Tips to Look Your Best

Thank you for the lovely comments this week. Your feedback motivates me to create more interesting and helpful posts, which are often the result of questions you ask me in emails. Today’s post is the answer to the frequently asked question, “How can I look more polished and effortless?” Please keep reading for my top six tips.

1. Invest most of your clothing budget in classic basics. The inventory of these items will vary with your lifestyle, but they should be pieces you can wear in many ways. For example, a navy wool blazer can be worn to work with a skirt or on the weekend with faded jeans.

2. Incorporate crisply tailored pieces. A wardrobe of shapeless knits requires a fitted pair of jeans, a good-looking blazer, or even a structured handbag to help us look polished.

3. Add accessories. A silk scarf, a stand-out piece of jewelry, or a well-made bag turn a boring tee, jeans, and loafers into a head-turning look.

4. Focus on fit, proportion, color, and texture. If pants pull around your hip area, get a larger size. Buy jackets to fit your shoulders and get the rest of it tailored if needed. A long loose top with loose-fitting pants will always make us look wider than we are. If a color makes you appear to be well-rested and happy, it is probably the right color for you. Avoid wearing bulky textures on your most substantial parts. (For example, Chanel-style boucle jackets look great on tall, thin gals, but they make me look like a barrel.)

5. Good grooming includes regular visits to the hairstylist for at least a trim. Well-cared-for teeth, nails, and skin will always add up to a more polished look.

6. Healthy skin and natural-looking makeup will make whatever you wear today seem even better.

Natural fabrics such as cotton, wool, and silk will always look better, last longer, and feel more comfortable. The cotton tunic from my relaxing at-home look was a gift, and it is by Focus via My Fair Lady.

Straight-leg jeans can be worn almost year-round and in countless ways. I wear jeans several times weekly, so I have navy, black, white, olive, and a coral color (Malibu Punch, old from Chico’s). Jeans will likely always be part of my capsule wardrobe. I am wearing black Levi’s 505. The Chelsea boots are about four years old. The style of boots is a fall and winter essential for me.

Skincare is much more important to me than color. I cleanse and moisturize daily using Beautycounter products here – my routine changes with the seasons to keep my skin looking its best. I use a light touch when I apply makeup and blend it well. My goal is to enhance, not to cover.

These are the colors I wear almost every day. At the top is Chamois (Matte) by Merel Norman. This one goes in the inner corner to bring up the dark shadows we tend to get there. I avoid eyeshadows that shimmer. The second combo of neutral colors is from Beautycounter last year. They no longer offer these small palettes, but larger ones are here. My lip color is always one that will not clash with my top. Poppy is the color I am showing. It is here.

Referral and affiliate links in my posts may provide a small commission paid to me at no additional cost to you.

  1. I see you don’t have nail polish on. I cannot wear polish. It peels a layer of nail off. I try to use various oils and creams for my cuticles but they are still dry in our cold climate. Any advice? Your eye shadow tips were great! I only used Merle Norman for 20 years, but have added some others now too.

    1. I don’t wear nail color on my hands because I have short fingers and small nailbeds. No need to draw attention to them! I massage apricot or coconut oil into my hands and feet most nights before bed and try to apply lotion each time after washing dishes etc. Dehydration may be causing dry, chapped hands and lips. Double your water intake and see if that helps.

  2. I am happy to hear that this week was full of lovely comments, which hopefully offset the Negative Nellies out there! I enjoy the overall simplicity, polish, freshness, and practicality of your looks, from head to toe. Naturally not everything works for all of us but I think you go out of your way to address and suggest variations. When I make up and/or dress, I am pretty much always thinking “What would Susan do?” We all need good role models & muses for inspiration. Thank you!

  3. Do you get regular manicures or use a gel nail polish? Also what cuticle oils do you use? I alaways look forward to your posts. Thank you .

    1. I do get manicures and pedicures but never get gel polish. My nails can’t tolerate it. I use apricot or coconut oil on my hands and feet at night and often after my shower.

  4. What a wonderful post with so much good information. I was going to ask about what a good wardrobe of pants would include and the question was answered! I need to fill in the gaps and shop my closet!

  5. Another good post! I would be interested to know how you and your followers feel about teeth whitening. Yours look perfect–not that too white fake white! Dentist, gels, strips?? What is easiest and at a reasonable cost for just minor discoloration from years of coffee in the morning?

  6. Thank you! Wearing eye make-up has gotten more challenging as the creases in my eyelids have gotten deeper. Appreciate your advice!

  7. Hi Susan,

    I am so happy to hear from you today along with your other thousands of ladies interested in always looking their best!

    Does your lipstick line need a lip liner in order to not bleed on our senior…? This has been a continuing problem for me and that no lip liner seems to work. I have found a combo, one tube which is the color, the other tube stabilizes pretty well.

    Thank you for your hours and hours of deliberate plans to help us be well dressed, attractive senior women! Please give Mr. Mickey a big TEXAS hug!!!

    1. I often outline and fill in my lips with a lip liner, blot, and then add a bit of color from lipstick to get the shine. I try to match the lipliner closely to the shade of the lipstick so that when it fades, it isn’t as noticeable.

  8. One of your comments the other day really hit home,keeping a small smile on your face makes you look confident,stylish and young! As well as body appropriate clothing.

    1. Look at the placement of the darkest color of my eyeshadow. I place it on the rim of the eye socket and blend it very well. Don’t extend beyond the outside corner of your eye.

  9. Thank you Susan for today’s article. I just wanted to say how lovely you look and your haircut is so flattering! I so appreciate your natural look!

  10. Thank you so much for all of your generous advice, it has made a real difference in how I look and think about myself as I am approaching 65!

  11. I love wearing scarves, but I’m pretty unimaginative when it comes to different ways to tie or drape them. I looked on youtube, but don’t see a video of you sharing those particular tips. Would you consider putting one up? If there is one and I missed it, would you please provide the link?

    Thanks, as always, for your wonderful advice!

  12. Excellent advice and interesting post to read. I am amazed at the difference better quality clothing makes. And I have found a tailor since I am right on the line of short and average, so pants always need to be hemmed. It wasn’t expensive and looks so much better when it fits right and hangs properly.

  13. I wonder if you would write about how to dress the hump that so many women have, that pad of fat across the top of the back? So many tops seem to be cut in a way that accentuates it. Any tips?

  14. I also have trouble keeping nail polish on my nails. I have been using Nail Envy by OPI. It stays on and if the directions are followed keeps your nails strong and nice looking. It only comes in clear, but gives the nails a nice finished look. Thanks Susan for all your tips! I follow and read every one of them, some pertain to me and some don’t but that is okay, because I feel better and more confident in my dress since I read your Blog!

  15. Thank you, Susan! I wrote all of this down. I also have notes from you, about a year ago, regarding elegance. Thanks so much!

  16. Susan, I have just finished reading ALL the posts on your previous blog, Fifty Not Frumpy, and have gleaned so many important style, beauty and health tips as well as inspiration from them. Now I’m ready to catch up on 2017 and 2018 but I don’t see a way to start at the beginning and work my way up to the present. Is there a way to do that?

    BTW, all your photos of Asheville, Boone, Blowing Rock, etc., reminded me of how much we enjoyed our trip to those places a few years ago. I’m a lifelong (74 years) resident of Texas, but I would love to spend a couple of our hottest months in NC. I guess I’ll just have to settle for another visit and more of your photos.

    Thank you for your gracious approach to growing older. I like to say I’m not old, I’ve just been young a long time!

    1. Thank you for your nice comment, Dorothy. I’m so glad you enjoy what I share. The first post on the SusanAfter60 blog is here. You can move forward to the next post using the Next Article arrow at the bottom of that page. Have a lovely weekend.

  17. I have recently joined. I am so thrilled to have a site age appropriate… enjoy it so much!!! Linda /VANCOUVER Canada

  18. I went to my favorite Merle Norman store and bought the Chamois eye shadow and loved it! It is amazing how great it is! I thought I had similar at home but it wasn’t. The sales consultant there explained how it had some yellow undertones, and I said, OH NO, because I have some yellow/Light olive undertones in my skin, and she said, Yes, this is what you need. It is amazing how wonderful that eye shadow is! And the texture too. I didn’t see that you had a link from your website, but I wish you could get a commission from that tip too. Thanks again!

  19. Hi Susan,
    This is not a comment, but rather a question. I am trying to downsize my present large wardrobe which is a mixture of many colours and focus on navy as my base color, although I also like grey and brown and will keep some of my clothes in those colours. I have several pairs of navy dress pants and a navy 3/4 sleeve scoop neck top. A while back I purchased two scarves from your site that go very well with the navy. I also have a navy blazer that goes well with the pants. I’m wanting to add to this base of navy, but am unsure what to look for. Right now I’m looking mostly for dressier clothes to wear to church, to the theatre and special events. I don’t usually wear dresses or skirts. I live in western Canada and I feel I don’t have the same access to classic ladies wear stores as you refer to on your site. Any advise on next steps as to what to purchase to fill out my mostly navy wardrobe? What about stores to purchase these clothes from?
    Thank you for your advice.


    1. I have purchased most of my clothing online. Check the sizes, stated measurements and return policies to help you make better size choices and to make sure you can return what won’t work. Colors that work well with navy include cream, gray, brown, tan, burgundy, light blue, and olive, to name a few. Mix textures and fabrics and always wear the clothing that fits and flatters your shape. Oversized clothing is too trendy, so you may tire of it quickly.

  20. Susan,
    I purchased the lipstick from Beautycounter and had to write you to tell you its the best I’ve used. I goes on so smoothly.
    Enjoy your blog. Congrats on your approaching retirement.

  21. Dear Susan, I am very happy and lucky to follow your fashion/style dressing. I live in Athens Greece.Thank you for your advise and help. Love Connie Konidaris.Y.S. You are gorgeous.

  22. Susan, thank you so much for the articles you post.
    I’ve just turned Seventy…and am hopeless with style….I’ve always been the lazy…..comfy…person. As long as I looked neat and tidy…well, that was me at my best.

    Your advice, ideas and photos are helping me (start) to up my game.

    Many thanks!

  23. I love your advice. I just turned 60 and get confused about how to buy clothes.i don’t want to look sloppy but I don’t want to look overdone either. Your advice is good.

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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.