Part 4 – Elevated Casual

I’ve shared some examples of a favorite dressing method in the previous few posts. I call it “Building Upon A Base.” Essentially, it entails starting with a simple, sleek-fitting first layer to create endless looks that feel polished and put together. Various accessories and clothing pieces in neutral, solid colors allow for creativity and make getting dressed enjoyable and effortless.

The first layer can be a dress, skirt with a top, or pants and a top. The focus is to choose a plain, smooth foundation that will allow endless possibilities. As I’ve shown you thus far, that base can be a simple white tee here and black knit pants here. The foundation can also be two pieces in the same color or a column of one color beneath a second color, which is very slenderizing and elegant. An example would be a denim shirt and jeans with a navy blazer worn open with tan accessories and shoes.

I often wear an elevated casual look to church, for a doctor visit, a family gathering, lunch with friends, or a business meeting. Repeating an accent color builds cohesiveness from top to bottom. You may, but you need not match the bag to shoes or a belt. Any combination of an accent color is effective in expressing your creativity.

A colorful silk scarf is my most frequently worn print. The square silk scarf I am wearing in these photos measures fifty-one inches. I folded it into a large triangle in front and wrapped the ends around my neck and back to the front. The key to wearing scarves is nonchalance. A large silk or cashmere scarf brings drama, warmth, and elegance.

In spring and fall, I often reach for a trench coat. If the typical tan coat isn’t for you, try navy, black or gray. It is essential for the coat to have fluid movement and for the color to complement your wardrobe. Nothing is worse than a stiff coat that makes me feel trapped. My black coat is about five years old. Here is a similar one.

Choose a bag or shoe color that matches the color of your hair for effortless styling. The Botkier bag is a few years old—more from the brand here. The bag here is similar. The shoes are here, and similar gray or silver ones are here and here. A similar square scarf is here. A similar belt is here.

I found the pearl earrings at T.J.Maxx last summer. Similar earrings here. The watch is here. The rings are here.

The pearl bracelet is here. My readers may use the code SAS10 for $10 off any one item at Beauty in Stone Jewelry.

The first post in the series is here. The second one is here. The third one is here.

Recent posts are summarized here. I purchased all the products I show since I no longer accept gifts or products to review. However, referral links on this site may allow me to earn a small commission without cost to you.

  1. That scarf is beautiful. The colors are perfect with the basic pants and shirt. I really liked the picture of all the outfit suggestions they are very helpful.
    Have a Happy Thanksgiving. I think you both have a lot to be thankful for this year!

  2. Lovely scarf. I am interested in trying the beauty counter products since my recent skin reaction to my current skincare routine. The company changed the formulation. Will you get credit for any products I order from Beautycounter?

  3. I like the way the gray shoes and bag tie in the gray in the scarf. Gray is not usually on my radar screen as a color for accessories, but it looks very elegant as you have worn it.

  4. Great series, thank you. Susan, how do you decide if you will wear black shoes or colored shoes with black or dark pants?

    A blessed Thanksgiving to you and Mr. Mickey.

    1. I have no method for picking out shoes. It depends on where I am going, the weather, and if I’m in the mood for something different. Black is almost always my choice in winter.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Thank you for all the styling tips…I find them very useful, as your ideas match my lifestyle. I am quite short, older than you and try to keep my outfits slightly fitted, but minimum in order not to overwhelm my size. Keep up the informative format. Wishing you and Mr. Mickey a very Happy Thanksgiving…lwe all have much to be thankful for this year❤️. We have a new great granddaughter coming to meet us for the first time…she is three months old. Family is what Thanksgiving is all about…plus overeating. Blessings!

  6. Susan, I so appreciate your excellent hints and ideas. They are so useful and spot on! I subscribe to several other fashion blogs for ladies over 50 and they constantly are pushing the latest trends or expensive lines ($300 cotton flannel shirts ) that make absolutely no sense! You are always look lovely and fashionable—-what I also aspire to be! Thanks so much! And many blessings to you this holiday season!

  7. Excellent series! You always look polished – it’s my goal as well. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Mr. Mickey and your family.

  8. Such a great series! I really appreciate your styling tips. Perfect for the change of season as well as all year long.
    You look amazing! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  9. Susan, thank you for this series. It is one of my favorites and I have followed your blog for years. You manage to look younger every day!

  10. Happy Thanksgiving! I appreciate this series. I have followed your tips for some time and find that I can mix and match for so many different outfits and occasions. Thanks for your efforts to help us look good as we age.

  11. Happy Thanksgiving to you, your family and Mr. Mickey. I am thankful for your posts. I love the last look and that’s what I would wear anywhere. I bought some scarves from you years ago to add to my collection and they are my favorite ones to wear. I just love wearing scarves and they make me happy. I tie the shorter ones I own into a knot in the center and twist to make a necklace type look. I learned that trick when I was 19 and flying for the fist time. A flight attendant showed me how to do it and was thrilled to take off her scarf to show me how it was done. You never know where you will learn a new fashion trick!
    Safe travels.
    Patty V

  12. We’ll at first, when you started the base layer…..I didn’t read because I didn’t like the photo….BUT this morning I love your look… my age I chose to dress this way…..I don’t care if the world around me are T-shirt and baggy jeans (I live in Asheville)….I’m most comfortable with a little flair to my look.
    Thank you, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING
    Laura C

  13. Thank you for this Mini-Series. I really needed this right this moment. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Mr. Mickey and your parents. Hugs and Kisses to you all.

  14. This series was so very helpful. It simplifies and condenses creating and selecting outfits to a basic formula. I am seeing my entire wardrobe from a different perspective. The combinations are endless with your brilliant approach. Thank you, Susan. And Happy Thanksgiving!

  15. This is a great series thank you , Susan.
    It’s really fun looking forward to your next entry.
    very grateful,

  16. Thanks, Susan, for doing all of this planning to share outfit ideas. I hope you go a step further to dress up this base layer for a night out to the ballet or symphony. With so many Christmas events coming up, your dressy ideas would be appreciated.

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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.