Refining The Details

How we present ourselves speaks volumes before we say a word, so our style should evolve as we do. Fashion and style should help us feel confident and authentic. (Fashion is what you buy. Style is what you do with it.)

When I lost nearly fifty pounds a few years ago, I tried various looks while building my new wardrobe. I’m sharing some old photos to show how much of a difference the details of our style choices can make in our appearance.

The proportion in the above looks out of balance for my height and my legs’ length. The tops and even the necklace are too long for my body. Shapeless tops with dropped shoulders do not flatter older women with a fuller bust. (As I age, I am avoiding wide necklines.)

The best tops end at mid-hip, as in the photo below. The best silhouettes include slightly fitted elements that skim the body. (I am 5’5″ tall with an inverted triangle body shape.)

Slim straight-leg pants should stop at the most slender part of your leg. (Usually about two inches above the ankle bone.) Full-length tailored pants should touch the top of your foot. Wide-leg pants and flares should cover the shoe and almost touch the floor.

(Link to the post for product info.)

I often get questions about why I so rarely wear prints. Prints, particularly print tunics, overwhelm me, as seen in the photos above. I enjoy wearing a printed scarf or a patterned top peeking out from a solid-colored jacket or cardigan. The images below show better print choices for my personality.

Poor lighting is making my bottom half look pale.
(Link to the post for product info.)
(Link to the post for product info.)

I wear white jeans all year round on sunny days. I’ve learned from the mistakes I made with other fabrics. Almost all of my white pants are now in denim. If the material is too soft or the pants are too short or tight, the effect is unflattering.

The white ankle jeans (here) I am wearing below are timeless and will be flattering for years. The length will allow me to pair most types of shoes with them.

Jeans have always been a staple in my wardrobe, but the time has come to wear only dark or medium-wash blue jeans. If they are too faded or distressed, the effect isn’t as fresh looking as I would like.

(Link to the post for product info.)

Casual looks are always challenging since unstructured long tops become tentlike when I wear them. A better choice is a long-sleeved soft cotton tee that loosely fits my shape and ends at mid-hip. As the weather gets colder, I can layer on jackets and vests.

(Link to the post for product info.)

What is my most crucial styling tip of all? If you feel as if you are wearing a costume, don’t. Stay true to your personality and only wear what makes you feel like the best version of yourself.

(Link to the post for product info.)

Many of these photos are from the early days of my blogging career, so I showed you popular looks then. I have fully embraced classic basics in neutral colors in the past year. I know which silhouettes are best for me, so trends no longer tempt me. The simple details combine to create timeless looks that feel comfortable and authentic to my style personality.

  1. Susan, one of your best posts! Especially the pics in which you are wearing tented tops…I have a very similar body to you and now I can really see that those big tops are a huge mistake. Thank you so much for your informative blog.

  2. Wow Susan. What a truly informative blog. The photos definitely show how certain items can, though lovely, be a little unflattering even on someone as lovely as you. I especially like the examples of tent like tops and trouser lengths. Thank you so much for all that you show us xx

  3. Wow! I agree that this likely is my favorite of all your posts (aside from your kitchen tour). Your honesty and the detail with which your explain your choices is very helpful and spot on . I, too, had come to the same conclusion regarding classic style tops. The fit is always better than trendy swinging tunics that make me look like a circus tent, or sausage casings masquerading as twist front tops! In fact, just yesterday, I ordered four similar, simple long-sleeved tops in different colors. Ditching the busy patterns in my closet, too. Thank you so much for your blog. As an early-riser myself, I always check your posts first thing Tuesdays and Thursdays. I love how you encourage highlighting the best of ourselves.

  4. What great information. I used to buy some tops with prints and didn’t like how I felt in them. Going to my closet I then tended to choose something plain and now realize, more classic. I questioned my style but after following your blog for awhile, I now embrace my choices. I’m stilling learning what looks good on my body type but I’m getting there. Thanks again for all the good information Susan!!!

  5. Extremely helpful to see the “misses” and why they didn’t work for you! Several items in my closet are now going out the door because I am trying to force them to work when they were wrong for me from the day I bought them. And thanks for the pant length details. Saving this post!

  6. Thank you for this wonderful post, and I appreciate all the effort that went in to creating it. Because of you I have started going through my closet and deciding what is most flattering and tossing the rest. Thank You Susan – you are truly inspirational!

  7. Being forced to stay inside during this pandemic caused me to do a lot of purging in my closet. I, like you, struggle with casual looks, especially during hot weather. I recently removed a ton of jeans that were just too tight on my muscular calves. The problem for me, and everyone else, is that we know what would look good, but we just can’t always find it. That is the challenge. I congratulate you on your evolving style! Great column.

  8. Great post, Susan! This will help me greatly as I freshen up my closet, removing those items that no longer work.
    If you could only purchase two items for the upcoming season , what would they be?
    Thanks for your informative posts. I always look forward to them.

  9. This is such an important post for me. I am a shape that is similar to yours, but I am not as thin yet your tips really help me weed out my closet and guide me on future purchases. You have helped me save money on purchases that I liked but that really were the wrong proportion. Many thanks, again! lois

  10. Outstanding! I have learned SO much from you. Solids, flattering colors, proportion, fit and leave the prints and color pops to the accessories! And stay away from the trends, particularly if they don’t flatter who you are. Thank you for this lookback.

  11. I have to agree with all the other commentators. Great post. You are a wonderful teacher and the visuals of you in outfits that don’t work are very helpful in seeing your point.

  12. Susan,
    I have been reading your blog posts for a year now and have learned so much! I am your age, 5’2″ and a similar body type. Being 5’2″ adds a twist to learning what looks good on me – my legs are super short. Like you, patterned tops and even some patterned dresses simply overwhelm me. And forget the the flowing tops. I have purchased the latest trendy items before but, they never seem to hit the mark with my style so they end up hanging in my closet.

    Your blog has helped me to put together a wardrobe using the basics. I am learning how to mix and match to get different outfits and what looks best on me. I need to work on accessories now. They complete the look! I love the jewelry that you wear and keep entering every give away! Thanks for your blog! It has given me so much confidence to wear the look that I love!

  13. When you wear flat shoes, or sneakers, with your trousers/pants, they really suit you! You show several examples here.

  14. Thank you so much, Susan (again)! I’ve gained weight over the past few months and have been seeking long, colourful tops to hide my hips and bottom. (I call them fat tops.). My hips are the widest part of me. I think I’ll start taking pictures, as you have, and really assess how they look on me. I’m beginning to think these long tops are not as flattering as I’d like to think they are. Again, many thanks. Roseanne.

    P.S. I was truly appalled and disgusted that you had to close your Facebook page. It seems to me that the nastiness is just getting worse. It makes me despair. I wonder if it’s because they are simply mean spirited or very unhappy with themselves. Kind regards.

  15. This is an awesome post! Thanks for taking the time to collect all the photos; the visuals illustrate your points so well!

  16. You are sooooo right about tent tops and soft tops in general. We need some shape/structure. Otherwise, we can tend to look a little sloppy! Well done!

  17. Bravo, Susan! This is such a great lesson on choosing tops, pants, shoes, jewelry, etc that suit our individual bodies. Looking closely at the total outfit helps us develop a more critical eye for what works and what doesn’t. I think looking at pictures of our own outfits might help weed out items that don’t flatter us. Then the big step is to put it in a donate bag right away, whisk it into the car and drop it off! Putting it back on a hanger just makes us repeat the same cycle of “ maybe it will work this time…”. Whittling down unflattering or outdated items give us breathing space in our closets and makes putting outfits together so much easier and less frustrating. Our closets exude a feeling of peace rather than chaos when we walk in.
    You mentioned that you bought several of the same style tops in different colors. I’ve adopted that idea this fall. It’s not wearing the same top but rather choosing a brand that works for me. Why not get it in several colors?
    So thank you for helping us style ourselves into the best we can be. You keep us fresh and updated. -even those of us in our mid 70’s! Refreshing style is for everyone of all ages. It improves our looks and our outlook on life!

  18. What a great post! Valuable information to keep us classy and comfortable in our daily life. When I look at my outfit misses, most were made when I shopped end of season without a plan from clearance racks. As I shop for new fall additions to my wardrobe, I remember what you said about buying what works for you in your color, style, and size at the beginning of the season. Not that I don’t love a good sale though! Thanks for this learning experience by sharing your hits and misses.

  19. Susan, I agree with all the above posts that this is one of your best articles! I particularly like your most important tip about being yourself and that leads me to a question. You often wear or suggest jackets and I love that look….on you. After 40 years of professional work where I wore a suit jacket most every day, I just can’t add a jacket, I feel like I’m in a costume. I’m more a sweater girl ..actually love sweater sets although I understand that’s not a style now. My question is, are sweaters hopelessly outdated? Am I aging myself?

    1. Good news for us! Cardigan sweaters are going to be everywhere this fall and winter. They go perfectly with the more relaxed, casual stay at home looks that many of us are embracing. I have many cardigans that I wear almost every day during colder weather.

  20. I think you look stunning in the last picture with the white jacket, black pants and dark shoes and dark clutch purse.

    I guess I am from the “old” days in which I was taught to have the same color or darker colored shoes that blends with the bottom of your hem. Also with matching or blended shoes and purse. Other accessories should blend with either the clothes or shoes and handbag.

    You give a person something to think about in mixing up items. Some I can use while others not so much for myself. I am more like you used to be with an added 30 pounds. Right now, you could wear a paper bag and still look good, sigh.

    Clara from Iowa

  21. Absolutely one of your best posts! The most important part of it is the encouragement to continue to evolve throughout life. Never stop learning and growing. I struggle a bit with prints. I don’t usually wear prints except stripes or small geometric. I find myself attracted to beautiful designs but once they’re in my closet I seldom wear them. I think because they’re memorable and limiting as to how to put them together in an outfit. Now that we don’t see prints much in drapery or upholstered furniture, I don’t know how to incorporate the beauty of them into my life other than scarves.

  22. What a great post!! It was interesting looking back and your thoughts on if the looks worked or didn’t. I feel the same in the loose fitting tops. They may cover something but if feel that make me look big. Thanks for your work on this.

  23. It is rare to find a style blogger who remains true to herself. That’s why you will always be my favorite, Susan.

  24. Thank you for all the tips on how to (or not to) wear various lengths of tops and bottoms. I like white pants but they never look flattering on me; now I’m going to try a pair of white jeans and see if that works for me.

  25. This was such a fun and informative post! I’m a tee shirt and jeans type of girl and wondered, why at nearly 70, I always feel so uncomfortable in everything else. Last Sunday, as I dressed for church in a style very common in this area of the south I looked in the mirror and thought I looked like I was in a costume! It finally sunk in – cleaning out the closet now. Thank you

  26. I agree with everyone! Great post, very informative! I love your simple, classic styles. I just watched your video on how your closet is organized and that was really good, too.

  27. Thank you for the comparison of tops. I am going through my closet as the weather cools off and pulling tops out that no longer fit or are not flattering. I am struggling to let go of tops that were expensive but I have hardly worn due to the way they fit.

  28. Thank you for this most informative post. One of your best posts. Thank you for sharing what you’ve learned on your journey. It helps me to be more confident in my choices and style.
    The pictures of too long, tent shirts and pant length pointers are invaluable. I’m sure this post took a lot of your time, what with going through pictures ect. Thank you.

  29. Susan, Thanks for that comprehensive look at tops and bottoms! Very illuminating. I know it took some work on your part and I appreciate it!

  30. Wow! Your posting illustrates that most of us need to stay away from the flowing tops. Comparing them to your examples of a more fitted top illustrates the unflattering example perfectly. My challenge is to stop buying clothing for the life I don’t live any longer! I am no longer working, but I still am drawn to a more formal style. I now spend my time working in the yard, hiking and puttering around the house. When I do go out, I have too many choices in my closet! So many of my clothes hang unworn for months. So I’m looking to improve my everyday wear with attractive jeans, flattering tops and shoes for the very casual life I now live. I’m so glad you are including so many of these types of examples in your blog.

  31. Hi Susan. Wow, it’s amazing how different patterns, lengths, and fabrics make all the difference. Thank you for showing us your “Don’t” pictures and then the “Do’s”. Now I know why certain things don’t look good on me even though they might look great on someone else.

  32. Thank you! Throwback Thursday with Susan. A lot of work went into that post. Thought you’d do maybe just tops one time, bottoms another. Then accessories, layering, use of color, jewelry, outdoor wear, seasonal clothing, dress up, hair, glasses… (hint, hint!). It helps so much to see the “could be better” pictures. Have a good weekend!

  33. Excellent post, Susan. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into this!
    I am a print lover! I don’t wear them on clothing other than an occasional stripe, polka dot or small geometric. So to satisfy my itch I have collected a few accessories through the years. I found a paisley enamel bracelet in an antique store years ago. Also have print wool gloves and socks for winter, most in neutral colors.
    Also really like wedge sneakers that are less than 2″. Fashionable, comfortable and gives me a bit of much needed height. IMHO, the well chosen sneaker is God’s gift to those of any age!
    I’m 74 and learn something from each one of your posts and also from ladies who comment!

  34. I really enjoyed seeing all your photos over the years. The longer hair style on you looked amazing. So young and fresh.

      1. Disagree. I think your current short hair style is youthful and playful and a bit sassy but still elegant. You look great.

  35. GREAT ARTICLE which shows that one picture is, indeed, worth a thousand words. To me, nothing screams “old lady” like prints. With the exception of the occasional leopard print or striped tops, I avoid them like the plague. I can tell a Chico’s print outfit a mile away. (Although I purchase their pants and basic solid layering pieces). I have learned so much from your blog. I lost 42# a couple years ago and am 72 years of age. Now 5’6″ and 135#, With your example, I have been culling and redefining my closet. Only wish my hair had grown out silver – it is silver around my face and black in the back!!! I get a lot of lowlights to blend it all. Hope you continue to blog about your own journey for a good long while. And a belated Happy Birthday!

  36. Susan, thank you so much for this post. The pictures help me see the differences you are pointing out. We all need to evolve throughout the years in our clothing choices!

  37. Thank you for being willing to show your fashion “mistakes.” You have opened my eye to mistakes I am making! I am very appreciative !

  38. All I get is the title for the day when I click on th elink.
    My page today (and always) says Refining the Details and then
    Leave a Reply.,

  39. These comparisons are very eye opening. I’m only 5 feet with a 36 c bust and 64 yrs. I look top heavy with wide necklines, long tops. I also think tight jeans or jeggings don’t look good on me. Or Capris. I appreciate You doing all this work and figuring this out. My style has changed so much over the last 5 yrs. I really care how I look now. I have grown my hair out to my shoulders, it was pretty short and I think I look younger. I do like some trendy items, always have.
    Thank You Susan!

  40. Thanks for the wonderful post. Always appreciate your insight on your fashion style. So glad you are willing to share your style evolution. It can be difficult at any age but especially when we are in our 60s. Also enjoyed your post of your Birthday celebration. How kind and thoughtful of Mr. Mickey for all that he did. Happy belated birthday. Celebrate every day. Life is truly a gift.

  41. Susan,
    I love your blog better than all the others combined because you always look classy but modern. You have shown me how to have fewer pieces in my wardrobe, but always look stylish. I am only 5 feet tall, but slightly overweight, but with your tips, I always create a slim line beneath my 3rd layering piece.
    Thanks again for sharing your expertise with us.

  42. I also look better with more solid colors and I love different scarves for a pop of color. I’m only wearing dark denim jeans. I like your advice about wearing white year round. You have a lovely, classic look all of your clothes and accessories give you a balanced look. Thanks for sharing the tips you’ve learned. I’m 62, so very close in age to you!

  43. Read your informative blog early this morning, tucking a lot of it in my mind for future looks. Fast forward to this afternoon as I opened a delivery from Talbots and started to try on several items I ordered. I finally tried a pair of the slim ankle jeans, fit was fine, but the color was a big miss! Went back and read today’s blog again, remembering something you wrote about the dark and medium wash jeans working best and you are absolutely spot on! So the lighter colored jeans will be returned and I will always remember that tip. Thank you! Also, what are your thoughts on cross body handbags?

    1. When the task calls for a crossbody bag, I make sure I keep it on the front of my hip. If I let it slip too far back, the placement of the strap brings way too much attention to the girls.

  44. Susan,
    It’s great to see old pictures, and such a good way to improve on our mistakes. Do you plan to do a little more jewelry designing? The earrings are lovely. Pat

  45. This is hands down one of your best posts ever! Seeing “before” pics is so helpful to explain the concept and even though you wear most things beautifully, seeing how even you improve things makes me feel like I’m not the only one that has had less than flattering outfits when i thought they were “the bomb!” LOL!

  46. Great advice Susan. You are truly courageous for showing us your fashion faux pas.
    I was raised to only purchase classic and timeless clothing which I have always done with rare exception. I recently saw a beautiful print silk blouse that I considered purchasing but decided that the print would overwhelm me. I’m only 5’2 and I have thicker legs so, I have to really be careful that I don’t end up looking like I’m wearing a sack when I wear looser tops- especially longer tops ( I rarely tuck anything in anymore). I also agree about the dropped shoulders, which includes those shoulder seams that are halfway down the upper arm. To me, it looks like one is wearing a top that was poorly made. I wish that I felt more comfortable wearing heels like you do. I really need the height and it would help improve my looks.

    I must say that today’s version of Susan is the best version!

  47. Thank you for all of the effort you put into this enlightening post! I think you are telling us that you are most comfortable with necklaces that are on the upper chest and end no longer than between the breasts. Would you recommend the length for the third piece ( sweater/ jacket or vest ) end at the waist/ upper hip? You are an inspiration and wonderful teacher. Thank you- Mary Lou

  48. Yes yes yes. I see what you mean. Thank you for sharing the “oldies” that show us clearly what works and what doesn’t.
    Stay well!

  49. Thank you for showing earlier photos which are now DON’T photos.
    You always look lovely in these classic styles without prints..

  50. Hi Susan,
    I really enjoyed this post it was so informative. Seeing pictures really help see why an item does work. It also helped to have the links to items we can use to replace our mistakes. I cleaned out my closet last week but I will go back and pull all those big tent and prints tops. I left them in the closet as my just in case. Every time I tried to wear them I end up choosing something else. I also removed my sweater cardigans but will take them back out of my Goodwill bag. You are so right about them being everywhere this Fall. I just got a Frances Valentin catalog yesterday and they feature sweater cardigan that were priced upwards of $400. Your post was very timely and on point.

  51. Susan, thank you so much for sharing yourself with us. This was very helpful to have examples of what you are talking about. I LOVE this post.
    Happy birthday a few days late. I hope you are still celebrating.

  52. This post was outstanding and so very helpful. I will keep this in my folder and refer back to it many times. Thanks for being so honest about the mistakes one makes while trying to stay in style and current with the fashions.

  53. Susan, you seem like such a lovely person, inside and out. The photos and information you provide are exceedingly helpful to me. I can’t thank you enough! You’ve helped me gain clarity on my personal style, and to refine what’s in my closets as well as what I decide to purchase. Thank you so very, very much!!!!! Stay well! I so look forward to your future posts!!!! Kind regards, Kim Giancaspro (Richmond, VA)

  54. Susan, while I love your style, most is could easily say we are at least 15-20 pounds overweight and tired of fighting it. Close fitting do not creat confidence in me. Not sure about others. Have you given thought in your comments about those of us who aren’t slim andctrim like you.

  55. Susan, I so appreciated today’s post. The visuals you provided clearly illustrated your points. I believe that it’s a good idea for everyone to take photos of our outfits; it clearly demonstrates what we look like. I don’t think that looking at our image in a mirror necessarily gives us an accurate image of what we actually look like. So many of us try to replicate others’ outfits without taking into consideration our own body types, coloring, etc. Thank you again for all the effort that you put into this post.

    1. As usual, Mary Ann, you are spot on! I have learned to snap photos of outfits on my cell and it really can give me a better perspective. Photos show up things that we don’t always catch in a mirror.

  56. Loved this post. I could see what you were saying! I am also one who prefers classic looks. The big oversized tunics that have been popular looked awful. Tops that are too long I end up folding under to shorten. Thank you. I didn’t realize I was looking for affirmation but I have it now.

  57. Dear Susan,

    Thank you for your style tips. I appreciate all the time and thought you put into your posts. I’m 55, 5’5”, 130 lbs, 34c or d depending on the bra, wider shoulders, tend to put on weight in my bust and mid section. I also have a long torso and shorter legs. My shape is more of an hourglass. I have hips (and saddlebags) but slim legs. I have a waist but it’s not as tiny since menopause. I struggle to find a top that I feel comfortable in and that doesn’t draw attention to my bust. I also live in a tropical climate (Hong Kong). Heels are not an option because I walk everywhere on concrete. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture to attach, I’m usually behind the camera. I’d appreciate any advice you have to offer. It’s difficult to find clothes in HK that are sized for an American, Asians are much smaller and their fashion is not my taste. I do prefer neutrals and classics.

    Thank you.

    1. Never let tops or dress designs allow your waist to disappear under a shapeless form. Excess fabric equals extra girth visually, so avoid tops that are too long or boxy. Linen or cotton have always been my most comfortable choices when in the tropics. Design details such as darts give garments more flattering silhouettes for us busty gals.

  58. Love your blog, I completely agree that unstructured tops actually make one look larger and not at all flattering. What do you think of Chanel ballet flats? I tried the Margaux knock-offs and found them uncomfortable…thoughts?

  59. My favorite lavender blue on you but love that white jacket with black. So beautiful. Come to my closet one day! Lots of cardigans,,need white jeans.

  60. Dear Susan, Congratulations! You have improved your style and I love everything classic and subdued which you wear. It’s like decorating a home, we can add or subtract accessories to set the mood. I once read it’s better to be under dressed than over dressed.
    Keep up the good work. Judy

  61. I love seeing the different hair styles. Maybe a walk through time show different hairstyles and close up pictures?

  62. Hi Susan thank you for all your tips and great advice. Thanks to you I have got to know what works for me and this makes shopping and dressing so much more enjoyable. Please can you offer some tips about wearing makeup with a face mask

  63. Hi Susan, soooo glad I found your blog, you came into my life at just the right time, I was looking for a clothing role model who was simular colouring to me, and loved solid neutral colours, and there you wear! I’m trying to lose the excess pounds like you did, only I have double to lose. Please keep doing your blogs as I find them so interesting and always learn something from each one. Thanks Susan and keep on being you.
    Kind regards Denise xx

  64. This is an excellent post with lots of very useful information. The photos are extremely helpful. Could you define what you mean by “full length tailored pants?” Are they wider than slim straight leg pants? What are their other characteristics?
    Thank you.

      1. OOPS! I forgot to ask you if you could tell us which shoes work best with slim leg pants and which work best with tailored pants, both in style and in heel height. Perhaps you could refer me to a previous post for this information or consider including it in an upcoming post.
        Thank you.

        1. There are many styles of shoes that can work with each type of pants. The key is to wear shoes and pants that don’t fight for the same space. The tops of your shoes shouldn’t cause the hem of the pants to bunch up.

  65. This is a great post. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading you blog. as a seamstress(now retired) I do know all the rules of how to fit clothing on other people.You have reminded me to apply this to myself. I think at any age we get caught up in the fashion trend trap. Your blog has reminded me to think before putting that cute top that really doesn’t work for me in my cart.
    I think I have said it before ,but your blog is truly my favorite fashion blog out there.

    Have a great day,Karen Stofka

  66. Dear Susan,
    I follow your blog every week. It has the most useful
    information of any blog on the internet especially
    if one is over 60.
    I would like to hear more about your journey
    while losing 50 pounds. I would like to hear about your
    motivation and especially about the food you ate.
    Could you please include pictures of your transformation.

    Thank You,
    Janet F> Hebbard

  67. Your post hit home today! I am 61, and just received my color analysis. It was no surprise, as I tend to wear most of these colors anyway, but my aha moment came last night as I realize that all I have are printed tops- I am small chested and petite. The solid colors in my best colors are what I need! Now I need to slowly purge my closet of floral tops, and fill with fewer but my best colors in solid tops and eye popping accessories. Thank you for your posts – they brighten my day! Oh, and I get to go lipstick shopping! Mine are all currently neutral colors that do nothing for me!

  68. You are so right about sticking with the classics. You may feel okay in some of the fads, but when you look back at them, it is just not that great of a look. I wish I would have taken pictures of my self in several outfits to really see how I looked and what worked and didn’t work for my body shape. Thanks for steering me in the right direction.

  69. Thanks for the great blog on style. I agree that if you choose what looks good on you is what you should wear.

  70. Susan, thank you for this post. Your pictures and comments are very helpful. I’m 76 and still learning from your tips! I enjoy reading your blog. Bless you.

  71. You certainly have evolved into a very classy lady. I love your suggestions for dressing and look forward to your posts. I’ve learned so much about what works for my body shape, thanks to you.

  72. I came across your blog on Pinterest. Over the past three years I have lost 100 pounds and I realize I need to rethink my style. No it’s not a good time to go in the store and try on clothes, so I am following you and several other bloggers. From what you said in this post, I am on the right track. I do believe I’ll go buy a pair of white jeans.

    1. I stopped eating fast food, processed foods, meat, and dairy. I eat two small meals per day, skipping the evening meal on most days. Only vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, and fresh fruits are in my pantry and fridge now.

  73. Very helpful. As a plus size woman, I often look for trends, when I too look better in classic cute. Thank you!

  74. What a great post, Susan. The older pictures are really helpful – a picture paints a thousand words. I have always preferred classic styling and in winter have often chosen cashmere v-neck sweaters. This year I’m going to purchase more cashmere cardigans so that I can layer them with plain tops. I was always drawn to patterned tops but after reading your posts I now go for plain tops in my ‘autumn’ colours. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  75. Susan,
    This is a great post with very good information. I have learned so much from your suggestions. I am 5foot 5 inches tall with legs on the short side. So I can really relate to the pictures above. Thank you .

  76. I am a “Classics” person with what I choose to wear…..which is why I am here on your page. Some things do not work for me (like year round white jeans because I live in a much different colder climate…..I wear the white jeans in the Summer months and switch to more climate friendly options in the Winter). I take what works from what I see and leave the rest…..but happy to have at least one Classics Blogger to read (there are not many; Vivienne Files is another). Keep up the good work for all of us who rely on you! 🙂

  77. I love how you not only show the right way to dress your body but also the wrong way. Seeing both is really a big help. Thank you!! Happy belated birthday!

  78. This is my favorite post of all time. By showing things that don’t work versus those that do it gives me a much clearer picture of how to implement a timeless look. Thank you so much for your fabulous posts. You’re one of the things that’s got me through the pandemic

  79. Hello

    I think you look beautiful in all the pictures. The three tent tops were too large and one of the off the shoulder tops but all the others in my humble option are stunning.

    Have a lovely day.

  80. Hi,
    I enjoy your style and choices. I was wondering if you have ever shared how you lost and maintained your fifty pound weight loss? I would be very interested to hear, as weight loss is very hard to do as we age. Thanks for your response.


    1. I stopped eating fast food, processed foods, meat, and dairy. I eat two small meals per day, skipping the evening meal on most days. Only vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, and fresh fruits are in my pantry and fridge now.

  81. I love this post—lots of good info. And I love your personal style! A couple of questions for you.

    I am 5’8” with a triangle body shape. I’ve read other sources that recommend dark bottoms only for triangle body shape. I want to wear white jeans like you do—I think this is outfit envy. What is your opinion of light colored “bottoms” on a triangle body shape?

    You mentioned proportions and necklace length. What factors do you consider to determine visually appealing necklace length?

    Thank you!

    1. I have an inverted triangle shape, which means my shoulders are the widest part of my body, and my hips are the most narrow. If you are a triangle shape (also known as a pear shape), your hips may be the widest part of your body. That would be a case for wearing dark on the bottom and light on the top. My best looks are dark on the top and light on the bottom.

      I’ll use myself as an example again: The best long necklace lengths for me end below the bust and above the waistline. A pendant that rests on the chest (not the bust) and forms a V is best for my face shape.

  82. What a wonderful informative article. I enjoyed all the photos and I can see what you mean about finding the style that makes you the best version of yourself. Your advise is excellent for those who want a polished classic look.

  83. Hi Susan,

    Wow, you shared lots of tips on dressing for who you are and what your comfortable in. “Knowledge is power” and you certainly have worthwhile information to share. It’s fun to see the transformation that takes place with yourself and how your style personal style evolved over the years. Change is a constant isn’t it?

    Thank you,
    Katherine in Arizona

  84. Thank you for this post and all the photos. It was excellent. Now I’m going to toss my wide leg pants that feel like a costume!

  85. I will never forget the advice you sent me 2 years ago when I was attending my 45th class reunion…You told me to dress in whatever was most comfortable because it would give me confidence. I’m 4′ 11″ so I did exactly what you told me. I weigh around 105 lbs. so it’s very difficult to find what works best. I didn’t go out and buy anything new. Instead I used my full length mirror and tried on various combinations. I found the 3 most comfortable and wore those over the 2 days of our reunion. It worked! I was comfortable and had several compliments from classmates! BTW, I was very shy in H.S. and not part of the “in” crowd so I was somewhat intimidated about the whole thing. No need! At my age, those times are past and your advice did wonders in helping me. I also used that advice the next summer when we gathered for an evening out to dinner. Thanks so much! Keep up the advice and examples….

  86. Oh Susan, I see myself in those long print tops and I’m shocked I have so many of them! Like others have responded, I’m going through my closet and making a pile of give-aways! This post was very, very enlightening! Thank you!!
    And happy birthday!! Looks like a memorable celebration!

  87. Pictures say a thousand words! Maybe I should take pictures of myself in all my outfits! I think they allow us to see what really looks good on us more than mirrors! I used to wear longer tops thinking they would make me look slimmer and hide my hips! Now that I have lost 35 lbs I embrace the mid hip or just below but not mid thigh any more! Thanks for an enlightening post!

  88. I just wanted you to know that I have learned so much from you and I’m amazed at how often your good advice pops into my brain when I see an outfit on someone (often another style blogger) that could be easily improved with a few smart tweaks. Keep up the good work!

  89. I honestly think this is the most informative blog I have ever read. I cannot thank you enough for this info. I am going to take my clothes with design out and pay much more attention to the details you mentioned. Thank you

  90. This is why you are my favorite blogger. You have carefully explained to us and shown us examples to follow. You are an outstanding teacher. I appreciate all the work you put into your blog. I have learned so much from you. Thank you!

  91. Susan,
    Excellent post…,
    This is the info that we need…. or maybe better stated I certainly do !
    So many times … “I love this top/sweater/pants/jeans/shoes” on the model or on the hanger or on so and so (insert whoever you’d like). but somehow it falls short on me. We have all been a slave to fashion/ trends at one time or another and sometimes continue to err, but your comparison photos help demonstrate why we need to follow our own compass. Thanks again for this terrific post.

  92. I think you look wonderful in all the photos (the do and don’t), but of course you are the expert in your own style. Thanks for enjoyable post.

  93. This was excellent information! Answered a lot of questions I’ve had. I saved this episode for later reference.

  94. Thank you very, very much for this post. I have distilled many things but remembering to keep it simple, ladylike and classy to fit our own bodies and lifestyles seems to be the key. Nothing we wear needs to shout, as befits a “woman of a certain age.” Dressing trendy or even “sexy” is ludicrous on mature ladies and does not make us look any younger. I have even simplified my accessories to just those classic pieces that are TIMELESS. Less is certainly more, and that includes everything–clothing, shoes, jewelry. When I meet someone, I want them to see me first–not my scarf, necklace, handbag, shoes, etc. Has simplified my closet and life, allowing me to have less but better quality. Seems to me that you are moving in this direction, Susan. It can be hard to resist the siren song of New!, More!, On Sale!, Look at Me! but I have made giant strides in that direction. My closet is not packed but it can be best described as quality and timeless.

  95. You always look so stylish and you have really helped me find my style. I often love your outfits and buy the same items you are wearing. I favor the classic styles that Talbots offer, I’m currently waiting the arrival of my new red trench coat from Talbots. I loved how stylish it looked on you. I look forward to your emails every day.
    Thanks for sharing.

  96. Wow! One of your best posts, Susan! I have learned so much from you! And, I find I can easily apply what I’ve learned using what I have in my closet.

    Since quarantine began I have stopped dyeing my hair and cut it short- your suggestion to wear lots of hats was very helpful. Do you have any thoughts about colors for someone who was originally brunette and has brown eyes?

    Also, I retired from a long teaching career in June and want a new, more mature look – again, your experience and eye for detail are guiding my decisions. There is little I need to buy; I am just re-purposing what I have and donating a few things.

  97. Really appreciate your honest approach to providing style advice. You don’t shy away from ‘don’ts’ when displaying your journey to an authentic approach to fashion.

  98. Thank you for such an informative post! And yes it is true, a picture is worth a thousand words. At first I didn’t agree with your first set of pictures as I liked your choices, but then as I went back and studied them, I began to see what you meant. I am realizing also, that the larger, long tent like tops really are not that flattering and do add pounds. I agree that a more form-fitting, lightweight top that is mid hip is much better for me. Wow, lots to learn. The good news is I have always been more of a solid color girl as prints are to busy for me and I have always liked the more classic look on me. While other looks or styles may be appealing, I just don’t feel they are me, like I do when I’m in the more classic look. Please continue to do more posts like this, so very helpful. Thank you!

  99. Susan, I agree with everyone this is one of your best posts ever. Delightfully informative!
    All your points are great and I totally agree with each one. Sad to see mature women wear clothes much too young (perhaps from the junior department), poorly made or inappropriate for their age. Just because an item fits doesn’t necessarily mean you should wear it. I agree with your comments on prints too. I personally would add that I avoid capris or pants that are too short, cold shoulder tops and jeans that show any distressing. I love the classic, tailored look in nice fabrics and for the most part solid colors but I do like a classic geometric print under solid cardigans and jackets. And, I always looked for blouses with structure and a nice collar to pop up. Updated makeup and hair and shoes with a little height complete the look. Thanks again for the great post.

  100. This was another wonderful post! Thank you for taking the time to put it together but I hope you know how beneficial it was. Always appreciate (and need) your advice! Thank you Susan.

  101. The perfect post .Thank you Susan!
    Please give advice about dresses too in the past and now.Susan you are a treasure for me.

  102. Excellent post! You echoed my mantra for years, “Your mirror will lie to you, but the camera never does.” Any time I put together a new outfit, I takes mirror selfies from different angles to get a truer picture. I never understood why the printed, scoop neck, longer flowy tops looked terribly aging on me, but you explained it. We have different body types, I’m 5 foot 2 inches, 115 lbs and pretty evenly proportioned. I stick to close fitting (not tight) tailored classics and keep the femininity with my accessories, always remembering the “rule of the third piece” even in my casual wear. I know your blogging takes a lot of time and preparation, we only see the finished product. Keep on posting!

  103. Your birthday post was simply lovely. You looked so very nice in your outfit and jewelry choices. It was touching to see the extra effort Mr. Mikey went to so your dinner would be perfect. Wishing you a test filled with all good things.

    I have learned a lot reading your site. I’m a plus size woman that likes basic with jewelry and wonderful scarves. Do you have any suggestions for plus size basics and where would you recommend I look for scarves? Thank you!

  104. I am new to this blog. I find some of the comments from your readers educational, as well as your column.

    Do you ever publish constructive criticism? Don’t see that here. I know it is your column, your rules, but seems as if some of these prior “looks” would have been subject to that when originally published, making for a learning experience even then.

  105. Susan, I really learned a lot from your post. In fact, the last three or four posts have been very enjoyable and inspiring to me. I am also 64 years of age. This past year has been a tough one with too many losses. I need to reboot overall and your posts help me do that. Headed to the closet this week to purge again! Oh yes, and I jumped at that Talbot red coat you suggested. It’s so fun and comfortable. Now I need to beef up my winter selections – our weather here in MI is quite a bit colder and wetter in comparison! Thanks again!

  106. I like the classic styles Today I was going to use a coupon at Tablots in Walnut Creek Ca. I was very sad to learn that it is now closed. It was my go to store. Nordstrom’s use to be but I find that it has styles that are too way out for me. I am 73 and medium built. I am looking for a classic wool blazer in black Do u have any places to look. Love the schee socks

  107. Hi Susan, I don’t comment often, but I have to say this is a wonderful post. I like seeing how your style has evolved, for the better. I think I will start taking pictures of myself to critique. Your current style is very close to my own, and I look forward to each post. So happy you are still at it!

  108. Susan your advice in this post is spot on. Looking at you in your outfits totally shows why certain things work and why others don’t. It also is showing me why I don’t like certain things on myself. Thanks for drawing the spotlight to this and showing me how to get it right. I just find that I love the classics and really don’t want to be someone’s art project which I am beginning to feel a lot of clothing is.

  109. This may be my favorite post! It is so helpful to see your previous outfits along with your critique with explanations of why things didn’t work. And then your current outfits with an explanation make so much sense! I adore how comfortable you are in your clothes, and how your selections reflect your age, body type, lifestyle, and personality. Thank you so much for sharing these!

  110. HI Susan, you look fantastic! I really really enjoyed your blog. I use to follow you when you were Fifty not Frumpy.
    I am the same shape as you but before your weight loss. You are now my inspiration! 🙂

  111. Great style, quite agree with changes you made, I wear dark jeans,mid length tops, and I love a scarf in the chilly weather and here in the uk weather is pretty rubbish at the moment. So having to wear autumn clothes.

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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.