Things I Avoid

Before sharing my list of some things I avoid, here are a few photos from our Saturday afternoon adventures.

The bag is about eight years old. The shoes and denim blazer are at least three years old. (The blazer is by Raison D’etre.) I don’t remember how long I’ve had the watch, but I’ve felt like the best version of myself each time I’ve worn these items.

Similar items to mine are linked and may provide a small commission to me without additional cost to you. WatchBagBlazerBeltPantsSweaterShoesNecklace. (Use the code SAS10 for $10 off any one item at Beauty in Stone Jewelry.)

Prince Charming is waiting to open the door for me. Since we started dating almost sixteen years ago, I haven’t been “allowed” to touch a door handle.

Those two-tone shoes are at least thirty years old, which is a testament to shoe rotation, professional polishing and taking care of your well-planned purchases. When Mr. Mickey wears jeans, he almost always adds a structured blazer to the look.

Never say never. I find it much easier to avoid a few things rather than demand that every situation fit my needs. For example, if I am a guest in someone’s home where they serve baked chicken and dessert, I eat small portions and return to my primarily vegetarian ways at the next meal. Compromise makes life a little more pleasant for everyone, but the lists below include things I don’t buy and try to avoid.

Food: The evening meal – processed food – dessert – bread – pasta – white potatoes – crackers – vegetable oils – margarine – shortening – cheese – anything fried – snacks – condiments – salad dressings.

Some food products make us feel tired, achy, and irritable. The quality of life improves when we identify those triggers and learn to avoid them.

Exercise and Mental Health: Sitting for long periods – sleeping less than seven hours – negativity and toxic people.

Daily movement at a level that challenges me has helped with flexibility, balance, and attitude.

Wardrobe: Large logos – clingy knits – lace – neon colors – tight garments – tunics – distressed anything- oversized – shorts – wide necklines – knee-length dresses.

Some textures don’t look so great on me, and a few things just don’t fit my personality anymore. For example, now that I rarely wear heels, tunics are the wrong proportion for my short legs, and extra fabric equals extra girth.

  1. Susan, you look so lovely in this outfit! Mr. Mickey always looks so dapper, and I love your expression of “Prince Charming”. Such a beautiful couple. Thank you so much for continuing to share your life and lessons with us. You are greatly appreciated. I always learn so much from you in each and every post. For some reason, they don’t come to my email anymore. But I think of you several times a week and rush to check your website. Also, congratulations on starting yoga. I tried it about 6 years ago and have found an entire new world. I have balance and flexibility now and just feel better. I know how to relax now too. Thanks for sharing your You Tube instructor also. I will do some of her classes. I’ve tried several since the pandemic began and enjoy many classes. Have a great weekend!

  2. Great look! What kind/color socks/hose do you wear with outfits such as this today…navy, gray? If you’ve addressed this topic, I missed it!

  3. Mr. Mickey always looks so dapper. How many years did it take you to fine tune your avoid list? You have been open about your struggles after your weight loss to find your style. How much of the avoid list do you think is good instincts and how much was trial and error? Since the beginning of the year I have been working part time in a woman’s clothing store. It’s very easy for me to see what looks good on others but I still struggle with my own avoid list. For example, I also have short legs (I wear petite pants even though I am taller than a classic petite ) but never thought of tunics making my legs look even shorter until you said it. Large prints and capris are firmly on my avoid lists as well as colors I know I look bad in. However I am still a work in progress learning. Thank you for your posts. They help so much as I try to hone my style.

    1. As I take photos for the blog, it is evident that I have aged out of some things. However, noticing the women I admire, what they wear and look best in has also helped me learn what to embrace or avoid.

  4. If tunics are “ out “ would love some suggestions for those of us who haven’t reached our goals of slimness yet Love your style

    1. A loose-fitting top that skims the body and lands below the belly is usually most flattering on an apple shape. An even shorter top will be more flattering if you have a pear shape. Don’t let the hemline stop at the broadest part of your body since it draws the eye to that area.

  5. Hi Susan,
    I know you’ve had the jacket for awhile and I’ve always admired it. Can you please tell me the brand.
    Thank you and have a great day!

  6. Thanks once again for sharing your insight on style, etc. I have gleaned so much helpful content and recently shared your contact information with a sales associate at Talbots. She immediately looked you up. The next time I was in the store, she told me how much she benefited from your blog. Although my body shape and coloring are quite different from yours (a petite senior with a fair complexion who used to have auburn hair), I have learned a great deal about what to wear, and what NOT to wear. I really appreciate the styling tips.
    Have a wonderful day.

  7. Thanks once again for a lovely post. I enjoy reading and learning. I also enjoy your’s and Mr. Mickey’s outings.

  8. I have short legs and wear tunics. I find it looks ok, but then maybe not. Too much of a tummy to tuck anything in and always find it difficult to find tops that look good.

  9. Great post! I’m still learning how to dress stylishly at age 76! Weight gain over the years, body changing proportions makes it challenging. Just love the examples in outfits you put together. So inspiring. Can you point me to the post where you listed the influencers you follow? I want to start following them also.
    With much gratitude,

  10. Susan,
    I have not written to you in many months. But I want you to know that you look beautiful in these
    Posts today. You are such an inspiration to so
    many ladies.

    I envy the relationship and love that you and Mr Mickey share. What a wonderful couple!!!
    I kept you in my thoughts & prayers during your
    COVID experience.

    Best wishes to you,
    Jean Holmes

  11. You look wonderful in this outfit Susan! Thank you for continuing to inspire us.
    What a blessing Mr. Mickey is. I’m sure he is a welcomed example of “how to be a gentleman” to many of your followers.
    Being treated like a lady is rare these days. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if courtesy was more common?

  12. Thank you for another great post. I hope you know just how fortunate you are to have found a gentleman who takes care of himself and you.

  13. I admire your style so much! You look the way I want to. I’m hoping you might steer me in the right direction as I am having trouble finding something stylish yet comfortable online for an upcoming college graduation this spring at the University of Florida. I will probably be walking for miles on cement and by April 26 it will be 95 degrees and 90% humidity.
    I am 67 years old and size 10 or Medium. I will not wear polyester. A rayon or cotton blend is preferred .
    I want to feel comfortable and confident.
    Please help with outfits or websites .
    All the best,
    Rosie C.

    1. Congratulations! Look for a dress that skims your body and doesn’t have any details that draw attention to your least favorite body parts. Sandals or espadrille shoes with a small wedge in the color closest to your skin will be most comfortable. Wear them at home to break them in. You are correct to look for natural fabrics or blended viscose, cotton, rayon, or linen. Some sources for dresses include Boden here, Banana Republic here, Ann Taylor here and Talbots here.

  14. I love the blazer. You said that it is a few years old, but could you give me the name of the brand. I’m hoping to find one on Poshmark. Thank you.

  15. Thanks for your list of things to avoid. I am on board except I have to do better with my diet. What a stunning couple you and Mr. Mickey make. How nice to be out with a gentleman and be treated like you are treasured. I am happy for you both.

  16. Susan, you look lovely, as always. Thank you for sharing such helpful information with us. I have a question about your diet. If you don’t use salad dressing, what do you put on salads? I am struggling with this because greens and salad ingredients are so healthful and delicious, but I need to dress them in some way. Thank you!

  17. I’m interested in why you avoid wide necklines. I don’t especially like a boat neck garment but wondering about your reasons…

  18. I always enjoy your posts and learn something new. What I realize is I have to get rid of most of my wardrobe! I’m not wearing a lot of it and more importantly it’s not suiting my style of who am I. I don’t want to be wasteful and I donate my usable clothing. What I really need is someone to go through my closet with me. Do you have any recommendations for how to interview someone to do this? Thank you for the very useful information you provide. I also always enjoy your outings and seeing Mr. Mickey in his classic outfits.

  19. I always enjoy your posts and learn something new. I realize I have to donate most of my closet and could benefit from some outside help. Do you have any recommendations for how to interview someone to do this? I am motivated and realize I need the push from someone else. Thank you for the time and effort you put into these informative blogs and answering our questions. Mr. Mickey is looking good!

    1. Please search for a Personal Stylist in your area and be clear about what you want to accomplish with your consultation(s). Some stores offer this service, but the focus may be to get you to buy more, not learn how to use what you already have.

  20. There are so many pretty longer tunics, but I avoid them because they draw too much attention to my derrière. Have you ever hemmed a tunic?.

  21. Sharing your outfits and your suggestions is not in vain, yes it does provide thought when going into ones closet, I have found ways to wear a few things (quite old) I loved but needed different uses ….. Mr. Mickey not only keeps his shoes beautiful I notice his car is always as shiny and clean as new, what a joy to get into. with appreciation, ann lee s

  22. You look stunning! Love the lists of avoids. I am hoping to retire after 43 years of a full time professional job plus teaching part time for 20 years on top. How in the world did you slow down- hope you share your tips for us who desire to slow down and retire.

    1. I’m still struggling with slowing down. But, the blog gives me something to do on these quiet winter days. Caring for aging loved ones and learning new things keeps me involved and active.

  23. I love your lists ( the food list is an inspiration for me) and also the fact that you don’t inconvenience a hostess but just eat a small portion and then go back to your usual ways. Thanks for your emails – I really enjoy them.

  24. Dear Susan, I have followed you from the very beginning of your blogging journey and what a fantastic journey it’s been. I have loved having you to guide me all these years and as a result my closet is pared down, neat and organised, I have barely bought anything new for at least a year and I have learned what suits me and I keep things very simple. I can’t thank you enough for all you have taught me. I watched a video on you tube here in Australia and the program was Foreign Correspondent and the episode was called Dead Mans Clothing, it has nothing to do with dead men but is a documentary on what happens to all the unwanted ‘fast fashion’ clothing. It ends up in India in mountains of clothing which is burned. It is absolutely horrific. Great packages of unwanted clothes are sold to traders and when they open them 90% are stained, dirty or poor quality. It brought me to tears and I am so thankful that because of your influence I have hopefully not contributed to this mess. You probably don’t realise what a wonderful influence you have on many women all over the world, your blog is so worthwhile on many levels so thank you and don’t ever stop passing on your knowledge it is so appreciated.
    Warm regards Carol

  25. This is related to diet. My kitchen is being stripped and renovated., so I’ve been using a microwave and small fridge/freezer (like kids in the dorms) for the last month. And no snacks around! My weight dropped from 127 to 120 and my cholesterol levels plummeted. I have to think it’s the carbs in pasta as I have had no pasta in these last few weeks…I do have whole grains as in oats and wheat. A sure fire diet (and you can try it without the kitchen renovations !)`

  26. I always appreciate your posts and found something in every part of this one. I’m 72 and learning all the time, so much I wished I had known earlier.

  27. Thank you Susan, I am interested to read you don’t use vegetable oils or margarine – what do you use to ‘lubricate’ your cooking? I had thought olive oil was OK for health…………..thank you
    I love the navy / grey colour combination – what a good tip

    1. Extra virgin olive oil at low temperatures in moderation is OK. However, if you research how vegetable oils, shortening and margarine are manufactured, you may not want to consume any manufactured highly processed food products again. I only shop in the perimeter of the grocery store. All those things with a long shelf life are beneficial only to the companies producing them. Consuming fresh vegetables with very little baking or steaming has benefitted my health greatly over the past decade.

  28. Another fabulous post. Both you and Mr. Mickey look wonderful and happy.
    I hope you realize the positive influence of your blog on many women. Over the past two years, I have slowly adopted your lifestyle habits. It is not easy to let go of entrenched patterns of living. Streamlining one’s wardrobe AND pantry makes so much sense. In just the past month, I have received compliments at doctor’s offices, from friends and my husband, and even from a young coffee shop barista! Every time I receive a compliment, I don’t hesitate to graciously say “Thank you.” If someone my age asks what I have been doing differently, I recommend your blog.

  29. Hello:

    I never miss visiting your website.
    For the most part I really like it except for,
    your preference for denim for older men and women.
    Not a good look for the older individual.
    No matter how clean and pressed denim is it does not suit
    anyone over the age of 45.

    Thank you.

  30. Great advice, thanks. I have been honing my wardrobe down and have been doing it on a budget. Loved your “things to avoid” list.

  31. Dear Susan
    I live in England and really enjoy your posts. I’ve recently let my hair go grey….and am slowly changing my wardrobe over to ‘cooler’ colours. I need to lose weight and would really like to follow your lead, do you mostly eat vegetarian foods? My husband like traditional foods meat, veg, potatoes and a pudding! I’m trying to adapt our meals!
    Really look forward to reading all your updates/news.
    Warm wishes

    1. You will reap the most benefit from eating things as they came from the earth (never a factory). The more ingredients and cooking processes we use, the more the nutrients get removed from our food. I rarely cook anything other than oatmeal and lightly steaming cauliflower or broccoli. My goal is to eat raw, seasonal, local, and organic vegetables most of the time.
      We may have to rely on frozen vegetables at this time of the year, but I still look for organic.

  32. Regarding the wearing of jeans/denim by older people: this past year I gave up on wearing jeans because when I wear any style of them, I experience hip pain the following day. It has been challenging for me to find a replacement for them in my wardrobe. I have a few pair of cargo pants, but I don’t want to invest too heavily in them because they’re trendy. I have been wearing mostly the Eileen Fisher washable crepe pants, which can be dressed up or down. Perhaps you could do a post on alternatives to jeans?

  33. You look great as always! Really appreciate all you do-have been better at what i eat and not shopping for entertainment due to your advice. I too am horrified at what happens to unsold donated clothing and have vowed to be more careful purchasing and taking care of what I have so it lasts much longer. And at 69 I am also one of the ones that still hasn’t figured out their stylle-you make things much easier. Thank you.

  34. On my list of things I NEV ER do: I never buy shirts, tops or dresses with top pockets: most esp. top pockets with buttons or flaps. I think it makes me look square across the front. They are extraneous and totally unflattering. My friend is very flat-chested and she can looks more ample- which she needs.

  35. You posted so many great tips here and timely for me. I am invited to dinner at a friends home tommorrow evening and have been troubled about what to do regarding the dessert that will be proudly offered. I have been avoiding simple carbs for a while but don’t want to offend. I will take your advice and take a small portion, praise the deliciousness and eat spinach all the next day, haha!
    It is very sweet to be treated with such caring respect by your beau, after almost 44 years of marrige my husband still does the same and always pulls out my chair for me at the dining table- even at home, every meal!
    If we give loving care to our possessions and our friends and family, our lives will be very well lived!
    Thank you for your wonderful blog.

  36. Thank you, Susan, for all of these helpful tips. Your comment on compromising is so good.
    Your new glasses suit you so well. Maybe do a post on selecting the right frames for your face shape ( from someone here who has worn glasses since age 10 ).
    A question…on one of your recent posts, you pictured a book with a pair of ballet flats on the front cover. What is the title of that book? Many thanks!

  37. Hi Susan
    The things I avoid can be summarised in one word – beige!
    I don’t eat beige food: pastry (sweet or savoury), chips (French fries to you), crisps (potato chips to you), white bread, pizza, burger buns, cake, doughnuts and so on.
    I very rarely wear anything beige and particularly not near my face, since it makes me look completely washed out, as does brown. I have a few accessories such as shoes and handbags which some would call beige, but I prefer to call them neutral. Beige reminds me of the slacks and jackets that older people wear – “such a serviceable colour”. My aim is to try to stave off blending into the background as long as possible!

    1. Looking back at my posts from last summer, you will see a few dresses. Here is one post. I don’t wear knee-length dresses because I have very broken veins on the back of my left leg that I would rather not show.

  38. I am 73, 5’5” and 123 lbs. My shoe size is 11 AA and in some shoes even the 11 is too short so finding a nice shoe with the right heel isn’t easy as you can imagine.
    I have a Talbot dress and a couple of knee-length shirts I would wear if wearing hose was not so taboo. Do you know of a brand and color that might be acceptable? Even Talbots does not carry hose anymore.
    Thank you for your insight and possibly others have this question.

  39. Susan,

    I feel the aggressive marketing tools are to blame for many unwise purchases. For example, the utility jacket is a piece I really don’t care for yet I was tempted to buy one. Then I thought of how much use I would get out of it. Very little and the money spent could go toward something I especially like. They do look good on others but not for me.

    My search for jeans is over. After several orders (different makers) and returns, I have discovered a change in sizing that is way off. Used the size charts Most assume large hips even if described as slim fit. White House Black Market offers slim or curvy and fits perfectly. I quickly ordered more. They are true to size.

    Being a courteous guest is something that I was taught at a young age. It’s a shame how it isn’t a priority with some families.

    You have a wonderful gentleman and make a very attractive couple.

  40. Hi Susan,

    0mgoodness, Rina’s comment about not wearing jeans after age 45 was astounding! I was always taught…If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it!

    I think you and Mr. Mickey always look fantastic and so put together! There is nothing more sexy/handsome than a man in jeans and a sports coat at any age!

  41. Hi Susan,
    You did not mention your beautiful ring in this post. Can you provide information about it? I love it!
    Thank you!!
    Donna Helvey

  42. Your blog is new to me; and I thoroughly enjoy it. You write that you do not buy new clothing and accessories. Where do you buy these items?

  43. I remember a past post on your favorite perfume. I believe it was a Jo Malone fragrance. Do you still like her fragrance and if so which is your favorite for daily wear….or your favorite ones. I trust your suggestions and would like to try one.

  44. Thank you for being such an inspiration by putting yourself “out there” in such an honest fashion. I have learned so much from the advice you’ve shared. As I am only 5’3″ tall, short-waisted and longer legged, I must be especially careful not to appear “frumpy” and the age (beyond 75) that I am. Your tips are so appreciated! I love the warm and caring way in which you speak of Mr. Mickey, a true gentleman.
    Your fashion-conscious emails are much appreciated!

  45. I agree about large logos. I really like the bag you got at the consignment shop, so I occasionally peruse various bag venues for something similar. I can’t believe how many high end bags are just covered with big logos. I don’t understand why anyone would even buy something like that.

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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.