Shimmer and Shine

Do you know which surfaces look best on you? The surface of the fabric you wear near your face can be the thing that is throwing off your look and the reason you never reach for that expensive jacket hanging in your closet.

A few years ago, stylish women started wearing short boxy Chanel inspired boucle jackets with faded jeans. I thought that looked fabulous! I immediately wanted to replicate that look, but I didn’t understand how important it is to consider texture. The same look on me was a total styling fail because the texture absorbs light rather than reflecting it. I look even more top-heavy in those boxy jackets, but also, the surface texture is all wrong for me. The nubby boucle texture adds volume to an area where I do not need it. Smooth, slightly shiny, sleek surfaces and long, lean lines balance my roundish face and ample bust much better.

The lengthening lines and soft flowing smooth fabric of this IC Collection jacket are much more flattering near my “fluffy” hair, roundish face, and top-heavy shape. The material reflects light instead of absorbing it. Reflective sleek surfaces are much better on me than dull nubby textures with bulk. For example, I look three sizes larger in a Fisherman style cable knit sweater. You will never see me wearing one of those! Instead, I opt for thin cashmere sweaters that do not add bulk. I hope that sharing my dressing tips helps you to work out what looks best on you. There is no right or wrong body shape, but learning to dress yours to look your best is life-changing.

The oversize long silver earrings are old from Chico’s. (I never wear noticeable earrings with a necklace because that is just too much going on in the same place.) The slim-fitting pull-on style dressy pants are a couple of years old from Chico’s. The booties are a couple of years old, and they are by Gianni Bini via Dillard’s. The gunmetal clutch is old from T.J.Maxx. The IC Collection jacket is current and was a gift from my friends at

  1. Could you tell me the specific name or item no. for the shiny jacket? I love it but I couldn’t seem to find it on the store’s website. Thanks!

  2. Susan, thanks for these style points. Like you, I have an ample bust. I have knitted countless Irish fisherman sweaters for my loved ones, but cannot wear them myself. Alas! So I stick to thinner fabrics for tops.

  3. We never notice the figure flaws you mention because you dress so intelligently. Top heavy? Where?

  4. Eye opening! I never thought about the “bulky” texture of clothes. I have tried to wear some sweaters and jackets and couldn’t figure out why they would be so wrong on me, but so right on someone else. Now I get it! Thanks

  5. Just thinking out loud about the finish of fabrics. Matte fabrics seem to absorb light, therefore appear to recede whereas shiny fabrics reflect light therefore advancing or bringing attention to that area. Think of a white cotton (matte) shirt compared to a white satin (shiny) shirt. The satin shirt would make you appear larger as the attention is drawn there and if you want to appear thinner, then a matte fabric would be better.

    1. Matte and shiny are subtle textures that can work with your personality. A cable knit sweater or a tweed jacket both have a bulkier weight as well as a rough surface texture. Even though I am larger on the top, a silk blouse with a soft hand looks infinitely better on me than an oxford cloth shirt in the same color. You are smart to consider the fabric as well as the color when deciding what to buy.

    2. This jacket may also have worked so well for me because I wore it broken up with blocks of flat black rather than buttoned up like a shirt, which seemed like just too much of good thing to me.

      1. The outfit looks great Susan. I agree that type of fabric should be considered in addition to colour – how many times have we bought an item in the right colour, yet something just wasn’t right. When I was shopping for my wedding dress (many, many years ago) I first realized that I looked better in a semi-shiny fabric rather than shiny.
        Now I just go by instinct – if it feels right, I buy it!

    3. You are correct Yvonne. I was thinking of the shiny silver as opposed to the dark antiqued silver jewelry. I look much better in shiny silver. (Maybe not so great in a shiny silver top!)

  6. I also wanted those boxy nubby jackets to look good on me. Like you it just added volume where I didn’t want or need it! Thanks for your on-going tips!
    Have a great day

  7. Notice some of your pants nd jeans that the legs are wrinkled. THE SAME IS TRUE ON ME WITH THE SLIM LEGS. Do you feel this is flattering? I don’t wear some of mine because of this. Would love to hear from you on this. Thank you1

    1. It happens with slender leg pants but this is a more modern silhouette than the masculine tailored pants we used to wear. I just ignore it because it seems to happen to everyone no matter how slim their legs are.

  8. Thank you!! My shape & facial features are very similar to you & I always appreciate your style tips……you have really made me think before I purchase something. Love following your blog!!

  9. Excellent blog post. I am an after-60 petite with an ample bust and some post-menopausal weight gain that has made me thick-waisted, but I am hardly overweight. I too had to get rid of all bulky sweaters and nubby jackets. Those things only look good on tall stringbeans or flat-chested women. I find your columns so informative as well reassuring. You look lovely, but I don’t know how you wear some of those shoes! I don’t wear too many flats but generally stick to 1-2 inch heels, usually broad-based. It’s hard to look elegant when one vacations and walks a lot. Would love to see a column on looking good in practical shoes!

  10. Susan this looks great on you and much better than it does on the model on the website. I wish this were straight instead of swing bottom though.

  11. Dear Susan, thanks for this post. I always wondered why i look so gigantic in a fisherman’s sweater. I worked on Mackinac Island during my college years and sooooo wanted to look good in those warm cozy sweaters, but never did. I guess it’s both the bulk and the traditional cream color. I have most of same issues as you, “fluffy/curly” hair, and for me i don’t have the large bust, but no matter how thin i get my belly is always a little sticking out. So I love these posts from you to help me understand more about my own looks. I look great in the same colors as you do, but i have very dark hair and pale-ish skin. I’m hoping I still look good in those colors when/if I ever stop coloring my hair. Amy

  12. Sometimes though, you just want to wear that cute fisherman’s sweater and/ or that top that ,maybe you shouldn’t. Don’t beat yourself up. Enjoy life!


  13. Susan, thank you for telling us about Redtail Mountain Resort. My husband and I, along with friends, stayed there this weekend and absolutely loved it. The guys played golf and the women indulged in a little retail therapy around the area. The food was amazing. We all wanted to bring both the chef and the shower home with us. We talked about it all the way home and started planning when we could go again.

  14. You are tres chic in that jacket,but what about being warm in the fall? As I age, comfort is more important to me than fashion.

  15. I am looking at buying new eyeglasses.

    Not sure if you wear glasses, but would be wonderful If you could do a segment on choosing eyeglass frames for various face shapes. I enjoy your blog!

    1. I’d like one on glasses too and good ideas on shoes with the boxier, shorter type heels that are suitable for office work and over 60 ladies.

      1. As for glasses, look for the ones that don’t overwhelm your face. Round faces look better with straight lines. Angular faces are better with rounder lines. You can use frames to balance and fill in your face. For example: heart shaped faces look great in aviator styles because they add width where your face starts to get thinner.
        Wear the shoes you like and the ones that are comfortable for you. That’s what I do.

  16. Darn! I just purchased the greatest Channell style jacket that I love. It is black and white—could a pearl collar or a scarf make a positive difference? I must wear this jacket. ha

  17. This post explains a lot! I have always loved the boucle of Chanel style jackets but just couldn’t pull off that look. Short, short-waisted and big busted simply do not go with a boxy jacket. You always come up with something I had not considered but makes perfect sense!

  18. Love that jacket but can’t find it on Shop My Fair Lady’s website. Do you know the exact name of it? Thank you Susan!

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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.