Subtleties of Style

We have Mr. Mickey to thank for any pictures I share with you in winter. If it were all left up to me, I would curl up in front of the fire with a stack of books and wait for spring. He loves to get dressed up and go out for the evening, no matter what may be going on outside, because he is hardwired for social interaction regularly. I do not enjoy cold weather at all, and I am very content in my solitude.


Our Friday evening rituals include date night events such as gathering with friends for dinner or just going to our favorite restaurant, sitting in the lounge area, sipping champagne, and visiting with friends who stop by to chat. A split of champagne, shown above, equals about a glass and a half. I am careful not to consume more than one occasional glass of wine or champagne. Wine sometimes gives me a headache, makes my face puffy, and I don’t sleep well if I have more than one glass. Don’t forget that a glass of wine is about one hundred and twenty unnecessary empty calories. Generally, the sweeter the wine, the more calories it has. Dry wine has around 106 calories, while the sweet dessert wine will pile on the weight at 226 calories per glass. Three glasses of wine with dinner would give you an extra 400 calories! Champagne is one of the least fattening drinks with about the same calorie count as a dry wine. I always make sure I consume a small amount of food with wine and always ask for a glass of water. I drink an equal amount of water during the evening. I will be diligent during all these holiday parties so that I don’t add pounds from all the extra “Cheers.”



You might say, oh, she has on all black again, but look closer. Even if I am wearing one color, I am careful to pull in different textures and shapes to create interest. If you were standing beside me, you would notice that the black jacket by Helmut Lang is fitted and sleek with leather trim at the cuff and lapels. It is a little edgy and more modern, so I wanted to honor that with my other choices. Because it is fitted, I chose pants that were not so fitted and more tailored. They are lined, more traditional slacks from Nordstrom. I have had them for a couple of years.

The box clutch is covered with grommets and is also a bit more on the edgy side. The boots are by Saks from Saks Off 5th, and they have a pointed toe and a sleek style that commands no attention. I added the boldly colored scarf to soften the portrait area and give my face a bit of “light.” I chose a scarf, including bold blocks of color and shiny fabric, because a dainty print on twill silk would not have played well against the jacket. Think about the attitude of the items you combine. Do they come from the same “tribe”?


Here is another excellent tip for dressing in cold weather. I hate when static electricity builds up in winter clothes and scarves. I still remember my embarrassment as my dress clung to my body after taking off my coat as a young girl. I would often wear my coat all day for that reason. I now rub a Bounce dryer sheet over the two surfaces that are clinging to each other to remove the static. You may want to keep a bounce sheet folded up in a Ziploc bag inside your handbag all winter. You never know when you might need it!

Now I have to go figure out what I am going to wear to the party tonight. Wish me luck!

  1. Your style is fabulous. I’m learning so much from your blog. I would also be interested in your “comfy read a book” or casual wardrobe also. Soon to be retired, I’m revamping in that area also.

  2. You always look lovely.
    My heartfelt sympathies to the people who were affected by the wildfires in Tennessee.
    I am sure you mentioned them in a post but I must of missed it & was hoping they were not bear you it any of your loved ones.
    We know a lot about the devastation of wildfires here in Southern CA.

    1. There have been fires in all the mountains around my little valley. We have had blankets of smoke for weeks. The Gatlinburg fires were about 100 miles from me. We (the folks in Johnson City) have been donating money, food, water, clothes, and many other supplies because many people lost everything.

  3. You’re not wearing a suit but are wearing black separates, is that right? I want to wear black casual pants with a black suit blazer to an afternoon event where I want to dress up slightly. I would wear a cool black and gray top that is designed to be a little long. It’s the black pants and black blazer that I am worried about…will I look like someone who is trying to fake a suit?

  4. I enjoy seeing you wearing all one color (such as black) because that’s what I normally do myself. I am short and squatty and wearing one color prevents the eyes from cutting me in half. With your outfit Mr. Mickey photographed (very nicely if I may say) shows me how to wear a scarf which will help give the appearance of elongating my torso besides adding a punch of color. I also agree with Tammy’s comment of seeing what your casual, at home outfit would be. Enjoy a terrific weekend, and good luck with your outfit tonight – I’m sure it’ll be perfect.

  5. I like to put a few dryer sheets in my luggage when I travel. I choose the scented ones for this purpose, as they keep the suitcase smelling fresh. They can also be used for anti-static purposes, as you mention. I swear my clothes arrive less wrinkled, too.

  6. Like this look, you always put things together so well, also with the explanation of why you put certain things together is really teaching me a lot. Hope you had a wonderful evening.

    Again thank Mr. Mickey for the photo shot.

  7. Would you please identify which scarf you are wearing in your pictures. I have seen many and not sure I will be purchasing the right one. I love the one you have on here and I’m guessing it’s one of yours. Thanks very much.

  8. Love your style Susan. What books do you enjoy? I have read and reread all of Mauve Binchy’s books Her biography was very enlightening, I hope to visit Ireland one day.
    I have just started seriously adding to my perfume collection with coco channel mademoiselle and Narciso eat de Parfums Poudre. What are your favourite books and scents?

    1. I read a lot of interior design books and books about grand gardens, architecture, and travel to quaint villages and cities in Europe. One of my favorite recent design books is One Man’s Folly: The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood. When I wear a perfume it is either Chanel no. 5 or Candy by Prada.

  9. Oh my gosh you look so striking! You are my kind of gal as when it gets colder I like to stay home and need my quiet time. Thank you for your tips.

  10. I am glad you included an all black outfit , as we sometimes need this as we travel

    Your reminder to keep the accent pieces edgy and textured were spot on!

  11. I wouldn’t question the all black outfit. I didn’t notice that first. The thing I noticed was the warmth and glow in your face, second that gorgeous orange scarf and then the purse. Where I live I see so much black that I don’t take notice of that but everything else that is there. Also, you look stunning in black.

  12. Also, good tips about the wine. As I’ve got older I just can’t drink that much wine anymore, it gives me a headache. Also, I don’t drink the other alcohols, pop or juice. Guess I’m saving those calories.

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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.