Shifting Color Palette

A thought-provoking question arrived by email recently. “Have you changed the tones of the colors you wear as you have aged?”

I have not purchased any black items in more than a year. I avoid wearing black near my face during the daytime now, but when I visited with my parents last week, Mother was wearing black pants and a black open-collar shirt with nude loafers. At 81, she looked chic and vibrant in black. I am a proponent of wearing what makes you happy.

A great way to update your wardrobe is to settle on three or four colors that you feel confident and happy wearing. If you own a scarf with all those colors in it, you can take it with you whenever you shop. You will always have your best colors with you, and it will be easier to select items in the same palette. Colors are challenging to remember. While I may not wear a scarf very often in summer, I almost always carry a large silk one with me to combat overzealous air conditioning.

You can see the influence the scarf had on the purchases I made for this summer. Malibu Punch, aqua, navy, and Dazzling Blue tops were all added to my summer wardrobe, with inspiration from the scarf. They go with all the pants I wear in summer.

The aqua top shown is from Chico’s, where they are having their semi-annual sale. I chose this asymmetrical hem tunic because only a small portion of the front is longer. My Fair Lady supplied the Lior Paris “Lize” straight-leg pants. The salmon color tote bag is by Dooney & Bourke here. The shoes are by Ralph Lauren via Dillard’s a couple of years ago.

When dressed in a casual look such as this one, I wear very little makeup or jewelry and often carry a tote bag since I will be out for most of the day. Light colors and lightweight fabrics are more comfortable in summer, but I don’t wear flip-flops, shorts, Capris, tank tops, or short sleeves. Those items do not make me feel confident or happy. This casual look was for a day of running errands, buying groceries, and visiting with my parents.

  1. I have to tell you Susan, I took your advice about my class reunion in June and dressed comfortably. I had a great time and was confident as well. Thank you for that! I LOVE the top, pants, shoes today and this is exactly how I (at 62….soon to be 63) like to dress. Thanks again!!! You are a gem!

  2. Love this casual look and 100% agree that we should wear what makes us confident and comfortable. At age 61 and a petite frame, no capris or tank tops for me, either. I do have a few choice pieces of jewelry, but only special occasions and definitely not on a daily basis.

    I really appreciate your honesty and great guidance ! Blessings.

  3. Thank you, Susan! I use to prefer pastels, but now gravitate more towards jewel tones, although I still have a smidgen of pastels in my closet. You are correct, I think……wear what makes you happy and feels good. Interesting how that changes!!
    Love the top that you are sporting in these photos. Thank you for your posts! I look forward to them!

  4. Wow, looking good! Love the colors. If you chose to wear your French Kande jewelry with this top, would you wear the shorter necklace shown in your last post, or one of the longer ones? Are the shorter necklaces for lower-cut tanks? Thank you.

  5. I love that you are adding more color to your wardrobe. It’s very becoming on you. You always look so polished and classy. I admire your sense of style and self-respect.

  6. You are sooooooo right about flip flops, shorts and showing your arms!!!! I see too many of us out in these unflattering clothes.

  7. I do think it’s nice to have our color evolve as we evolve. I’ve been trying to steer away from black lately also. The hardest part is retailers always have most things in black and sometimes only in black. Then again, maybe that limits my buying, LOL!!
    My mom (the 80+ model on my blog) is wearing this exact color under her lilac kimono on the blog today!! I think it’s such a lovely color!

  8. Hi Susan!
    LOVE that aqua on you. Like a cool refreshing drink! I look forward to your emails with enthusiasm. I’m not signed up for Facebook. There’s too much junk on it nowadays, so I just do email. Thanks for putting yourself out there for all of us!

  9. You look wonderful in aqua! As my hair has turned whiter I’ve been adding things in the mint/aqua family and feel energized by them. I’m hoping I look vibrant in my black items like your mom, but I haven’t bought new black things to wear near my face lately either. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration to wear what makes us happy as well as note what works as we “mature.”

  10. Aqua is a favorite of mine. You wear it very well. I do like color particularly in summer. I seldom wear black particular close to my face. Lately I met a friend for coffee and wore a black top. She said that I should wear black more often as it looks good on me….I was taken aback by that because I don’t think that at all. When things like this happen, I always question my choices – do I really know what looks like on me?? Does anyone else feel this way?

    1. Compliments from others are nice but the only thing that really matters is how your clothing makes you feel while you are wearing it.

      Our hair becomes gray and white because of a continuing loss of pigment. What most people do not understand is that this is also happening with ones skin so a color that suited one at a younger age may not continue to do so in the future.

  11. Love this colour! You look absolutely gorgeous in aqua. Sounds like your mom is one chic lady, so I’m thinking maybe you got some of your sense of style from her?

    1. Mother has never been a fan of makeup or accessories but a couple of years ago, I gave her several scarves. Now she loves getting compliments on them from strangers.

      1. So you’re the one styling her. Sweet. She sounds just like my mother, age83. She doesn’t even like to carry a purse. She’s only used a fanny pack for the past 20 or so years.

        I do love how you always look classy, but also very natural. I truly enjoy your blog and appreciate all your hard work. I watched one of your videos recently and discovered you have such a sweet personality too. Your inner beauty shines through in your photos. Thank you to Mr. Mickey also. I know he puts in a lot of hours with the photography end of things.

  12. You always look beautiful and I appreciate your advice. I save your emails for future reference.

  13. That color looks gorgeous on you Susan!

    I have a question: How do you schedule your time to shop in person at stores? I used to love to shop when I was in my 20’s and 30″s but now in my 50’s I just can’t seem to get into it – therefore my wardrobe is always lacking especially my summer wardrobe. I do some online shopping that I know will/should fit like Lands End, LL Bean, JJill but it’s mostly fall and winter basics. Do you shop on a weekly or monthly basis or as you find the time? Need a little guidance in this area.

    Thank you so much for your No-Ads blog!!

    1. I identify what is missing from my wardrobe and then shop for those specific things at the beginning of spring/summer or fall/winter. This practice assures that the store or website will still have my size. For example, the top I am wearing in this post was purchased at full price when it first came out. Those tops are on sale now, but the aqua color is sold out. I don’t shop very often other than those times.

  14. I wanted to add that your hair looks great, too! I agree with you about capris, flip-flops and tank tops. I know that I hate to wear things that I feel dumpy in and prefer ankle pants.

  15. As I got older I realized that taupe, duty rose, and other muddy or gray colors didn’t work anymore. With my fair skin, green eye and light brown high
    Lighted hair, clear colors like aqua, cobalt blue, and coral made my face look more youthful. These fin colors suited my relaxed mood better too.

  16. I always loved wearing black but a few years ago my husband started commenting that he liked me in softer brighter colors like the color you are wearing here. I do believe he is right! Brightens my face. I always envy your hair! I have great hair and does perfect in a blunt short cut. It is unbelievably straight! With a good cut I can wake up and barely touch it! I don’t even use product! We all have our areas that show our age, you are very fortunate it is your legs! For me it is my face! My family has good skin just very wrinkly. I have an older sister and it has been tough knowing what I will look like in four years! I am healthy and very active so really that is most important!

  17. Would it be possible for you to show us a picture of how you wear your scarf when you are chilled from the air conditioning in a restaurant? I like the idea of carrying one in my purse for that reason. Thank you

    1. I fold a large 51″ scarf into a triangle and drape it across my shoulders. The point goes in back and ends in front, hanging down to the sides of my chair. The scarf isn’t in my way while eating but it keeps me from shivering through the whole meal.

  18. As always, you look fabulous. So many of your outfits include straight leg pants which suit your figure. Any ideas for those of us with “more than ample” thighs? What is the best length for a top and what style pants? Thanks again for all your inspiration and advice.

    1. We all carry our weight differently. The trick is to dress to accentuate what we like about our bodies. If you have a slender waistline or a smaller upper body, wear necklines and tops that draw attention up. Long tops that stop at your widest point will always draw attention to that area even if both items are of the same color. A top that ends above your hips at a more narrow point will be much more flattering than trying to cover it with a long top. Pants that skim the shape and flow across it without drawing attention to it are your best friends. Dark colors recede, and light colors advance so if you want something to appear smaller, wear darker colors there.

  19. I spent time in a mall today and realized that there was almost nothing I like. I saw tops with gaudy prints and lace cutouts, pants of odd lengths with strange hems and yes, more lace. Who is going to wear this stuff next year?

    I found a shirt in a classic cut and classic color. I see why you don’t bother with the sales. It took a lot of time and effort to find one thing.

  20. You look so pretty in EVERY color – but that aqua blue — love it! Casual and comfy too. I just may copy that look to visit my eye doctor tomorrow!

  21. How do you transition from wearing dark color pants to light color ones? I’ve never felt comfortable in white or any light colors. I’m stuck with black, brown and navy, but I think these colors look tired.

    1. I wear white jeans all year round. If you have a larger bottom or thick legs, darker colors will be better for you. I am two sizes smaller on the bottom than the top, so light color pants work to balance my shape a little visually.

  22. Different strokes for everyone… today I wore a black fitted shirt top, a white straight denim skirt above my knees, two inch tan gladiator heels and bright colorful jewelry. I felt great when I went to work and I received a few compliments. I am 67 with good legs with a few age imperfections and long silver hair. I agree with all of you, we have to wear what we feel GOOD in.

  23. Susan. Can’t wait to see the new hairstyle. Hope we see it soon as I am also needing to have drastic change and I am waiting for your inspiration. Mind you finding a hairdresser who understands curly hair and who is also interested in older girls looking good is more of a challenge. They seem to produce mass supply of clones

  24. Tell us again how you lost the weight to create your new look. I’m about to turn 60 and while my wardrobe is flattering and up to date I have gained a few pounds that are making me uncomfortable.

    1. The most significant things I changed were to stop eating pork, beef or any other furry animals as well as never to eat processed foods again. I rarely eat cheese, oils or nuts. I do eat lots of fresh organic produce including a variety of greens, beans, and grains. Fresh fruit and filtered water round out my daily choices. I sometimes have a small piece of dark chocolate and an occasional glass of wine with dinner. I consume less quantity and seek out better quality both in my diet and my wardrobe.

  25. I do love the aquas and have added more into my wardrobe over the years. Love your casual chic look — we don’t have to be sloppy when we are “just running errands”

  26. I love this outfit! So fresh and cool. I have a style question that I wonder if you could help me with. I have a “Luau” birthday party to attend in August and it is OUTSIDE IN TEXAS!!! Now if I was 30 years old and tan I would know exactly what to wear…but I am 63 and very fair so what the heck do I wear that would be cool, comfortable and still be stylish and fun? You always seem to strike the right note….any suggestions? Thanks for all you do for us “Sixty Somethings”!

  27. I recently decided to let my grey hair grow out. It occurred to me that once I no longer have brown hair, my face is going to look somewhat colorless. As I have made new purchases of clothing, I have been consciously choosing more colorful pieces in tops and dresses to brighten me up!

  28. The aqua top you are wearing looks so fresh and pretty on you, like a cool summer breeze! Beautiful summery look.

  29. I enjoy viewing women’s fashion blogs over 60. I am 65. I continue to rise every morning with a positive attitude and look my best. For a few years I hid my arms and was told as you grow older not to show certain parts of my body. I found out I am not going to be uncomfortable. I am going to bear my arms, wear flip flops around our small town, and walk or work around the yard in shorts. I am going to enjoy everyday and not worry about what others think.

  30. Susan, love the idea of choosing colors from a scarf. And what a beauty you found. I’m a Chico’s shopper too and hope to copy your idea. In my mid 70’s now but have your same coloring so you inspire me to branch out in more vibrant colors. Keep it coming.

  31. I love your style. It’s difficult to incorporate your hair/skin colour changes as you age. I am a very active senior and want to be relaxed but stylish.

  32. I really want to go white (hair lol) but my family doesn’t go white, we stay salt and pepper until we die. My ‘pepper’ is dark brown and manageable, my ‘salt’ is white curly and frizzy. Help!

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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.