. It has certainly made a difference during the lockdown. And, yes, why only look presentable to leave the house? What is my husband, chopped liver??????

    I also appreciate buy one new, donate two. My closet is not as full of never-worn clothes as it used to be. (although I have been in a transition after a 42 pound weight loss.) If I get rid of the fat clothes, there is no going back, right?

  16. I’m glad that fall you took wasn’t too serious, it only takes a second to upend oneself and break bones!
    I too get ready to greet the world, even if I’m staying close to home. Maybe it’s just habit from years of workday dressing, but I have a quick shower,lotion up, do makeup and hair…usually before 6:00 a.m. Make coffee, check messages and emails and head out for a walk. When I get back home is when I have the second coffee and breakfast while checking your blog to get inspired!
    Thank you for a lovely drama free blog!

  17. Many years ago when sweat pants came out, I had a pair I put on when I came home from work. It wasn’t long till a few pounds started hanging on. That’s when I realized that is the worst piece of clothing women can own. Never had any since.
    Always said after I turn 50 I’m going to eat anything I want and won’t care about my weight.
    Guess what, I’m 80 and still care what I look like and most days do the makeup routine for my husband.
    It always makes me feel good too.
    Thank you for all the tips.

    1. My friend and I had a similar conversation last night about sweatpants. It would be best if you put your tightest jeans on at least once a week to make sure you aren’t getting too “comfortable.” One of my Facebook friends says he has gained thirty pounds since lockdown started.

  18. I love the top, Susan. Decided to order it. The July20 code wasn’t recognized. Any advice? Best, Mary

  19. Thanks for sharing the tote bag tip. Yes, I sadly learned the tote lesson too, but did not fall as badly as you did. Glad you were OK. I even load up a fabric shopping bag when going out to the back yard to read, with book, water bottle, phone, portable speaker, sunglasses, etc.

  20. So glad you were not injured in that fall, Susan.
    You look lovely. Glad you are feeling better.
    It baffles me when people say they don’t shower and stay in their night clothes each day, even when they’re not ill. It takes such a short time to make yourself presentable.
    I like your idea about donating 2 items for each new one you purchase. I’m going to start doing this. Thank you.

  21. Susan,
    I was sorry to hear about you falling. Glad you did not break any bones or injure yourself severely. Very good tip to not have your hands too full when going down steps. I would also recommend to others to turn on the light. I recently fell when coming in from outdoors & heading downstairs, I missed the last step as my eyes had not adjusted to the lower amount of light. Praise the Lord, only a little bruising, nothing broken.
    Stay safe! Take care!

  22. I loved your look from yesterday. I happen to own the same dress in Malibu Blue, and I love it for lounging at home. I am married, but I dress up for me. If hubby happens to notice, then so much the better! Even though I am 69 years old, I still have oily skin, so in the summer, I only wear moisturizer/sunscreen and lipstick.on my face. If I happen to go somewhere, then I will add mascara. It has always been important to me look the best I can.

  23. Loved your at home look. You are an inspiration to many. I too feel better and always make an effort to be presentable and happy with my appearance. Once heard someone say “the sweatpant look” indicates to others, they just gave up! It’s not a good look. So glad you didn’t get hurt after the fall. So dangerous. We do too much sometimes. Love the tote! Hugs.

  24. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that it’s good to look nicely presentable! My mother was like that and I try. Somedays it’s not easy, but I make a point to look nice when my husband comes home, he always gives me a compliment! Good point Susan!

  25. I agree with you about dressing well at home too! It’s a sign of respect for ourselves and for our families. You help me aspire to a higher standard and I appreciate it! Hope you are feeling better.

  26. I loved your lounging comfortable dress. I only wear dresses at home. I’m not comfortable in them in public but I love lounging in them. And you’re right about doing it for ourselves. I’ve gotten dressed everyday during the quarantine for me!

  27. Susan, I thought you looked simply gorgeous in your home attire. Why anyone would laugh would tell me what kind of people they are. Slobs probably. I don’t dress like that but my lifestyle is not like your either. I wish I could do that. but the dress and everything looked just beautiful!!

  28. Sooo thankful your fall was not more serious

    I continue learning more and more from you!!
    Many thanks and bushels of ❤️

  29. Only yesterday evening I decided to make more of an effort regarding my stay-at-home clothing choices. Your post was very timely.
    I use a French style shopping basket to carry things around our home. However, when I go out I usually need to use two crutches and I’ve not found the right bag yet to use with them.
    Any ideas, please?

  30. I’ve been loving your outfits and am SO happy you are getting stronger and have your smile back! I have fallen a couple of times too, both when I was alone in the house, of course. Once was on a piece if ice I had dropped in the kitchen and couldn’t find it till I came sashaying back thru and slipped on it! Even my cat came up to me when I was groaning! The other time was on the patio when I had been watering plants. I’m clumsy and have to watch where I’m going! Love love that tote! That is beautiful and serviceable! Thank you for posting for us!

  31. I was a Home Ec major in College back in the days when that was a major! I think it has a more sophisticated name now! The Department chair had never married and was in her 70’s but was always giving us marital advice. One was never let your husband see you in rollers and the other was to always look nice when he arrives home from work! Sadly with 3 children I failed at both!
    I also like what you said about giving away 2 for every new item!

  32. Learned the same lesson on my stairs – one hand to carry one for the rail from then on. Totally agree about at home style

  33. I’m shocked that anyone would question how you look or dress at home during this wretched pandemic! Why would you not dress well for yourself? I have been in lockdown since March, attempting to protect my chronically ill husband from Covid. I go out only when I must, and do what I need to, masked, as quickly as possible. During lockdown, I have purchased several stylish and comfortable dresses by designer Marla Wynne online, in different colours and in black, and by golly, I wear them at home! I do housework in them, I relax and read and do my needlework in them, and I enjoy them to no end. Who cares that no one but my husband and I see them? If we are ever able freely to get out and about again, presuming we have survived this pandemic, I will wear my dresses, and the black one will be dressed up with pearls and a fancy topper for the symphony, which I miss so very much. Meanwhile, I will continue to wear them at home, for myself. They are comfortable, they fit well, and they help my spirits as my lockdown goes on and on, while I try to protect my husband of many years from a virus which will almost certainly kill him.
    So you wear what you look and feel best in, girl, and do it with my understanding and my blessing. I am thrilled to see you looking so much better, and less tired, in your last few posts – you are a survivor of Covid! Be proud and continue to dress well. (P.S. I love that blackberry/blackcurrent long dress on you!)

  34. Hi susan, I know exactly what you mean about a tote, having recently having a fall myself. In lockdown I found making that extra effort into looking better makes me feel better and also my hubby. We live in country nsw Australia and so far our little town is free of corona 19, unfortunately not so in the state of Victoria, which is in complete lockdown. As always you look wonderful especially after you own bout of corona. Stay well. Regards Bev

  35. Dear Susan
    I couldn’t agree with you more about dressing properly even if you are “just” staying at home!
    I hope you are feeling better!
    Stay safe, everyone!
    Beatriz from Portugal

  36. Lovely as always! I also am in the camp of looking well at home. During this pandemic I’ve been working from home but still get a workout or walk in each day before getting ready to work from home. I feel better being ready for the day. I’ve never been a fan of pajama days!

  37. Susan,

    I think I had better start carrying a tote between the house and the car, at the very least. Since I was born a klutz, I always try to be aware, but it’s when I am late or in a hurry that accidents happen.

    I also have multiple Alexas around my house and at the bottom of the basement stairs. I enabled the skill where I can use it to call certain emergency contacts, like my son. Today, I plan to put an extra Dot in my bathroom, so if I fall in there I will be able to call him.

    Stay SAFE, SANE, and HEALTHY! That goes for Mr. Mickey, too!

    Hugs from afar,

  38. I absolutely love this article and it echoes my sentiments entirely. Thank you for putting it into words,

  39. Hi Susan,

    I love my sweatpants, my honey lives in them when it’s cold. They are what I call “public pajamas,” I am not surprised they
    are not your thing. It’s great that we are all different isn’t it? We all bring something to the party.

    Oh my goodness Susan, you were over the top blessed you did not get seriously hurt falling in your garage. I so get what you are talking about. My hands are usually pretty full when I head out to my car. I love tote bags of all kinds, it helps me
    also not leave things behind in restaurants.

    It sounds like you are feeling well and moving forward and the antibiotics have been effective fighting the pneumonia.

    Take care and sending you a happy weekend,
    Katherine in Arizona

  40. My “wise woman” told me, “Oh, Gail, you have to start wearing moisturizer! I believed her and started immediately. Always wear the day moisturizer that has sun screen in it. So far, at 74, my skin doesn’t look to bad and I live in sunny TX! Thank you, Jeanne, for your wonderful advice!

  41. Definitely agree on looking nice at home. I never remember my mother looking any way other than ready to meet what- ever and whomever arrived. She lived to be 92 and kept that up always. She would love your blog just as much as I do.

  42. Susan, your advice about self care is priceless and I hope that anyone reading this will command better for themselves if they find themselves in a slump. I was in a horrible marriage for many years that required me to go to work as soon as I opened my eyes. Eventually, I wouldn’t even take time to dress or brush my teeth ( I literally didn’t have time for any self care at all ) and would often stay in my PJ’s until I had time to shower and put on fresh PJ’s/sweatpants/shirt. I don’t do that anymore. My grandmother gave me the same advice about always looking my best ( she always looked well dressed and was incredibly beautiful every day) and so I knew better and wanted better for myself but I succumbed to the demands put on me. I now make sure that I shower each morning, put on some makeup, style my hair and wear something flattering. I read an article the other day about how parents are angry that some schools have implemented a dress code for the children who are engaging in virtual learning this fall. I think it’s a wonderful idea because making an effort to appear well-groomed is a sign of self discipline, self respect and good character because it shows respect for the teacher and other students. We have enough slovenliness and bad character in America today. I wonder how the parents would feel if the teacher showed up in jammies with messy hair or unshaved. They would probably think the teacher didn’t care and that it was inconvenience to be present.

    I am a tote fanatic. I have many nice- more fashionable- totes that I use for the library and traveling but my every day ‘industrial’ tote is the LL Bean classic Canvas tote in Large and XL ( I also have other smaller sizes as well). I use them for grocery shopping, hauling wood, hauling laundry, gardening, traveling, lunch/breakfast tote and gift-giving. They last forever and I’m not exaggerating! One thing I like is that I can drag the tote when it has an extra heavy load in it and the bottom doesn’t wear. I don’t shop at LL Bean anymore but because I accrue BeanBucks every month on my CC, I just apply them to a new “free” tote. I’m going to have to open up a Bean tote outlet store soon! BTW, you can sometimes find them at very reasonable prices on Ebay or Etsy and they are always made in the USA. I sound like I’m advertising for Bean but I’m truly not.

    I’ve had 3 very scary falls in the past few years and it’s a miracle that I wasn’t seriously injured. I was just thinking yesterday about why it is that falling becomes more common as we age. I was never clumsy or uncoordinated but I guess my vision has changed and affects my depth perception. I’m extremely cautious now when going down stairs, climbing ladders and walking on ice or bumpy surfaces. Aging isn’t for wimps!

  43. This post made me smile for a couple of reasons. One, I remember being young and single and subscribing to Bride’s Magazine. There was an article in the magazine once about looking beautiful for your husband before sending him off to work each morning (I was a child of the 50s!) I’ve never been able to handle the full makeup, hair and dress routine early in the morning, but I have almost always gotten up an hour earlier for my quiet time, brushed my teeth, combed my hair, and put on some pretty lounging clothes. I guess it has helped – married 43 years in November! Two, I have fallen down our stairs twice because I had too much stuff in my hands. So I made a rule for myself – only one hand/arm full of stuff, and one hand on the railing – at 67 I don’t heal quite as quickly as I used to. And I now have an Apple watch that calls 911 if I fall down and don’t tell it I’m ok. So far, it has only alerted when I was chopping garlic too enthusiastically!!

    1. Cynthia, i fell carrying a large bag of trash in one hand, and a water bottle in the other! So I have the same rule. I always carry my phone with me now. I love the garlic story, my former tracker gave me steps for washing my hair.

  44. I had a laugh at the ‘never let your husband see you in sweat pants’. So 1950’s,!! After 54 hrs of marriage I can assure you wearing sweat pants is the least thing you should be worrying about! I have always looked after myself , exercise,healthy diet, I do love clothes!! But I think it’s all about respect for yourself, basically, I’m certainly not doing it for anyone else!

  45. I love your use of tote bags. They add so much to an outfit. I am reluctant to use them. I feel more secure with crossbody bags because they leave my hands free and I don’t have to concerned about putting them down to say, to get my wallet out. At the same time I don’t think they add anything to my appearance, especially dividing my bosom and accentuating my thighs. They also make wearing long necklaces a problem also. I would appreciate some of your wisdom and guidance.

    I enjoy your posts so much. Thank you.

  46. Susan, love your style and have copied it several times. I would love to know about your morning and nightly skincare routines. There are soooo many products out there. It can be quite overwhelming and expensive! I would like a simple, good skincare routine for morning and night. I would love your suggestions. Thank you and keep the style coming!♥️

  47. I’m so glad you weren’t hurt worse in your fall. I’ve come close to doing that as well. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  48. Hello Susan,

    Thank you for sharing your story of the recent fall & the wisdom of a tote! It’s a good reminder for all of us. As for me, I had a brain tumor that affected my balance nerve on the right & have to do vestibular PT to work on balance. Our balance is another thing we take for granted until we lose it! I have come a long way 🙂

    Your look is lovely. I was just searching for a tote bag online and the first one that popped up was yours – on clearance at Dillard’s. I’m still debating about it, although it is a great look. If other readers are interested:

    I’m always concerned about tote bags being too large for my petite 5′ 2″ frame. Do you have a rule of thumb about the size of totes you use? You always look so put together. I’ve seen some shorter (usually younger) bloggers that seem to be outsized by their tote bags and I want to avoid that look!

    Thank you!

    1. The only time the size of a bag should be a concern is when it is too small for your frame. A tote serves a function, so it should be large enough to carry all the objects you need to ‘tote’ around with you.

  49. Susan, I keep meaning to thank you for the effort you always put into referencing numerous fashion links so that we can locate similar items. I know this can be time-consuming. Although you and I are different body shapes and coloring (we are the same age, though!), your advice to keep my wardrobe simple and classic has saved me tons of money and time. I have streamlined my closet during this pandemic, adding just a few higher-quality pieces — I feel as if I have enough clothing for at least the next five years!

  50. It was with sadness that I saw you were leaving fb. I have noticed some pretty ugly and condensending remarks lately so I understand your decision.
    Hopefully you will continue your blog as it has been helpful to many of us, especially as we navigate through this intense time. Sharing your illness, good fashion, beauty and health tips, outings with Mr. Mickey, photos of nature – these are things your follows love you for.
    Have a great weekend and I look forward to your Monday blog!
    Freddie Brammer

  51. Hello, Susan. I agree with you wholeheartedly when you say it’s important to dress well for ourselves and our families. When I retired, I made the decision to get up every morning and dress presentably, apply makeup and style my hair, just as if I were heading off to my office or to an appointment. It makes me feel good about myself and, if someone comes to the door or I need to run an impromptu errand, I’m good to go!
    Yours is the only blog I follow, Susan, and I truly enjoy your observations on life in general and fashion in particular. Keep them coming!

    God bless.
    Carole B

  52. Hi Susan!
    First off, I want to thank you for doing this.My friend told me about your site and
    I absolutely Love your style which is also my style.
    The problem I have is trying to put outfits together.
    I know what I like but don’t always know how to achieve that when looking in my very overcrowded closet. I’m trying to size down.
    Anyway, I’m 5ft 8” and weigh 140lbs & small boned & not a lot of butt…unfortunately most of my problem is around my waist. If I wear loose clothing, I tend to look frumpy in my eyes, because I’m small boned.
    I Love the conservative looks that you wear but As for the pants,, There lies my problem,. I wear a size 8 or size 1 in Chico’s the waist in most pants always has that roll hanging over. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Oh I almost forgot.,,How do I get to follow you? Thanks Again!

    1. I entered your email address as a subscribed follower and sent you an email as well. As for dressing your shape, don’t tuck tops in, but avoid the ones that are too long. They do tend to make us look larger and wider than we are. Here is a post with more tips about dressing the apple shape.

  53. Thanks So Much Susan!
    I do love wearing those low belts But wasn’t so sure about it. YAY!
    You always look So beautifully dressed.
    I’ll be watching & listening to all the advice you have to offer for each of our shapes.
    You’re a wonderful inspiration. Glad my friend found you & Shared you with me.

  54. Received this bracelet yesterday and Love Love love it.. forgot to use the discount code but thinking of ordering the Lariet pearl necklace so will use it then. Thank you for sharing links. Love the tote as well. Hope you are doing better since your fall.
    Have a Lovely Day..
    Coastal North Carolina

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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.