The Wardrobe System

We often spend Sunday afternoons relaxing while visiting with family and friends. The sun was shining at last, but the air is still cold, so I wore white jeans, a white tank, and a navy sweater jacket. Accessories included a beautiful long rectangle handpainted silk scarf, which was a gift from the artist. You can see more of Kathy’s scarves here.

The faux leather-trimmed cardigan jacket, handbag, and white jeans are all by Ralph Lauren and a couple of years old. The tank is from Chico’s. The nude suede loafers are by Louise et Cie from last year.

You may have noticed that I wear the same clothes for years without apology and that if I add any trend, it is a very subtle one. A wardrobe stocked with the best classic pieces I can afford that fit my current body well and includes my flattering neutral colors will allow me to put together any look I need in a few minutes.

Your wardrobe system may consist of warm colors or edgier pieces. I have a classic style personality with a cool skin tone, so my system serves me well. Accessories and the occasional bright top finish the looks and add my personality. There are a few reasons that this system works for me.

1. I save money by not buying nearly as many clothes as I once did.
2. It never takes me more than five minutes to get dressed.
3. I always feel comfortable and confident in what I wear.
4. I never tire of my clothing because it isn’t memorable, and different combinations of layers and accessories allow for unlimited possibilities.

  1. Love your philosophy; it is one which suits you well and is worthy to be emulated!

    I have been on the hunt for some great black knit pants. Since Nic and Zoe carry some petites, can you share what style you wore in your last post? It might be available in petite sizing, which I require.


  3. I know you wear lots of tanks from Chico’s and have noticed there’s several kinds. Is there one in particular you prefer?

  4. Your wardrobe philosophy is a terrific one, and one you have helped me adopt with success….as I do save money and time in dressing! Plus, your wise tips and fashion sense are greatly appreciated and serve all of us blog readers well! Thank you so much!

  5. Hi Susan,

    What are you planning to wear for Easter in your area? My daughter is hosting her first family Holiday party in her new home OUTSIDE in NorCal. Any ideas for the west coast followers? Weather to be in the high 70’s.

  6. Susan I hate to shop!! I never find anything I like.
    I absolutely dread riffling through jammed racks
    Of clothes, to find nothing. I tried shopping on line but that was a catastrophe!
    What is your secret. I am ready to pitch all my clothes & start from scratch. Oh but that would mean I have to shop!! NO! I’m 73 in fairly good shape but nothing looks right on me any more.
    Please help!

    1. Go shopping with a trusted friend whose style you admire and ask for their help. Make it a fun outing! I do this with my older sister frequently as she, like you, does not like to shop. I make selections and she tries on. The first step, though, is to cull your closet, then know which items you need to fill in the gaps. Hope this helps.

    2. Cheryl gave you some good ideas, but I want to offer a caution. Sometimes friends suggest things that look good on them, not us. Until you are trained to do so, it is tough to determine what is right for another person who isn’t built like you and has different coloring and a different style personality.
      Go to your closet and pull out your all-time favorite outfit. It is likely a look that makes you feel confident and comfortable. That outfit may represent your style personality. From here you can see that when you veer too far away from this style or combination, you are not as comfortable or happy with the way you look. Those “others” are the ones you could start purging. Anything you haven’t worn in a year, or that is showing wear, and anything that you are never comfortable wearing could be the next things to go. Never buy on impulse. Never settle for anything. Always get what you know you need and buy the best quality you can afford. If you ever have to talk yourself into a garment, put it back on the rack.
      Is there someone you admire and always feel looks great? Study what that person wears and how they put things together until those looks become second nature to you. I hope this helps.

  7. I love your choices, how you look and the benefits you mention in your post today. My struggle is I love bright colours, stripes and pretty patterns. I’m not sure a scarf is enough to fulfill that need but I think I need try it.

  8. Susan, You always look so stylish and pretty! I love all of your “basics”! You give me inspiration to par down my wardrobe and try to make my life simple too. Thank you!

  9. You look beautiful Susan..!! I am so happy I found your blog, so far I love everything your are wearing. I am so excited to FIX my wardrobe, I needed help.
    Thank you and have a great day !

  10. Your making me jealous. Hopefully it will soon be nice and warm here too. Looking forward to it. As always, you look good.

  11. Oh, Susan, your style of dressing so appeals to my inner sensibilities, elegant, casual, chic…
    I so need advice and suggestions from you and other lovely followers. February 2019 my husband and I are taking a 30 day cruise to South America and back (from San Diego). Where we live it never gets too hot or too cold. Where we’re going will be very hot and humid requiring clothing changes often and with dual purposes, i.e. sun protection, air conditioning, modesty coverage… get the picture. My coloring is warm, soft and medium autumn tones. I just don’t know where to start or how to cover all the bases under this climatic condition. I do have a few linen tees but my personal style doesn’t appeal to wrinkles everywhere.

    Any suggestions from you lovely ladies that know how to handle high temperatures would be so appreciated.
    A sister in style,

  12. Thank you, Susan! I decided to start with the web researching fabrics, availability of laundry facilities on board ship, singling out items in my current wardrobe as a start. I’ll keep following your advice and suggestions for mixing and blending pieces together.

    Thank you again,

    1. Travel with a fan. You will be everyone’s friend as they try to lean into your cool air. Check out Amazon for your style of fan. I like Travelon 3 speed, folding, white, $10.50. It is quiet, folds to sit on a table or you can hang it around your neck, if you must; Not very attractive, but neither is sweating. I also carry an authentic Spanish fan. My Abuela assured me ladies always have one. She taught me how to use it. She also used it to wack us when we were disobedient.

      For hot days, stay away from synthetic textile fibers like Rayon, Nylon, and Polyester. Wear them at night on the ship. Wear cotton. Wear loose pants. Jeans are hot, save for ship or cooler days. Wear pretty gauzy cotton skirts, with a cotton tee. They’re the best. I sometimes find jewelry hot so I just wear simple hoop earrings and a watch. Get a great pair of sunglasses.

      Hats are “cool,” but they hold the heat in. Carry an light colored umbrella instead and use it when you can’t find the shade. There are UV umbrellas and they are worth every penny. Again, check Amazon. Look up NOOFORMER, 95% UV protection.

      If you feel yourself getting too hot, find ice. Rub it on your neck, inside arm, and behind your knees. It will cool you down. No ice, carry a baggie with some pre-soaked paper towels or a washcloth from the ship. Place it around your neck. One can also pray for rain. That will cool things down a bit… Whatever you do have fun!

  13. Thank you, Ray Ann, I so appreciate your wonderful tips! I really like the suggestion to use a feminine fan…so gentle and serene..I do travel with a uv protection umbrella in a cooling beige. I can’t tell you how many countries this umbrella has saved me from being miserable.

    I am going to follow your suggestion to pack many lightweight, dresses, poly or not, just to wear to dinner. Cotton and linen for day use.
    I have seen women wear little fans around their neck…i’ll have to take a look at them. Also, bandana type scarves from sporting good stores have a narrow band with charcoal which can be placed in the freezer section of the mini bar, packed in a baggie and later worn to help cool down.

    I feel as tho I am ready to firmulate a plan, thanks to your wonderful suggestions. I so appreciate your taking the time to help me with thus.
    Thanks again, a sister in style,

  14. Susan, I recently found your blog and love it! I am transitioning from my 50’s to my 60’s and looking forward to it. I love your sense of style, clean lines, simple, yet classic. Thank you — Maricella

  15. Susan, your system makes so much sense. Its how my mother dressed (obviously different era) but similar system and she always looked so well presented and had timeless elegance…..somewhere along the line I seemed to have, not followed trends, but purchased so many clothes that I don’t need and never wear. I can’t wait to be strong enough to go through my wardrobe with a ruthless attitude so that I can find something to wear without having to re-iron it because it has become crushed in the wardrobe. Thank you for the inspiration – Joy

  16. I’ve only recently discovered discovered you Susan, & even though I am ten years older than you, I find your style, & tips have helped me restyle my wardrobe. Some with clothes I already have, but didn’t know how to combine them, and a few new basics.

    You have been an inspiration Susan, thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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.