Mixing Blues

Dressing up for date night is a ritual I will always enjoy. Wearing something special and taking a little extra time with hair and makeup makes the evening even more fun. I appreciate items that are simple and elegant, as well as comfortable and flattering. If a piece offers the option of being dressed up or down, and the color makes me smile, it might earn a place of honor in my wardrobe.

On a recent date night, I wore this periwinkle Clara Sunwoo top, a gift from My Fair Lady, here with the basic navy pants. The color and style of this top make it a keeper. I can wear it with white pants and sandals or with black pants and heels, with a dramatic necklace or a colorful scarf. The uneven hemline and side slits provide movement and comfort without being overwhelming.

The bag is several years old from Express. The bracelet was a gift from Mr. Mickey. The shoes are by INC International Concepts, created for Macy’s last year. The Ultimate style Shapeez.com bras always provide a smooth foundation under soft knits. My lipstick color is this one by Beautycounter.

A few well-chosen basics will allow you to create appropriate, attractive looks for many events. I hope you have enjoyed this series.

  1. Thank you for this series of photos and tips. I can see what you are talking about. You are always helpful.

  2. The color on you is smashing and can only become a wardrobe staple I should think. A color useful in all seasons.

  3. Susan, this week’s series has been wonderful! My preferred style is much like yours, though less dressy because I live in a rural area. I frequently wear all black or all navy with different “third layers.” You have given me many more ideas for varying the look. You manage to keep these posts fresh and interesting every day. Onward!

  4. I am a BIG fan of you but today I think you did yourself an injustice. The top is too long for you and the pants are also too long. Both pieces will look great if you alter them.

    1. Too long, Mary? I respectfully disagree. Susan often writes about length and proportion, and she appears to be following her own principles here.

  5. Thank you for this series Susan, it’s been helpful! Out of all the looks, I like today’s…its dressy but not too dressy. Your hair looks great BTW!

  6. Susan, thank you for the navy series, I think we are all believers now. One of my biggest challenges is my husband. He’s a great guy who loves to take me out, but we really struggle getting him turned out. He has very little sartorial sense but willing to wear whatever I buy for him. I need pointers on how to choose appropriate outfits for him. Could Mr. Mickey help?

    1. Mr. Mickey’s tips for men and his dressing rules are as follows: Always wear a shirt with a collar. When you wear khaki pants, wear casual tan or brown shoes. (Khaki is always considered a casual color.) In the evening wear a long sleeve dress shirt with the sleeves turned up for a casual evening or with a jacket to dinner or more dressed up events. Only wear a tie with a jacket. Take off the tie if you take off the jacket. The socks should match the pants. The belt should match the shoes. Never wear your hat inside. Never walk in front of a woman. Never sit down until all the women at your table are seated.

        1. Thanks Susan! I just went over this with my husband-good ideas. Another thing. Bob loves polo/golf shirts but I don’t find them flattering to a man with large waistline. And, are there any rules concerning sneakers/tennis shoes? Thank you again-you are a wonderful resource.

          1. I like the look of a polo shirt and Sperry Top-Siders or other casual shoes with jeans or khaki pants. If a man with a few extra pounds wears a polo shirt or golf shirt with texture and an ample fit, they can look nice. The thin, smooth knits that reveal too much on men, as well as women, can create a less than stellar appearance. I never wear those chunky athletic or running shoes with street clothes.

  7. I love those pants from your site. Do they have a little stretch in them? Do you know the length of the medium petite? You look lovely in the periwinkle blue. I also love the French Kande necklace. I hope to collect a few in the near future once I get my basic wardrobe built. So nice that you showed us how to wear the same pants in a more relaxed outfit and again in a date night outfit. Great idea!!!

  8. This is an excellent series. I have the navy top and pants so that helps. I don’t have fancy events but yet there are occasions to dress for. I like today’s outfit. I like the blue tunic top and all the accessories! The sandals are perfect for this season and go so well with navy pants. Thank you for more inspiration!

  9. Thank you for the menswear tips. I shared with my husband and in one brief paragraph his dilemma was solved! Simple!

  10. Wow! Periwinkle is a super color on you. You are radiant in it.

    This navy top and pants series has been amazing in showing how you can go from casual to dressy and look great in each variation.

  11. Love this series. So helpful. Whatever you are doing to your hair it looks amazing. Much more youthful. You are so elegant in every outfit.

  12. Thank you for this series. It was very helpful, especially since I was already trying to build my wardrobe along these lines. Periwinkle is such a lovely colour; one of my favourites and I’m so happy to see it again. It looks great on you. I would like to find these wardrobe basics here in Canada, as the price point goes up significantly with the exchange on the dollar. Does anyone know of a site here?

  13. The blue is a lovely color on you! How do you decide on a shoe color? I notice that you often wear a light colored shoe with black or navy. I never know what looks best when I wear neutrals. Help!

    1. It depends on how much of the foot is showing. If the pants are ankle length, I will wear a nude color most of the time. If the pants are long and dark, I will wear dark shoes. I always wear light colored shoes with white pants.

  14. I just love this outfit! The color looks fabulous on you! Thanks so much for all of your fashion tips. I am approaching 60 and slowly revamping my wardrobe and your posts are so helpful! Even though I haven’t gained any weight my body shape is changing and my clothes don’t fit like they used too.

  15. You look awesome. The colors are great for you. I think this is your best hair style since I have been reading all these years. The bangs and cut back on the sides…a little length in back….fantastic look! Great job on the series. .

  16. Susan!
    I absolutely love everything you put together. My favorite looks are the second and fifth in this terrific series.
    Thanks for the wonderful job you do. I so appreciate you.

  17. This has been a great series, Susan. Thank you for the time & effort you put into it. I’m in the odd position of having to shift my wardrobe a bit up-market after retirement instead of the other way around. The nature of my work meant I spent 4 decades in jeans & denim work shirts, accessorized by the ever-elegant steel-toed boots & hard hat 🙂 I still love my jeans & tees (we’re on a motorcycle a lot & strong denim — w/ leather chaps when highway riding — are for safety as well as fashion) & will probably go to my grave in them, but am branching out a bit, thanks to you. Your advice & suggestions are invaluable. For instance I’m actively shopping for a pair of nude sandals. I have never worn nude coloured shoes in my life but really like the effect after seeing how you pair them with an ankle-length pant (I, too, am grudgingly getting rid of my higher heels as I find they’re just not that comfortable anymore).

    My Guy says thanks for the men’s wear advice, too. His biggest problem is getting shirts & jackets to fit (big shoulders & arms thanks to decades of lifting free-weights & wrestling big bikes) but custom-made seems to be the best answer; he doesn’t need a lot of either so the splurge makes sense to me. Looking forward to your next posts — hope you can fit in more series like this. I especially love the comparative photos: it’s so much easier to understand what I can actually see.

  18. Hi. I was glad that you mentioned Shapeez bras. I discovered those about 2 years ago and never never gone back to a regular bar. They hide all the lumps and bumps that I have ay my age. They even hide the dreaded back fat! They are all one piece and slip over your head. The “slipping over” is not too easy until I put it on a couple of times. Soooo worth the effort.

    1. I pull mine up like pantyhose by the body of the bra, never the straps. I slip my arms in and then adjust as I pull it up the rest of the way. You will find that this is a much easier way to put them on.

  19. Hi, I recently started following your blog. It has been a great learning experience for me. I particularly liked seeing the variety ways to wear the basic top and bottom in this series. Another favorite of mine was when you compared the fit of several tops and explained why one style fit you better than the other. The pics in that article really showed what you were saying. I appreciated learning how to dress to impress in a practical way, and I think that you are doing a great job of teaching that.
    ps I also loved the “Focus on Accessories.” That blue scarf was awesome!

  20. Thank you for this series! I am working towards making my wardrobe simple. You have been an inspiration and great help!

  21. Susan, do you find the Ultimate style Shapeez that you recommend is too warm in the middle of summer? I live in Georgia and the heat and humidity here is overwhelming at times. Thank you.

  22. Am thinking this site will be of benefit for those of us “up in years” who sometimes wonder what is appropriate
    and what is stylish for women our age. We still enjoy style but are more realistic in buying wisely.
    Classic rather what is trending.

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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.