Seeing Stripes

There is at least one Breton stripe or mariniére shirt in almost every example of a capsule wardrobe. Stripes are one of a select few prints in my closet. Animal print in a wide variety of colors and patterns is very on-trend this season. I’ve found a top that is a subdued combination of both prints. It goes with all my classic jackets and cardigans, and since it is a soft micro modal fabric, it is the perfect first layer.

This fabulous top is available from Covered Perfectly in both a scoop neck above and the V-neck style below.

Perhaps the reason stripes are so timeless is that they can be worn almost year-round and styled in various ways. Since it is a cold, snowy day here, it’s a good time to do an indoor photo shoot to show you a few of the ways I wear these new tops. Covered Perfectly tops have been my first layer, almost daily, every winter since 2013.

The combat boots are a new addition to my collection. They are the perfect cold, snowy day boots. My first layer is the print top; the second layer is a cashmere cardigan; lastly, I added a black mid-length coat I’ve had for more than ten years. The black jeggings are from Chico’s. The Zac Posen tote bag is my winter staple when I am out for the day.

Now let’s pretend it is a warm sunny day. I draped a white cotton cardigan over my shoulders, added Ked’s slip-on sneakers, and a Dooney & Bourke salmon-colored tote from last year.

Ready for my next meeting, I am wearing my trusty wool blazer from Everlane. The bag is old by Calvin Klein. The Frye Boots are from a couple of years ago.

Now that the workday is over, I can join friends for dinner at the new Thai place. The Vintage Pink minus the leather moto jacket is from Express. The Michael Kors crossbody bag is old.

  1. I so need these tops. 🙂 I am in Australia so just need to figure out the feasibility of overseas shipping. My only concern is the length of the top. I am 5’2″ and find that tops that are too long mess with my visual proportions. What do you think?

    Thanks for a wonderful blog which has been so helpful in assisting me to define and refine my style – even though I live in a sub-tropical climate on the other side of the world – it was 98F here today and it is still officially spring!

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Yvonne. You could belt the tops as I have done in one of the photos. This defines your waist and keeps the tops in proportion to your height. You can also think of them as a tunic and wear them accordingly. When you layer a shorter jacket or shirt over them, it will also give the right proportions.

    2. I am 5’1. I loved it when “cropped” was in style. I often have to actually have my tops shortened by the tailor, especially when they are not petite size. I am seriously thinking of investing in a serger!

    1. You could belt the tops as I have done in one of the photos, which defines your waist and keeps the tops in proportion to your height. You can also think of them as a tunic and wear them accordingly. When you layer a shorter jacket or shirt over them, it will also give the right proportions.

  2. I, too, wish Covered Perfectly made a line in petites, and there certainly seems to be a demand for them. May I respectfully offer some problems that I have encountered with your two suggestions. Wearing a top such as this as a tunic rarely works, as a tunic needs to be loose at the bottom and not be hugging, (Picture that over a less-than-toned mature body). Also, the top either folds back on itself when one sits, or it crawls up, creating folds of material over abdomen. The belt idea does work (for a picture) but, here again, the belt goes the path of least resistance and rides up for a short-waisted person, creating a horizontal line right under the boobs. No jacket hides that. Not being petite, it is understandable that you, Susan, have not run into these problems. My advice is to just support those businesses that offer a petite line for one’s basics.

    All of these looks are spot-on, Susan.

    1. Cheryl, I’m a mature petite (5’2″) with a curvy body. The Covered Perfectly tops work very well for me. One of the tips Susan offered previously was to go one size up if they are going to be worn without a jacket or cardigan. I have many of the Covered Perfectly tops and they are not too long for a 5’2″ body.

      You may not have this issue, but if I add shoulder pad to my tops, the proportions are so much better. I’ve ordered several sets of the shoulder pads from and use the TOPSTICK double sided toupee tape from Amazon to attach them to my tops.

      1. Thank you, Donnella. I am glad you have found a solution that works for your body and lifestyle. Appreciate the share.

  3. Great post. I love your showing one item and many ways to wear it. I have a jacket in a similar print and have found it to be a workhorse.
    Thank you for so generously sharing your knowledge. I’m your age but was thinking I was too old to be wearing the combat boots. Yet, as you’ve style them, the look is refined and classy enough.

  4. Susan, would this new Covered Perfectly top work on an apple shape, or would it magnify problems in the tummy area? Thank you!

  5. As a petite, overall length is not my only issue. Many regular-sized tops are also too wide for my narrow shoulders, and the sleeves are often too long. I have tried a variety of Covered Perfectly tops without much luck as they cling to my muffin top! Although I haven’t purchased any recently, I do like the ruched wrapover as it hides the muffin top, and the length is easily adjusted.

    1. You are so right that it is not always just the length, but also the shoulder width and sleeve length. And v-necks and scoop necks in misses’ sizes are often too low, revealing the bra. There are many things to take into account other than the overall length.

        1. Yes, Susan, I do read her blog, and she often features many items available in petite sizes. Naturally, you, personally, have to dress to fit your body, as she does. I meant no disrespect when I was pointing out some of the problems in trying to translate misses sizes for petite bodies. It is a challenge, and I do appreciate the brands/stores that offer petites. I was merely trying to point out that it is not as simple as one who is not short might think–it is often more than shortening a hem length (which costs $10 in my area). I love your blog and the tips you offer. Having something that fits “just right” as opposed to “making do” really makes such a difference.

    2. Barb, consider shoulder pads. I have narrow, sloped shoulders along with a large bust. I purchase from shoulder and use Topstick ( a double-sided toupee tape) from Amazon to attach them to my tops. It makes an amazing difference. Also, the Shapeez bras that Susan recommends eliminates the muffin top and is so very comfortable. My husband require a quadruple bypass and I stayed at the hospital 28 days with him, sleeping in that bra without any discomfort at all.

  6. Susan I love all your looks! Just a quick question did you size down on the grey blazer? I’m unsure what size to order. Thanks so much for all your tips.

  7. I love the gray and black together that could take you most anyplace with a simple change here and there to make it a new outfit. I like the clean and classic look so well.

  8. Love your suggestions Susan. Question: if I were purchasing the empire waist Covered Perfectly top you have suggested for an apple shap, would that empire waist top work for someone who is “ample” in the cup size and also curvy in the hips? Do you think the fabric is forgiving or does it show every lump and bump so that a shaper would be an absolute necessity? Thinking of buying this for a friend – she’s had four children and so not a smooth stomach area. Thanks for any suggestions.

  9. Thank you for posts like this. You are so creative in your fashion sense in ways I never would have thought of myself. It’s such a help for those of us in our age group to be able to remain current and look classy. You’ve done all the research for us with everything from dressing for our body type, aging, lifestyle, how to pack, caring for our things, healthy eating, makeup, hairstyles, fabrics, accessories, and so on, that I regularly apply your suggestions to look and feel better. You’ve really changed my life!

  10. The Covered Perfectly Simple Comfort scoop neck in white is a staple for me. I have a few long sleeves and 3/4 sleeves along with the scoop neck tank. Great woman-owned company and clothes made in the USA.

    But, even at 5’8″ they are too long for me to feel comfortable wearing untucked. Susan’s belt suggestion is a good one. I often wear them with a third piece and tuck the front in to give the illusion of a waist. I’ve taken 2-3 and had them shortened 3″ and save those to wear untucked. It’s added hassle and expense, but the tops drape so well and feel so good it’s worth the effort for me. Easy to wash. Hang to dry to prevent pilling.

    If the striped top looks as good on me as it does on Susan I’ll probably get it hemmed to wear untucked. Thanks, Susan, I never would have know about Covered Perfectly if it wasn’t for you!

  11. Oooh, I love the zebra stripes! Zebra is the symbol of neuroendocrine (NET) cancer, the disease that I’ve been fighting for the past five years and that recently claimed the life of Aretha Franklin. Breast cancer has its pink ribbon; ours is zebra striped.

  12. Best chic looks. I really Thought the one w the cashmere cardy under and mid length black coat was super. And the look with the Keds at the end

  13. I really love this post, will be ordering for the first time from Covered Perfectly. I hope for 2 thing: that the size S is really small, and that the delivery to France will not be too long. All the best, Susan, from Gillian.

  14. I share the Covered Perfectly tops because that is what I wear, buy, and sometimes get as a gift. I do get a small commission if you buy from my links, but my words always reflect my honest opinions about anything I share on the blog. Your messages would be effective if you sent them to the marketing department of the companies you wish carried Petite size ranges.

  15. Talbot’s, Chico’s, Banana Republic, Anthropologie, Kohl’s, Bloomingdale’s, White House|Black Market, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, J.Crew, J.Jill, Belk, and Macy’s are a few of the stores that carry petite sizes.

  16. LOVE the combat boots – great way to combine style and functionality. I have boots I love to much to wear in slush and salt. As always, your post is full of great practical advice as well as style AND lifestyle inspiration. I feel so lucky to have found you – and I love Un femme de certain age – she and I could be twins!

  17. Thanks for another excellent primer on layered dressing, a required skill in Canada’s provinces!
    I notice that there are questions with regard to the length of the top – and I would remind people of the super power of sewing – shortening the tops yourself with a handy sewing machine or finding a friend who sews…or a tailoring shop.
    Re-learning sewing is a great skill to have when it comes to making one-of-a-kind scarves, knit tops and slim pants – all within easy reach and workshops are on offer from so many fabric shops.
    I’m 5’4″ and have sewn since I was a kid, but now am finding I can create wonderful accessories for myself, daughters and friends. I highly recommend rediscovering economical skills, saving money and giving our creative selves a new outing!

  18. I really appreciate your showing us various ways to dress up or down using the same top. Very helpful! More, please.

  19. Hi Susan from Bev, Australia downdunder. Love keeping up with your blogs, they are so helpful and I love your classy style in dressing and natural makeup. You are a very generous lady in sharing your knowledge and time. Love this stripe animal look, wish we had more choices for the style of clothes here in Australia.kind regards Bev.

  20. Love these outfits but was surprised to see the combat boots…I have looked at them but never considered purchasing thinking..”too trendy or too young for me”… now I can “think outside the box ” because Susan does!!!! Thanks for your continuing great styling advice…I have learned so much from your blog!

  21. Susan I can’t access your blog. The header (titles) are there, and I can access replies, though not the blog itself. It doesn’t come up – just blank space. Anyone else having trouble? Thanks in advance for any light you can shed as to why.

    1. A couple of people have reported the same thing, and it turned out that Chrome as the browser was the problem each time. Please use a different browser to visit the blog.

  22. An update – I decided to bite the bullet and ordered 3 x Covered Perfectly tops – the featured striped one as well as a cobalt blue and teal all with the v-neck. By getting the third top free it more than covered the shipping to Australia. I am very happy with the quality and yes, they are a bit long if I were to pull them down but I am confident of being able to style them to work with my petite figure.

    It is currently midsummer here in Australia and far too hot to consider wearing them but I am looking forward to wearing them when the weather is cooler and also taking them when we travel overseas later in the year.

    Thank you, Susan, for letting us know about these great tops.

  23. Hello! I came here from the “How I Style My Curls” entry. I wanted to check out the pink moto jacket -so cute- and was surprised to find it listed from Express! and they have larger petite sizes! Yeah! It’s a resource I did not know about. This “Seeing Stripes” capsule is great.
    The Carriage Ride Through Paris scarf is gorgeous. You always look polished and so “together.” I enjoy the professional look and feel of your whole site, including the photographs. It is all thoughtfully put together.
    Thanks for the tips and inspiration!
    Carole Hart
    Portland, OR

  24. I am similar size on top as you,so was wandering what size top you are wearing here? Thankyou for your reply!

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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.