Year-Round Essentials

Some of my summer favorites also work as winter layers. The tissue-thin summer cotton shirt below is the perfect layer under a V-neck cashmere sweater. Deep navy complements the dark olive Newport pants I purchased last fall. The layers kept me warm beneath my navy trench coat when I shopped for groceries this week.

Similar if not the same items are linked. ShirtSweaterPantsShoesEarrings

I’ve been asked many times to publish a list of basics. That list would be different for each person. As our lifestyles change, our essential pieces also change. The look above would have been more common for me a couple of years ago. Now that I have mostly retired, I wear looks (below) that I would rarely have worn before last year.

My best tips? Plan for the colors and fabrics to work together. Neutral solids allow for the most flexibility. Keep proportion in mind as you buy pieces to layer. I bought the cardigan in size large for an oversized fit with slim straight jeans and leggings. I only wear long tops that cover my behind with leggings.

There may be three white tees in different shapes in your wardrobe because you plan to wear them in different ways. The same style may not work for every look. The tee below is very slim and fitted. I will only wear it under a second layer.

I may not wear a full face of makeup when I am home alone on a winter day, but I always use my skincare products here.

The cotton cardigan is one I can also wear on a summer evening over a tank top with white jeans. Above I’m wearing it with a long sleeve fitted tee and knit pants similar to leggings. The pants are great for lounging or going for a walk in warmer weather. CardiganTeeSimilar PantsShoesNo-Show Socks

Fresh vegetables help me to remain positive on these cold gray days. I’ve been enjoying nourish bowls often. My combo above includes wild rice – cucumber – avocado – charred carrot and cauliflower and sauteed turnip greens, purple cabbage, and leek. I used sea salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic powder, olive oil, and aged balsamic vinegar to top it all off.

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  1. Good Morning Susan, it is really cold in SC this morning, hope you are staying warm. I enjoy the tips about the clothes and also about what you eat. In fact, I enjoy everything about your blog. My daughter gave me some of the Beautycounter Adaptive Body Moisturizer for Christmas and I really like it.

    Have a great day!

  2. Your stay-at-home outfits look comfortable but more than presentable if you need to answer your door or go out to shop. Some of my stay-at-homes are not so, more run and hide when someone is at the door. ha! The meal looks yummy. Far better for a body than fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy.

  3. Thank you, you always keep me inspired and challenge me to keep it new and fresh. Not only with with my fashion but with my nutrition. Please keep up the work you do on your blog. I always look forward to checking out what you have to say and see what you are wearing. Fun!!!

  4. Susan, do you prepare these veggie bowls daily or prepare for the week. Also, I may have missed reading this but do you have a favorite brand pajama? Thanks Carol

  5. I always like to see what you are eating. It’s insightful seeing what people eat in order to be healthy. It really helps me to stay the course. I recently bought a comprehensive book The World’s Healthiest Foods. It is so informative. Have a good week!

  6. Hi Susan! Could you tell us how you cooked the different vegetables in your nourish bowl? Thank you for the inspiration for surviving cold gray days with both fashion and food!

    1. I sauteed the carrots and cauliflower together with a bit of unsalted butter and some water. Let the water cook away to give them a light char. I sauteed the leeks in a tiny pat of butter and water until they were getting soft, added the chopped cabbage to let it steam along with leeks for a few minutes, and then added the greens for the last few minutes. I rarely follow a recipe, but I used the directions on the Lundberg Wild Blend® Rice package.

  7. Somehow my meals don’t look as good as yours – ha! But I am still inspired to eat better after reading your posts. I thrive better on a paleo diet (some meat) but otherwise I try to eat in many of the same ways as you do. Clean, organic, unprocessed food. Unfortunately I HATE to cook, but I keep trying. Thanks for all your help!

  8. That ‘bowl’ looks delicious! I’m inspired to try it.

    Susan – you mentioned your favourite pyjamas. I’m wondering if you wear a sleep bra and, if so, what kind?

  9. What size is the blue cardigan you are wearing? It looks like you are sizing up to be comfortable. I like it!

  10. Love the beautiful blue color on you! Would you post (again , probably, some of the tops you wear over leggings?). Always enjoy your advice.

  11. Would you mind sharing your recipe for your wild rice and what brand of aged Balsamic Vinegar do you use. I’m trying to eat better!!!!

  12. I love the idea of a nourish bowl. I love sweet potatoes and black eyed peas with cabbage and cous cous on the same bowl. I use sage and onion on the cous cous with a little butter. It reminds me of dressing. I use broth instead of water to cook it.
    I love to see it when you pair a new color combo, for me anyway, I have dark olive pants but never paired them with navy before.

  13. You inspire me as always and I look forward to trying to make my own similar bowl.
    I sometimes do one with items you might find in a burito, brown rice, refried beans, corn, tomatoes and salsa.
    Cheers, stay safe!

  14. Your dinner looks so fresh and delicious! Would love to see more of these you prepare for yourself. Thank you for inspiring us!

  15. I am planning a trip with my daughters to Charleston, SC next weekend. Will be celebrating my oldest daughters 40th birthday that was in Dec. It looks like highs around 69 and lows in upper 30’s to low 40’s. Trying to take your tips on layering but concerned about being too warm in the mid day or cold at night! May need to return to the hotel before dinner to layer more! Will take a scarf for around my neck!

  16. Your outfits are just wonderful for staying home or a quick shopping trip. Lovely shade of blue on that cardigan. Really sets off your eyes and hair color. I so enjoy each and every one of your blog posts. I learn so many new tips. Thank you for all your hard work.

  17. Thank you enjoyed your chips on layering. Also food ideas love that. Thank you so much enjoyed it.
    Mimi O’Dell

  18. Susan, I recently subscribed to your email blogs and find them engaging and informative. As a 66 year old who doesn’t want to feel or look 66, I find your classic style something I need to embrace. Wonderful blog! Thank you! Darlene

  19. I’m so inspired to try to make my own delicious and nutritious nourish bowl! How fun!
    Thank you!
    And looking beautiful while enjoying that bowl, BONUS!!!!

  20. Susan, thanks for a timely article. I’ve just ordered the tissue-thin blouse. I’ve read you write about this before, as I suffer from the safe stiff-cotton (no iron) blouse that becomes a tent over my ample bosom. Hoping this solves the problem. I’m also trying to order the long-sleeve tee, but the website’s fighting me – no matter, I’ll get it resolved. These are exactly the kind of pieces I need for layering, and for pairing with my statement pieces. You’ve got to have the rest of the players for someone to be the star, right? And they may work the hardest….

    Thanks for your always wise, concise advice. You are who I recommend to “non-fashion” friends as a gateway to getting over their frump.
    Mary Katherine

  21. Hi Susan,

    Your veggie meal looks so yummy, I can tell you know how to cook. It’s so nice to hear and see how you nourish your
    body. Since you enjoy cooking and exploring different types of foods I thought I would share a cook book with you
    that I am so enjoying and exploring different recipes. If you are interested in checking out Chloe Flavor, Chloe Coscarelli her Saucy Crispy Spicy Vegan cookbook. Whole Foods was offering her meals to feed two during the month of December ,One of my forever friends offered to treat us so we could eat together on the same day, but many states away. Tina Martin sent me pictures of the many dishes and said the food was outstanding, and plenty for left overs.

    Since you share so much, I wanted to share back.

    Katherine in Arizona

    1. Thank you for sharing your yummy find. We do not yet have a Whole Foods store here, but I will check it out as soon as possible. I added her book to my cart at Amazon.

  22. I am going to try some cleanser and moisturizer from beautycounter. I’m impressed with the natural products. I’m starting with coco cleanser and moisturizer. I will probably put other products like makeup over the moisturizer for now but this is a start. Thanks for your inspiration.

  23. I enjoy your posts and agree with all of your points on style. I like the simplicity and elegance of your choices. The places you visit are also fun to see — I’ve been married to a southerner for 26 years so I’ve been to the south many times and always find it interesting in so many ways, and especially enjoy the history which we don’t have as much of out here in Washington state. Please keep these posts coming! Happy new year.

  24. It is such a wonderful escape from some of the craziness around to open up your inspiring and most enjoyable blog.
    Thank you Susan for continuing to write it. 🙂 We women are blessed by you!!
    I am Canadian and praying for your precious US.

  25. Dear Susan ,
    Recently I purchased a very nice pale pink suede moto jacket. Now I’m unsure of exactly how to wear it.
    Could you please enlighten me on which types tops will enhance it and which will detract from a good look?
    I trust your judgment in this and would appreciate your views.
    Thank you,
    Glenda Patterson

  26. You transitioned nicely from your beloved heels to your cute flats. Do you miss wearing blazers, since we are home more, and getting dressed up? My style has been more casual anyway, so not much has changed for me.

  27. Thank you for the pictures in your wonderful home ,and the healthy recipe
    I like your cotton cardigan with a nice cup on the hand
    Your life philosophy and outfits helps me staying loyal to my new year resolutions.!

  28. Dear Susan ,
    I really enjoy reading your posts .. I feel like I am visiting your area.. your meals that you share always look so yummy, especially this one.. I wish you would share some of your recipes with us.. I had stomach cancer and had a total gastrectomy so I don’t eat much meat especially red meat , I only eat chicken occasionally and I eat mostly fish and vegetables. I always look forward to your posts especially now with all that is going on… Take care , stay safe and be well..

  29. I love your tips on using some of your summer clothes during winter with some layers underneath. I have a similar royal blue long cardigan, and now I think I will wear it during colder weather! Thank you for always coming up with fresh ideas and suggestions. I have learned so much from you and try to channel you when I shop or plan my clothing choices. Thank you!

  30. Good Morning Susan! I enoy all your post and learn so much!!
    May I ask what type of pan you saute in? Stainless steel, non-stick, etc. And the brand would be helpful too. I need new cookware soon.
    You look vibrant and healthy! Thank you.

  31. Loved this, that looks like my meal. A lot of people think that is a strange assortment but I drool over it. That blue makes your eyes even look bluer. Your videos have made me purge so many things, When my hair was dark, I wore so much camel and khaki but now I’m having trouble getting rid of it. My skin is to the warm side though so I have kept some dark browns and try to use some of the warmer shades on my bottom half. You have given me so many good ideas, thank 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.