Gray is the New Black

Shades of gray have become an integral part of my wardrobe since it blends well with all other colors. In addition, gray is my substitute for tan or camel since those colors make me look tired and unwell. So, for example, I have a gray trench coat, not a tan one.

Gray dominated my attire for a meeting with my accountant and another visit to the grocery store. My reward was a big smile and the lovely comment, “You look adorable!” from a twenty-something young woman at Publix. Rather than following what the young people are wearing, we can provide an example of aging with style and grace in a way that respects our wisdom and reflects our personal style.

The shoes and bag are at least three years old. The pants and sleeveless white blouse were from Talbots. The dark navy cardigan is old from Tory Burch. I often wear a sleeveless shell under cardigans and sweaters to avoid the appearance of bulky arms. I’m wearing Silk Reflections in the color Jet from Hanes here. Similar available items: Pants (in navy)ShirtCardiganBeltBagShoesWatch. A similar gray trench coat is here. Mine is old from Club Monaco.

That’s the same silk scarf I have worn countless times. The colors relate to almost everything in my wardrobe, and it is soft and supple, making it easy to tie or wrap without bulk. Click here for a similar square silk scarf. I folded the scarf on the bias as shown here and then tied a knot to join the ends forming an infinity loop. Next, I popped up my collar and wrapped the loop around my neck twice.

My lip color is Girls’ Night here, and the skincare routine is here. My eyeglasses frames are here. Similar pearl earrings are here and here.

61 Comments
  1. Susan, you always look great but today’s outfit is absolutely stunning!!! Classic and classy. Everything relates so well and the scarf really ties everything together.

  2. I agree with the young woman in Publix. I never thought about articulating a dressing philosophy but your statement about providing an example of aging with style and grace that respects who we are and our wisdom is just that. It’s the philosophy behind your clothing choices put very succinctly. I love it.

  3. I appreciate your clear and concise communication style! So much wisdom, and so few words, with beautiful pictures!

    I agree about gray. For those of us who don’t look or feel our best in the warmer colors, gray is a beautiful addition. It strikes the right note between relaxed and elegant.

    And your commentary about the example we could be setting for the the younger ladies is on point. I want to look modern, relaxed and chic…and that is not easy if we are chasing fashion fads…in clothing, hair or makeup.

    You look fabulous in these pics!

  4. Susan, you always look lovely, but the close up picture is stunning. You look absolutely beautiful with a flawless complexion.
    It speaks well for your life style, diet, and cosmetic products.
    You are an inspiration.

  5. You look very smart in gray. I have been looking for gray pants. My problem is my thick waist and regular sized behind. Unless I wear something like pull-on jeggings, the back hangs down in a very unattractive look. So far, I haven’t found any gray jeggings.

    Things that I know to be useful:

    A while back when we were touring your beautiful closet, you had a little tray containing a few small items, including sort of bracelet things to hold your sleeves pushed up. Well, I found those on Amazon. They are almost as life-altering as the Sheec socks. I have many tops that I could be wearing but the sleeves are too long. It is amazing how much more comfortable I feel without my sleeves in my way. I think that I will be able to dress better just doing house work because my sleeves won’t be sliding down my arms or getting wet.

    I also got some cedar wood pieces on Amazon for my one cashmere sweater.

  6. Very nice! Love the outfit.
    The close up of your face shows how well your skin care is working. Something I need to look into. It’s a bit pricey but if I wanted to get started what would be good items to order first?
    Great pictures!

  7. Susan, as always, your clothing choices and styled outfits reflect your personal choices and wisdom so well. No wonder the cashier at Publix complimented you!
    Thank you for advising me to wear bright pink lipstick with a purple top-it worked. Luckily I had a free lipstick sample from an expensive brand that I was hesitant to wear, but know when to wear it now.
    Two questions…
    -what brand of no show socks do you wear?
    -would you do a bra fitting post (with Shapeez and advice for fitting bras in general)? Shapeez does give advice, but you actually wear their products so you might have additional thoughts to share. Of course, I’d never ask you to model here! Just detailed & step-by-step instructions. With so much online shopping, this kind of post might help your readers. Many thanks!

    1. I’m sorry it took so long to respond. The no-show socks are here. If you wear a 36DD bra and a medium top, your Shapeez bra size will likely be a Medium DD. The style I wear is here. The foam cups give a natural shape and conceal nipples.

  8. Humm??? The “you look adorable” comment from a young person can be taken in two ways. This was up for discussion on another blog, except the young person said “Don’t you look cute.” to a 70 something woman. Those comments are usually said to children or little old ladies, not to intelligent, sophisticated women. Feelings were mixed in comments on the other blog. Maybe young people don’t really realize how insulting an off hand comment can be to some, and they need more education than on how to dress with style and grace. Glad you took the high road and accepted it as a compliment.

  9. Susan, I’ve followed you for years and find you very inspiring in all ways! I had to smile about the compliment from the person in Publix. At 73 with my silver hair, some of my nicest compliments come at the grocery store, and they are always very much appreciated. I think it takes some courage to deliver a compliment, especially to someone older, so I always make sure that the giver knows how much their comment is appreciated. I saw the blog mentioned in the comment above and felt very uncomfortable for this woman. I think it was the word “cute” that offended her. If the word had been “elegant”, I’m sure she wouldn’t have bad a problem with the compliment. Sometimes we need to step back and think what else might have been meant by a comment and stop imagining an insult where there was none. It costs you nothing to compliment someone in a genuine way and may very well make their day.

  10. A few years ago when my hair was brown, I would never wear grey. But as my hair has greyed, it’s become a favorite. Grey goes well with so many colors, especially pink, a color I wear a lot. Grey compliments you too. You look especially lovely today and certainly deserve all the wonderful comments. I sincerely appreciate the independent thoughts and wisdom of your blog. There are always so many tidbits I get. I find your readers that comment also have interesting things to add.
    Enjoy your week!

  11. You look so elegant. And what beautiful skin you have. Not a freckle or line, it appears.
    Grey is a such a wonderful colour – tones of it flatter. But like any colour, I guess one has to find that right tone. I can wear pale to mid greys but darker shades erring toward black drain me completely unless there is white close to my face. (My hair colour is ash, changing to stark white).
    Do you wear much navy? I always vowed and declared it was an old woman’s colour when I was young and now at 70, I find I wear it a lot. Maybe I am ‘old’… 😉

  12. My own daughter calls me cute and adorable. I’m use to it. When you.are short, you get that even when you are young. It is a compliment although I want to ask, “You mean like a puppy”. LOL
    I have never seen anyone whom I admire more with a blog. Pure class and grace. But unlike some bloggers who without make up are not so great looking, she looks pretty much the same. A natural beauty.

  13. Really smart and beautiful looks! Your lipstick color gives just the right amount of POP! to the overall neutral palette. Absolutely smashing as usual!

  14. Dear Susan, I have learned so much from you over the years, but one of your most useful tips has been to use gray as a go-to neutral, instead of camel, tan or cream. Like you, I have a cool complexion, so, much as I envy the sophisticated look of creamy caramel colors on other women, they do me no favors. Following your advice, though, I have found that I can also achieve a sophisticated tone-on-tone look with varying shades of gray. It is a bit of a challenge to find gray items that go well together – and go with my hair, which is salt ‘n pepper gray – but I am slowly getting there. Thank you once again for your wise advice. And I agree with everyone else – you look wonderful in this latest post.

  15. Susan thank you for continuing to post your guidance for clothing, healthy living and other interesting topics. I haven’t been able to read your posts for a while and I just caught up today, and I realized how much I missed reading you! So thanks! I’m now close to 66 and retired for a few years now. You’ve inspired me to let go of my investment clothing that I just don’t have purpose for any longer, freeing up space in my closet for organization for my new lifestyle. And your spring clothing ideas have inspired me to make a few additions. Now running off to the grocery for healthy meal planning. Keep up your yoga and pilates practice, you’ll become addicted!

  16. The ring is very lovely….does this mean you and Mr. Mickey are engaged??? If so, sending lots of love, happiness and congratulations….and if not, it sure is a lovely ring….I often take screen shots of your outfits to add to Inspo folder…you dress with such a classic and elegant flare….Happy Weekend…

  17. You look beautiful. I love what you said about providing an example of aging with style & grace rather than wearing what the young people are wearing. Good reminder that it is ok to be who you are!

  18. Gray has always been my “light” neutral for business wear. Today I still wear it in my jeans and cords. It just seems to go with so so many colors in my “retirement” wardrobe.

  19. I would like to try the skin care products. What do you suggest for mature dry skin to get started? Day cream, night cream, any other must haves?

  20. Gray is the New Black… I totally agree with you on your statement about camel and tan washing you out. Same here! Keep it coming, I love your blog! My wardrobe is slowly emulating yours.

  21. I really enjoy seeing you’re wardrobe. I am 70 yrs old and I like to look polished and timeless. Thanks for all your ideas.

  22. Gray is also my choice rather than tan or brown tones. Gray, black and navy are the staples in my closet. Love your style.

  23. I agree with Eve, above, Susan is recognizable as the chic, sophisticated woman she is, with or without makeup. Susan is a terrific example of why it is important to take care of yourself. There might be some good genetics mixed in there, too. I think her generosity of spirit is beautiful, too.

    Some of those makeup demonstrations are really something. I am reading about fixing my sparse eyebrows. So far, I have achieved a very nice Groucho Marx look.

    1. Brows can be a challenge! I also try not to appear to have caterpillars stuck to my forehead. It isn’t a good look when it seems a Sharpie has been used to fill in the brows.

  24. I wear grey and black quite often. It is a classic look. I love the scarf added but am terrible about tying them. Since I’m heavy it always draws too much attention to my neck.

  25. Yes! Caterpillars! There was a religious lady on tv who had caterpillar eye lashes. It always distracted me from her message. I was afraid her lashes might walk away.

    What’s left of my brows is very dark. I found a matching color, but the result isn’t right with my white hair.

  26. Buongiorno Susan sante parole…..cerchiamo di essere al meglio della nostra età (io 73) ma non cadere nel ridicolo di volere essere giovani a tutti i costi.ti seguo con grande piacere perché sei sempre ok con grande equilibrio.complimenti.

  27. “Rather than following what the young people are wearing, we can provide an example of aging with style and grace in a way that respects our wisdom and reflects our personal style.”

    Brava and Amen! When I was a little girl (before The Flood -b ; ) ) older women looked more soigne, more elegant and more refined. It was a look to aspire to (pardon my grammar). Genevieve Antoine Dariaux even wrote a wonderful book, Elegance, about that very thing. It has always been my bible.

    Too many women of a certain age try too hard to look just like they did at 25 instead of entering the wonderful world of an elegant signature style. You are a marvelous example of just that for all of us!

    Blessings!

  28. You look elegant and stylish as usual. The close up of you is lovely and your glasses suit you a lot. To keep warm here in north of England thick coats are necessary and mostly unflattering ! Roll on spring . Thanks for sharing your style .

  29. Gray has always been a favorite of mine, and I have several gray pieces in my wardrobe. I think it is less harsh for blonde and gray haired women with fair skin than the darker shades. I’ve never been a fan of beige, brown or camel so I’m glad to hear gray is the new black.

  30. Have you ever cut off some of the ‘tail’ of a shirt to have less bulk when tucking it in? I saw this at the gym recently – someone had cut the shirt all around with pinking shears. I don’t know whether this is genius or crazy!

  31. Thanks for so many wonderful closet ideas! I have bought my felt hangers at Sam’s; they’re very good quality at a great price! They are black and come in boxes of 50.

  32. Those eyeglass frames are very smart for you,
    Grey certainly is much softer for us as we age. Nice outfit.

  33. The colors of tan, ivory and camel were among my favorites when my hair was brown, auburn, and blonde; but since allowing the silver-white strands (which began when I was only 19) to “come to life,” I, too, have resorted to grays, navy and black, with some shades of deep pinks and plums to add color. As I have hazel-colored eyes instead of the beautiful blue of my maternal grandmother, from whom I inherited my white hair, I need something to give me color. For some reason, never have I felt comfortable wearing red, even though I photographed well with that shade in earlier decades. I wish it were possible for me to wear white near my face. You, however, wear it so beautifully.

  34. WOW; I caught your site for the first time tonight, I love and desire your style. I have the same white hair but I’m heavier than you. Thanks for the tips, can’t wait to catch more of your posts.

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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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