The Striped Basic

Do you have a favorite print? Stripes and repeating geometric patterns are the only ones I purchase.

For many years, I have worked from my home office, learning long ago to dress for the day and prepare for anything. Finally, I have my morning coffee before 4 AM, and by 7 AM am, ready to face the world, with much of my administrative work completed already.

My simple formula for dressing for work never fails me, and I am always comfortable. I start with a neutral color top, dark wash jeans, or simple black pants. These staple pieces are the perfect blank canvas to accessorize, so I don’t have to change everything I wear numerous times a day.

My attorney may call me to sign papers I must take to my accountant. Then, I may have to go to three banks and the Post Office before returning. When I make those rounds, I will likely wear a blazer.

When my sister calls me to meet her for lunch, I can throw on a scarf and grab a crossbody bag to look casual but put together.

When I return home, I may wear a vest and a pair of slip-on sneakers to finish my day comfortably.

I’m excited to try some of these new salad ideas.

All in a day’s work!
The new hairstyle.

I visited my stylist for a long-overdue trim last week. But, then, I may not see him again for three months. The products I use are from Beautycounter here. My hair is naturally wavy, so I lift it with my fingers as I blow-dry it on the low fan but high heat setting.

  1. Your hair looks great! Love your pretty curls. What kind of shoes do you wear for walking? I love the slip on style as I seem to always be stopping to retie my shoelaces.

  2. Your hair is beautiful and so fortuitous to have natural curls, waves. It’s a gift to be sure. Love also the striped top with everything, jeans being perfect with it. Thanks.

  3. This is a powerful post. Thank you for taking simple pieces in neutral colors and tailoring to each of the many tasks of the day. This is how so many of us live and you make it clear for us to up our game. And I’m going to echo previous comments: You are having a great hair day!

  4. I love how you showed the different ways to dress this outfit as you go about the day. Looks very polished. Thank you.

  5. Love your hair! You are so blessed to have natural curl/wave! Great outfits, too! All of it really suits my style! By the way, if you are drinking coffee before 4am, what time do you go to bed…8:00?

  6. I just found your site. Thank you so much for your helpful posts. Even though I have a different body type and hair, your fashion posts are so useful that anyone could wear most of the styles! You made my day.

  7. Love Inv this series, thank you. Wanted to ask if you have looked at the ‘curly girl’ method of hair care, it is quite different to the usual way we manage our hair. I am just learning about this method and would like your thoughts if you have researched it previously. Currently I am visiting Canada so looking at what is available here, usually in Australia where many women with curls are following this method and their hair looks amazing.

    Many thanks

  8. Your hair is beautiful! Would you consider sharing a video showing how you style it from start to finish? That would be awesome!! Also, wondered if there were any plans to find a new provider for the basics which you sell in your store? I saw your post saying that the original designer will no longer be producing the items for you. Wondering what may be coming down the road! Thanks for your excellent inspiration and I’m enjoying the current series of posts so much!!

  9. Love your hairstyle – it suits you and is very attractive. It seems that women with curly hair want to straighten it and women with straight hair want to curl it. You have chosen to work with what God gave you, lovely hair!

  10. As always, lovely! Dressing in the way you described makes so much sense. with a bit of thought it can be replicated with other combinations. Thanks for keeping me focused and keeping it simple!

  11. I love all your posts, but this one ranks among my top favourites. I hate changing several times a day – what a waste of time. Thanks for showing us how to be “put together” and ready for any occasion.

  12. Do you mind sharing your morning routine with me? In bed by? I have early mornings, too, but earlier would be better! Thank you!

    1. I usually read until 9 PM or a little later. I always wake up without an alarm at around 3:30 AM. I start the coffee, tidy up the bedroom and freshen up while the coffee is brewing. I answer emails, work on a blog post or do some research for a future blog post for the first few hours. I usually eat breakfast a couple of hours after I get up. Several times a week I do random exercises for strength and balance and lots of stretches. There is no particular program. There might be some yoga, or pilates and some seventh-grade gym class thrown in. The goal is to remain flexible and strong. When the weather is decent, I walk (very fast) for about three miles after breakfast.

  13. The table in your kitchen area with the lamp on it is just like one I inherited from my mother. I’m so glad to see it displayed as I live in Florida and it’s not exactly the style here. But I love it and have also put a lamp from her on it. You are making me step out of a box and simplify. Thanks.

  14. Great post! My husband and his mother have this beautiful natural curly hair. My hair is stick straight and baby fine so I am very envious!

  15. Hi, I was curious about your bedtime since you are up early? I find my sleep after 60 is a little wacky….sometimes up at 3 am, or 5 am, but it’s the best time for a devotional read and then the paper. Retirement has allowed me a little flexibility…thankful!

  16. Agree with Sherri. Would love to learn how you style your hair. It looks fantastic. Can’t wait for the video to learn your technique. I am taking the photos of your hair to my stylist for a similar cut as my hair is very similar. Inspiring thank you Susan. It is terribly humid here in Aus how does your curly hair cope? Mine goes crazy.

    1. My curls love humidity! When it is winter here, the air is dry which makes my hair messy but not so curly. I often blow it out straight in the winter for that reason.

  17. Love all the different outfits with just a few basic pieces.
    Could you please tell me what Beautycounter products you are currently using? Would love to try this line of skincare.

  18. Same base but four very different looks. I change my clothes to suit my engagements but perhaps
    I need to put on simple basics and dress them accordingly. I’ve pinned this for future referral.
    Love your hair!

  19. Thank you for these great ideas for add-ons to one basic outfit. They really give me confidence about how I can create different looks by adding simple pieces.

  20. Love your hair Susan! You’ve found your style! – I’m a fan of stripes. Hard not to notice all the striped tops in my closet! Also, like your post today, I find I have on the basics that I “adjust” throughout my day to “fit” what I’m up to or where I’m heading off to .

  21. Thanks for showing the back of your hair. Nice haircut and style for you. Enjoy your articles so much. When I wear my striped tops and add a colorful scarf, women always want to know how I knew to do that and why it works. I just always liked that look. I’m not sure why it works but it does. The scarves I pair with a striped top are usually bold primary colors. I’ve never tried an animal print with stripes tho. What are your thoughts about that combo?

  22. Love your new haircut. It gives you a fabulous lift and uses the natural wave and curl that you have. You look beautiful!

  23. Dear Susan,
    I have received the handbag I ordered from you and also the free scarf. Just wanted to say that the
    quality of both items is great and that the scarf you selected is beautiful. The navy and cream combination with a touch of red goes with many items in my closet. The order arrived faster than I expected, and the packaging was superior.
    Thank you!

  24. Oh, my gosh! Your hair in these pix is absolutely beautiful!! How fortunate you are to have those natural curls. The back is gorgeous with all that volume. I loved this video, Susan.

  25. I agree with everyone about this hairstyle. It rocks! I am surprised that no one has mentioned your eyeglasses. They look fabulous on you! The variations of the outfit are all good, but the one with the blazer and glasses is perfection!

  26. Greetings from Helsinki, Finland. I found your website via Pinterest after many searches for “fashion for women over 60”, “ageing with style” etc. Yours is the one closest to what I have been looking for, i.e. ideas for “ordinary” (= not ex fashion models, rich celebrities or eccentrics) women wishing to look good at this age regardless the size of their bank account, profession or size. This post really hit home with its versatility and sleek stylishness, thank you. I liked the one about dressing to hide love handles, too
    😀 My own closet is full of quality t-shirts, knits, skirts and trousers that, alas, do not look nor feel right. Now I know what go looking for when I shop. Keep up the good work and thank you for being such an inspiration.

  27. Your hair is simply breathtaking. The back is full, swirly, tousled, and full, full, full. You are so very fortunate!

  28. Just found your site. I am 61 years old. Never really knew how to dress.
    Love your site. Love how you explain to buy basics and how to put
    The, together

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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.