monday miscellany

posted in: Shoes, Skin Care, Style, Travel | 0

Vanity Fair Hollywood

Love it, hate it or somewhere in between, you have to hand it to Diane Keaton for staying true to her style.

Diane Keaton style
at a prior event, a few years back.

Diane Keaton style

She wore her own clothes for the Vanity Fair cover shoot, and looks relaxed, happy and comfortable. Notice she’s the only one smiling…

When actresses on the red carpets so often seem to be engaged in a competition as to who can flash the most skin, her Quirky Gentlewoman looks are a breath of fresh air.

And speaking of fresh air…

skiing Beaver Creek view
Yep, cold. But what a view!

We’re back from our Colorado ski trip, and spent most of yesterday re-stocking the fridge, doing laundry, sorting through the mail, storing the ski stuff until next year, and just enjoying being home. While it was mostly colder and cloudier during the week than we’d have preferred, we also had LOTS of fresh snow, the best that I can remember. We enjoyed some amazing meals, which I’ll post more about later this week. As often happens, by the end of the week we were on Gastronomic Sensory Overload so it’s nice to be home and enjoying simpler and lighter fare.

Gore Creek from the Vail covered bridge
Gore Creek from the Vail covered bridge
view from lunch
view from lunch stop

lip plumping treatment

Right before we left, Brian from Makeover Workshop gave me a bottle of this Re-Creation Lip Treatment to try. I brought it along with me, figuring the dry, cold air would be a good “road test.” I applied two or three times a day, (plus a bit of SPF 30 chapstick while we were out skiing) and for the first time that I can remember, my lips did not chap AT ALL, even on the really snowy days. It’s great under lipstick too.

Swinging between extremes, we returned from temperatures in the teens (Farenheit) in Colorado to the low 80’s in Southern California. It’s sandal weather this week, and I’m crushing on these from Dansko….

platform sandal

So cute and really comfortable! I think the blue would be great with jeans. Time to schedule a pedicure….

What’s on your mind this week?

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more “crisp white shirt” alternatives

posted in: Shirts, Silk | 9

silk blouse on sale

This Ann Taylor silk shirt is currently 40% off the sale price. This color is “whitecap” and looks from the online photos to be a nice ivory. Other colors available too.

polka dot shirt

This random polka dot pattern is fun. Silk as well, and 40% off the sale price.

when must-haves are no-go’s…the crisp white shirt

Updated to correct: discount is 40% off sale price.

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fashion magazines for the rest of us…?

posted in: Fashion, Magazines, Style | 18
vintage vogue cover
Today I have the pleasure of cross-posting with Tish Jett, author of the fabulous book Forever Chic, the blog A Femme d’un Certain Age and (thanks to the power of the internet to bring people together), a dear friend for the last several years. One of our mutual readers, Cece has posed a question to the two of us, and we’re both answering today.
Hello Susan and Tish,
…I am wondering if either of you could recommend a fashion magazine, French or American, or otherwise, that is consistent with both your fashion styles…
I do love the chance to curl up with a nice glossy magazine and a glass of wine.
Unfortunately, most of the fashion magazines focus on one or more of the following:
  1. High-fashion straight from the runway –unfortunately I would require a detailed road map to see how I could get from runway fashions to what would actually work for me.
  1. Fashion designed for those under 30 – enough said.
  1. What I call an “assault to the senses,”  bright colors, loud patterns, etc.
 I love Ines de la Fressange’s Parisian Chic book, in part because she has her daughter model her recommended wardrobe pieces, and despite the fact that she is so young, I could wear all the same clothes (at 57).
So, any suggestions? ….
Thanks again to you both for all you do.
Cecilia (Cece) 


Hi Cece, thank you so much for reading and your nice note! I think you’ve spotlighted the problems that so many of us have with fashion magazines when we’re looking for useful day-to-day wardrobe ideas. I think that’s one of the main reasons that style blogs and websites have really taken off in recent years; they are filling a niche that’s not addressed by the glossies. I still enjoy perusing the occasional Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar just for the eye-candy factor, but rarely see an outfit or styling that I’d try to emulate.

But there are a few magazines where I sometimes can glean nuggets of real-world inspiration amongst all of the visual noise or articles that are not of interest to me.

One is MORE (tagline: For Women of Style and Substance). While fashion is not the predominant theme, I do like that they don’t dumb down the style articles, or presume that women in our demographic are looking to fade into the woodwork. While like many fashion magazines, there is a focus on designer goods, there are also some broader ideas presented that can translate to any budget.

Another publication that I pick up almost every month is InStyle. Yes, there’s far too much celebrity focus for my taste, and I skip over a majority of the articles, but I do sometimes find some styling ideas that can translate to my wardrobe, or make me think about using pieces in different ways or different combinations.

While I don’t buy it often, I have occasionally found some good ideas and recommendations in Real Simple. I think their clothing articles and ideas appeal most to those of us who prefer a simple, classic framework.

For the most part, I’m getting inspiration these days from online sources: blogs, Pinterest, and even online retailers websites (especially Net-a-Porter... I often get styling ideas for my wardrobe from how they put a look together).

Cece, I hope this helps! I think a lot of magazines are struggling financially right now, and are increasingly cutting back on content. Readers, if you have other recommendations, please let us know in comments.

Pop over to Tish’s blog, where she’s tacked this subject with her usual professionalism, panache and style!

when must-haves are no-go’s…the trench coat

posted in: Classics, Coats, Jackets, Style | 56
classic trench coat
Classic Burberry “Kensington” trench

They never fail to suck me right in…those wardrobe “must have” lists and articles. And while I’ve found that they might be helpful overall for building a capsule wardrobe, there are always a few items on every list that are “n/a” (not applicable) for me; either they don’t work for my body, my style or my life. Perhaps you’ve had the same experience. I thought it might be fun over the next few weeks to take a few of these and explore alternatives. 

Part 2 – The Trench Coat

variations on a theme: trench coats in Paris
variations on a theme: Parisiennes in trench coats


There’s no denying that a trench coat is a classic for a reason. It’s a great transitional season piece, the cut and shape are timeless, and you can throw it over anything and look casually elegant. And if you live in a wet climate, a waterproof version may be the only raincoat you need.

I’ve been searching for the Mr. Right of trench coats for decades now. The look has always appealed to me, yet I’m beginning to resign myself to the fact that like a few other “must-have” items, the iconic version is never going to work. Double-breasted styling, too much detail for my frame, and of course the belt may be too many style challenges to overcome. I’ve tried low-end and high-end, structured and soft, but now am looking for variations with a similar classic look (and that will also be water-resistant).

If you’ve also found this style challenging and are looking for alternatives, think about what you want to achieve. Is timeless style your goal? Water-resistance? Warmth? Is the rest of your wardrobe classic, casual, creative, or eclectic? What length works best for you? Do you want the classic khaki color, or something lighter or darker?

If belting is a non-starter, look for styles labeled as “A-line” or “mac,” or an open front style if you don’t need to fasten for warmth. Or perhaps a single-breasted as opposed to double-breasted trench style is just the tweak needed to make it work.

Are you a die-hard trench coat wearer? Or have you found your own “alternative classic” version?

A few options to consider…

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tuesday tidbits

french medallion jewelry

A few random things today…

Above, some pieces from the new Spring/Summer “Saint Cloud” collection at French Kande that caught my eye.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5


You may be familiar with Sharon Santoni’s gorgeous blog, My French Country Home, but did you know she also has a YouTube channel? If you love decorating, France or lifestyle inspiration, you’ll want to check out these videos and subscribe to the My French Country Home channel. Here’s her most recent video, “Mixing old with new.”


snow creek

It’s easy to appreciate the snow when you don’t have to a) drive to work in it or b) shovel it.

no, that's not a statue of Papa Smurf. Underneath all of that snow is Mark Twain.
no, that’s not a statue of Papa Smurf. Underneath all of that snow is Mark Twain.


snow skate rink

It’s been snowing almost non-stop since Saturday night, very hard at times. We decided to tackle the mountain anyway yesterday. Definitely a powder day!

powder day

How’s your week going?

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