Why Neutrals?

A reader wrote to ask me, “Why do you always wear neutrals?” My answer is, “They are timeless; I can wear my classic neutral pieces in endless combinations, get dressed for any event in five minutes, and always feel confident.” Trendy tops and print items from the past didn’t stand the test of time. I grew tired of them in a few months. They were never a good investment for me.

I wear neutral, solid, classic pieces repeatedly for years and never grow tired of them. They are the building blocks that allow me to create any look.

Another question I get often is, “What do you wear while you are just hanging out at home?” These photos show you my look for Tuesday. I worked at home for the first part of the day and then went to the Post Office to mail the remainder of your orders and then to the grocery store. After that, I stopped by the garden center to get flower baskets for spring.

I buy knit tank tops in a larger size so that they don’t pull across the bust. I don’t remove the sweater, so the fact that the armholes are too big never shows.

The lightweight navy cardigan and tank (here) are from Chico’s last year. The Levi’s 724 (here) high-waisted straight leg jeans are the same style I’ve been wearing since high school. A similar watch is here. The loafers are by Børn and no less than five years old. (Similar shoes here) I’ve carried that Dooney & Bourke salmon tote (here) for a couple of summers. Totes are very convenient while running errands.

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

Those are my favorite Balenciaga sunglasses (similar), and Mr. Mickey gave me those earrings years ago. All of my hair and skincare products are by Beautycounter here. My lip color is Little Black Dress by Beautycounter (here). Even my hair cut is easy to maintain. The classic cut with layers works with the texture of my hair.

The gardens are starting to come to life!
  1. Susan, I’ve taken your lead and over the past couple of years transformed my wardrobe into very basic pieces and all neutral colors. I recently started a new job out of state which was an excuse to buy some new clothes – all with your advice in the back of my mind.

    Quickly, I started getting compliments every day from my new coworkers about how nicely I paired my outfits, accessorized, and how they noticed I wore solid colors every day that always seemed to complement each other regardless of the color. I thought Susan would be so proud of me.

    It’s true though. I never worry about what to wear. EVERYTHING matches. I can pull any of my pants, blouses, and jackets out of my closet and they all go together because of the neutral base.

    Thank you so much!

    1. What sunscreen do you use on your face? I have oily skin and most sunscreen I purchase for my face in up in the trash .

  2. Susan: I’m so glad to hear you will continue with your blog. Your tips have really inspired me. I love the fact you offer real solutions that can be applied to real life. Hope you have a wonderful week!!!

  3. I love these articles Susan. And I agree with this. I find myself not as comfortable in prints and often end up giving them away. I need to just stick to solids as well. Thank you for the reminder.

  4. Levi’s are my go to jeans. They have been a staple in my closet forever…Thank you for echoing my sentiment about neutrals and classics – they are truly timeless – I add a few trendy pieces here and there that are inexpensive and easily replaced as they go out of style.

  5. Susan, I appreciate you sharing your methods! Really helps me. I heard there was a 3.6 mag earthquake in West Tennessee this morning. Did you feel it?

  6. I have loved your blog from the first day I found it. Your taste is impeccable and I love watching you transition through the years as I am the same age and am transitioning myself.
    I don’t always take the time to comment, however, your hairstyle today is FABULOUS!!
    I love it! I have pinned your picture to take to my hairdresser.
    Thank you for sharing your life with us.

    1. I too love your fashion tips. It is true that the older we get, the more classic the style is flattering. Your hairstyle is quite becoming!

  7. As a child, I was blessed to have a mother who was a dressmaker by trade. However, she didn’t have a lot of taste.

    When in college, my mother read a story about how girls with auburn hair should wear green and brown (thank heavens, because she always wanted to dress me in red). Since I have warm coloring, that sounded great to me.

    What I ended up with was a mess. I got loden green and yellow khaki, emerald green, blue spruce green, etc. The browns were better, but hardly anything went with anything else. By my senior year I told her–black. Make everything but the tops in black!

  8. You just answered another question I have had in my mind ever since I started reading your posts. The fact that you wear a tank top in a larger size to give a better fit, even if the armholes are too large, is something I never considered before, even though I, too, only wear them under jackets and cardigans. Thanks for the tip!

  9. Hi Susan, I’m glad you’re not giving up your blog. I must admit that I was sad to read that you are closing your shopping site because I have bought shoes and scarves from you. But I understand how much work and time it takes to do all that. You still provide us with links to find the items you share with us and I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciates that. I hope you enjoy the extra time for yourself and doing things you enjoy. I’m sure we’ll all benefit through your blog!

  10. I’ve always been a fan of neutrals as well. Aside from the fact that I’m a redhead — and neutrals are easiest for me to wear — I never tire of them. While I enjoy a splash of color, sometimes, a neutral wardrobe stays classic longer. Like the little black dress, you can always count on your neutrals when you’re in doubt as to what to wear. Thanks for the reminder.

  11. I love this kind of daily around the home style. All you needed to achieve a pulled together look are earrings, a bit of make up and cute, but comfortable shoes. It really doesn’t take much to improve the appearance of jeans and a tee look!

  12. I think you also elevate your look with a fabulous haircut, well done make- up, a nice leather handbag, nicely done nails, and glamorous sunglasses. Add that to the basics, and you look wonderful.

  13. I’m so glad that you will continue to blog. I always love your commentaries and fashion tips!


  14. Hello Susan…just a quick note to thank you. I lost 40 lbs, 14 years ago and have since struggled to find a style that works for me. The closest I got was all black while traveling to Paris, lol! I recently discovered you on Pinterest and my life will never be the same. Your common sense advice along with very helpful pictures has transformed me into a confident shopper of fashion, for the first time ever!! Your tips work for my 66 year old body. I still struggle with putting together an outfit, but I’m improving. I appreciate your confidence, style, kindness and willingness to share. Thank you Susan, you are beautiful inside and out!

    1. Thank you for the lovely comment. Congratulations on finding your style and losing the weight! I wish you many more happy, healthy years of looking fabulous.

  15. Hi Susan, I would just like to comment that your hair looks beautiful – perfect ‘lift’ and very flattering. Also I really enjoy your blog.
    Thank you (from Vancouver, BC)

  16. Susan. Do love the look and especially your hair cut. I often wear a more causal look for most days out and found your advise has helped me put together a quick out the door outfits. Thank you. Cathy A.

  17. Love your hair! Taking that to my stylist. Thank you for being there when I open my email. -‘ Mary

    1. I so enjoy your clothing tips, and your excursions out with Mr. Mickey. I appreciate another woman who doesn’t feel the need to be married but likes the companionship of a man.
      I’m grateful you plan on continuing the blog. Thank you so much for all you share.

  18. Hello, Susan,
    I am so thankful for your blog and glad to know that it will continue! You are so inspiring and I always look forward to your next blog. You have helped me immensely with your wealth of wonderful and uplifting information and fashion tips and suggestions.
    I too wear neutrals now after wearing trendy tops and printed items for so long. It’s a good investment and I wear them well.
    Again, thank you for your great selection of styles!

    Warm blessings,

  19. I will join with others and say – love your hair like that! I think I’ll have to take a picture of it into my hairdresser. Only thing is my hair is wavy and unruly and probably wouldn’t sit like that. Did you blow dry it that day or does it naturally sit like that?

    1. These photos show second-day hair which I blow-dried earlier in the week. In tomorrow’s post, you will see what my hair looks like when I leave it naturally curly.

  20. Yes I agree hair is fantastic. I took a photo from your last article as I have similar curls to my hairdresser in Australia and she has done a Mobil job and I am sooooo happy. Thanks so much Susan. Always an inspiration

  21. You always look lovely. I am taking your advice and pairing down to Basic colors so that I can interchange easily. It has made it much easier to get ready for the day. Thank you for sharing

    Much love,

  22. Hi Susan,

    I love this article and I think you’re absolutely correct, neutrals are so easily styled with a nice belt, handbag, jewellery, or jazzy scarf.y It’s easy to wear a print shirt, if you want, with a nice pair of tailored jean too!

    Taking you as my role model has taught me how to turn clothes into an outfit and has packing a suitcase so easy.

    I thank you for all of your tips and advice. When I see how things work for you, I go and search the stores, here, in the UK.

  23. I’m so glad your blog will continue. The item’s you share with us are reasonably priced so that everyone can afford them. Just a perfect blog for ladies of our age!

  24. Hi Susan, Your hair looks fabulous in this post! The cut and style are so flattering, and perfect for showing off earrings! I too love Levi’s again, now that the fabric includes some stretch. I will say it again, I love your blog! Thank you for taking the time to post! I look forward to indulging in time on my iPad, to see your latest post, and spend time thinking about how I might incorporate your sound advice to improve my own wardrobe and eating habits. you really are an inspiration. Thanks!

  25. Susan, I have totally enjoyed your blog and look forward to future articles. I’m 77 years young and your style is still appropriate for many of us that enjoy looking good. Since my husband and I travel frequently, your neutral wardrobe has given me great ideas for not only my daily activities, but also on cruises and sightseeing expeditions. Thank you!

  26. Hi Susan. I want to thank you for your blog which is so inspiring for us older women trying to become stylish. Shopping is so frustrating for me since most things seem to be made for younger women and sizes are so inconsistent! I appreciate you sharing where you purchase your items, and thank you for the free scarf that I received when I purchased one of your scarves. I”m trying to lose about 20 lbs. and am in the “transformation” stage of my wardrobe. I’m wondering what items you purchased, and what you wore as you were losing your weight and changing your style. I don’t want to spend too much if the clothes won’t fit later, or at least I’m hoping they won’t fit later! Thanks again for your inspiration!

    1. I purchased some not very expensive pants that were not too fitted and wore them until they were way too big. I donated them to the Women’s Shelter or the Goodwill at that point. The tops I could make work for a longer time as long as the pants fit reasonably well. I hope this helps. I wish you success. Thank you for shopping with me and for your lovely comment.

  27. Love your blog. I was feeling discouraged after turning 60 as to what to wear without being too frumpy and you have given me so many ideas. I do have a question. How do you keep your white shirts fresh looking? Mine seem to only last one season.

    1. Hi Mary Beth,

      I’m a bit obsessed with laundry, and like my whites to remain bright! I always separate and wash whites together, no other colors. I also like to use either Borax or OxyClean with my laundry soap. I also use organic soap, it’s better for the environment and not so harsh on clothing! And here is a trick I discovered a few years ago. To avoid that yellowing under the arms, I don’t use Antiperspirant. There is a chemical in there that yellows whites. I use deodorant only. My shirts and white tops always look bright, and my friends and family ask for my laundry advise! I must be doing something right! Oh, I also only put my clothes in the drier for 5 – 10 Mina to get the wrinkles out, then hang them to dry. Ohhh I wish I had an outside clothes line, but I sadly don’t. One more thing, Fels-Naptha bar soap gets out so many stains and any odor issues. Just follow directions on the package. Hope some of these tips may help you. I think Susan is fabulous, and love the community of women that she has collected. We are all lucky to have this forum.

  28. So glad to hear that your blog will continue. I just started following you and look forward to your emails – your style is such a great inspiration. I love that you give the details of your outfits, makeup and your adventures. Thanks, Jan

  29. Absolutely love your blog, Susan! I am retired as well and moved from daily career dressing (including heels) to casual/at home attire. I enjoy reading how you are handling the transition while maintaining your sense of style! One of my current challenges is trying to look pulled together while dealing with knee and hip replacement and the impact on my posture.

  30. I love reading all your tips! Thank you for such good advice for ladies aging gracefully! You are a delight and inspiration. I love your hairstyle, it looks wonderful!

  31. Thank you. I have finally realised the fashion I wish to follow based on what I consider the style I wish to project in an older age group. I’m 68. I love the neutrals never having patterns work for me. Basic fresh colours are best however it’s understanding the accessorise and tops ie long line cardi or jacket that I struggle with. Though not considered overweight I am solid and finding pieces that will fit well, quality on a beer budget isn’t easy. I live in Aust so it is even harder to find clothes that the women next door isn’t wearing. Your style and colouring are similar to mine so I am very keen to follow you. Any help extremely appreciated.

  32. You look great Susan and I often think of your tips as I add to or cull my wardrobe…Thanks so much!!!

  33. Susan, so excited to find your website… I’m in my early 70’s, but am told I can pass for early 60′, so I’m watching closely. Do you mind me asking how tall you are? I’m 5’8″, fairly thin, with a 32 inch inseam and have a heck of a time finding pants long enough that don’t swallow me.

  34. Love your hairstyle in this photo! Very becoming! Wish you would do a tutorial on how you style this cut! Thanks!

    1. Thank you. My curly hair is a daily surprise. I sometimes blow dry it from the roots to get some lift and then let it finish air drying. When there is no chance of rain, I may thoroughly blow dry it. On high humidity days, I might as well do nothing because it is going to be a completely different style in a few minutes.

  35. I totally agree with you Susan, neutrals in good quality I never get tired of, for me it is black, cream and taupe, living in Germany I also wear a lot of black, black linen in the summer with Espadrilles is my favorite. I really enjoy your blog and your style, thanks for sharing.

    Greetings from Heidelberg

  36. Yes, never leave us. Your information is so valuable to women our age. (Sixties). You have helped make shopping for ourselves so much easier. Thank you very much and keep the info coming.

  37. You scared me to death. I thought you meant no more Pintrest pix. So relieved when I read on. You are an inspiration to so many of us and I couldn’t do without your tips, tricks, and suggestions for dressing up my basics. Love all you do.

  38. Susan, u always look so beautiful, and classy. Your clothes are appropriate, comfortable and becoming. After losing contact w/ur column that I read f/years, I’ll get the link right here and and add as part of my permanent list of amazing and inspiring website writers.

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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.