The Versatility of Simplicity

A great wardrobe’s foundation includes the basics perfect for you and your lifestyle. My daily casual looks and combinations often start with a white tee and jeans that evolve as activities change. For example, the tissue-weight white tee here is the ideal foundation for various layered looks. It skims the body without being bulky or too loose. The slightly bootcut jeans here look equally good with block-heeled pumps, chunky loafers, or short boots.

We often have lunch with a group of friends on Friday afternoons. This delightful group includes grandparents, their son-in-law, adult grandchildren, and lifelong friends, from a doctor to a construction company owner to an interior decorator. Some of us are retired, some take a quick break during the workday, and others may return to assisted living later.

The restaurant is casual, but I always lean toward elevated casual attire. Dressing for your personality helps boost confidence and makes me feel more comfortable and appropriate. In addition, accessories such as scarves, jackets, shoes, and bags add flare and personality.

Lunch with friends.

I first showed the jacket here. I purchased it here. A similar scarf is here, and a similar belt is here. Similar suede pumps are here. The bag is here.

I relaxed at home in the dressed-down version later in the day.

The vest is at least three years old. A similar one is here. The loafers are here. The eyeglasses frames are by Ralph Lauren, and I got them about three years ago.

I hope that sharing snippets of my everyday life and how I dress for various occasions inspires you to put together comfortable looks from what you own. However, using the shopping links on this site may allow me to earn a small commission at no cost to you.

  1. How nice to have a Friday afternoon “date” with a coterie of friends! A good way to get out of the house and take a break. All of your looks are spot on.

  2. Now that is my style…love it!
    Great activity as well. I love the mix of the group..
    I think this is the first time I could go to my closet and say….yes….I have this piece, this piece, this piece…. You have a few little tweaks I will work on..thanks Susan.

  3. You always look lovely and put together. I have noticed that you do not wear prints. I am wondering what your philosophy is regarding printed tops or dresses?? Thank you.

    1. I started to limit my print purchases a few years ago since they are memorable and limit styling possibilities. I have a couple of print dresses, but I wear those only in the summer heat.

  4. I love the jacket! It fits you perfectly and certainly elevates the jeans and tee. Thanks for sharing your transitional look for your day.

  5. Thanks, as always Sue.
    I work at a university so “coordinated/elevated casual” works for my professional attire.
    Your posts are very helpful – especially now – because I am retiring in early summer and am anticipating
    this sartorial transition right now. 🙂

  6. Really good examples of how to style basics. You always look great but I particularly love your current hairstlye on you.

  7. Mother always said, “Your gloves, your shoes, your bag, and your hat should match!” Classic 1940’s!! But I see you sometimes wearing light colored shoes with a dark bag. So, are we breaking Mother’s rules these days?!?!

    1. Yes indeed! Avoid matching everything for a more modern look. For example, a handbag can add an exciting addition of color or texture that isn’t in your outfit, and shoes that are lighter or darker can elongate the leg.

  8. I enjoy how you still incorporate scarves into your look. I believe they add some sophistication to the look. Thank you for all the years of tips I have picked up from you.

  9. Yes, agree, simpler is classy and easy! Scarves look so sharp and upgrade the outfit so simply! You always have great tips for making our closets less cluttered but still stylish! Thank you!

  10. As always, you look classic and classy. I’ve learned so much from you over the years. Please keep your current hairstyle. It is so becoming.

  11. You always look so polished and sophisticated! Some time back you showed magnets you used to help close gaps in blouses. Do you have a link for them or can you point me in the right direction of something similar? I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

  12. Hi Susan,
    I love your scarf, it’s so attractive. Too bad it’s still not available.
    I have so many issues finding tee shirts that fit me right. Can you see through this one? I have long “sharpie pencil arms” 34c bust but my shoulder are broad. I’m thinking medium. I’m not crazy about having a too firm fitting tee shirt anymore.
    It’s so nice that you take “time out” to be social on Fridays. Sounds like you have a great group of interesting friends.
    Count me in too. Think your hair looks lovely.

  13. I think you have great style and I enjoy your posts. I’m wondering what you wear with pumps or loafers in the winter. Trouser socks, pantyhose or tights? Any recommendations? Thank you

  14. Who thought a scarf and jacket could make such a big difference from very casual to I’m good to go out and meet friends! Thank you so much for sharing.

  15. Thank you Susan. We will never meet as I am in New Zealand,but you have become a treasured friend. Thank you for inspiring me to live in a more rewarding way. You are beautiful and serene. Please keep sharing as it is really appreciated.

  16. I’m afraid your link to the jacket takes me to the Apple app for Bloomingdale’s. Can you please fix this? Thank you

  17. I get a lot of inspiration from your looks, thank you for your posts. A problem I have is I can not wear any type of heeled shoe or one that is narrow in the toe box. I love how your chunky heels and other shoes create a nice silhouette; I often feel I look frumpy in my flats and loafers. Getting the correct length in pants and jeans is important but do you have any other suggestions?

    1. Always match the color of your shoes to the color of your pants to avoid drawing attention to them. Add pretty accessories to the top half to draw attention away from the bottom half of your body. Walk confidently and smile often. No one will ever notice your shoes.

  18. Thank you for this! I love seeing how a basic outfit can be modified. Spending most of my life wearing scrubs, with no style talent whatsoever, I struggle with looking put together.

  19. I have a question about your hair. What hair tools do you have to use? Straightener, round brush etc. The style is very chic and fits your face beautifully. Your best hairstyle ever! Thank you for your valuable time to answer all our questions. You are an inspiration to so many. Love the scarf!

  20. This post shows how we can be casual and look very nice. By showing us the two ways to style the base of the pants and tee shows how just a few changes can elevate an outfit for a different occasion.
    Also I have to comment on your hair! Love it! I’m going to go back to the post where you show how to style it. Interesting what you said in one of the comments about how much easier it is to take care of. I often thought shorter hair would be easier but I do find that when I wear my hair shorter it seems to need more work.
    Actually I’m going to get mine trimmed in a couple of weeks and am going to use one of your shorter pictures in your post of the other day. I want to grow it longer but I have really thick hair and need to thin it out once in awhile or it just grows out not longer.

  21. Dear Susan, I have been reading your posts for a long time but never commented. You are a great inspiration for me, I am a jean’s girl in my early 60’s and work in a casual environment, so all your tips are very useful. Love also your trips with Mr. Mickey that allow me to travel through your posts, as I live very far from you. Thanks and greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

  22. Wow. You look amazing. I bet no matter where you go, you turn heads every time. Love this casual chic style with jeans, jacket and scarf. I also enjoy seeing the side by side pictures. That really emphasizes the look from a more dressy casual look to a very complete casual look.
    It has been very interesting to read your blogs. I learn something each time I “tune in.” Thank you for the time and effort you put into these informative missives to us. You are the best.
    Clara from Iowa

  23. Susan I think you’re aging in reverse! That last picture on the left, the first thought that popped into my head was “She’s looking younger and younger!”

  24. Your luncheon outfit was lovely – simple but so well put together! I’m learning so much from your suggestions and whenever I put them to use someone always compliments me on my outfit, and it’s pieces that I already had in my wardrobe! I liked your dressed down suggestion as well. Thanks for sharing!

  25. I’m always so sorry to get to the end of one of your posts! Thank you, Susan, for many hours of very pleasant learning 🙂
    Hope this note finds you and all you love in good health.

  26. Your outfits and variety of dress up and dress down, with one or two item switches and accessories is great! Thanks so much.

  27. I’ve been away from your posts for awhile and was thrilled to see it pop up today in my emails. Love your new hairdo. The length really is attractive on you. You always look great, and I was pleased to see Mr. Mickey is still doing well also.

  28. I just found your site and am excited to follow your lead on dressing for us more “mature” but youthful girls! I’m happy to reach my 70th birthday next week. Time for a fashion reset!!

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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.