Sparkle Season

If you are looking forward to attending holiday events this year, you may already be looking for something special to wear. When I try to shop for an occasion, I never have any luck, so I always try to have something on hand for any event.

Wearing something dressy with a business look to take it to the next level feels so much more authentic than buying a whole outfit that might never be worn again.

The gray blazer is an easy piece to add over a simple top and a comfortable pair of jeans. The black slacks are the perfect weight and length to wear with high heels or heeled booties. The sparkly camisole took the two pieces in a much dressier direction. Wearing black heels and a few pieces of festive jewelry completed the look. A small clutch in gunmetal complemented the other gray items without adding too much bling.

The camisole is at least three years old. A similar one is here. You may also find sequined tops in thrift stores, consignment stores, and yard sales. I know that my special occasion wear won’t be used often, so I always look for a bargain. A similar blazer is here. The black slacks are here. Similar ShoesBraceletRingEarringsClutch. My lip color is Girls’ Night here.

Mr. Mickey’s color choices for the evening also included gray. Many of his clothing items are from the Polo Store. We enjoyed having dinner at Gourmet and Company again on Friday evening. We decided to dress up a little and make it a festive evening to celebrate the arrival of fall.

Even though these items aren’t on the menu now, Chef John prepared them for us since he knows how much Mr. Mickey enjoys deviled eggs and pappardelle pasta with vegetables.

Sous Chef Chris Jones’ latest addition to the dessert menu is Muddy Pond Sorghum Pie with candied pecans, hard cider ice cream, pickled squash caramel. It was delicious!

Recent outfits are summarized here. Shopping links on this website may allow me to earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

  1. Love your ensembles! Very classy, very timeless. I think a couple of satin tops might just find their way into my closet!

    Prior to Covid, we always had season tickets to the symphony & theater, dressing up & spending the night in the city, enjoying dinners out. There were multiple holiday gatherings, too, to dress with a bit more sparkle.

    Of course, THAT all changed…

    Winter 2020-21, we started a tradition of getting very dressed up for dinner, once a week, as the days shortened.
    We never left the house and I did the cooking (always with a fancy dessert!). Candlelit meals, music and talking about only joyful subjects.
    It was a way of simply celebrating life and each other.

    With Covid still surging in our area, we plan on continuing the same dressy home tradition.
    We havent been to a restaurant or any gathering since March 2020 and that will continue for the foreseeable future.

    We recently celebrated our 25th anniversary. Original plans were to revisit our honeymoon locations in Ireland & France.
    But, it simply is not safely possible with the pandemic.
    So, instead, we recreated that day with a wonderful meal (I even baked a smaller version of our wedding cake!).
    It was just the two of us.
    But, I wore my wedding gown & my husband wore his tux.
    It was the perfect anniversary, together & healthy.
    Celebrate life, as often as possible. We only have one!

  2. Susan,
    The Talbots pant in the link have a diameter width of the hem that is almost 10 inches across (20 inches total measurement). With so many different widths available, how does one determine the width to use with shoes, style of outfit, and body shape. The hem width of the pants you are wearing do not appear to be 10 inches across. You may have already answered this in a previous blog. If so, a link would be appreciated. Thank you.

    1. The wider the pant leg, the longer it should be without dragging on the ground. I tend to wear longer looser-fitting tops with slim-fitting pants. If the pants have a high waist and wide legs, I wear them with a shorter, more fitted top or jacket.

  3. What a lovely look on you, Susan! Like you, I never have any luck find anything if I am looking on a deadline. I find it disheartening and frustrating. In terms of special occasion wear, very little appealed as I still wanted something I could wear multiple times. I did not want the one-hit wonders. I wanted items that flattered and were timeless and classic and wearable in different combinations. And I wanted them to be comfortable and work for a body that is changing as I get older.

    I decided to build a small special occasion capsule wardrobe to fit every occasion in my life. I already had black velvet pants and flowy chiffon black pants and a beaded top plus a few sparkly jackets. A few years ago, I found the most amazing black dress with short flutter sleeves and with tiers in an A-line style. The dress slips over your head and is not tight or constricting — it floats beautifully, provides a great “shape” for any body type, and the tiers give it the most wonderful movement. I initially purchased it because it was so flattering in terms of length on me – and I felt gorgeous in it! I then found the same dress in royal blue and in coral. So I have the LBD plus two other colors for every possible special occasion from date night to concerts/theater events and graduations and weddings. I later found two simple tank dresses with tiers in Navy Blue and in Gold, both on sale at Macy’s for less than $40 each. This last year after the holidays, I found the perfect black velvet tuxedo jacket (that goes with everything in my special occasion capsule) and also found a gorgeous deep blue beaded dress that looks vintage and is in a 1920s flapper style. This spring, I found a gorgeous gold tulle skirt that I added. I then edited the capsule to eliminate some duplicate items and items that were not as comfortable or flattering. Now the capsule is more cohesive. I have added some pashima wraps as an alternative to the jackets. I found 2 moderately-priced sparkly pumps in a style and heel height that worked from one of my favorite brands, so I purchased in both silver and gold. I added some gold low-heeled sandals for a different look. Then I did spurge on two high-end pairs that I found on sale – for both of these, I can also wear to work and professional events. I have a nice collection of evening clutches and bags that cover all the looks. The capsule fills every need and works really well. I am so happy I don’t have to shop prior to a special occasion!

    Thank you for your inspiration!

  4. This is a good time to have holiday outfits in mind.
    I don’t foresee any sparkly outfits this holiday, given the way the world is I’ll be more likely to be sitting around a firepit in my Christmas sweater.
    Better to be prepared!

  5. Thanks so much for your good ideas & advice. I’m going to borrow your idea about a camisole with a bit of bling for holiday travel to go with slacks and a blazer I already have. Saves space & the purchase of an outfit.

    Still enjoying scarfs I purchased from you a few years ago.

  6. Your outfit is beautiful and with Mr. Mickey you both make a handsome couple. I like that you make use of the time to go on outings and have dinners together. I so enjoy your pictures you post. Beautiful nature scenes and yummy food!

  7. Hi Susan,

    Love this post and so agree.

    I went through an awkward special occasion phase a few years ago and after much angst and trial and error came up with a similar plan. I stuck with Chico’s travelers pants, tanks in various colors, and a couple dressier sparkly tanks too. I bought soft flowy jackets in various colors and textures. I kept it all to the fewest pieces to mix and match and added accessories depending on event and season. I also made sure it was all comfortable! Too many event pieces in the past were not! No chiffon etc from my younger weddings-bridesmaid days! Ugh, ha!. As I planned it out I evaluated that it could all be mixed and matched to serve a wedding, evening out, Christmas event, future travel etc.

    I also only do black shoes now and sparkly flat slippers that are so fun as are velvet slippers. It took some doing but it worked and is so much easier! Knits also worked well for health reasons but still looked nice.

    For me the overall key was a mix and match plan and then shopping at a price point that worked for me. I also succeeded in being able to wear many pieces for regular life too if I wanted. Overall I am very happy with my result and really stuck to my own taste and not fashion. I have a very small wardrobe and love it as soooo easy.

    We dine at home only during COVID and we set up our home dining nook with a bistro sign, white twinkle lights, and seasonal tablecloths and napkins — all mix and match just like a wardrobe. We have always gone to cute bistros out so we made our own bistro at home during COVID and my hubby started cooking too which has been nice after me being our cook for 41 years! Last year for our 40th anniversary we did a luau at home dinner and that was so fun! We wore tropical clothes and I shared it on my blog which was fun too. We watched an old Elvis movie set in Hawaii around the year I was born there and that was quite telling, ha! We couldn’t travel to Hawaii so we “went there” at home! ✈️

    I feel there are so many ways to celebrate during this situation we are all in if we tap our own creativity and focus on beauty, order, and aesthetics. And that can even be done on a budget too with some ingenuity and resourcefulness, just like ladies did during the Great Depression to keep their dignity. I also think of Keep Calm & Carry On! Not one of us wants to be in this COVID situation but how we deal with it can really help us grow and improve as people I think. So yes, let’s dress nicely and eat beautifully!

    Love your posts Susan! I feel we are kindred spirits in many ways.

    Blessings, Kathryn Bechen

  8. Thank you. I love it. I did this very slowly over 4 years. One important principle I learned from following you was to be selective and use a discerning eye. It helps to be patient.

  9. I love your outfit Susan and Mr. Mickey’s too. Thank you for sharing your idea about dressing up an outfit.

    Happy fall season.
    Patty V

  10. Thank you Susan for sharing your knowledge in dressing as we get a little older and still want to look attractive. I love how you and Mr. Mickey enjoy life and your little excursions. Have a wonderful day.

  11. Great classic look without being over done. I appreciate that you both take the time to dress up for each other, enjoy life and share your experiences. Thank you for sharing as the holidays are fast approaching.

  12. Good morning Susan,

    You look fabulous, love your top and how you put yourself together.
    Gourmet and Company looks like such a special restaurant. It’s so nice that they look after Mr. Mickey and his deviled eggs.
    I really like that you both celebrate special occasions and make these days and evenings so memorable by getting dressed up for yourselves and one another.
    Please let Mr. Mickey know that he always looks so well dressed. You make such a special “adventure couple” I like your club name, it’s such a perfect name of such a perfect looking couple.

    Sending smiles. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  13. Love your posts. Look forward to seeing each one. AND I have to share with your readers: I have been using a facial cleanser that removes eye makeup, but it always left my face looking and feeling greasy. And just in case folks don’t know, it is very difficult to find a facial cleanser that is not harmful to the eye area. So on Susan’s recommendation, I tried the Beautycounter Refresh Foaming Cleanser. I am in love! Great product, does what it says it does, and leaves my face feeling wonderful! Not dry or shiny, just perfect. So I am now trying more of the Beautycounter products.

  14. I always enjoy seeing Mr. Mickey in your pictures. Thanks for including him. It helps me “dress” my hubby!

  15. Thank you Susan for another lovely yet simple look for us.
    Some time ago you showed us how you trimmed your own hair over lockdown. My daughter needs this help now as parts of New Zealand have been locked down for quite some time. Please could you highlight that post for us. She has similar hair to you and I think it would work well.
    Thank you and stay safe.

  16. Enjoy your post and admire the classic looks you put forth. I have recently become a Silver Sister and would like to know what hair products you use. Your hair is gorgeous and would love to know how you keep your white white without turning purple.
    Thank you for sharing.

  17. I recently had to go out of town for a funeral and was desperately hunting your video on how to pack a suitcase. I know it was a number of years back; I believe you were going to California. It was a great video and I really would like to have the link to it, if possible. Maybe I will store it this time.

  18. Susan,
    Loved this post. It came just in time for the holidays. Beautiful, easy, and appropriate. Thanks again.

  19. Love this look. I love how the camisole is dressy without being over the top. Love that blazer. Are the sleeves 3/4 length or do you just have them pushed up?

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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.