Saturday Brunch Date

What results when we don’t consider what looks best on us? The look I wore to brunch on Saturday was comfortable and appropriate for the venue. It complemented my adventure partner’s attire without being too matchy-matchy. However, the combination wasn’t my most flattering look.

None of these items are new, and most of them are now in the to-be-donated bag. The jacket I wore here inspired me to purchase the white faux leather moto jacket. The fabric moto is much more appealing because it is soft and supple with a more flattering neckline and fit.

The off-white faux leather jacket’s high full collar and wide lapels make my face look round and my neck shorter. Covering the wrists, ankles, collarbones, and our most slender parts makes us look larger. The wide-leg pants fall from the top of my hip, hiding my thighs and making me look heavier. The lighter color on top with a darker one at the bottom doesn’t help visually balance my larger top with my narrower bottom half.

Looking at yourself in the mirror gives a different perspective than seeing a photo of yourself since the mirror provides a reverse image. However, a photograph shows you how you look to others. A photo lighting tip to keep in mind is to seek shade when the sun is high since that is the harshest lighting, and the shadows it creates will add years to your face.

I wore the opposite color combo a few months ago, and the results were much more modern and flattering. On the other hand, I weigh the same but look larger and a bit outdated in the white jacket. Hopefully, sharing what I learn helps you make the most of your wardrobe and favorite attributes.

Mr. Mickey always gets it right! We enjoyed the most delightful brunch at the Omni Grove Park Inn on the Sunset Terrace. The view is impressive, and the service is always top-notch.

The Lobster Cobb Salad is always excellent, but we ask them to hold the bacon.

We ordered the cheesecake and the banana pudding, and Mr. Mickey was delighted to finish mine.

After relaxing in the Great Hall to watch people and chat with other visitors, we drove through the surrounding neighborhood. Asheville has many resident black bears, and it isn’t unusual to catch a glimpse of them searching for something to eat. We were delighted to see a mama bear with three rambunctious cubs. They rarely stop moving and playing, so getting a photo was very difficult. When I snapped the image below, two of the cubs had already crested the hill.

Mama was being bitten by something, so I zoomed in for the shot below when she sat to scratch and fought off the offending bug or bee. It was such a delight to see these beautiful animals roaming free.

BearWise® is a regional outreach effort to provide science-based resources and communicate consistent and compelling messaging about how to live responsibly with black bears. BearWise encourages residents, businesses, and entire communities to take action to keep bears wild and people safe.

  1. Thank you so much for all the work and honesty on your blog! In my very amateur fashion-wise eyes, I believe the black and white contrast near your face might be too harsh and draining. The solid black serves you so much better. With my white-gray hair and light eyes, I tend to gravitate toward a more tonal wardrobe.
    Because of reading your blog, my husband and I had a wonderful dinner at the end of May at the Sunset Terrace at Omni Grove Park Inn while in the Asheville area. Thank you so much for your lovely recommendations!

  2. Thank you for another great post. I appreciate that you show your style missteps alongside of your fabulous looks. It’s useful to see the amazing difference that the proper proportions can make in an outfit. Your previous post on Style Guidelines was also very helpful. I’ve been following your blog and trying to apply your tips for years but it’s helpful to have a compilation of them all in one place. Thank you again!

  3. Hi Susan, thanks for showing your photos to show a perfect example of wearing clothes that do not flatter, and another that does. This seems to be the perfect time for me to take a critical look at what I am wearing, and how it looks now the colder weather is creeping in. I feel a few charity donations will come out of my wardrobe. You have so many good practical tips for wearing the right clothes for your shape and colouring. More of the comparison photos would be great. Oh, by the way Susan, I must be honest and say that in my opinion your hair a little shorter suits you beautifully.

  4. Wow… those two pictures say it all. Thank you for sharing these real life pictures and the different perspectives. You’re posts are so practical and helpful!

  5. Oh gosh I did enjoy that post … though I thought you looked lovely in the white jacket ! The second photo did illustrate perfectly what you meant however so I have made a mental note to take this on board . The food looked delicious and how wonderful to see the bears … not something you would ever see here in the Uk . We’re coming to NY at the end of November and I would really love a post with some help with packing … six days in NY including an evening at the Met … then a week on the QM2 coming back … three formal nights included so I would love some advice on how to pack lightly but appropriately !

    1. I’ve always found it helpful to pack limited solid colors in fabrics that work together. Then, if they can be layered and dressed up or down with accessories, you will get lots of looks from fewer pieces.

  6. So it seems as though almost everyone would do better to show wrists and ankles, since that would universally be the smallest part of our body. Am I thinking that through correctly? This comparison of the light color on the bottom is sooo helpful.

    1. You are correct. When the weather allows, it is flattering to show the wrist, collarbones, and ankles if you are happy with those bits. (For example, some women would rather not show their ankles at all.)

  7. I did something similar this weekend. A friend of mine suggested we wear something “cheerful “ for our lunch date. Bright colors or florals are not my comfort zone but I did have a lightweight cotton sweater that had a color block design ( purchased on sale) that I had not worn yet. Big mistake! I was not comfortable with the way I looked and regretted wearing the sweater. Needless to say it’s in my donation bag. I should have just chosen from my favorites ( navy, gray, white, black) and carried a colorful bag or scarf. Lesson learned! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Great post. I do think that the shorter haircut in the older picture is more youthful and modern looking though.
    We must go back and visit the Grove Park Inn. It’s beautiful.

  9. Hi Susan, What a special and unexpected treat to see the photos of the black bears! I did like your outfit from yesterday, but I can definitely see why you prefer the one from May. Mr. Mickey, looking sharp as always. I really should wait to read your posts that feature food until after I’ve eaten! Everything looks delicious.

  10. Oh my word, that is amazing that you see wild bears while you’re out to lunch! I live in the middle of one of the UK’s National Parks and we see nothing more exciting than deer. ( although there are ponies and donkeys roaming which are very cute, especially the babies) But I’m very impressed by the bears, thank you for sharing your photos.

  11. You’re spot-on about the high collored jacket. Perhaps a longer necklace to extend a v-shape would have helped.
    But, I don’t think a white top with the white jacket/black pants would have looked better. With the pants and the jacket a black shirt was the way to go.

    IN the end we look like what we look like, and all we can do is be glad we’re drawing breath and have our health.
    Happy Fall!

  12. Is the Moto jacket you wore Saturday (you did not like) the same one that is in the last picture of your montage from the previous blog (your favorite looks)?

  13. Dear Susan,
    I have enjoyed following your blog for many years now and am always learning new and helpful information.
    I am 77, 5’ 5”, 125 pounds with basically an hourglass figure. Unfortunately, I’m becoming more stooped with age. Do you have any advice on how to dress to over come this?

  14. Dear Susan, Thank you for your willingness to share; your tips are priceless. Would you be willing to discuss what earrings you choose to flatter? I am not overweight but I have a round face and I struggle to find earrings. Thank you!!

    1. The most flattering earrings for a roundish face are oval or linear. I avoid round ones even when they are tiny. For example, my favorite studs are silver with small crystals set in a hexagon shape setting.

  15. I thought you looked fine in the first photo and were being a bit hard on yourself. But then, I saw the second photo and looked again. Yes! Your analysis is in target as usual. You did look just fine in the first, but not your best. A reminder, to not be easily satisfied but to level up. Thank you for the inspiration yet again.

    1. Each time I wore that jacket, I felt “inflated,” but I had never seen a picture of myself wearing it. As soon as I looked at the photos from Saturday, I knew I would never wear it again, even though it looked OK in the mirror.

  16. I understand! I donated my (expensive for me) two moto jackets cuz I finally realized they were too short for me, even tho I am short waisted. Plus my waist is thick, so not a style for me. I also donated most of my tunics cuz my bottom half is more narrow, like yours. Money wasted, but you helped me understand why I didn’t want to wear those items or didn’t feel good in them. But now the opportunity to save money by not buying what won’t work for me! Also, I think the lighting is so different in the photos….a big factor!

  17. Thank you so much for this post! I always learn from you, but I believe I’ve learned more from this post than any other.

  18. Thank you for showing that even expert stylists like yourself get it wrong sometimes! Lol And it helps SO much to see the side by side photos that show the difference.

  19. Thanks for sharing this post. Very helpful. I agree with some of the other posters that this post was quite informative !

  20. Glad one of the commenters asked you about the difference between the 2 white moto jackets you’ve featured (the unpreferred and the preferred) because I was really getting confused about what the lesson was! Now I understand. It’s the fabric and the cut of the jacket, even when they are the same style …. stiff vs. soft fabric, neck opening, etc. Great lesson for all of us with your body style (me). I like your hair long as well as short. When it’s longer, one just makes sure the neck and chest are more prominently displayed.

  21. When I first saw your photo with the wide legs and white jacket I thought “now that’s a miss!” So glad those pieces have left your wardrobe. Your explanation was spot on. Thanks for sharing Susan.

  22. Hi Susan!

    As soon as I opened this email, I thought – this does not look like the Susan I have come to know and love. Dare I say … a bit drab and just “not right”?

    What was very helpful to me was the WHY of what went wrong. A white jacket can be right so many ways … and so wrong so many ways. It is very helpful to me to learn the why of something wrong.

    Thanks for all you do!


  23. I really appreciate your side by side photos and your analysis is spot on.
    Please do more of this!
    Thank you,
    Janice Little

  24. I see your point, but the white jacket is great. You always talk about a slim column of solid color and that would work with the jacket. Lose the wide leg pants but rescue the jacket!

    Thanks for all you do and all you are.


  25. I have that same jacket in a different color, and I agree. The wide lapels and the fact that I can’t roll or push up the sleeves makes me feel like I’m wearing something that’s too large, although it’s not. It seems to add bulk. Now I know it’s not just me, so it might be something I sell or donate. Actually, I’ve never even worn it out, although I’ve put it on a few times but never felt comfortable and changed before leaving. So glad I saw this email. Thank you.

  26. Susan, in the collage of posts you recently shared, you were wearing the white moto jacket with black pants but the jacket was zipped and looked wonderful! You always look beautiful. Thanks for the guidance

  27. Showing the two photographs together really helps me to ‘see’ your explanation about the two outfits. Good tip for me to remember. Still, you always look lovely, & Mr. Mickey always looks sharp, too.

  28. Gosh, I found this post very interesting. At first glance I was surprised to see you wearing the white jacket outfit, as I did not find the outfit to be one of your most flattering combinations. It didn’t take me long to discover that you felt the same way. I have noticed many influencers/bloggers are choosing to feature trends that add what appears to be a lot of weight to their bodies. It is easy to be tempted to follow the trends and appear to be current with what the industry is selling us. I keep thinking about the statement I read that said something like, “don’t pay attention to all the current fashion noise”. I also like the idea of “classy yet trendy”. I think you do classy yet current very well.

  29. Wow! What a difference! Thank you for the comparison and the information about looking in the mirror vs a photograph. I had never thought about that. I had also not thought about the lapel size that much either. Your lapels didn’t seem oversized at all, but I see what you mean. Good advice on lighting as well. Again, thank you!

  30. How beautiful it is there. There are so many stunning venues to enjoy. The bears are such a treat, we have many here in the Pacific Northwest but not quite as conspicuous. I admire your ability to critique your outfits so well. That’s a real art. Since reading your blog, I dress with my floor length mirror and take a critical eye to my outfit. How it hangs, where pieces stop, length, color etc. also I find I try a selection of shoes with each outfit and it’s such a remarkable difference in the look of the outfit. I no longer just grab a pair and go out the door!

  31. Love the comparison photos. And the info about why I look ok in a mirror but then don’t look great in a photo. Pictures don’t lie!

  32. Ah, Susan, ever the perfectionist Virgo!
    Seriously though, striving to look our best is never in vain and being honest about ourselves is also really important. If I had seen the first picture in isolation, I would have thought nothing other than you look your usual fresh and groomed self. However, the contrast between the two photos is telling. Despite the white trousers, you look so much more slender! A lesson for us all ….
    Perhaps when you do one of your wardrobe audits in the future and you decide what to discard and why, that could be the subject of a post?
    As always, thank you for all you do.

  33. I love the comparison photos although unlike you I think the jacket looks great. I personally believe it is the width of the black pants that may be the problem. When you wear a slimmer pant your legs look so much slimmer and longer. I have always thought this is one of your best features. As always I greatly enjoy all that you do.

  34. When I saw your photo, I thought, “I don’t like this…” Little did I know you were going to discuss how to use clothing to visually adjust your body’s balance to achieve a more flattery look! You helped me to learn the way to make my look more flattering by giving examples of clothing that can make or break a look on one’s body. Thanks for the inspiring post!

  35. I enjoy your side by sides very much although I do think that the white jacket looks very nice on you. In my opinion the wide legs pants do not do you justice. The slimmer style always makes your legs look so long and lean. This is one of your best features . Thank you for all you do.

  36. As always, your style tips are very helpful. You just confirmed why I don’t own a white jacket. Even though my figure type is opposite of yours and I’m 5’3- white jackets overwhelme my narrow shoulders and draw attention to my hips.

  37. Hi Susan, you look stunning in both outfits ! You are inspiring. What a lovely venue for lunch and bear sighting was a bonus. I really look forward to your posts. Thank you.

  38. Wow! This may be my favorite blog of yours. At first glance, my reaction was “Oh no, not flattering and not Susan’s style”. However, your explanation of the mechanics of the outfit made it clear that an unflattering outfit is so much more than “not a person’s style”. I really appreciate the way your broke the outfit down, examining all the small details that led to my negative impression. I realize now that styling is so much more than an artful eye; a good deal of critical thinking is involved in creating a stunning outfit!

  39. It’s amazing how a good looking outfit can seem so outdated so quickly! This side to side comparison is really amazing, and I agree, taking a picture is such a good learning tool. I love this post as that; a teaching tool. Wonderful!
    We’re always fine tuning aren’t we? Right now I have 9 boxes of clothes ready to donate. I’ve learned so much over this past year about my “don’ts” in fashion. You have been one of my teachers!

  40. Great information once again, thank you Susan! The comparison photos along with your explanation really helped make it clear.

  41. Susan
    I am enjoying reading your website. My body is the opposite of yours with larger hips and stomach. I am 74, 5 ft 3 in and 150 lb.. We are very active with 7 grandchildren and volunteering. I am blonde and feel more comfortable in neutral colors … Blue being my favourite. I purchase much of my clothes from Talbots and JJill but feel I still look overweight. Any suggestions?
    Thank you

  42. You are such a help and inspiration to me! Seeing your own occasional not -so- good choices is particularly helpful it really illustrates how knowing what looks good on us is much more important than following the latest trend.
    Keep up the good work.

  43. I think you are too hard on yourself. I agree it is not the greatest jacket you have ever worn but is still pretty. Since it is already paid for, I would keep it and just wear it occasionally. Most people don’t pay that much attention to other people anyway!!!

  44. Susan thank you for sharing this post to highlight the difference our selection of what we wear can flatter or not. And your post does just that. May outfit flatters you, not so much the September. Glad to see you are a Bear Wise follower.

  45. Hi. I can say this because I just got a haircut. I feel so happy and lighter. Just my opinion, but the shorter style makes you look younger and more slender. I love all your honest advice.

  46. WOW! What a great post. I can not get over the difference in the 2 photos! Your face does look rounder in the September photo. Could the longer hair cut have something to do with it as well?
    Really enjoy your blog.

  47. Susan I think you are too hard on yourself. I loved all the outfits and thought you looked great in all of them. Glad you had such a great day and bear watching too. Hi to Mr. Mickey.
    Patty V

  48. Susan thank you for sharing this post to highlight the difference our selection of what we wear can flatter or not; and your post does just that. May outfit flatters you Glad you are a BearWise follower.

  49. Hi Susan,

    If you think your coconut oil conditioning treatment is good would you please share the name with me.
    I have dry looking hair.
    Thanking you in advance.

    1. I use a dollop of organic coconut oil from the grocery or health food store. I massage it into my hands and then the ends and back of my hair; I wrap a plastic grocery bag and a than towel around my head. About an hour later, I shower and shampoo my hair and style as usual. It gives me back some shine and fullness.

  50. My husband and I had a wonderful dinner at the Sunset Terrace in August. Love your posts and recommendations. You are a lucky woman to be friends with Mr. Mickey!

  51. Hi Susan,
    Thank you for your reply. A hair stylist of ours told us about Life-flo 100% pure Fractionated Coconut Oil. I purchased this back in April 2016 from Sprouts. Sprouts is like a Whole Foods. I’ve been wanting to give my hair this treatment but I just never got around to it. I believe it’s time to refresh this product.

  52. Didn’t think the outfit looked bad until I saw the comparison. You do look slimmer in the outfit in the right. I think the shaded lighting is kinder than the full sun lighting on the left. That always makes a difference.
    Please do more of these comparisons photos of …
    Meh, not bad vs. wow, looks great !
    What style books have you read along that you felt helped you make correct clothing choices ?

  53. I like both photos of you in the outfits. You always look fashionable and your accessories are on point. I’ve decided you can’t look wrong in your wardrobe choices…lol.
    When I get dressed, definitely some outfits look better but I want to break out a little and try a current popular color or style.
    I enjoy your site.

  54. As I read your critique of your outfit , I was thinking you were being too harsh on yourself, but when you put the two photos side by side I was amazed at how correct you were. Wow

  55. Thank you for pointing out that the full collar was not the best look for you. I could see that the jacket was not perfect but couldn’t figure out why. Also, in a prior post you indicated that you ordered a top in petite so it would be shorter. It was like a light bulb went on for me. Having never been a petite size I had never considered ordering a top in petite.

  56. Thank you for sharing your expert styling tips. The rounded neckline top and shorter hairstyle just showcase your beautiful face.

  57. I can’t believe you weigh 145 lbs. How tall are you? I would have guessed 110! Thanks for these tips – my figure is very similar to yours, except I’m probably 15 pounds too heavy. I’m going to put a short, white, cotton jacket in my donate bag. It’s a darling jacket but too much up top for me. And now I understand why! I always enjoy your articles.

  58. This is definitely meant to be a compliment but I am so glad to learn that even you, who is always so put together, can make wardrobe mistakes too. I first looked at the pix and sort of cringed as it didn’t seem like your usual look. Upon, reading I see you also felt that. Now if I could just get to the out of the closet part instead of thinking maybe with a different top. You are still my inspiration. Thank you, Susan

  59. Thank you Susan for sharing your misses as well as successes, great of you to share your insights. best regards, Gail N.Z.

  60. Susan. I think the shorter hair in the May picture is also more youthful. Hope you don’t mind my saying so!

  61. Thank you for your insight! I was just about to wear your 1st combo to a fall wedding. Looks like I will have to keep my eyes open for new ideas! Take care and always look forward to your post! Karen

  62. Hello Susan,
    I have noticed your photo content has been used on Fox News Website.
    Ad stories at the bottom of the page. I am sure this is unauthorized.
    Perhaps you are already aware of this.
    Regards, Janet

  63. I have so appreciated your posts. This one was particularly encouraging me to discard things in my closet that I don’t feel comfortable wearing. I have just retired from a college teaching career and trying to find my style when I don’t have to dress up every day. My body type is different than yours and I feel better with slim pants and longer tops. Dresses are always an issue for me. I do resonate with your color schemes and have ordered several things that you recommended (Talbots jeans – love them and Land’s End polo shirts – love them also )

  64. I appreciate your posts so much.
    May you and Mr. Mickey continue to enjoy good health and peace.
    So pleased to hear your parents are feeling better.

  65. Susan, if you’re back in VA, Jaclyn Smith’s son, Gaston, is opening his restaurant (the) Local Cut in early November, in Purcellville.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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.