When I lost more than forty-five pounds seven years ago, I looked for a magazine, a website, or a blog to guide me. The process of buying a new wardrobe appropriate for a woman over fifty with a classic style personality was daunting. I found very little helpful information as I tried to determine what serves me well and why. Ultimately, I put art and science to work to identify the shapes, fabrics, colors, and styles to flatter my build and fit my lifestyle. My blog now includes all the tips, information, and inspiration I wish I could have found when I was younger.
At the start of each new season, I identify the missing links in my wardrobe. Earlier in the year, I sold my burgundy utility jacket because it didn’t work out for me as well as I had hoped. The fit was too small, and the color was not bright enough for my coloring. Dusty colors wash me out. I have two denim jackets, but one is very faded and casual looking, the other is dark, but it is a short fitted version. I need a darker color that I can wear when I want a more polished, less trendy appearance. I like the look of a soft button-front shirt worn alone or layered with other items, but all of my Portofino shirts are somewhat dressy in fabrication and style. Now, I’ve given you hints about what I purchased for fall and how I go about identifying the holes in my wardrobe.
I shop at the beginning of the season to get the correct size, style, and color while they are in stock. I invest in the best quality I can afford because I know I will be wearing the item many times over the next few years. When I look through the sale items now, I rarely buy anything other than belts, jewelry, or other accessories. I avoid impulse shopping because those items always ended up in the back of my closet, never to be worn. Since I live in an area with a mild climate, I wear the same items for most of the year and shop for only two seasons. (Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter)
Your wardrobe’s anchors should be the ones that you can easily pair with the show ponies, prints, and all the other items in your closet. I look for separates that fit well and are classic and unadorned in their design. If the items include embellishment or prints, they will limit the possibilities, and I will quickly grow tired of them.
At the beginning of each new season, I also consider an updated hairstyle to remain current (not trendy). More about that later.
The Saks Off 5th white cotton cardigan (similar here) is a couple of years old, and I’ve worn it countless times. The slightly bootleg dark wash jeans were hemmed to my best length by my tailor, Yonnie. I bought the jeans from Chico’s a couple of years ago. The gray tank from Chico’s is at least three years ago. The shoes by Tommy Hilfiger were from Belk last year (on sale at the end of the season). The salmon color tote bag is by Dooney & Bourke here. The scarf ring is here. The scarf is the same one you have seen me wear many times.
Shopping links in my posts may generate a small commission for me at no additional charge to you.
What a timely blog post as I was just thinking about my fall clothing list! I always bought the fashion magazines and poured through them for inspiration and then made lists of what I needed (ok, actually wanted), but as my wardrobe became more casual I got out of that habit. Recently I realized that I like my summer wardrobe much better as it has more colour than my cold weather wardrobe, so my goal this fall is to add some accent colours. And I really enjoy researching and making lists 🙂
Looking forward to seeing what you add to your closet.
I am at the end of month 7 of no new clothes for a year. I did purchase some new underwire at the Nordstrom’s sale. Yesterday I started on my closet. My tee shirts look fine, but the white ones will need to be replaced before fall. Today I look at the dresses and trousers. I have 4 categories. Everyday, Lunches casual, Country Club Casual and Outfits for special occasions. I wish I had a better closet, but the fact is I don’t, but I am considering an armoire for the clothes I wear every day or what I will wear this week. It has been a challenge, but I am wearing my clothes so much better. Reading your blog has helped me keep my look fresh and up-to-date. Thank you.
As always, I enjoyed reading your tips. Do you remember which size scarf ring you have with that size scarf?
I also want to wear the ring with the 51″ scarves, so I purchased the Grande (22 gr /0.77 oz) – length 5.5 cm / 2.16″.
Love this look!
Love the scarf ring!
I have been accompanying my husband on some of his business trips, and it is when I am packing for those trips that it becomes obvious to me what is missing in my wardrobe. I make note of the item(s), then add them when I return from the trip. I should mention that fewer things are missing from my wardrobe since I have been following your blog!
This is a perfect outfit I could duplicate. I am looking for a nicer sweater and this will be on my list to replace. Also could use some nicer shoes as well. You make it seem so effortless; so why do I keep gravitating towards prints that I grow tired of?! Thanks for your interesting and informative posts.
Utility jackets don’t work for me, so I gave that trend a pass. Dusty colors have never worked for me.
From what I’ve seen so far, this could be another stretch where I sit on the sidelines. I won’t buy what doesn’t work for me (that means no mid-rise pants).
What about the scarf clip! I want one!
There is a link to the scarf ring in the text of the post. I purchased the Grande (22 gr /0.77 oz) – length 5.5 cm / 2.16″.
Such wonderful advice. I keep a list of items I need for my wardrobe in my phone. That way when I’m out I know what to look for.
I especially like how your bronzy-brown shoes pick up the same colour in your scarf, the brown strap of your purse AND your watchband. It’s those little things that really make an outfit look pulled together instead of just pulled on. For myself, I’d switch the sweater for a light jacket, the flats for heeled boots & the scarf for a couple of long necklaces, but otherwise the whole look is perfect for a casual fall day here in the Pacific NW. I’m in the middle of my annual closet-decluttering & have come to the annoying realization I don’t need a thing. I found a couple of items in the back of a closet that I’m rotating into daily use & getting rid of a pile of other things I’m tired of or that don’t work as well as I wish they did, but I foresee no shopping in my future for a while [sigh]. I never have been a recreational shopper but I did “take advantage” of sales — until I realized I was the one being taken advantage of by being convinced I needed to buy things I didn’t need at all. Next up: my guy’s closet, which is stuffed with things he rarely wears. He’s a bit of a clothes’ horse & most of this stuff looks good on him, but, seriously, how many Irish knit sweaters does one man need?
I think the scarf ring is a good idea. I had no problem finding a similar one in abalone on EBay (under “scarf ring”) for $5!
Be careful with scarf rings. If they have any rough spots at all, they can ruin a scarf.
I, too, go for more classic looks and over the years have determined that I prefer a more structured jacket to the loose types you see so much now. I refer to those as the “Blanche” types since it reminds me of Blanche on The Golden Girls. I have started limiting myself to black, navy, red and white for the backbone of the closet and then add in things that will go with those. It is amazing how much easier it is to get dressed now. My clothes are more casual for the most part; I work from home 3 days per week so do not need as much work-ready clothes as I used to. I do like to look nice though so replace all my older t-shirts each year with new ones. I’ve also gotten hooked on the necklaces you wear, French Kande, and have added a few of those to my wardrobe. That can really elevate a more casual look so that it is somewhat special. Thank you for all your good ideas!
Love this look but then I love almost all of the things you put together and as you know, love the knits from your shop.
I could use some help. We are going on a 2 week cruise to Alaska the end of Aug – first week in Sept. We live in SC and will be flying to Long Beach, California where we will board the cruise ship, spend 2 days at sea before stopping in Vancouver for a day and then on to Alaska for 8 days, 3 days at sea returning to Long Beach. We will have 2 “dress up nights” on the ship. I’m having a very hard time deciding how to pack for this trip since there will be such a wide range of temperatures and activities, for example, one day we will be boarding a seaplane and flying to a lodge to have a salmon lunch. Very overwhelming to me to plan clothes for so many activities and temperatures and keeping my luggage to a minimum. Any suggestions you can offer would be appreciated.
Thank you again for all of your style inspirations! Look forward to your emails every day!
Take items in not more than three colors that you can layer as needed. Thin materials layered can be much warmer than bulky ones, and they are infinitely more versatile and flattering. Solid colors in classic shapes can look elegant or casual by merely changing your accessories and shoes. Have a wonderful time!
Im sure I’ve missed the post so tell me how you lost the weight? I love your style on you how do I go about finding my own style that looks best on my body?
I changed my choices of food and eat less volume than I did earlier in my life. You can read about what I eat here.
Measure your body to determine what your shape is if you don’t already know. When you know your shape you can learn more about what looks best on it here.
Susan, I look forward to all of your blog posts. Our style views are very much the same. I wear jeggings and leggings more than you do because my legs are small and I have no butt since menopause and if I fit my waist most pants and jeans are baggy. If that is your house you are standing in front of, then we have the same brick and front door. I so love to hear about your dates with Mr. Mickey. I am a widow and long for a companion. Your life gives me hope. Thank you so much for sharing your life with your readers.
Susan, I too have been searching for a denim jacket In a medium/dark color without any luck. Chico’s has one with silver buttons, but has a lot of yellow stitching. Is is a little more fitted, which I like…just don’t know about the stitching. I would appreciate knowing if your search is more successful. Thank you for all you do for us. You are most definitely a classic lady. Pat
Susan I saw the words hairstyle and I was excited. Thought and had hope that we may see the new style. Really waiting to see the update. 10 days till my appointment before a holiday. Fingers and toes are crossed
Tomorrow is the day!
I am so glad I found your site. Whether you loose weight or not, everyone needs these lessons in style and dressing again. For so long women have “down” dressed. Being sloppy is the new norm and I miss the days of my younger days when everyone dressed for every occasion.
Thank you for getting me back on track. Love your lessons and your style.
OK, now I not only love your posts, style and advice, I’m starting to really enjoy the other people’s comments! I’m right there with Janet that I don’t need a darned thing, but since losing weight myself, I love shopping! Like Janet, I would also love to style my husband a little more – how about a blog for men? Get Mr. Mickey started! And I love what Jan Trout said about how your relationship gives single ladies hope. Keep up the great work, friend.
Susan, you always look so beautiful and put together but to be honest the cloths you suggest to purchase are 99.9% out of my budget. I think your blog is great to teach people how to dress after 50 but I think suggesting less expensive items would be more beneficial.
I was hoping that examples of classic items that aren’t memorable would be easy to duplicate at any price point include thrifting. My blog is just me sharing my life. Take what you need. Inspiration and ideas are always free.
I’ve been lurking around your site for a bit now. I find I’m either wearing my work scrubs or my farm overalls. And I have a funeral outfit. But I want to change as I ease into my mid-fifties. I’ll be skirting around your posts for much needed inspiration.
Great suggestions & tips, Susan! And, oh those earrings!!
I just purchased a couple of scarf rings, Hermes lookalikes, on eBay, they certainly keeps things tidy, I even push me glasses through one!
Very wise information. People will always remember the prints you wear but you can wear the same solid color classics time and time again with different accessories and it looks like something new.
I just found your blog and I’m impressed. I am not quite 60 however, I enjoy your style and elegance. The YouTube video you have on your site creating different looks with the same clothing is GREAT! I tend to spend a lot of money buying ensembles but want to get better at being more creative with my clothes. I know what I like and what works for me. You have inspired me!
After saying I would probably be sitting on the sidelines for the coming season, I found the perfect jacket on consignment. Go figure.
Great hair, shows off and frames your face.
Your 2 season wardrobe made me chuckle. Very lucky for you. I have 8 seasons. Winter, winting, spring, sprummer, summer, autumn, Sutter. And, that’s a lot of layering.
What are some fall must haves for 2018?
Adding the right brown for your complexion can take your basics into fall beautifully. I don’t follow trends at all.