Selective Shopping

When I lost nearly fifty pounds about seven years ago, I had to buy new everything. Not even my shoes fit. It took some trial and lots of errors to find my style rhythm and to build a wardrobe that works well for my life. I started blogging about that journey because I couldn’t find relevant information to help me navigate that process. (There weren’t many over forty bloggers at that time.) When you have to build your wardrobe from scratch, it is easy to get into the habit of shopping often.

While we were in town, we stopped at the Grove Arcade for lunch and a short stroll. When we passed by the Caravans window, I caught a glimpse of a necklace that lured me inside like a moth to a flame. When an object takes my breath away, Mr. Mickey knows to start making room in the car because something is coming home with me. That rarely happens anymore.

Before I visited with Judith Oster, who owns the boutique, Caravans, I was not familiar with Petra’s jewelry line, but it captivated me right away. Petra Meiren is a Germany-based jewelry designer who has been hand-making sophisticated pieces since 1992. After trying several, I decided on this necklace for the long verticle line it creates and the elegant matte silver finish.

I have worn this navy tunic many times. It is from Birdie James, but they may not have this one anymore. The red bag is by Tahari via T.J.Maxx years ago. The shoes are from a couple of summers ago at Dillard’s.

  1. Love the tunic. And that necklace? Oh my! I see why you were drawn in! Great look as always.

  2. For us newbies to your blog,please tell
    us your weight loss journey. You always look amazing,what is your at home style

  3. You are an inspiration. I will soon be 68 and am excited about getting my body back in shape. Down 25 . Yeah! Love your ideas on buying basics. Can’t wear your fab hi heels cause of ankle injury. Wear my white hair short cause that is me. You express yourself in style and while I am a blue jean wearing farm woman you are teaching me to express me! Thank you so much.

  4. Love that necklace, I am looking forward to picking up interesting pieces like this when I visit the States in September (can’t wait!). I do admire your restraint when it comes to shopping. I am obsessed and have so many clothes but always on the lookout for something new! I am currently sorting through my wardrobe(s) and determined to turn over a new leaf.

  5. Don’t you love it when a town has enough pride in community that it has such nice floral/botanical displays on the sidewalks or hanging in baskets from the street lights? It always makes me think more highly of the town when I see that. Kind of a person having enough pride in themselves that they present a clean and nicely dressed self to others they encounter. As much as anything else, Susan, your site has taught me that you can accomplish a presentable appearance without spending a ton of money and having a wildly large wardrobe. Thank you for that.

  6. Susan, I am right where you were 7 years ago. I lost enough weight that nothing fits, and I am spending so much time shopping that I am finding it hard to keep up with my other responsibilities. To complicate matters, my husband will be retiring in 6 months to 2 years. When he retires, we will be moving out of the Midwest to a lakefront property in the South. (I have to figure out what I want our Lakehouse, which currently doesn’t exist, to be as well!) I feel like I don’t know who I am or where I am going.

    This past spring I had good success finding cute tops, but I found it difficult to find pants that fit me well. They all had a tendency to bunch up behind my knee. A trip to the tailor didn’t solve the problem. Without pants, I haven’t been able to wear my cute tops.

    I recently found some Michael Kors pants for the fall, and they actually fit! They are knit, fitted pants – I am not sure if they would be classified as pants or leggings. I have them in two different colors. Based on your experience, would you recommend that I keep two pairs of each color, or just one of each?

    I am also finding that most of the flowy tops that look good on me are at least part – if not all – rayon. I have had difficulty with rayon pilling in the past. They pill where I carry my shoulder bag. And they pill where the car seat belt crosses my body. I believe some of the tops you wear also have some rayon in them. Do you have any insights or suggestions about buying clothes with rayon in them?

    1. The one thing we have a hard time accepting is the fit of slim pants. They are likely going to bunch at the knees. They will not fit like men’s trousers with no breaks or wrinkles. Look for pants that are a flattering proportion for you. If you find a style of pants you like, by all means, keep them in stock. I have four or five pairs of some of the same pants because I wear them so often.

      Rayon and some other synthetic fabrics do not hold up as well as natural ones. Try carrying a bag in your hands to keep the line of your clothing fresh looking.

  7. Stunning necklace, Susan! You will definitely enjoy wearing this beautiful piece. As always, you look lovely and give some great advice for your readers.

  8. I admit I’m a selective shopper too. And I’m proud. I think it’s admirable these days of blog advertisers and shoppers to show and wear items that have endured the test of time from your wardrobe. It’s my philosophy with my blog anyway. I’ll stand with you and be proud:)

  9. I love that tunic but can’t find it on the Birdie James site…perhaps they no longer have it. Any suggestions on finding a similar one? I love your style…so timeless and classic!!!

  10. Love the necklace. Tried the vanishing back ones, but found they stretch out way too soon. Not willing to be bouncy at my age.

  11. love the necklace and if I ever get to Asheville, I will look up Caravans. I find your articles helpful and Soma bras are my favorite. Keep up the good work. Julia

  12. Most of us know by now that we should remeasure every time we buy a new bra, or gain/lose weight, or after hormonal changes like menopause. But did you know that online bra size calculators can be wildly inaccurate? I used four different ones, all from North American websites, and came up with a wide range of sizes. The lesson from this is that it’s a good idea to visit a store and try them on to find your size and style, Different mnufacturers and styles can result in different sizes. Nothing is standard. It’s also very frustrating to find the right size, then find that the store doesn’t carry your size. For any of us that are on the higher end of regular sizes, but not quite a plus size, choice in stores is limited. Really? No band sizes over 36 in the regular lingerie store, then nothing until much higher at the plus-size stores? Maybe this is the kind of shopping I should do when I’m out of my country on holidays.

    You’re right about needing to consider a new style of bra from time to time. This is something we rarely hear about. Most of us do experience a change in shape as we age, even if we do need the same bra size. That means more support where we may not have needed it before. Wider bands and straps, and changes in strap placement can help. I can’t wear the styles of my pre-baby days, that’s for sure.

  13. P.S. Thanks for not joining the bandwagon about “that” sale, Susan. Even though I live in a city with one of “those” stores, I never shop there.They don’t carry my size in anything, not even shoes (limited sizes in Canadian stores), and it’s not in my budget anyways. I’m not a fan of duty and exchange rates.

  14. Try the Soma Embraceable bras. They last for a long time. I’m no fan of the foam lined bras, because they don’t pack well. Embraceable is lined and doesn’t show through.

    Love the necklace. Their web site doesn’t lead to it. Great outfit on you!

  15. Hello Susan, very nice necklace you wear it well. In the picture of you without your sunglasses you look tired. I hope you are feeling well. I love it when you also take pictures of the planters or landscapes where you are at at the time.

  16. Beautiful necklace! I love how unique your jewelry choices are. They add wonderful interest to your outfits everyday.

  17. Thank you so very much, Susan, for blogging about Caravans! It was so lovely to meet you and Mr. Mickey! I love that you’re one my Caravans models now! We as women must embrace and support each other, and that’s exactly what you’re doing here! Thank you for being you!

  18. This blog may highlight the difference between a boyfirend/gentleman caller and a husband better than any other.

  19. What a gorgeous piece of art you’re wearing around your neck! You look lovely as usual. I enjoy that you share what works for you and it doesn’t often have to do with a new purchase.

  20. This was the first time that I ever shopped “that” sale. That store is not my normal go-to; however, they carry a few brands that I have recently discovered and decided to give it a shot. I was actually pleasantly surprised. I have always been an impulse shopper and now I am trying to cultivate a more defined wardrobe. I want pieces that are probably considered “classic” yet are universal (worn dressed up or dressed down). I braved the crowds and loaded my arms with all kinds of goodies. In the end, I was so proud that I only left with a t-shirt and a gorgeous cashmere (my first cashmere purchase ever) waterfall vest. In all honestly, I had previously purchased a pair of jeans from there that fit me like a glove – something that almost never happens in jeans for me.

    I truly enjoy your blog and your style is so on point and elegant. Thanks for always giving us a glimpse into your daily life.

  21. Ummmm. Susan. You don’t look tired at all without your sunglasses.
    The above person who wrote that comment is wrong. Though we know you work hard. I am sorry, but what a ridiculous comment that person made….Done with an “I care” attitude.
    Dealt with that for 30 years in t.v. news. Ignore.

  22. The navy tunic, white pants, & long necklace make an impressive outfit…. you look elegant in it! Terry Moore

  23. Very inspiring blog. I lost a lot of weight recently and am surprised how difficult it is to create a new wardrobe. It is so much more than a new size. Things just look odd on me. My old style isn’t quite me anymore. People think they can chime in on every single thing I put on and I really wish they wouldn’t pay so much attention. They didn’t when I was heavy. Thank you, Susan!! Sincerely, Monet Desrosiers

  24. Pretty! Necklace is very different & artistic. Not shopping much either, however did pick up extra inexpensive black and white tanks before the summer items disappear & hoping they wash well. Trying to lose weight and maybe I will shrink some too!

  25. OMG – I love that necklace! It is beautiful. I like things that are different and that is unique! You look great, too!

  26. Just discovered you! Already thrilled with your videos. Much to learn. God bless. Love from Alberta.

  27. Thanks so much Susan for the tip about the vanishing back bras!!!! I got a fitting and am now the proud owner of three of these bras. They fit great and look good underneath clothing. I never would have thought of Soma for bras. Thanks again!!!

    1. I stopped eating meat, all processed foods, or anything fried. I always skip the condiments such as salad dressing and mayonnaise. Eat less food and drink more water.

  28. Susan,

    I have always wondered why my denim box jacket didn’t look right on me, then I saw you said something about that type didn’t look right on you either. I’m 5’2″ and right weight but busty. Could you go over how to pick out jackets again……Thank you

  29. I’m new to this blog, BUT I do enjoy all the tips!! Have any for people who are in a wheelchair like me? Never found a blog with advice for people who don’t stand upright & for whom advice abt ‘slimming lines’ etc. are NOT relevant!

  30. I have recently started following you. I am a 70 year old woman. I am fit and not bad looking for a 70 year old. Did I just say all those things about myself?!? I said I was fit, but in the last year 10 pounds have been a problem to get rid of. With the holidays approaching, I will be enjoying a few of my favorite foods. I read in a post from you that you lost quite a bit of weight some years ago. How did you do it? I have learned so much from you and I anxiously await future posts from you Thanks

    1. More than six years ago, I stopped eating meat, any processed foods, and salad dressings which helps me keep the weight off. I usually skip dessert and bread. Eating my lightest and last meal of the day, late in the afternoon has helped to keep my weight down as well.

  31. Thanks, Susan, you are awesome! I love all your tips they are so helpful. I love that necklace and will try to find one similar. Dawn Rathburn, age 65.

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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.