The Third Piece

Many style bloggers close out the year with a recap of their favorite looks. For the next few days, I will be showing you my favorite looks from 2016, but I am breaking this project down into categories and discussing the looks more in-depth. Like you, when I find an item that works for me, I enjoy wearing it often. My goal here is to share good ideas, helpful tips, where I found an excellent piece, or how and why I wore it.

Dusters have been in my wardrobe since the first one I bought way back in 1983. The long fringe edge duster cardigan is shown above, and below is one of my all-time favorites. I found it at Saks Off 5th last year, and I have worn it many times. I would buy six of those silver-gray tanks if Chico’s ever makes that color again. I always pair a long outer item with a short inside garment. If my jacket is short, I wear a long tank with it. When I wear two tops of the same length, the effect is too boxy and makes me look heavier.

I found this burnout fringe duster above at Dillard’s. I love it because it can be worn Boho style with jeans or dress up and wear it out to dinner with nice black pants. The reason long dusters work for me is that I have a flat, narrow behind. If you have a pear-shaped body, you may want to avoid wearing long tops because they draw attention to the behind.

The black duster above and below is from White House|Black Market. You may notice two things about these dusters. The bodice areas are clean and simple. I have a busty figure, so I do not wear wide lapels or ruffles because those details make that area appear even more abundant. If I wore a waterfall vest or cardigan, the waterfall feature should always start below my bust, not on or above it. The second thing to notice is that the textures are smooth and sleek. I never want to add any volume to my heavier upper body. When I wear a scarf, I always try to keep the bulk of the wrap or tie above my bustline.

I have worn the short gray cashmere cardigan from J.Jill above countless times. I work with three or four neutral colors so that most of my clothes are interchangeable. Why reinvent the wheel every day? Silvertone grays, white, black, denim blues, royal blue, and blue-red are the colors you will always find in my closet. I do not enjoy wearing a print on my body, so I have mostly solids. When I add a print, it usually comes in a scarf or maybe a fun clutch bag or filmy flowing vest.

The little royal blue cotton cardigan is from Lands’End. A lightweight short cardigan in a neutral color often comes with me. Shivering in a drafty restaurant is never fun.

When warmer weather arrives, I give up my jackets and cardigans to use a vest for my third piece. I wear the third piece as often as possible because this formula of layers works to visually smooth and conceal my middle. I have gained and lost about fifty pounds (several times) over my lifetime, so my midsection is not an area I ever want to show. During the past few years, I have maintained a healthy weight for the first time in my life. I read the book “Eat To Live” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman in 2011 to learn what to eat and why. I haven’t even had a cold since then, and I have kept my weight at about 145. (I am five feet six inches tall.)

The vest above and below is from J.Jill. The short sleeve tee is from White House|Black Market. The caper pants are from Fabrizio Gianni.

The vest below is several years old from Chico’s. I wore it here over a long tunic by Comfy from Purple Poppy.

I have several of these cascading vests by Covered Perfectly. They can be worn in many ways, even on a sweltering day. I always take one with me on a trip because they are so versatile and flattering.

  1. Thanks for doing the year end pieces Susan. It is just a reminder how much I love your choices in clothing and shoes!

  2. Love this end-of-year series! And I really love the J. Jill sweater. I was told that gray was not right for me and that warm, fall colors should dominate my closet. So, while I have begun to transition to a warmer palette, I can’t give up the gray! It is a neutral that I find very comfortable and easy to style. There is something about wearing gray that makes me feel polished. And picture #6 shows this. An everyday outfit elevated to chic. Thanks for such a great blog and best wishes for a warm holiday season.

  3. Love this idea of your fave items & why! I just turned 60, have a few different clothing challenges than you have ( 6′, slim, but curvy.) And no, I can’t just wear “anything” as I often hear. I am going to analyze the outfits I love & why & then copy those ideas over & over as you have. I really want to simplify my wardrobe & this is a great start. Thank you!

  4. Thank you for fashion sense and knowledge I am trying some of your style knowledge. I have started wearing a shorter not too short mid hip with longer jackets or sweaters and longer tops with shorter jackets or sweaters I hope I got it right!

  5. So much useful information! I still like that you pointed out to not wear your top two pieces the same length as it divides your body in half rather than thirds which you want. Thanks for your sharing your knowledge.

  6. Susan, I so enjoy your blog. I too have just turned 60, and many of the ways you wear clothes work for me also. I am wondering something about your handbags, you seem to have dozens, how do you store them so they are easily accessible every day. (I have a bit of a “purse problem”, I love them and never tire of buying new but have a big issue storing them.

  7. Love everything you have posted! I am currently wearing a duster, and I was inspired by some of your looks! Thanks for sharing so much with us.

  8. Susan,Thank you so much for including comments on other body styles. I find your analyses so helpful. I love reading your blog.

  9. I have always loved a duster over slim cut pants. To me it is such an elegant and polished look. I am tall (5’7″) and fairly straight with a slight pearish figure and like to cover my backside for figure flattery. However, living in NYC, the weather often requires a top layer and unfortunately dusters don’t fit well underneath a coat. I really love this latest feature, Susan but then all of your posts are wonderful and informative. You are so generous in sharing your tips and helpful information with your readers.

  10. Susan, I really enjoy reading your blogs. Your advice is always spot on and it fits with my personal body type and style aesthetic. Thanks again.

  11. Susan, thank you for showing us how you dress to flatter your body. That is so important, and so hard to get right. I have some body issues similar to yours… flat rear end and a middle with no shape or muscle tone. The outfit with the shorter vest and longer tunic is especially intriguing. It’s a look I will try to copy, but it’s hard because somehow I was taught that the outer layer should always be longer. That’s another fashion rule from the past that I need to forget.

    Thanks for everything you do!

  12. Unfortunately, I have “knock-knees,” so very straight legged pants don’t work for me. I wear loose fitting legs but they look sort of sloppy. How can I work around this problem, please.

    1. Hi Brenda, Trouser style pants with loose fitting legs might be your best choice. Always make sure the top or jacket you wear is not too long and that it is more fitted. Keep the balance of slim on top and loose on the bottom.

  13. I so appreciate all your helpful style hints! Do you have a brand of jeans that you like? I would love to find some that are to the waist, long rise, and straight.

    Thank you again

  14. Susan, I’ve been following your blog for about a year and it astounds me that our style is so similar. There is only one huge difference- I can’t wear heels as high as yours, I can only wear two inch heels for a sit down dinner. However I wear mostly solid’s –similar looks to yours, I don’t like prints and when I look at what you’re wearing it’s what I usually end up wearing too. Another difference is that I just turned 70 and I still feel like I am 40.
    It amazes me when I see and read what you say because it is pretty much how I feel about dressing also. Thank you, Ruth

  15. I recently discovered you on Facebook and love your blog and your impeccable look. I try to imitate your style because I have the same area that I try to minimize. Thank you for all your tips, I will be following you. I particularly enjoyed the makeup blog and took several of your suggestions. Have a very Merry Christmas.

  16. Susan, I have just discovered your blog. Over the past few days I have enjoyed reading ALL your blogs on SusanAfter60 as well as all the ones on your older other blog. What a fantastic education for me. You are truly an inspiration. I will be checking out the book that changed your eating habits….this may be the kick in the pants I have needed. Keep up the good work. Please know it is all appreciated. Merry Christmas!

  17. Love this series and all of your very helpful suggestions to keep us over 60 women looking stylish. Your taste is wonderful, and love your suggestions on clothes, layering, and putting things together! Merry Christmas and thanks so much for your blog!

  18. I am heading into my fifties I would to so elegant and stylish as you are. Your wardrobe is perfect combination of timeless pieces, you have given me some wonderful ideas. Kind Regards Janine, South Australia

  19. Thanks Susan for sharing these. I really love your styling. I, also, love dusters and vests for similar reasons. I am interested in you saying about ‘Eat for Life’. I need to lose about 40 kg and then get the accompanying improvement in my health. Would you mind telling me how you transitioned to his way of eating and whether you find it sustainable? Many thanks. Sue Peel

    1. I have been eating mostly plants for the past five plus years. Fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and grains have worked well for me. If you want to give it a try, stop eating meat or any processed foods. Drink lots of water and go for a walk as often as you can. I wish you good health!

  20. Susan,
    Thanks for talking about “Eat to Live”. I finally read it and decided to try the plan for 6 weeks just to see if I could do it – I’ve lost 10 lbs.! This is the best thing I can do for my looks and my health. Merry Christmas!

  21. I am thoroughly enjoying your site and so glad I found you on Facebook. Please answer this question: I live in Michigan am well over sixty but love the look of the skinny pants, slim jeans, legging, etc. I have a hard time keeping my leggings, pants, etc inside of my boots. When sitting down and then standing up, they never look neat with a clean line. What am I doing wrong?

    1. I tuck the pants into my socks and then pull my boots on. Don’t worry too much about any bunching at the knees. I have learned to just ignore it because I see on all ages and sizes.

  22. I love your blog and your style advice.
    If you could only buy one French K. Necklace which one would it be? I wear gold & silver.
    Happy holidays, Kim

  23. Merry Christmas. I love your blog and especially when you explain what you wear and why you wear it. A while ago you shared where you get your pants that come in talls. Will you share that again? Thank you

  24. Hi Susan. I’m loving all your blog posts and your classy style. Wondering if you’d be willing at some point to give some style tips to those of us who are indeed a bit more pear shaped. I’m 61, 5’3 and 3/4″, weigh 135lbs and am not busty. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Merry Christmas to you and Mr Mickey.

  25. Dusters that end mid-upper leg are actually perfect for pears. Length is critical, and you’ll know it when you find it.

    Love those dusters!

  26. As I see you wear Fabrizio Gianni , what is your favorite style , I would like to give them a try , I am tallish , 5’7″ and so the length is sometimes an issue , I see what you mean by having more solid colors , and you appear to use shoes as your statement. I do not wear heels much and so I need other statement items , if I were to buy more scarves what is your idea the best size , oh and I am busty also ,, thanks for your time , Renee

    1. NYDJ has jeans for talls in many styles and washes, but I find that I have to try jeans on to get the fit right until I become familiar with the styles. I do have several pairs of pants from Fabrizio Gianni but I have to be careful because not all the cuts work well for me. I like larger square scarves that measure about 36 inches.

  27. Absolutely love your style! I have always prided myself on looking and dressing well, but as I am approaching 60 I have found myself doubting certain looks that worked previously. I too, got bustier through menopause and have a similar figure to yourself. Your ideas, your clear and concise instructions, and especially your gorgeous shoes and scarves make me smile every time I get an email. Thanks for helping this lady to transition from my forties and fifties to stylish sixties!

  28. Thank you for so generously sharing all of your knowledge. You have been an inspiration to me, giving me the courage to continue wearing the heels that have always made me feel fashionable and young! I love your new website and have purchased many of the pieces I see you wearing. (We are the same size and our body shapes are identical, except my legs are long and skinny.) Merry Christmas to you and Mr. Mickey! I look forward to next year and more inspiration from you.

  29. I sure like that vest from Chico’s. I have a question, I am 5’3 and unable to wear the type of shoes you do with the heels. I can wear a wedge maybe 2-3 inches high prefer 2. I have a hard time picturing myself in some of the outfits you show thinking they would shorten me even more. It is hard to find in shoes wedges these days. Would you at sometime use a friend my height and give examples how we should put an outfit together that you wear?

    Thank you

    1. Proportion is key. You can wear whatever you want if you get it tailored to fit you or buy petites. Wearing one color or one hue from head to toe helps to make you look taller. Each horizontal line makes you look shorter.

  30. HiSusan, I just discovered your blog and I love it! Thanks for sharing and posting. Your style is fabulous!

  31. Susan, you are my style guru! I love your style sense! Im in the process of reinventing myself by simpliflying and unifying my closet full of outdated and unflattering clothes. You have taught me how to do this and i just want to say thank you and please continue to inspire me with your helpful tips and advice. Lisa Hahn

  32. Thanks for the explanations as to ‘why’ theses fashions work – it makes analyzing what will work for my body type much easier. You can find fashionable items at many different stores when you know what to look for.

    Happy New Year!

  33. Hi Susan. I recently discovered your site and absolutely love it. I live in Australia, am 63 years old and very much your height and shape. I even have the same hair colour! Just love your style and have finally found fashion which suits me but doesn’t make me look like I am trying to be a teenager. Love the blog and your ability to be down to earth and sensible along with creating quality fashion ensembles which work so well. Your site and your fashion choices are my ” go to” now. Thanks so much.
    Ingrid G.

  34. Susan,
    Thank you for sharing such useful information with us! I appreciate your willingness to communicate not only the “how to” but the “why”.

    In this blog you stated that if you have a pear shape, wearing a duster will draw attention to your backside. (I love dusters!) So my question is: doesn’t the duster elongate the pear body (short, 5’2″ in my case), and if that’s not the case, then what does a pear shape wear to cover/detract from the booty?

    Again, it is such a pleasure as well as helpful to follow your blog. Thank you Susan!

    1. Showing your slim waistline in front and layering at different lengths works great to take the emphasis off your booty. Try a duster left open over a top that stops mid-hip length with an interesting necklace. Dark, sleek fitting pants serve you well. Always draw the eyes up to your face with necklaces or scarves worn with the knot or drape above the bustline. Never wear a bulky bracelet, because they add visual width to your hip area. Try to show as much of the length of your legs as possible. If you follow a pear shape blogger, you will be able to see how she uses styling tricks to move your eyes to her best features. Thank you for your kind words!

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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.