Head to Toe

After a full day of chores, working in my little flower gardens, and a haircut, Mr. Mickey took me out to dinner. I had about twenty minutes after my hair appointment to get dressed.

As I write this post the following day at 4 am, it is snowing hard, as the beautiful trees and flowers are transformed into a winter wonderland. Last night after dinner, we drove through the neighborhood where we met to snap a picture of the flowers on a huge Chinese/Saucer Magnolia. It is about thirty feet tall and breathtaking when in full bloom.


Many readers have asked if I wear hose when I dress up. I do, but I look for very sheer styles in black or the color most similar to my skin. These are Hanes Silk Reflections in Travel Buff here. My favorite no-show socks are here. My shoes are by Linea Paolo, but the color is sold out now. Here is a similar pair.

I’m not wearing foundation or blush. But I am wearing a bit of brow pencil in grey here, eyeshadow in the color Storm here, black eyeliner pencil into and above my upper lashes only here, black mascara here, and the lip color Orchid here. My skincare routine is here. My eyeglasses frames are here.

The cut is a bit shorter this time, but I always prefer to keep the front longer. My stylist is April Atkins at Van Kye Salon in Johnson City, TN, (423)268-2190.

Other similar currently available items are linked. BlazerSweaterPantsBagEarringsNecklace. (Use the code SAS10 for $10 off any one item at Beauty in Stone Jewelry.)

Use the measurement of your head from the top to the chin to help you determine your vertical proportions. (Balance a book on the top of your head. Then, measure from the bottom of the book to the bottom of your chin.) For example, my head is almost eight inches tall, so I am about eight heads tall, but some professional models are more than nine heads tall. I certainly don’t have the proportions of a thin young model, but I’ve learned to dress my body to balance out my short legs, high waist, and flat behind. I included some things in the diagram notes that I try to remember as I get dressed.

When we try something we saw on a model, we may be disappointed by how it looks on our bodies. We may also have to get everything altered. The understanding of proportion has helped me make much better style choices. The total proportion is also why making something two inches shorter isn’t a petite size.

As always, I freely share what I’ve learned about making the most of what you have in hopes that it helps you feel confident and pretty. In addition, some of the shopping links on this site may allow me to earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

56 Comments
  1. Thank you, I’m going to experiment with the necklace length you mentioned. How interesting! I’ve tried to figure out why some necklaces don’t seem to flatter, and the length of the necklace may be why.
    I’m also inspired by the beautiful off white neutrals you’re wearing…it’s tricky to find that look for those of us who have Winter colorring, but you’ve done it here, and I love how it looks!

  2. Thank you for the proportion chart! It will come in very handy. I have a question. How do you keep your scarves in place? I wore one yesterday, it started out nice, but ended up looking like it blew off someone’s clothesline and wrapped around my neck. Thank you!

  3. Is the hip joint the best length for pear shapes, too? I never seem to get top and jacket proportions right.

  4. Helpful blog. One day could you discuss neck length? And how to deal with shorter(I think) neck?
    Thanks
    Carolyn

    1. I can relate! Avoid anything that adds to the height of your shoulders, such as epaulets and thick sweaters. Turtle necks and crew necks are not good choices. Better options are V-necks or button-up shirts (open the first two or three buttons). When you wear a scarf or a necklace, make sure it forms a V lower on your chest rather than close to your throat.

  5. Thank you for understanding that taking a hem up will likely not help a petite woman be able to wear a misses size garment. Proportion is so important!
    You look fabulous and comfortable too! Your legs always look a mile long to me. Your strategy is working well. I always learn so much from your blog.

  6. Thank you Susan, I almost always benefit from your style tips.
    Now if you could only advise me where to find a Mr. Mickey. Lol!

  7. Thank you for showing the full-length line drawing next to yourself to illustrate where to place design elements. This really helps me to envision those points better.

  8. A woman 30 years your junior would be happy to have your figure and face! You’re just beautiful.

  9. Hi Susan

    I love all your posts! Thank you so much. I am 5 feet 2 inches and 110 lbs and I wear warm tones. I should not wear black but it is so difficult to find basics in warm tones that match. I have white hair similar to you and I no longer wear ivory and beige near my face. I usually wear black pants and a thin black top and then wear my bright warm colors in a sweater. Do you have any advice for me in regards to what color to use for basics and where I might find them.

    Thank you
    Barb

    1. Hi Barb. Try using accessories such as earrings, necklaces, and scarves, as well as pretty blouses in the brighter colors you love to add accents that bring focus to your face. As I age, accessories are the magic ingredient in every outfit.

  10. Miss Susan, you NEVER fail at advising us. Love hearing about your adventures with Mr. Mickey and keeping it simple for yourself. GIRLFRIEND you keep me simple and elegant in the way I love. Don’t spread yourself too thin Miss Susan.

    Donna Mintz….Swannanoa, NC

  11. Your hair is beautiful and because of your posts/photos, I now go to April too. She is awesome! I hope you received a discount since I put you down as a referral!

  12. Hi Susan,
    I have a closet full of shoes. How do you have your shoes in your closet so that you can see what you have? I typically keep mine in their boxes because otherwise they seem to get dusty. Have you found a solution to that? If there is one, I know you;ve worked that issue out. It would help to be able to see at a glance what I have, but hate to ruin them siting out to collect dust.
    Thank you for all your tips and advice!
    Hugs,
    Billie

    1. Hi Billie. A finished room over the garage has no vents, so no dust, and that’s where I store most of my shoes on racks and shelves leftover from my businesses. Here is a link to a post where I shared my organization. Try taking a picture of your shoes and taping it to the outside of the box so that you can see them at a glance.

  13. Love your haircut, are you 5’4″ that’s my height. I’m thin but have developed a tummy, I’m 74, short highline grey hair

  14. Thank you Susan for this great post! I really appreciate the illustration too. As usual, your posts are a learning experience!

  15. YOU are so lovely and beautiful. Your hair is very pretty short. It shows your beautiful eyes. “THE WINDOWS TO THE SOUL!!” Thank you for always sharing your great ideas.

  16. I’m so thankful you wrote about this! I have the ‘triple whammy’ goin’ on—- long torso, short legs AND a flat butt. I’ve worn tunic length tops for years thinking they hid the flat butt and camouflaged the short legs (maybe there are more legs up under there? kind of thinking). I’ve lost weight and am just ‘over’ baggy tunic tops anyway. Help!! Can this figure be saved??

    1. Give the girlfriend cardigan here a try. Tuck in your shirt and wear a belt in the same tone as your high waist pants. Leave the cardigan open and if you wear a necklace, choose a shorter one, never a long one.

  17. Susan, I learn a little something with each of your posts! Even though we are shaped differently, I’m benefitting from your tips on jeans fit and beauty (love the Merle Norman gray brow pencil; just placed an order for the Beautycounter Vit C serum & night cream!) Also I’ve adopted how you launder/hang pants and am finding much better results! While I’m pleased with my custom color palette created by a local image consultant, it helps to read about your color choices since we have similar coloring. Thank you for sharing!

  18. Good morning Susan,
    I have a question that you possibly have not had to deal with. If you have I hope you have an answer. After losing weight my middle is flabby. Do you have any suggestions on what kind of foundation would work. Or just how to get rid of. I have tried several but not found anything that didn’t roll or was comfortable. No matter what I use it seems I have a small roll. Uggg
    Thank you so much. I look forward always to reading your blog
    Linda

    1. I have the same flabby middle because I’ve gained and lost weight many times in my life. I wear a Shapeez bra (here) every day and pull my vanishing edge panties (here) over the hemline for the smoothest foundation I’ve ever found. I also do ab workouts every day, go for walks and avoid sugar.

  19. Thank you for saying you wear hose with trousers.I almost always, not the 90plus days of summer, and usually wear tights with jeans until warmer weather. I like the control and love the Hanes brand. Shear hose also covers the light scars from bicycle injuries and some signs of agin.

  20. Thank you, Susan, for this very helpful proportions chart. At 5’4”, my skirts & dresses are hemmed at the narrowest part of the knees and this has “ increased” the length of my short legs ( longer torso & long waist ). I’ve also taken to getting narrow/skinny jeans & pants hemmed at the top of my ankle and this, too, is flattering for short legs. Please continue to post these kinds of charts, and maybe do one on hair lengths vs earrings lengths.
    Interesting story of your snowstorm so far south. On Saturday we crawled along the 401 west of Toronto through blizzards and whiteouts.

  21. I am not sure how to use this chart. My measurements are different from you – so are you saying specific measurement based on YOU?

    1. The notes included to the right of the chart are examples of how I use the tips to help me make the most of my proportions compared to what the fashion industry considers the ideal. Take a look at this website to learn more about vertical body proportions.

  22. Susan, thank you so much for such sound advice. You are a very wise lady with such excellent working knowledge. I like your hair short, it really looks nice on you, so do your glasses. As we advance in years, it seems like almost everything changes. It’s so important to embrace the change. You seem to do that so well.

  23. Thank you so much for your informative blog I love it, and can I ask why you wear beige shoes or nude with the black in this outfit. I always think I should wear black shoes to match my pants just curious on your insight and help thank you Joyce

    1. Thank you for your question, Joyce. In this case, I wore nude shoes, hose, and a nude bag with navy slacks since it was a warm spring evening. The lighter colors in my accessories lifts the look out of a heavy winter vibe.

  24. Thank you! Very informative as always! I’m referring all my friends to your blog. Always on target – especially for women over 55! You provide a great service.

  25. You shared a link to the Vanishing Tummy, but I’m pretty sure you meant the Vanishing Edge. There are many to choose from, do you have favorites?

  26. Thank you for another wonderfully informative post. As always, you look classy and elegant.
    We had a magnolia tree like that in the garden of the house we lived in when I was a teenager. It was about 10 foot tall when we first moved in. By the time I moved out to set up my own home, it had grown into a towering beauty. Your photo brought the memories flooding back. I wonder if it is there still…

  27. Thank you for the diagram. I have learned over time, with many errors, that although I am 5’ 6”, I do need to order tall shirts and tanks. I also have a generous bosom, so short-sleeved items do not flatter. All these bits of knowledge I have learned from following your blog. Thank you for the sharing of valuable information.
    P.S. Ordering those no-show socks.

  28. Can you please tell me the name of the hairspray you recommended a while back thank you
    Also, wanted to let you know I love beauty counter products. They have really helped my skin glow.

    1. I’m so glad you are also pleased with your Beautycounter products. The hair spray I use is L’Oreal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray Unscented here. I always through it after it dries so that it looks more natural.

    1. I spray my hair, let it dry and then brush through it to break the helmet effect. I like my hair to be loose and natural with movement, but I’m not too fond of the flyaways I get in the dry winter air.

  29. You are very proportional and you don’t have short legs. I feel sorry when you describe yourself like that. I am very delighted looking at you. You are very beautifull and well shaped. All the best to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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

FOLLOW ME ON