Take It Up A Notch

I’m showing you a more dressed up look, similar to yesterday’s jeans and tank combo. This combination could be worn to have lunch with friends or to a doctor’s appointment. Adding accessories and keeping the base colors similar upgrades this summer look.

The colors in this kimono print are from a soft, warm, muted artist’s palette, which is why you may see this as not a good combination for me because I look best in clear, vivid cool colors. I will share more about this in tomorrow’s post, where I will show you a very similar look in a cool, dramatic combination, which is more appropriate for my style personality. I will explain the details and show you the differences in style and use of color; my purpose is to help you to determine what best complements your style personality.

There is more to the magic formula than just the choice of color. The cream color of this tank is in keeping with the kimono’s warm tones, but the length of it is not good for me because it is too long. The tank covers the point where my legs begin, making them seem shorter. My number one styling tip for Petite women is to show as much of the length of your leg as possible. (Petite means 5′ 4″ and under.) Note that the pants are a cool white, and the tank is a warm white.

“Why don’t you wear prints?” is a question I get often. Prints are often muted and include several colors. When I wear a print, it should be a limited number of bold, pure colors and a repeating geometric pattern to be in harmony with my style personality. The colors should not be dusty or golden for them to work for me. Dusty means white is added to the pure color to make it softer. Golden means that yellow has been added to the pure color to make it warmer. I often mention the importance of color because it is the first thing we see, and it may be why you never wear some of the items in your closet. It is my goal to share tips that help you understand all the other reasons something might remain in your closet unworn.

The pants are white ankle-length girlfriend jeans from Chico’s. The sandals are by Born Shoes. The wicker bag was purchased at J. Mclaughlin last year.

Read more about the subtle nuances of style in tomorrow’s blog post.

  1. So many good tips for me today. The tip about the top and the start of the leg was one I had not heard before but makes so much sense! Thank you!

  2. I love your site. I have been following you for a few months now, and never miss a post. Personal style is so important, but first you have to know what it is! Thanks for all the tips.

  3. I used to be a dark brown hair woman, but lately I’ve changed for a softer brown with golden highlights and I’m not sure I’m in the same colors palette anymore! I’m trying to find something softer for my complexion but presently, I have the same bright colors clothes as you. Some people tell me to keep on with what I love which are “winter” colors as I preferred them. Other friends tell me to do with a softer palette. I’m at a loss!!!! Anyway I like to read you as always. Keep on the good work.

  4. Susan, you trickster!! Thought this look wasn’t quite right for you. You’ve taught me well. Looking forward to seeing what changes you make in the outfit. Love your blog!

  5. Enjoying these tips and loving your hair! I recently found a stylist who understands how to cut curly hair and its finally been fun to let my hair do what it wants to do. On another note: could you please (if you haven’t done so already, and I missed it) give us some tips on eyeglasses (shapes and what colors are best for those of us with gray hair. Mine is a silver gray and I wear a lot of the cooler colors) as well as frame ideas for different face shapes? I will be replacing my eyeglasses this summer with new ones and I want to get an updated look this time. Thank you!

    1. I have a roundish face so I always look for straight lines in my glasses. I look for gray/silver/pewter colors of frames so that they blend in with my hair. Mauve, plum and blue would also be nice colors to wear with gray hair.

  6. Length makes all of the difference. So you are saying that you should shorten the items on top? I agree. I’m 5’4″ with long legs but I get items shortened.

  7. Now I’m at a loss. I’m 5’2″, I wear my tops so they stop at the top of my legs to cover my stomach. Now what do I do?

    1. A designer pointed out to me once that we might be bringing more attention to our stomachs if the line of the top falls under it rather than just below the middle so that the top falls straight instead of hugging the tummy all the way down.

      1. Susan your response makes perfect sense but boy do I now have to do a closet clean-out of tunic tops!

  8. I agree you look great in cool vivid colors, but I noticed in one of your early blogs of FiftyNotFrumpy you thought you should wear dusty colors, being a cool summer. At what point did you evolve, and did you blog about it? Being a petite, I also am wondering about whether I should pay to get tanks shortened. They usually come below my stomach just a smidgen. Just wondering if it would be worth it?

    1. If the tops are not mid thigh, you should be OK wearing them as they are. I once paid a lot of money to take a course which included color analysis and a style profile which had me wearing soft flowing fabrics, colors and silhouettes. All this is incorrect as I quickly learned. I was not happy trying to fit into that slot, so I went back to wearing what makes me happy, I think it shows all over your face when you are happy in what you are wearing.

      1. Thanks for responding. You were smart to pay attention to your inner voice and not the “experts.” I trust my own instincts. For years I couldn’t get my hair color right (brown hair, hazel eyes) and the day I got my first light golden strawberry blonde wig, even my best friend who says I am a winter and follows that rule religiously, had to admit that the color was perfect. Wear what makes you happy and it shows! You look great, Susan, and have helped me a lot.

  9. Love your blog. Interesting point regarding the length of the tank. Would soft whites pants make a difference too? The kimono top is very pretty, perfect for the sweltering days and overly air conditioned buildings that I have in Florida.

    1. If I had been actually wearing this look instead of just modeling it to show a point, I would have worn a white tank in a tone closer to the pants. Thank you!

  10. Also, I wanted to thank you for your great advice on style. I look at things in a whole different way!

  11. I agree with you about the length of tops for petite women. Shorter tops definitely make my legs look longer and thinner. I’m almost 5’1″ so I’m on the lower end of the petite sizing range. It is so difficult to find tops that fall to the right spot on my body. Even petite tops can be too long. I frequently have to shorten my tops by 2 inches to achieve the best length. I, as you, like my tops looser and shorter. I will go a size larger to achieve the looser look, but have to shorten the length. I have recently purchased several tops from Chico’s in the petite sizing and they are shorter for the most part. Anxiously waiting to read tomorrow’s post.

  12. Your jeans look bluish in photo, maybe it’s just the photo. I try to match my colors closer, whites, blacks,navys…it does drive me nuts. What is your guidelines for tonal or tone on tone?

    1. Don’t worry so much about matching the colors exactly. If the textures are different and the colors are of the same family meaning cool vs. warm, you will look fine. This outfit was put together for this project. I only had a cream tank but no cream pants, so these are my white jeans since I never wear ivory, cream or other warm colors.

  13. When I first looked at this post, I thought to myself there’s no way Susan would choose this combo. Then reading through you made your points on color differences – spot on. Thanks.

  14. You really look gorgeous, I would love to look this after 60s. Choosing the right color that matches both personality and lifestyle is truly an art.

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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.