Salvaging Black Pieces

If you are like me, you have many beautiful pieces in your wardrobe that are black. The fashion industry has been pushing black as the perfect color for decades, so it isn’t surprising that we often own a lot of it. It is cost-effective for manufacturers to produce lines in all black.

Today, I share some tips to help you continue to use and enjoy the black items in your wardrobe. (Black may now be too harsh for our softer coloring.)

I own three dramatic evening coats, which happen to all be black. When I wear these coats, I always add bold, bright large earrings to bring light to my face. (I never pair a necklace with statement earrings. That’s just too much going on in the same place.) Wearing a simple top in a beautiful red or royal blue places a more flattering color near my face and provides a break. The low slung belt defines the waist and keeps me from appearing as a large rectangle. As long as the belt goes over a top that falls straight over the tummy, I can still wear it. I would never tuck in the top and wear a belt because that would show the whole waistline and draw attention.

The stunning jacket or evening coat is by IC Collection from My Fair Lady. The earrings were a Christmas gift from Mr. Mickey. The hook belt is from Chico’s a few years ago. The pants are also old from Chico’s. The shoes are a few years old as well.

The star of the show for this week was the Covered Perfectly top with long sleeves in red. You will find it and several other styles and colors here. When you buy two tops, the third is free! See it in a casual look here. It is featured in a business look here.

Beautycounter, found here is my favorite skincare and makeup. I model for and wear Covered Perfectly tops often, found here. Referral and affiliate links may generate a small commission for me at no additional cost to you.

      1. I love the long sleeve red, I don’t understand how pushing up the sleeves takes 5 lbs away. I agree, Pat, stunning!

        1. If you are wearing an oxford button-up shirt (for example) and a pair of jeans, rolling or cuffing the sleeves so that your forearms show, makes you appear more slender. Showing ankles and wrists always makes you look smaller when you are wearing something more voluminous.

  1. Thank you for the great ideas. Once again I am looking at items I already have with a view to wearing them differently. Hope we see more ideas and inspiration like this series as I’m trying to buy less and buy better. Love the pop of red at the cuffs for a cooler weather look.

  2. While many people can never wear black successfully, and it is true that age brings some changes in what colors still flatter us, I find that black is still a wonderful basic for me. I have very dark eyes, though, with the gray hair. Don’t know if this makes the difference.

  3. Thanks for the pointers you included today; these outfits are right up my alley. I have a question and I hope you can advise me. I am 5′ 4″, busty and short waisted, 142 lbs. Try as I might, I can’t quite define my body type, which I’d really like to do so I can learn more about accentuating my positives and distracting my “flaws”. I seem to fall between an Hourglass and a Rectangle; I do have a defined waist, but it is not quite as defined as some guides require, pushing me into the Rectangle category, but my look isn’t really long and lean due to my short waist and a tummy pooch.
    Finally, my question. I love the belt you are wearing with the black jacket, and the one you linked from Chico’s. Can you guide me as to which belt would be better for my body? Will the narrower belt, which sits at the waist (the Chico;s belt) accentuate my waist, or does that cause the tummy to seem to bulge and look worse? Does a belt with a larger closure that drops a bit over the tummy area “hide” the tummy or does it draw attention and turn the pooch into a target? This is a wordy question, but I do appreciate your insight. Thanks for all the lessons you share with those of us willing to learn.

    1. Rather than trying to fit into a body type box, I encourage you to address your body in sections. (Most people don’t fit into the fruit or geometric shape categories.) Here’s what I mean using my own body as an example: Short neck = Only wear low or V necklines. Wide or full waistline = only show a bit of the front with a straight top that falls neatly below the tummy. Short legs = avoid long tops, cropped pants or any pants that don’t touch the top of the foot. Big bust = keep tops clean and simple, avoid long full tops that cause the tent effect.

    2. Thank you Susan. This is a great strategy and will be a big help to me. It really simplifies the search for proper components. I am grateful for your insight. Thank you for responding!

  4. Thank you for sharing, i love wearing black and white

    I have been inspired by reading your blog to help me with my wardrobe, I am nearly 72 and have just lost 18 kilos and having to start over with buying clothes. I have started to buy clothes that I can mix and match.I will use a pop of colour like blue or red or purple. Once again thankyou and i will look forward to the next one.


  5. I’d like you to know how much I appreciate the time and trouble you go to in giving help to the more mature female population You are just an inspiration to so many, myself included .

  6. Thank you for the suggestions on how to wear black at this stage of life. Like you, I have several quality black pieces in my closet and need to learn how to wear them in a flattering way. I am trying to transition to navy as you suggested in your blog. I can see the benefit of the navy against my skin tone vs the black. Enjoy your weekend.

  7. You always look so together. I am new to your blog and am in need of fashion help! I’ve lived overseas for 10 years and have many of the same things I came here with! So, imagine outdated, faded favorites and a few exploratory pieces that just did not work, and that’s my wardrobe. Thank you !

  8. Black and red are such a powerful color combo! Would you ever wear a leopard print belt in with that color combo? I am considering it and wondered if you have any examples or times where you have. Thanks for ALL you do. Sad to lose the crepe basics options. They are a perfect component!

  9. Hi Susan – I love this look! I was wondering about the belt from Chico’s and sizing. I usually wear a size 14 pant – should I order a S/M or the L?
    Thank you!

  10. this photo your skin is luminescent…what do you have on your face? Your makeup is flawlwss..can you just the products?

    1. Thank you, Sandi. I am not wearing any foundation. I have used Beautycounter skin care products every day for the past year and a half. I have never had better skin! In these photos I am wearing a little gray brow color to fill in sparse brows, a grayish taupe eyeshadow blended well, a charcoal colored eyeliner pencil applied to the base of my upper lashline only, mascara, a little blush on the outside of my cheekbones, and lip color. If you want to try Beautycounter products click here. If you need help with choosing the right products for your skin type, email me with your questions here.

  11. I am trying to completely start over on my wardrobe! I also work from home. I need some help on something to wear besides sweats! 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.