Modern Classics

We’ve all seen those lists of classics everyone should have in their closet. For example, those Pinterest images of the perfect wardrobe almost always include a black leather jacket and a tan trench coat.

While I enjoy my classic basics, they may not look like any of the things on those lists. My trench coat is navy blue and ends at mid-thigh. My (faux leather) moto jacket is blush pink, and all of my tees have long or three-quarter length sleeves. My ballet “flats” have a two-inch heel with pointed toes, and my little black dress is a navy blue midi-length tank dress.

There is no “Must Have List” that works for everyone since we have different coloring, lifestyles, and shapes. Discovering which elements serve us best can be budget, if not life-altering. We feel a lot more confident when we know we look our best, and it’s smart not to keep wasting money on things that aren’t right for us.

$Moto JacketBagScarfSunglassesShoes JeansTeeEarrings

Basics can be found at any price point. The budget options are above, and the luxury options are below.

$$$ Moto JacketBagScarfSunglassesShoesJeansTeeEarrings

My Beautycounter skincare is here. I’m not wearing any foundation or blush. My lip color is ‘Currant’ here.

I snapped the photo below on the way home from the library this week. Fall colors are beautiful, but not on me. The pure icy tones of winter are my most flattering options.

I hope that sharing my journey and what works so well helps you determine your best options. Have a great weekend!

  1. You are very helpful! I can’t wear a tan trench coat or stark black as much as I used to so I need to adjust to my colouring and shape. Never thought of a pink Moto. I’ll bet it goes with almost everything?

  2. Well, that was fun! Showing the the budget & luxury items was a great way to prove your point! And when you’re not wasting money on things that don’t work, you can spend more on better quality items.
    My coloring is also cool, and it took me a long time to figure out that those must-have lists didn’t work for me, either.

  3. Fall colors look terrible on me. I love the styles but wish the color options were more plentiful. You always look great, Susan!

  4. You are so right about finding the colors/styles for our individual selves. My coloring has become fairer as I’ve aged but with a more yellow undertone than yours. Even my “gray” hair, which I stopped coloring 2 years ago, is more champagne than your beautiful silver gray. My eyes are blue or green depending on what I’m wearing. I’ve had my coloring done by “professionals” twice, one proclaimed me a spring, the other a summer. I’ve learned that I cannot wear the muddy fall colors or the spring pastels. I stick mostly with gem tones in winter and clear bright blues and pinks near my face in summer.

  5. You look fabulous! I absolutely love this look on you. Um yeah, not all of us can wear the ubiquitous classic collection. We are not all same, thank goodness.

  6. Thanks so much for showing price points! I get sooo tired of bloggers telling me I ‘must’ have an EF wardrobe, or I ‘must’ have a Vince wardrobe or whatever. I am retired, do some social events, but would never spend my retirement income on 300 dollar tops that look like a box on me! So thank you again for proving a point, both about items that have a wide range of costs, and buying what looks good on you, not on some list of essentials.

  7. I am a “pure spring”, so clear, bright jewel tones are my thing. This is a challenge in the fall and winter months, when all those muddy colors like burgundy and mustard reign. Pastels wash me out, too. I won’t be wearing that fuzzy camel coat that’s on all the “must-buy” lists this fall.

    Body shape (triangle), color and real life wearability determine my must-haves. My work is cut out for me. I am not fashion’s target demographic.

  8. Fabulous look! I cannot tell where the top you are wearing under the jacket falls to in length. Is it longer than the jacket or tucked in? Love the tips that you share and your looks!

  9. Thank you for showing both price points. I’m a firm believer in looking at high end items and then buying lower priced similar items in my budget. The eye has to be trained. You always look great and you dress for what looks good on you, not what’s currently “in style”.

  10. Glad you listed luxury and basic items broken out. I hope you will occasionally do this breakdown in future articles. Love the pink moto jacket!

  11. Wow, you look fabulous! Love your hair and your colors.
    Question: how did you take this picture? Selfie or did you have help? Taking pictures helps me to be more objective when analyzing an outfit, but it’s hard to get a distance picture like this one.

  12. Hi Susan, what is the date of your blog/ video on using Beauty Counter products? I want to switch to Countertime but not sure what products to order? thank you

  13. As always, you look like a million bucks, girl! I never would have thought of wearing a scarf that way; it looks great with your short jacket.
    What gorgeous colours that tree has! You’re fortunate; it is snowing outside here as I write this. Keep posting please; I read and enjoy them all.
    All the best from Canada.

  14. I’m learning so much from you! For the past 20 -years, I have been living in a very poor rural area on a 5-acre hobby farm and my clothes were old jeans and work boots. Last year we moved to the city and I am relearning how to dress at age 68. Yesterday I bought a pair of black travelers’ pants from Chico’s and I have three tops from Perfectly Covered (teal/navy/black) on order. They will all go well with a black French Laundry blazer type top in the same fabric. I’m short on “accessories” but I have a long silver necklace and earrings and black leather booties and so I will be ready for any holiday event this winter. It just so happens that we share the same coloring and I look best in most of the same colors so much of what you teach works perfectly for me. I will never have as many shoes, purses, coats or scarves but no one else know will know and I will be well presentable anyway. THANK YOU!

  15. Haha Thanks for the comparison shopping. I always say if you can get it on sale why spend the extra money. I have a lot of things in my wardrobe that were not expensive but they LOOK that way. Same with my jewelry. I have a necklace that looks like a genuine diamond and 14K gold. It is not. But when I wear it with the earrings that are 14K and genuine diamond everyone assumes it’s the real thing. I do buy quality shoes since my feet are not going to walk all day in plastic shoes. Thanks for the fun blog.

  16. Your comments about shape have helped me the most. I kept trying to find a moto jacket and finally realized that with more of an hourglasses shape a moto jacket cuts me in half.

  17. Any got thoughts on utility jackets (rather than denim jackets) and padded jackets ?
    I’ve been looking at packable down short jackets for travelling both in the UK and out if season abroad, but want to down play my chest and short apple shape.
    Hard to balance the look and practicality…

  18. Susan,
    Love your blogs. You have given me lots of help with wardrobe choices.

    Do you have any scarves left for sale?

  19. You look fabulous and I love the fall leaves on the tree! I am not the same coloring as you, I’m not sure what season I am, but the best advice I learned from you is to coordinate with my hair color. I had to weed out silvery grey tops because my hair is more gold highlights. I didn’t understand why those colors looked awful on me until your advice!

  20. SUSAN,
    Thank you for affirming that we are all “quintessentially” unique. Style cannot be prescribed. You brighten our lives with your grace and verve. And your clothing choices always communicate your true essence. Four years ago you wrote a review for our book, and Janna and I shall never forget your kind words. Your success is a testament to the joy you bring to others. Thanks for always sending happy positivity. You remain absolutely singular… “Quintessential” Susan!

    1. Fold a 51″ scarf in a big triangle. Place the middle at your throat and wrap the ends around the back of your neck and then bring them back to the front. Tie the ends making a knot underneath and adjust the drape to your liking.

  21. Susan, you look so lovely in that outfit! It was the final straw for me to go and order that jacket in the gray suede from Express. The pink is no longer offered. It came, and I love it. I’m learning so much from you. Never in a million years would I have even tried on a cropped jacket. It really looks cute on me. Sleeves are about an inch or so too long for me. I’m learning about fit from you! Can’t decide whether to get it altered or push them up. Also, I’ve had my eye on your Nordgreen watch. My hubby and kids are pestering me for what I want for xmas, and I want that watch. Would you mind me asking why you chose the white face instead of the black with the silver band? From what you’ve shared, I think we have the same coloring. After reading your blog for several years and extensive studying, I am a clear winter. The black face on that watch makes it look striking, sleek, and elegant. The white face looks very very nice, and I wonder if it’s a better summer look. Any thoughts would be appreciated before I tell them what I want.

    1. I felt the white face would be more subtle and would go with all of my looks better than black. I have several changeable bands, and the white face complements them well. I have a video and another blog post coming up about Nordgreen Watches.

      1. Oh great! I will look for the video before telling the family about the watch I would like. Thanks, Susan! You’re so wonderful.

  22. Always love your posts, but they never come to my email any more. Have you given up on using emails?

    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.