Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fitting Pretty

A reader asked for tips for dressing well with petite proportions and an ample figure. Petite means shorter than five feet four inches tall. Some people assume that it means tiny but the term applies only to height.

Solid tops in soft fabrics that hold their shape, have a V neck and sleeves that can be turned up will flatter you more than a floral shirt with long sleeves and a collar for example.  Never tuck in your shirt and wear a belt if you are self conscious of your waistline. A better choice will always be tops that can be worn over the waistband. The hem of your jacket or blouse should stop at or near the top of your hip bone. Allow as much leg length to show as possible.

Pants that are tapered and more tailored will look better on you than wide leg pants, skinny jeans or flared Capris. Many stores now have a petite section where you can shop for classic pieces which can be worn with several other items in your wardrobe.

Avoid horizontal lines or breaks in your look. Each horizontal hem or color break visually shortens you. For example a shorter blouse under a jacket which is a bit longer will make you look taller and neater than when both items stop at the same area or the blouse extends beyond the hem of jacket creating another horizontal line.

Carry smaller bags and look for shoes with a pointed toe. High heels tend not be a good choice for most petite women. A better choice would be wedges or square heels that have a longer more pointed toe area. This type of shoe always elongates the leg and makes you look a little taller.

Smaller watches or other jewelry such as button or small drop earrings will look best on you. Stay away from chandelier earrings, stacks of bracelets and statement necklaces. Bold jewelry and colorful patterns in clothing will almost always overwhelm you. Scarves should be small and worn in a very sleek simple tie or wrap if you choose to wear them. Avoid bulky sweaters and jackets.

Your key pieces should be solid colors that flatter your skin tone and work well together. Find a good tailor and spend the extra money to get pieces tailored to fit perfectly. You will always be glad you did.

I hope these tips prove to be helpful to you. Thank you for reading!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day Trip

Don't you just love to take a day trip to a different city?

We enjoy going over to Asheville, North Carolina when the weather is nice. It's an eclectic city with lots of different restaurants, specialty stores and art galleries. There are many sidewalk cafés and other al fresco dining opportunities. Musicians and all types of street performers can be found on many corners. This fellow played an instrument and sang beautifully.

Everything but the kitchen sink was used to decorate the entrance to this sidewalk café.

There is still a chill in the air and the wind was blowing for most of the day so I was glad I wore a lined hounds-tooth jacket with black pants and a red tank top. It felt great to dress for a spring like day at last. 


Thanks for reading. I hope you have a great week!

Spring Fever

Do your sleep patterns change with the seasons?

Mickey snapped this photo of me as we were leaving for dinner before going to the symphony last evening. I am shocked at the dark circles under my eyes. This is a result of sleeping for only three or four hours per night this week. When Spring approaches my body emerges from my winter hibernation with zest. A little inner voice keeps telling me it's time to get up! I wish it would wait until after 2 AM to speak up.

This is the same teal jacket I wore a few weeks ago to brunch. Tonight I paired it with a black tank and lined silky black chiffon Chico's pants from a couple of years ago. We always have to walk quite a long way from the parking lot to the building so I wore my low heeled Ros Hommerson shoes and carried a small leather-like clutch. 

Thank you for all your recent comments on my blog posts. I love hearing from you! 

Someone asked what I wear when I am just lounging around at home or working in my flower gardens. This is a good point. It may seem that my life is filled with dressy occasions however the truth is, I only have one or two special events per week that require me to dress up a bit. 

My normal attire is jeans and a shirt for working in the yard. My daily attire might be jeans or pants of some other type and a sweater, shirt, jacket or blouse worn mostly open over a tank top. A friend stopped by unannounced early one morning to bring something I had forgotten at her house. She was in yoga pants and running shoes. When she saw me fully made up and wearing a jacket already she asked, "Who are you dressed up for?" My answer was "Me!" 

Even if I am not feeling well, I get up, take a shower and get dressed. I always feel much better afterward. 

I wear jeans often. They may be white, red, khaki, black or dark blue but the smooth simple styling and wash and wear comfort of jeans fit my lifestyle perfectly. Mickey snapped the photo below when we stopped at the top of the mountain on our way to Asheville last fall.

It's important to get dressed for yourself too! I regularly purge clothing that is stained, ill fitting or unflattering from my closet. Even if I am writing my blog at 4am I am dressed in cotton, flannel back or brushed back satin pajamas.  My favorite ones are by Miss Elaine. You can find these at most department stores. Pictured below is a style from Serene Comfort.

Thank you so much for reading
I hope you have a sunny happy Sunday! 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Susan's Tips

We all have favorite pieces in our wardrobes that make us feel good when we wear them. It could be because of the fit, the color, the fabric or the style.

Here are some basic pieces you might have in your wardrobe. Using myself as an example I will share with you why these items were chosen and why they work for my midlife body.

1. Jeans are almost a uniform for some women. When I buy jeans I look for a dark wash with plain pockets and a straight leg. Not a skinny leg but a smooth straight line that fits nicely all the way down to the hem. A waistband that sits at my natural waist is more comfortable. No low rise jeans for me.

2. Tank tops are part of many of my casual outfits. I like the fact that they help to give a smooth line under jackets and sweaters. White is a good choice most of the time but I look for a white that isn't brighter than my teeth.

3. Jackets are a great transition piece for this time of year when the weather is starting to change. I look for slightly fitted styles rather than boxy. Breast pockets are not a good idea for me since I'm already a couple of sizes larger on top than on the bottom. I look for a color that is flattering to my skin tone and one that can be worn with jeans. A simple neckline that forms a V is always a good choice for my round face.

4. I adore animal print but the normally warm tones of the print are not a good mix with my cool coloring. Shoes, handbags or other items worn away from my face are better choices for me. One piece of animal print per outfit is usually enough. If I wear flat shoes I look for pointed toes and a fun color or pattern. Rounded toe ballet flats look ridiculous on me because I have thick calves and smaller feet compared to the rest of my body. The pointed toe helps to make me look taller and thinner. 

5. Handbags can make or break your look. I don't wear bulky shoulder bags because they alter the line of my clothes too much and make me look sloppy. A structured bag with top handles in a size that is in proportion to my height is what I normally look for. I am always amazed when it is so difficult to find a full-length mirror in the handbag department of some stores.

6. Sunglasses are almost always part of my outfit for the day. I have several shapes, styles and colors to fit both my face shape and the mood of the day. There is always a pair in my handbag if not on my face.

7. Jewelry is the statement piece that can express your personality. I like to wear button earrings with a drop or a nice fitting pair of hoops in white gold or sterling silver because I have cool coloring and gray hair. When I say nice fitting I mean the wire or post doesn't accentuate a sagging pierce. I wear either a statement necklace or fun earrings, not both at the same time. 

I hope these seven tips help you to put together a fun and comfortable outfit for today. Have a great Saturday!

Friday, March 8, 2013

"Some Enchanted Evening"

Have you ever had an evening so special that it made you feel like a princess?

Yesterday marked the anniversary of my first date with Mickey Jilton. He is the wonderful gentleman with whom I have been blessed to share the last seven years of my life.

The day began with me surprising him at his office with a dozen red roses which thrilled him and delighted both my staff and his. (Our commercial buildings in the industrial park are in the same block.)

Mickey arrived at my home to take me to dinner looking oh so handsome in red and black. I was wearing a black fitted dress and black heels with a deep fuchsia jacket which wasn't a complementary color for his outfit. We don't dress to match but we try never to wear outfits that clash with each other. I changed to one of the gray and black jackets he gave me for Christmas.

When we arrived at our favorite restaurant (Gourmet and Company), the Maître d' smiled and proceeded to our usual table which tonight was adorned with seven perfect red roses to represent seven perfect years. The French inspired pitcher was a very special touch. I learned later that Mickey designed this arrangement and carefully chose each element. He knows I love all things French and I have a small collection of special pitchers. There was a beautiful card already at my place-setting. Even the music was carefully chosen by Mickey. Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra crooned in the background throughout the evening.
After our wine arrived our server, Kenn, announced that he would be back in a moment. I assumed to take our dinner orders however when he arrived he was carrying a beautifully wrapped package on a silver tray. I peeled away the elegant heavy white paper to reveal a timeless pair of sterling silver hoop earrings. Mickey always finds the best gifts! I will enjoy wearing these with many different looks for years to come and they will always remind me of this magical evening.

Our amuse-bouche for the evening was spectacular! It included croissant, triple cream brie, granny smith apples, black garlic and other tiny bits which resulted in a most amazing combination of flavors in perfect harmony.

An amuse-bouche is a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre. Amuse-bouches are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons, but, when served, are done so for free and according to the chef's selection alone. These, often accompanied by a complementing wine, are served both to prepare the guest for the meal and to offer a glimpse into the chef's approach to the art of cuisine.

This is the restaurant's vegetarian entree named after Mickey. Tonight it was especially wonderful and included lots of roasted fresh garlic.

On many of those first dates we would share a wonderful meal and then move into the lounge area or out onto the patio to have an after dinner drink and visit with friends who often stopped by to chat. As we have done so many times in the past we again sat together talking and laughing with friends.

Thank you for sharing in our special evening!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Purple, Black and Animal

A leisurely late lunch on Sunday is a tradition that Mickey and I were so happy to return to today.

I wore a purple tunic from Chico's with black straight leg pants from Stein Mart. The necklace is from Coldwater Creek and the boots are Madden Girl.

I'm also wearing my favorite earrings today. I picked them up in a boutique in one of our travels but I'm not sure who designed them. I love the fact that they are ancient looking small coin dangles, pierced and antique silver. (I always wear post backs with a stabilizer disc.) Since I have a round face I like to wear earrings with a dangle to elongate.

The coat is by Geiger. It has a high dramatic collar and a swing style which I love. The animal print suede bag is old from the mid-eighties.  

The wind is blowing and the snow is still falling but it melts quickly. I hope you are safe and warm.

Thank you for joining us on this wonderful journey through midlife and beyond. The second fifty years are truly the best!

Susan Street is the President of

Represented by Talent Trek Agency in Knoxville TN.

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March Roars In

This was the brightest sky we saw all day today. 

Between the snow, the sleet and the freezing rain it wasn't much of a day for any outside activities. We wanted to test the new camera so we took advantage of a little break in the weather to snap this photo on my deck. Obviously we need to work on those settings.

We were on our way to join friends for dinner and a small birthday celebration. Knowing that our friends are true champions of the casual elegant look I dressed in jeans from Talbots, blue blazer and bright red scarf. Since it was 27 degrees I also added layers. There is a long sleeve red tee and a navy thin knit cardigan underneath. The boots are Ralph Lauren via T.J. Maxx and the bag is old. We arrived at the restaurant at the same time as our friends. My friend Dee and I had a good laugh because she had on a multicolored scarf but otherwise we had on the same thing.

Thank you for all your good wishes. Mickey is feeling much better today. 

I hope you have a wonderful week! 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Transition into Spring Tips

A fitted or cinched waist jacket over wide legged trousers can be a flattering look for our mid-life figures.

There are several flattering tips shown here. The white fitted tank top gives you a smooth line beneath the cinched jacket. The V-neckline of the jacket flatters the face and allows space to show off a statement necklace which also draws the eyes up to your face. The pops of color from accessories allows the winter jacket and pants to transition into early spring. At this time of year when you are longing for spring but it is still snowing and twenty-seven degrees you must get creative if you want to stay warm. 

The wide legged pants can be worn with nice flats or low wedges to avoid getting high heels caught in the material as you walk. When wearing black and white or shades of gray it is very uplifting to add brighter colors in a tank top which shows at the neckline and or in the accessories you have chosen. 

Always balance a fitted top over a more flowing bottom or vice versa, a fitted bottom under a flowing top. If you show cleavage don't also show legs. Balance sexy with sedate to avoid the dreaded Cougar Effect. A dignified woman never wants to appear she is on the prowl.

Wearing a fitted jacket allows you to have a feminine silhouette while hiding the tummy. Avoid boxy jackets since they add volume and are dated looking. Rather than hiding your tummy they make you look big all over.

Tomorrow is March 1, 2013 which means I will be announcing the winning follower of the blog. One randomly chosen follower will receive the book "The Best of Everything After 50" by Barbara Grufferman, a long string of large glass pearls from Chico's and gold silky evening bag. 

Good luck!

Thanks for reading! 
I hope you have a great Thursday.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Savvy Shopper has Brunch

The Blackthorn Club is a great place to have Sunday Brunch.

Today Mr. Mickey took me to brunch. I thought it would be fun to see if I could put together a nice outfit that cost me less than $100.

I love to go shopping during the end of season sales. Sometimes I find treasures mixed in with the shopworn sparkly fake fur spandex things hanging there too.

The black knit pencil skirt is old from T.J. Maxx ($16.99). The jacket and tank top are from the current Red Dot Clearance rack from Stein Mart. I had a coupon that gave me an extra 50% off so the jacket was $17.49 and the tank top was $3.47!

The necklace and ring were gifts from Mickey.

The leather (like) clutch is old from T.J. Maxx, $12.99.

The suede and snakeskin shoes are from the current clearance sale at Belk $23.99.

Total cost for the whole outfit including the $8.50 Hanes panty hose ...

Thank you for reading. 
I hope you find some great bargains this week!

Lipstick and the Symphony

Each year I give Mr. Mickey season tickets to the Johnson City Symphony for Christmas. We normally go shopping in the afternoon and then have dinner before the performance.

This was taken earlier in the day at Mickey's home. After I saw this picture I asked him to take me to Merle Norman to buy lipstick.

Elizabeth, the beautiful young woman who helped me had so much patience as we looked through a sea of color and formula choices. I found three colors that I am very happy with. I haven't worn lipstick in many years but lately I've been craving more intense color so I'm giving it a try again.

After the shopping trip we enjoyed dinner at our favorite restaurant, Gourmet and Company, where we shared a chocolate dessert afterward. 

The guest artist for this symphony performance was Bella Hristova on violin. The concert was at the Mary B. Martin Auditorium at Seeger Chapel, Milligan. This program was Beethoven and Bella. Bella gave an amazing standing ovation performance!

I wore a black jacket with white stitching and long sleeve red tee with a red scarf. All the pieces are old and you may have seen them combined differently in earlier posts. It was twenty-seven degrees when we left the concert so I was thankful that I brought along a coat and wore layers.

Thank you for reading. 
Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Nice Legs!

Would you dare to go out in a dress with bare legs?

What's in your sock drawer?

For daytime I always wear pantyhose with dresses, skirts and dressier pants. My own preference is to wear Hanes® Silk Reflections®  sheer pantyhose. The color "Barely There" is very close to my own and they are not super tight or shiny. I always have an unopened package of both "Barely There" and "Jet" on hand. I wear sheer black for evening with black pants and black shoes. If I wear any other color of shoes I wear nude hose. (For example black hose with silver shoes is just wrong.)

Nude means the color of your skin, not the name on the package. You may have to experiment to find the color that is right for you. Be sure to check the color on your legs in natural light. This rule also applies to wearing nude shoes and finding the perfect neutral nude bag. If you match your skin tone you will be able to wear these neutral items with most of the colors in your closet.

These shoes from my closet show the wide variety of tones that could be considered nude. The shoe second from the right happens to be the color that is closest to my own skin tone so it is my perfect nude.

In warm weather I get regular pedicures and wear open toe shoes and sandals but I rarely wear a dress. If I do it is longer than knee length and the shoes are the main focus. 

With jeans or any casual pants, I wear crew socks in the a tone close to the color of the pants. For example navy with dark wash jeans would work best. Crew socks are the best length for me since I have thick calves. If I wear trouser socks the band at the top may show through the line of the pants. The pant leg often drags or clings to the trouser socks as I move so I no longer buy those. 

If you sit down and cross your legs and the pant legs ride above the top of your socks showing bare leg you might want to consider wearing tights instead. Opaque tights are excellent for added warmth in winter. They look great with boots and shorter skirts too!

At this time in our lives bare legs in a dress can be the wrong look for us even if we are toned and tanned. I often see women over forty in the entertainment business being interviewed on some late night show. The ones who show up with bare legs never look quite as polished. 

The skin is made up of 3 layers - the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. As we age the supportive tissue layers become thinner so the upper skin layers sag and become thinner and dryer. We also often have issues with veins that show through thinning skin after forty. 

I feel more confident and well dressed wearing proper foundations including the appropriate legwear.

I hope you have a wonderful Saturday!

Thank you for reading my blog.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Wine and Roses

My Gentleman Friend (Mickey) and I go out for dinner a couple of times per week all year long so Valentine's Day and other such holidays often find us sharing a special quite dinner at his home or mine. This year for Valentine's Day I invited him to have dinner with me at my house.

We normally follow an almost vegan diet but there are certain meals we look forward to having a couple of times per year for a special occasion. For this meal I decided to make one his favorites. For the first time I created a dish including fresh fettuccine with Alfredo sauce and lump crab meat. We also had focaccia bread with sun dried tomatoes and our favorite wine. He arrived with roses, chocolates, a card and his wonderful positive attitude which I just love.

Sometimes the most special times are the ones we share over an informal quite dinner at home.

Thank you for reading. I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Black Is NOT Safe!

Do you reach for black as if on automatic pilot when getting dressed?

This photo was taken a couple of years before I lost forty pounds. We won't even talk about that hair! I guess I thought a bit of height would make my round face less so.

For several years, I dressed in flowing layers of black. I wore a lot of V-Neck tops with jackets and pants. It was a uniform for me, but I always wore dramatic jewelry such as this necklace which is one of my own designs.

The reasons I wore black were only partially because of my size. Now that I look back on that time there was a much deeper reason for it. Perhaps I felt I didn't deserve to wear color, or I felt I could be more invisible in black.

Our self-image is reflected in what we wear. It's our flag to the world that says "This is me, and this is how I'm feeling today."

I don't pretend to be a Psychologist, but I know I had sadness issues for many years. Wearing black is a sign of mourning in many cultures. I suppose I was in mourning for twenty years, but I won't bore you with that story again.

After I had lost forty pounds, I branched out into wearing wild colors such as white and gray. I'm kidding! It was very difficult for me to stop reaching for black as I was shopping for a new wardrobe after the weight came off.

As we age, our coloring softens and shadows appear near the corners of our eyes and around the nose. When we wear black near our face, it accentuates these shadows, and some of us look older and more tired. Which is also very true if you color your hair all one dark color or wear a lot of black eyeliner all the way around your eyes. It can be a very harsh effect.

The lighting in my breakfast nook is not the best but even here you can see that color near the face makes me look younger, happier and healthier. I am much happier and healthier! This picture was taken last night and the other two were taken a few years ago. It was a rainy day so I did wear black pants and boots. I always wear dark pants on rainy days because the little water spots from walking can permanently stain lighter colored pants.

I love to wear black but it isn't for everyone for the reasons I mentioned above. I still wear black often, but I add a statement necklace or a scarf with white, red, or royal blue. 

Thank you for reading. I hope that you have a colorful week!