Warm Weather Styling Tips

I noticed some styling mistakes that I will never repeat while updating the links on my Fifty, not Frumpy website. Please keep reading to learn why I will not wear certain items and combos again.

Shoulder seams should line up with the edge of my shoulder. See arrow 1. Dropped shoulder seams make my top half look larger than it is. See arrow 2 above.

Three-quarter length sleeves end at a more flattering level. Short sleeves draw a line (and unwanted attention) to the bust. See arrow 3 above.

Khaki or tan items do not flatter my skin tone. Capri pants are not the right choice for my thick calves. They bring attention to the widest part of my leg. See arrow 4 above. Ankle pants stop at the most slender part of the leg above the ankle bone. They are a much more flattering option and almost as cool as capris in hot weather.

Instead of khaki, I now wear white pants with white sneakers or nude shoes. I weigh about the same in both the photos above but look more slender in the second photo.

Ankle Jeans here.
Flare Jeans here.

Pants are trending toward fuller legs in ankle-length (here) and slight flare (here), so I’ll happily wear more of those this year.

The white jeans are here.

Nude or light-colored shoes are a flattering choice with white pants because they visually extend the leg’s length. High strappy stiletto heels are out for me. Sleek sneakers, loafers, low block-heeled short boots or sandals, pumps, and slides are in.

Skinny jeans and soft knit pants are not good choices for me. Long tunics are never the right proportion with flat shoes. Better options include straight or slight flare jeans, tailored pants in sturdy fabrics, mid-hip length tunics, and tops in solid colors and materials that skim the body.

The top is here. Use the code Spring21 for 20% off.
The white ankle jeans are here.

The pearl lariat necklace above is here. (Use the code SAS10 For $10 off any one item at Beauty in Stone Jewelry.)

Shopping links may generate a small commission for me at no additional cost to you.

98 Comments
  1. As always, you are spot on with these tips. Agree with you 100%. Thanks for posting. Hope all your family and Mr. Mickey are well.

  2. It is such a joy to see you just pop up when I least expect it. I love the look of white pants with different colors and styles tops as long as they match all you guidelines!!

  3. I envy your warm temperatures, as we are at -17° F at our house right now (Wed. afternoon).
    Yes, 17° below zero.
    We live in the mountains of NE Washington state. It. Is. COLD!
    Looking forward to t-shirt weather…
    You look gorgeous in turquoise!

      1. Tonight, it should be down to -25°.
        Plus, we’re expecting light winds which will push the windchills towards -35°.
        Definitely adding to the woodstove (at least once) overnight.
        This cold snap should be over in a few days and we’ll be back to the normal above zero temps.
        Ah, life in the mountains (and, wouldn’t trade it for anything)!

  4. I really like the “surprise” factor in your posts also Susan! This turquoise and white outfit is very becoming on you. You look wonderful.
    I live in the midwest and our high today is 15°! And we are headed to below zero temps in next few days. I’m wearing fleece pants over tights, a tank, two long sleeve tees, fleece cardigan, two pairs of socks and leather boots. If up and about, I’m comfy. If seated, I need a throw over me. I am always cold in winter even at temps I consider more normal.
    It was a joy to see you dressed for summer!! Have a great week!

  5. These blog posts are very helpful! I am trying to be more selective in my purchases and to dress for my body shape. Many of your tips apply to me as well. Thank you!

  6. I noticed your blog about a year ago because you look so much like my good friend, we worked as nurses at an Alzheimer’s facility. Retired now but we lunch & walk together when it’s a little warmer weather in our Eastern Ohio area. I love the sightseeing you & Mr. Mickey do to show the history of your area. My hubby & I have been in your area but have not seen all you’ve shown. Your journey w. Health issues & tips have been really helpful as I have had to deal with dairy & wheat issues for some years now. I also have been trying to cook & eat healthier with the urging of our Dr. who just in the last few has turned his practice to naturopathic. I made bermudas of my capris when u said they make the calves look wider. Now in my 70’s I have to watch my middle area & dress to hide that area more when I put on any winter or now Covid lbs. I am glad the looser fitting jeans are coming back as they flatter more body styles. You are a good inspiration for all with your exercise, healthy eating, travel & packing ideas, & you keep a lovely home. On top of it all you pulled yourself through a good case of Covid mostly by yourself to protect your loved ones. God bless you for sharing.

  7. These warm weather styling tips are excellent. I understood that short sleeves are no longer good on me now. I think I have to adjust (shorten) the length of my tunics though, so will keep that tip in mind for future purchases. I also prefer the look of flat (or slightly wedged) shoes with any kind of pants and have never worn capri length as they don’t flatter me at all. I need to get more solid coloured tops as I have quite a lot of thin stripes or checks (I love the latter!)

  8. Very nice surprise to see your post this morning. I am wondering what, if any, new items have you purchased or plan to purchase for spring?

  9. “Pants are trending toward fuller leg”. (sigh). I will never keep up. I just got used to wearing slimmer leg pants! I think I am going to take your advice and wear the classics and ignore the trends. Have a good weekend in the rain.

  10. I agree with your followers… this is a very valuable post! I know other posts have mentioned these tips but it is very helpful to see the tips ( those that help me the most) all in one post. Even at age 69 I appreciate having an inspirational role model in my life! Thank you !

  11. I’m glad to see you are doing well and still blogging Susan. You look absolutely stunning in the outfit with the turquoise top!
    We’re still in deep winter in my part of Canada, and still in lockdown for a few more weeks, so I’m dreaming of warm weather and a chance to be outside
    Stay well and safe.

  12. Could you explain a bit more about why ….Long tunics are never the right proportion with flat shoes. Thanks!

    1. When you wear a tunic covering the top part of your leg and then wear flat shoes, it will make the legs look shorter. If you are like me, you can’t afford to have them look shorter than they are.

  13. Hi Susan. I really enjoy reading your posts. Once we feel safe to travel I want to take my husband south to the many beautiful areas of Tennessee you’ve shown us over the years and to the north Georgia mountains. We live in New England but I am originally from Marietta, Georgia. Your weekly drives and lunches with Mr. Mickey are something I enjoy reading about but would love to experience ourselves. You look so lovely in the turquoise top. What size did you get and how does it fit. I think I would like to order one for myself. Thanks for continuing the occasional post. Send warm weather up here please!

  14. I really appreciate all the extra tips you offer. I find myself using so many of them and feeling much happier with my appearance. Also, finding a good silhouette really pares down the choices,which makes shopping easier!
    Thanks so much Susan!

  15. Thank you for your excellent observations. You look great in the second photo, but I wouldn’t know why except for you pointing it out. I too used to like tunics, until I saw what I looked like from behind. Big. Your pants are always the right length. Do you need to get most of your pants hemmed?

    1. I’ve found that the ankle pants and straight-leg pants I buy from Talbot’s do not need to be hemmed. Most of the other brands do if I am not able to order the correct length.

  16. This was a very helpful informative blog and our illustrations were perfect for understanding the reasons why some outfits are more flattering than others. Thanks!

  17. I’m afraid I’ve made the same mistake with the capri length. It is always instructive to look at a photo. What a difference a few inches makes. I’ve been thinking about taking a photo of myself wearing any new item I’m thinking about purchasing. That way I’ll be able to tell if that item suits me. Then I can keep or return. It is terrible to discover later the awful truth!

    1. I read one time that mirrors lie, but cameras don’t. I find that taking full length pictures in outfits and studying them is invaluable.

  18. Wow. The pictures really drove home your points, making it so easy to see. I learn so much from you and am grateful you are continuing to blog in your retirement.

  19. Your tips are always timely and welcome. I have learned so many things over the years from you. They come in handy especially now with fewer stores opening their fitting rooms. I try to keep all of the things I have learned from your posts in my mind when deciding on a new purchase to keep from making a return. I have thick calves and thick ankles so I buy missy regular length in ankle pants to cover the ankles also. Seems to work for me since I am only 5’2”. If I get the petite length my very thick ankles show. AND I live in FL where so many women wear crops or shorts year round but not ME. They are so unflattering on my almost 59 year old body even though I am not overweight. Thanks again from one Susan to another.

  20. Good advice for points to look at for any type. I’ll take a closer look at how I look in short or long sleeves, never thought about it, and the pants also. Thanks.
    Louise

  21. Awesome post. I really like the before and after pics. I really do not like capris on anyone. I like the longer ankle length pants. Same goes with the sleeves.

  22. Perfect timing, terrific article. To see the difference between your before and after photos, I sure have been making some mistakes, especially pairing longer tunics with flat shoes. Short sleeve T-shirts never looked good on me either ! Now that I have organized my closets and donated all the offenders I will be shopping more carefully in future. Thank you so much

  23. The old idiom is true: “With age comes wisdom”.

    Love to see more detailed comparisons like this in your blog!! Very instructional in thinning out my closet. My 65th is this month and I am on the same path! Thank you!!

  24. I am so with you on this one. I’ve never been able to wear Khaki. Never looks good on my skin and I just
    feel frumpy in it. Nor do I ever wear capri’s. They don’t hit the right spot on me either. But I get so
    hot, that I worry about the jeans in summer.

  25. Thank you, Susan! The visuals on the short sleeved shirt really hit home for me, and now I’ll pay attention to shoulder seams, too.

  26. I’m ready for warm weather. We had a few warm days here in Atlanta but today it’s raining, The turquoise and white is my favorite look. Thank you for all your pointers.

  27. Susan, your blog is my “go to” for chic classic fashion inspiration for
    those of us who are of a certain age. I can see from the pictures that I need to shorten my tunic tops. Where do find summer tops that have 3/4 sleeves and hit the right spot at the top of the leg? Thank you for any suggestions!

  28. It’s amazing how small adjustments to our wardrobe can make such a flattering difference! Your tips are so valuable to all us women. Thank you Susan. Aging keeps getting better!

  29. Khaki and tan don’t work for me either. I’d love to wear white pants, but they make me look like I should be working in a hospital. any ideas?

  30. I just adore you blog and posts. I am 55 and need to show the fabulous in me. I love your ideas and you have such a motivating spirit. Thank you. It all starts with the first step and looking at myself and deciding on a style that is flattering. Sincerely I thank you.

  31. Always happy to see your posts Susan! I live in Alberta and we have been under the influence of a polar vortex for the last week so it has been -40 with the windchill at times. We are also pretty much on lockdown so there isn’t really many places to go anyway and even when I go to the grocery store it is bundled up in big coats and masks. I do make an effort to get dressed up nicely every day even if it’s just for me. Lol I can’t wait for spring!!
    I have never been a fan of Capri pants and your explanation makes perfect sense. Thank you for pointing out these useful tips to help us look our best at any age. Stay safe!

  32. The pictures say it all. It is amazing to me how the length of sleeves and pants make such a difference. The colors with your skin tone is important too.
    Thank you so very much!!

  33. I love that color of light blue on you. Question: the lariat blush pearl necklace you’re wearing; what color is the leather? I can’t really tell, but it also looks blue. Is it? Thank you for all your tips and styling helps!

  34. Lovely surprise mail this morning! Thanks. Love your white and turquoise too., I have to check my shoulder seams…today! Have a great say. Cold temps are here in nj!

  35. This is a great post! It clarified for me why some tops and pants are unflattering when I expect the opposite. The comparison of the two pics when you are the same weight was very helpful. Thanks Susan!

  36. Seeing your post in my in box makes me smile. Whether it’s about your travels , food or style tips, I so enjoy them!

    -19 in central MN this a.m. so definitely a day for clothing layers. Have a wonderful weekend!

  37. Nice job. I love the shoes you have on in the bottom photo, but I have stopped wearing anything backkess except two pair of flat sandals I have and love.

  38. Great, sound advice for us all. Thanks as always for your thoughtful tips and suggestions to make us look our best!!

  39. This post is extremely helpful and I hope to see more like it. You are educating me to pay more attention to fit, no matter how beautiful the style or fabric. I walked away from a beautiful (on the hanger) blouse that just didn’t fit right. Thanks for your tips.

  40. Thank you, Susan, for your advice and insights on fit and fashion. I know I speak for all of your readers-please don’t stop blogging because I need your kind voice to guide me on dressing smartly, yet casually. We look good in the same colours (my skin is pale with pink undertones), so khaki & beige don’t flatter me, but a gray-bone neutral works well.
    It’s freezing cold here in Ontario, Canada, but the snow covered forests and frozen ponds are a feast for the eyes, which helps during lockdown. The Shapeez bras (made in Canada) are my go-to now, especially as another layer to keep warm. At first, I wasn’t so sure I liked Shapeez, but now I’m sold on them.
    Just loved all the book recommendations from your readers. Maybe do that monthly & it could be Susan’s Book Club!

  41. Thank you for your “warm weather” post as it reminded me that the warmer weather is on its way. It’s still pretty chilly here in Oregon as in other parts of the country; nonetheless, I spotted some new little buds on the tree outside our dining room window this morning and along with your post- I’m feeling hopeful for the warmer days ahead. I love following your blog and have learned so much about curating my retirement wardrobe. With care, Kim

  42. I have the same skin tone as you and the opposite body shape. I look for shoes in grey/pewter even though not as plentiful as beige/tan/cream/golden hues which seem to be thought of as nude colors. Do you prefer the “nudes” or would you have more grey/pewter if more readily available?
    And basically the same question in twill pants. Khaki/tannish color more available than grey. Do you have a source for grey year round pants with some sturdiness to them? Would you wear grey pants? Even grey jeans are hard to find. Because of my pear shape and plus size, I avoid white.
    I am most interested in your thought process on these two issues!!! Your eye for style and color is right on, Susan, and I so appreciate all the knowledge that you share. Thank you!

  43. Can only dream of warm weather at the moment. I am just a few miles inland from the south coast of England and it hasn’t been above zero all day. In Scotland temperatures plummeted to minus 25 overnight recently. Thermal base layers, sweaters, scarf, hat, gloves and padded jacket just about make walking outside possible. Roll on summer and pretty light coloured clothes!

  44. Merci Susan pour vos précieux conseils, ils m’aident beaucoup.
    Je ne supporte plus les vêtements serrés sur moi. Je suis petite (1,50 mètre), les vêtements larges ne me flattent pas. Je dois faire des compromis et je cherche longtemps le vêtement parfait qui me mettra en valeur.
    J’habite en France, un village près d’une ville moyenne du centre ouest (NIORT). Dans ma ville, il y a peu de choix et j’achète souvent sur internet. Je couds aussi bon nombre de mes vêtements.
    Wouah ! 68 degrés farenheit ! 20 degrés celcius. C’est le printemps ! La température ce matin était 2° celcius, 35,6° farenheit avec un vent glacial et ce soir il pleut. Les champs sont inondés. Pourtant les violettes fleurissent dans mon jardin.
    Portez-vous bien ainsi que monsieur Mickey.

  45. I admire your style but I don’t copy. I think your blogs are all about finding our own sweet spot. You’ve helped me learn how to dress my own body and for that I’m so grateful. You’ve certainly nailed what works for you.

  46. I appreciate the explanation about flat shoes and appropriate pant style as i can’t wear any heel after having my toe joint fused. Unfortunately my choices for shoes with flats aren’t very successful so I typically choose slightly flared pants that are very long to cover. Suggestions for sturdy flat shoes with ankle length pants would be appreciated! Are you a seamstress with a sharp eye for proportions? Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

    1. I am not a seamstress, but I have studied style and proportion for my work as a blogger for more than ten years. Fit is the most important consideration when getting dressed. If the garment does not fit you properly and you do not get it tailored, it will never look its best on you.

  47. I love your hat in the above picture! I’m looking for a flattering hat or two that I can add to my wardrobe for every day use. Can you please help!

  48. Such an informative post! Thank you.
    Looks like I need to hem my tunic tops before wearing them. I have that packable hat too and love it. When we can travel again I’ll be using it.
    Really enjoy reading your blog.

  49. Susan, Thank you for the tips. You are easy to follow..the BEST teachers explain concepts simply! My body type is similar to yours. I have lost 30 pounds and have a wardrobe in transition. Your photos show why I have not been choosing short sleeves. My too big tops have the dropped sleeves which make me look chunky. Have been choosing 3/4 sleeves even though we live in subtropical climate. Also have avoided mid-calf length pants and find that beige wipes me out. We do Tiny Home living. Space is at a premium. Thank you for supplying information that gives me the knowledge and courage to donate my unused clothing to our Island charity. As I go forward, making versatile correct choices paramount as space dictates limited items. Thanks for educating me. Terry

  50. A very very helpful post.

    In Lockdown in Greece, all stores closed tomorrow ,
    except flowers shop’s
    Happy Valentine s day !❤️

  51. You look great as always.

    Just a suggestion, “nude” is not really a color. Is the idea to match one’s skin tone? Or to wear beige/tan? Given that skin tones can run a wide range, another way of phrasing this would be helpful.

    Hope you and Mr Mickey are having a lovely Valentine’s Day.

  52. Love this look on you plus the blue with your hair. I am short, pear shaped and overweight. Definitely do not look good in a top below my waist. Would slightly flared pants work for me? I definitely don’t need anything tight. Yes, I do need to lose weight . Thank you for any advice.

    1. I believe slightly flared pants can look great on most ladies. The trick is to look for a flare that starts above the knee so that your shape shows but not so low on the leg that the pants look like bell-bottoms. I would feel as if I wear wearing a costume in that case.

  53. Susan,
    You are right on trend as always. I too have found loose tops add weight, especially if you have an average bust size. I plan to alter my longer tunic blouses to a shorter length. They are pure linen. Those high low hemlines seem to have played out. I never miss opening your posts. You are quite lovely and polished!

  54. Susan , I have become such a fan and understand everyone of your choices and have agreed with all your styles, especially being I am only 5’2 . Your suggestion and advice also work perfectly for my height. My biggest one was the NO short cropped pants, Going more toward the ankle made all the difference in making me look taller.
    Anyway, totally love your complete style and choices. In other words, your my kind of gal. Keep the advice and fashions coming.

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I blogged for five years as Fifty, not Frumpy. Now that I am in my sixties, I am sharing ideas and inspiration for using and loving what you already have.

Thank you!
Susan

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