What to Wear

Blog reader Jill asked, “Please, will you do a blog showing what you wear to different events that are not too casual or too formal.”

Classic items such as a crisp white shirt and great-fitting dark wash jeans can form the base of endless looks. The accessories you add can completely change the aesthetic of this simple combo. Add a blazer or cashmere sweater tied over the shoulders, a belt, shoes or boots, and a unique handbag, and you can take the look from spring to fall. Heels, an evening clutch, and dramatic earrings can make the combination appropriate for some evening events, such as dinner with friends.

When I wore this look, I was going to the optical shop to pick up my new glasses. I added silver jewelry and tan leather platform slides. The leather belt and bag repeated the tan color, making the look more cohesive.

I bought these jeans to wear with heels and platform shoes since the inseam is 32″ in the regular length. The jeans are here.

I like wearing a big shirt with the front tucked in and the back pulled out so that it drapes softly. The organic cotton big shirt is here.

The new frames are by Kate Spade New York, and the style is LELIA KB7 140. The layered necklace is here.

The other items in my look are several years old. I purchase all the items I show you. My posts are never paid ads, and I do not accept gifts to review for companies. Shopping links on this site may allow me to earn a small commission, but there is never an additional cost for you.

  1. Beautiful as usual. Hope the glasses work out this time. I attended my daughter’s law school graduation (she’s a non-traditional student at age 38). By far the most popular look for women was summery dresses. It was at 10 in the morning and 78 degrees. Like you, I don’t favor dresses – these vericosed vein legs just look terrible. What would you have worn?

    1. We have had only one warm sunny day so far, so I would love it to be 78 degrees! If I wear a dress, it is always a midi-length one with pantyhose and pumps or platform sandals with bare legs. There are some lovely pant suits with vests or jackets this year.

  2. The new glasses are very flattering. Choosing a frame is almost as bad as selecting a bathing suit.

    Love the outfit and the accessories are spot on. The “extras” can transform an outfit.

  3. So happy to see your post today, Susan! Hope all is well with you, Mr. Mickey and your family. Meant to comment on the last post about the green bag. It was the perfect pop of color to your outfit and Mr. Mickey looked so dapper! I also loved Lenora’s outfit, the belt buckle, and her smile. In the above photo, your “simple” outfit looks amazing. I love the ease of taking an outfit like that and, with just a few coordinated accessories, pulling it all together so effortlessly. You’ve made my life a lot easier with the tips and tricks you’ve shared. Thank you! Glasses look great! Question: where did you get the necklace combo? BTW, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to your lovely state. Best part was the lovely people we met. Can’t wait to return!

  4. I love your new glasses. I agree with Donna- choosing a frame is very difficult for me. You nailed a very flattering look.

  5. So good to see your post. I check daily for any possible new post. I SO agree with the 2 comments about glasses frames being such a challenging decision. Your look today is my go to…. The jeans and white shirts in my closet are probably the pieces that I pay more for than others because they are the most versatile. Someone (maybe you!) once said that cost per wear should be a factor in clothing purchases. I definitely get my money’s worth when investing in quality and good fitting jeans and white shirts.

  6. Your new glasses look very nice. As was said earlier it is very hard to pick out glasses you will wear often. I don’t have to wear mine all the time but if I did and could afford it I probably would have one pair for dressy clothes and one pair for everyday.
    I always look forward to reading your posts. They always have some useful information for me.

  7. Very nice outfit. I was wondering, Susan, with the demise of Beauty Counter, do you have another make-up line you would recommend that is based on the same concepts?

    1. Beautycounter will be back and better than ever later this year. The woman who started it ten years ago bought it back from bankrupt investors. I used Lancome products before I discovered Beautycounter.

  8. I like the classic look of this white shirt. Did you purchase a size large to achieve the relaxed style?

  9. I absolutely love this look. You look great in this. Classic, but so easy. Thank you for your page. You are my favorite influencer. Thank you for your great ideas.

  10. Thank you for the idea of the lovely crisp white shirt as a comfortable yet versatile piece. I also love the necklace and bought it!
    I love your hair longer.
    Enjoy your summer!

  11. I love that the big shirt is organic cotton. I don’t like to wear clothing that has a risk of being toxic in any way.

  12. I love your look this week. (But I usually do!) For me, your “tuck” proportions are just right. Great necklace; I just bought it. Take care. Your posts are a high point.

  13. You always looks so elegant, long, and lean. The silhouettes you choose are very flattering to your figure as they would be to most body types, I imagine. Jeans and a white shirt – casually classic when styled with the perfect accessories you have chosen.

    Love the Kate Spade glasses! I’m in the market for new reading glasses and that shape is beautiful on you.

  14. hi Susan! Love your new glasses! Thank you for your recommendations for clothing at J Crew. I am loving the sailor pants they are featuring now and their jewelry and handbags are really beautiful. Previously, I was under the impression that J Crew was all about the preppy look. Thank you for all your posts and the inspiration you provide us all to look our best! Best to you and Mr. Mickey!

  15. Hi Susan, I clicked on the jeans and they don’t look the same as what you’re wearing. The link took me to jeans that have different front pockets. Can you look again please?

    Darleen Reid

  16. Good morning Susan! I love your classic dress up or down looks. Living on the west coast in a rural area jeans and white shirt are always a good choice.
    Thank you for sharing

  17. I absolutely love your hairstyle! I like the slightly longer length. It still frames your face nicely in the front, but the back is beautiful. I think sometimes we older ladies think we need shorter hair, and it can be limiting. Yours is perfect.

  18. I am a new subscriber. Have rarely posted to anyone but love your classic style and tips on styling and having a healthy life. You do it all in a kind and gracious manner. Thank you Susan….

  19. Hi Susan!
    I love this outfit on you so much. Just lovely, Would you please do a post teaching us how to shop online for pants? I stumbled on a very cute silouette for me today. I wore a pair of joggers that were high rise and a much shorter pullover 3/4 zip top. It made my legs look so long. Now I’m interested in high rise pants but not sure where to start or look.
    Thank you. I hope you and Mr. Mickey have a great week and nice holiday weekend.

    1. You’ve discovered the combination that works for high-rise pants. They look best with shorter, close-fitting tops or oversized shirts tucked in so that there is fullness only in the back, as I’ve shown in this post.

      The inseam is the length from your crotch to the hem of the pants. Knowing the right length will help a lot when buying online.

  20. Thank you Susan, you look fab as usual. Totally didn’t think about wearing my lovely white shirt as a going out look but yesss…. it looks great!x

  21. Hi Susan as elegant as ever I just love your style. The outfit is perfect for the cool winters we have here on the South African coast. A white shirt will have to be on my next shopping list.
    You and Mr Mickey keep well.
    God Bless.
    Elizabeth SA.

  22. Love it! I have followed you for years and you look younger And more vibrant as the years go by. I really enjoy your posts and have learned so much from you. You look fabulous!

  23. I like the way you rolled up the sleeves on the white shirt. I recently saw a YouTube video on how to that look. (Maybe you have previously given instructions on how to do that earlier, but I might have missed it.) I think I like it better than other way that I have been rolling up the sleeves on my button shirts!

  24. Hi Susan, I hope that you and Mr Mickey are keeping well.
    When are you getting your dresses out? The weather here in the UK has been unseasonably wet and chilly but I cannot wait to wear my small collection of dresses. As we have a lot of chilly north winds here, what would you wear as a warm layer to the dress? Shoe tips would be great for my feet that have bunions suitable wear with the dresses.
    Please keep doing your blogs Susan, as they are so informative.

    1. We have similar weather here in East Tennessee, with lots of rain and cool weather. Even though dresses are not my favorite attire, I am wearing one to church today. When the weather is sweltering, a floaty linen or cotton dress is admittedly the most comfortable clothing.

  25. Susan,
    I love this look so clean and polished. Also, love the handbag. Would love to know more about it.

    Thank you,


  26. You and Mr. Mickey have been missed! Looking forward to an update from you and your 90 year “young” adventure partner. Happy Birthday Mr. Mickey!

    Quick question and no need to rush on answering as you are very busy. I know all too well how time consuming caregiving can be . . . Do you have any advice or method on how to best keep up with the seasonal clothing changes? Seems like I just get spring all set and now need to swap to summer clothing and I’m trying to simplify. Thanks for your help.

  27. We have missed your posts, Susan, but understand caring for family takes precedence. Just don’t give up the activities that keep you connected with the outside world and bring you happiness. It’s so important as we age to maintain these connections for a positive mental health. I’ve been volunteering, meeting with a sewing group, and also taking lifelong learning classes at a local university for the past 20 years. I’ve cut down on the hours but still stay involved in my late 70s. It’s wonderful to still be a part of the world outside of my home. I hope you’ll continue to interact with your online family! We appreciate you.

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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.