Styling Classic Basics For Fall

It’s smart to make the most of your wardrobe by layering essential pieces in numerous ways. My daily looks reflect my mood, the weather, and the event while pulling from the same basic items. They are rarely new or worn the same way twice.

A striped tank and black jeans are the base for each of the six looks below. The striped indigo and white tank is here, and the black jeans are here.

Easy casual looks are perfect for running errands or checking on my parents. Denim jacket here. The very comfortable black loafers are here. Similar tote bag here. Watch here. Similar earrings are here.

When I have a doctor’s appointment, or I need to stop at my accountant’s office, I dress up a little. Similar items: red jacket here– bag here – booties here – earrings here – watch here.

If I’m just going to the grocery and Walgreens, a soft cardigan adds the perfect layer. Similar items: cardigan here – crossbody bag here – loafers here – earrings here – bracelet here – watch here.

When I go for coffee or have lunch on the patio at my favorite restaurant, I add my coated moto-jacket. Similar items: jacket here – bag here – sneakers here – sunglasses here.

If Mr. Mickey and I enjoy dinner in the park again soon, perhaps I will wear this combo. Similar items: jacket here – shoes here – bag here – necklace here – bracelets here, here, and here. (Use the code SAS10 For $10 off any one item at Beauty in Stone Jewelry.)

I enjoy soft, cozy cardigans when I am relaxing at home. Similar items: cardigan here – slip-on sneakers here – teacup here – watch here.

My goal for today’s post was to share a few essential pieces that can do the heavy lifting in your wardrobe.

I used the timer on my Sony Alpha a5100 camera and a tripod to take the photos for today’s post. Shopping links in this post may generate a small commission for me at no additional cost to you. I no longer do collaborations or sponsored posts.

135 Comments
  1. I really like your casual look on these photos, especially the first shot with your blue jeans jacket and very lovely black loafers.
    The last shot of the grey cardigan and matching loafers is very nice too.
    The more dressy look with fairly low-heeled red shoes and striped top and black jacket and slim-fitting trousers is very smart without being over the top! It looks comfortable too.
    Have a lovely weekend, Susan!

  2. Hello Susan,
    I’m from Portugal.
    I like your blog very much, and it’s very good when you show the multiple outfits that we can do with one pair of pants, a blouse or a t-shirt, for diferent events, along the day or the week.

    Thanks

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I love how you have taken some basic pieces and created so many different looks, just by changing the jacket, shoes, bag and jewellery. I’ve learnt a lot by reading your blog. You are amazing

  4. Love the post.. Thank you. The red jacket is perfect on you. The reviews indicate it is short, especially for someone who is a little taller. Do you have a guide for how long, or where on your body the jacket should sit? I notice in the group of pictures that your layer lengths vary. They all look great. I am learning so much from you.

  5. I was trying to figure out what to wear today – I have a Zoom meeting for work so I need to look professional from the waist up. Then I’m watching my granddaughter for a couple hours this afternoon, ending with dinner out with my husband. I now know – I’m wearing my black and white striped tee and black jeans. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Another wonderful post Susan. I love how you change the formality with basically just a jacket/third piece, and appreciate the time it took for all the photos and clothes changes. Thank you!

  7. Hi Susan,

    Thank you for sharing this. I have a team meeting this morning and I was trying to figure out what to wear. Now I lots of idea. I look forward to your post each week.

    Have a nice weekend.

  8. When I saw that red band jacket pop up on Talbot’s website, I just knew we would be seeing it on you! Will go perfectly with your basics.

  9. Again……you’re knocking it out of the park with your posts these days! This is EXACTLY my goal……less clothes with more versatility! Always love it when you show just how much you can mix it up with basics!

  10. Love, love the outfits. Love the Moto Jacket. My least favorite is the white cardigan. Makes you look too
    washed out. Thanks for the inspiration. Question: I’m a 1X. There’s not way I could wear the stripes nor the Moto Jacket, is there?

    Carolyn

  11. This post is SO helpful!!!!!!! Can you do more like this one? This info should be obvious to me after reading you for a while, but clearly I am still learning! Thank you for your work!

  12. I really enjoy this kind of post. It’s so helpful for those of us who need to make a small wardrobe go a long way. All the outfits work well in their own way, but I must say the moto jacket outfit looks especially sharp on you. And I LOVE the way you have done your hair in these photos! It’s just perfect.

  13. Hi Susan,
    You always look spectacular and pulled together! I will defer to your judgement: Is your tank indigo and white stripes while your jeans are black? Is it okay to combine black and navy?

  14. As usual, you look great, as do your wardrobe pics.

    I’d just like to say that, for me, I appreciate it when you combine all of the pics at the end of the post into one. It makes it so much easier to save the combo pic over mutli-single pics, I have a folder on my laptop where I save the styles/pics you post that I think might work for me, and it’s nice to have pics to refer back to. Also, even though many of the styles you highlight are “classics,” you sure do make them look amazing with your accessories.

    I hope you and all who stop here stay safe.

  15. I thoroughly enjoyed your blog today. I shared it with some coworkers. The variety of outfits you created while using the same top and bottom were wonderful! Thanks for the ideas.

  16. Loved this post! We all have black jeans and a striped tee (well, I do!), and it’s nice to see how to change the look depending on the occasion and one’s mood. Thanks, Susan.

  17. Susan, please comment on the horizontal striped top. Have read for years that women should avoid horizontal stripes, especially women who fight weight issues. I am a solid “medium” but find that horizontal stripes emphasize my chest, yet I am consistently drawn to their crispness.. What are the guidelines you follow when wearing a striped top? For instance, do you “always” wear a jacket or sweater with them?

  18. My favorite type of post!! Please do more. Thank you for all the time and effort that goes in to all your posts. It is so appreciated.
    In addition to Sam Edelman, what are your favorite brands in loafers, Susan? I need to update. Thank you.

  19. Excellent examples of how to stretch the wardrobe staples in your closet. I am still trying to downsize clothing from my winter to summer boxes as I hate the chore of changing them out. I am thinking about t-shirts with matching coloured sweaters for the winter, twin sets, and layering camisole bras underneath. I live in a much colder climate so our seasons take dramatic swings – but our clothes don’t have to! As soon as I retired I realized that my clothes had to retire with me. Thank you for this information – I will make it one of my favourites for further reference.

  20. Love this post. I have been grieving and missing your M-W-F posts but you are continually hitting it out of the ballpark on your last few posts. Thank you so much. So helpful.

    1. One of the reasons I dropped down to two posts per week was to avoid burnout from working six days a week. It takes a couple of days of shooting, editing, and research to create one decent post. I’m glad you are pleased with the recent ones.

  21. I love every outfit combination you have created in this post!! As I was reading through, I noticed the jeans are black but the striped top is indigo and white. I have always been hesitant to make a combination like that, but here it looks fabulous. I have several striped tops that honestly, I cannot tell if they are black or indigo, but I struggle to figure it out often going back to the source to see what they have called it. I now see that it can work together, therefore dressing just got a bit easier for me! Great post and you look incredible!!

  22. I love how you’ve taken a basic piece like the striped top, and shown us how it can be used in many ways to make complete, but different outfits. Thank you for the inspiration!

  23. Another amazing post! You make it so easy for me to copy your look! Your hair looks beautiful and you look stunning in red! Thanks again Susan!

  24. Susan, could you please tell me the color of your Kate Spade bag? When I click on the link, it appears a lot lighter than on your photos.

  25. Susan, I love these recent posts!!! So helpful. I think I’m finally getting it. . . how to layer, by studying what lengths the tops and jackets are in the photos. Can’t wait to copy the moto jacket and white sneaker look! I have to tell you that when I packed to go to TN, for daughter’s wedding I consulted all the saved posts from you. When I walked out the door, to go to rehearsal dinner, in black slacks, black tank, and light grey short jacket and black pointed pumps, my sisters were all screaming (too much wine) “You’re rockin it, girl!” LOL. I heard that several times that night. THANK YOU, SUSAN! YOU ROCK!

  26. Thank you, Susan. You always give me inspiration with your styling the basics in different ways for different occasions. I’m a warm tone, but I can use your template to do what you have done with what I have in my closet..

  27. Great post; thank you! I had to look twice at your final picture with your six outfits because I was amazed at how many different looks you created with the same top and bottom. I am so pleased you are showing many items from Talbots. Talbots is my favorite clothing store and at least half my wardrobe is from them. I have been admiring the red jacket and after seeing you wear, I’m going to purchase tonight. Enjoy your day.

  28. Love the looks you put together but sometimes the items are over the top for most of us i.e. one Royal Copenhagen tea cup for $145.00???????

  29. I think it would be fun to vote on our favorite outfit you put together. I love them all. After narrowing it down I chose the one with the red slings and black quilted bag.

  30. Thank you, Susan. This kind of post is so helpful to me! I’m trying to weed out some of my clothes to make my closet neater and more manageable. So many things I have I rarely wear. This post gives me ideas on what to keep and what to get rid of, as well as what now to buy.

  31. A super post! So much to take in! I love the versatility of the stripe top and black Jean’s! How simple to add a third piece! Thank you!

  32. Just want to say what an inspiration you are to me! I’m a few years older than you at 69 1/2 but I don’t want to look like an old lady yet! And not like I think I’m still 20 again either! TY from WA State.

  33. This is a great post that I can use to help me put together a wardrobe in other colors too. Thank you. You are looking so young and fresh. Your skin is glowing.

  34. Wonderful Susan, you make everything you wear look effortless and stylish and give all us ladies over 60 inspiration to change the way we think about clothes that suit us, many many thanks.

    Kind regards

    Paula

  35. I’ve been following your blog for a few months & enjoy it very much. You’ve helped me to recognize essentials and thereby helped me begin to weed out less desirable looks. This particular grouping of looks using one central outfit with more casual (non-pointed toe heeled) shoes is wonderfully useful. We all have jackets and cardigans but may not wear them this effectively. You’re helping me to further refine these basic outfits and to avoid future purchase mistakes. It’s never too late to learn so I thank you. Keep well!

  36. Thumbs up for the wonderful way you show how to incorporate just a few clothes items and give them different looks by adding a few pieces of jewelry and accessories. Sure would make packing for travel easier as you really don’t need that many clothes as you have shown us. Thanks for the tips. Most appreciated.

    Hope you are having a great week now that you are able to be out and about.

    Clara from Iowa

  37. This is a very helpful Susan, and thank you for your time and effort. Basic pieces all with a classy look! I too especially like all of the pictures together at the end of the blog.

  38. This post is so helpful. I love seeing ways to create many outfits with basic pieces. It’s so much easier to get dressed in the morning!

  39. Love this post Susan! One of my other favorite posts of yours was the one where you found a bag at a second hand store. I hope you will consider doing more of those. I have two years of college expenses coming up for my son so my wardrobe budget is quite tight. Luckily, there are two “upscale” consignments shops I can choose from that have so far survived the pandemic.

    I’ve also been on the hunt for a soft grey cardigan with pockets but have had no luck. I have your same body shape and most of the cardigans I’ve tried are too long and boxy.

  40. Thank you so much for all the time you put into this post. You show great looks that are not difficult to create. I need to update my striped top and maybe purchase that red top. Very good looking.

  41. Hi Susan . Love all the ways you style an outfit ,but the red jacket and the striped top ,wow. That’s the winner for me . Absolute knockout.

  42. This is a great post! You look so put together all the time. I need to go through my closet and pull out all the clothes that are not up to that standard. 🙂
    I noticed all your tops are the same length as the third piece – sweater or jacket. What do you think of the trend of the top longer than the jacket and peeking under it? I do that sometimes to give more coverage to my bottom but am not really confident about that look.

  43. I love all of these looks, especially the red band jacket! I stopped by Talbots today, and tried it on, but unfortunately the red was too warm for my cool coloring!

    I have many of the pieces to create similar outfits!

  44. It seems I remember your saying at one point that you sized up (from medium to large) in tanks, as you would always be wearing a jacket. Did you do that here? And is that still your practice?

  45. Thank you so much for this post, Susan! This gives me so many outfit ideas using items I already own. I get in the habit of wearing certain items in certain ways, when it would be so easy to switch to a different jacket or cardigan for a fresh combination.

  46. Susan, you are looking lovely, love your shorter hair. You look like you’ve lost some weight, I hope you are feeling better now and haven’t had any bad side effects.

  47. Lovely as always. On another topic, I struggle with maintaining a grooming schedule. You have shared your makeup routine and beauty products. Thank you. But sometimes I forget the moisturizer before bed or lose track of when last I attended to hand and foot care. How do you stay on top of these things. I am retired, live alone and have all the time to keep up but somehow it gets away from me. I recall in a previous post you mentioned your housekeeping routine. Just wondered if you had similar one for grooming. And if you’d care to share.
    Thank you, Susan

    1. I drink two glasses of water, cleanse my face and reapply moisturizer in the morning while my coffee is brewing. Before bed, I brush my teeth, apply moisturizer to my face, then my feet, legs, hands, and arms. I also sleep with a glass of water on my nightstand. I mention drinking water along with my moisturizing routine because they are connected. Dehydration is a prevalent problem among seniors, and it contributes to many health issues.

  48. Love this post! I have decided I need to acquire more blazers! I have a few and I usually feel my best when I wear one.

  49. I like all of these looks. I also like that you rarely wear floral prints. Nothing says “old lady” like a pastel, floral print.

  50. Hi Susan,
    In many of the reviews of this loafer that you show it states to size down as they stretch, Do you find this to be the case? Did you order your normal size?

    Thanks,

    Karen

  51. What a great idea. I love black denim and striped tees and can keep these photos for inspiration. Thanks for putting the photos n a group for a screen shot.

  52. I’ve just read every comment here, and I learn as much from them as I do from your posts. Just when I think I have it all together, you put up one like this, and I realize I have a long way to go, lol. I’m sharing this post with my 25 year old daughter, as I’ve done many times before, and when I see her raise her eyebrows in awe, I know I’m going to see her version in the coming days when she leaves for work.

  53. You always look so put together! I’ve learned so much reading your blogs and studying the photos. Although I’m petite and under 5 feet your sense of style still applies to all.

    Thank you.
    Vikki Andrews

  54. Such a helpful, useful, instructive post. I am off to buy black jeans and a white and indigo narrow-stripped t shirt. No tank for me. My arms are not good enough, and I cannot commit to wearing the third piece all the time. My personal thermostat has been broken since menopause, and I have to be able to add or subtract that top piece. Thanks as always.

  55. Hi, Susan,
    In one of your posts this past summer you wore a pair of high-top sneakers/shoes. They were a light beige. Can you please let me know the brand?
    They were so cute!

    Thank you,
    Terri Shapiro

  56. Love your posts. I’ve had the black Sam Edelman loafers for awhile and didn’t think they were attractive until seeing them in this post! I’ll definitely wear them more this year. And just got the red Talbots military jacket so appreciate ideas on how to wear that. Have a great week.

  57. Wow! This is one of your best posts. Superb! You looked perfectly ready for the activity you dressed for. All these pieces flattered you in color and design. Thank you for the time and effort that you expended in these pictures.

  58. Hi Susan! Like many of your followers, I enjoy seeing you put together several different looks using the same basic pieces but simply changing out the accessories (and 3rd layer) to suit the situation (casual day looks to dinner out)! It gives me so many ideas! I’m always inspired to go to my own closet and see what kind of different looks I can create using similar basics.Thank you so much for putting together the last few posts; they’ve really been inspiring!

    Kind Regards,
    Sophie

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I blogged for five years as Fifty, not Frumpy. Now that I am in my sixties, I am sharing ideas and inspiration for using and loving what you already have.

Thank you!
Susan

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