Learning To Trust Those “Click” Moments

3.1 Phillip Lim shoes, AG Jeans, French Kande jewelry

When it comes to style, it’s easy to let myself get pulled in a lot of different directions. I see something I like on someone else or in a store window, or I read something that makes me think I “should” be wearing and not Y. But now and then an outfit or even a single item speaks to me all the way down to my bones, and gets me back to my style center of gravity. It’s my Style Sweet Spot, that “this is SO me” feeling, and the recognition is instinctive and instantaneous.

Wearing: earrings | sweater (similar look) |
necklace (c/o French Kande) | bracelet | jeans | shoes

This outfit was one of those “style clicks.” I’d been wearing the jeans and sweater (Eileen Fisher, a couple of years old now) around all day while at home and out running a few errands. I switched out the shoes (these purchased during my trip to NY), added the jewelry and BAM. It all came together. I’m sure for many people this would be too plain. Boring, even. But I feel good in it, authentic.

All this playing with style over the last few years has brought home to me the importance of feeling authentic in what I wear. I can’t be comfortable when I feel as though I’m wearing Someone Else’s Clothes, even if they are fun or flattering or my friends and family approve. I went through a period when I was younger where I enjoyed dressing up in costumes and taking on different personas; now I just want to be myself. (Each of us will have a different expression of what feels “authentic.”)

But I still enjoy experimenting, and adding something fresh periodically. The trick, I’m learning, is to venture outside of my comfort zone from time to time, while honoring those “click” experiences. Knowing what works doesn’t have to mean being stuck or getting stale. The jeans (slightly cropped flares with a split hem) are a new silhouette for me. (They are already becoming favorites.) And a couple of years ago I never would have worn shoes that are lighter than my pants.

The takeaway? Even the most well-honed style needs occasional updates to stay current. Try new things, keep an open mind, but don’t force it, and don’t settle for less than what clicks.

Is there an item of clothing or outfit that’s delivered a “click moment” for you?

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29 Comments

  1. October 7, 2016 / 3:25 am

    Boy, are we on the same wavelength. Much as I love fashion, sometimes I don’t want it to soak up time and attention. It leaves space for other things. You always look smashing! Love reading about your travels, Susan.

  2. Adele M.
    October 7, 2016 / 3:49 am

    A few observations: I usually find that I carry myself so differently when I’m wearing clothes that feel like “me”, and that’s often what people around me respond to. It’s difference between being “me” who happens to be wearing certain clothes and the clothes wearing me.

    I love your French Kande necklaces, and the longer look in general, but it feels awkward for me to wear long necklaces — any thoughts on how to gradually break into the trend?

    And finally, love the jeans on you! As a fellow vertically-challenged individual, I also find that crop-length jeans and pants become ankle-length when I put them on, and I prefer them that way. The slight flare is really flattering on you.

  3. October 7, 2016 / 4:14 am

    Similar! My favorite outfit is a pair of cropped white jeans with a little flare, a Breton top, white Stan Smiths; if it’s chilly, then a cropped jean jacket on top. I don’t go anyplace dressy anymore and live where most people are on vacation, so it’s a look that feels comfortable to wear and appropriate for the lifestyle.
    You do a good job of maintaining just the right balance between practical/comfortable on one hand and classy/fashionable on the other.

  4. Lisa
    October 7, 2016 / 5:00 am

    Love the jeans! I clicked on the link, and was stuck by the inseam difference. You must be short like me. I would not have thought they would be flattering based on the online pic. Where I live in the south, theses are totally doable until January.

  5. October 7, 2016 / 5:34 am

    I love the long necklace, Sue. Looks great with your simple tee and jeans. But they have to be the right jeans and the perfect tee, don’t they? The “oak” Philip Lim mules with the black tee is what makes this outfit really click with me. When I looked on the Philip Lim site I was surprised that they had named this colour of shoe “oak.” Looks more like golden leaves of fall… or luscious sponge toffee… or butterscotch pudding. But “oak”? Nah. Still they look great, and are probably really comfortable.

    P.S. Loved that earlier post on “style sweet spot.” I wasn’t reading your blog then. Thanks for linking that.

  6. October 7, 2016 / 6:04 am

    I rarely, almost never venture outside of my comfort zone. It’s generally a mistake for me. I try to stay current and fresh with new silhouettes (like your jeans) of the staples in my wardrobe. I love this outfit on you. Very you, very LA.

  7. Mpls
    October 7, 2016 / 6:45 am

    The outfit is great, understated and chic, but are you wearing the same AG jeans as at the link? They look very different there (even taking into account a likely taller model).

  8. October 7, 2016 / 7:38 am

    Your outfit doesn’t look plain and boring to me! I know that Style Sweet Spot very well. The confidence it brings when I hit it, is always my goal.

  9. Dany
    October 7, 2016 / 7:40 am

    I wouldn’t call that outfit plain. It’s simple and effortless, but your jewelry and impeccable grooming make it also polished and interesting. If this were my outfit, I would even have left out either the watch or bracelet because I feel cluttered if I wear something in both wrists -even though your look certainly doesn’t strike me that way.
    It’s also interesting how many things you wear regularly in this blog -the type of shoes, jeans, French Kande jewelry, colors and light earrings- come together in this outfit, creating an ensemble that is fresh and lovely. Well played!
    Thanks for giving food for thought, too. I’m now thinking hard how to work the ideas I see in this outfit in the context of my personal style!

  10. Cher
    October 7, 2016 / 8:09 am

    for me it’s all about the jeans. sometimes there’s just that perfect fit that gives you what I call ” walking with intention” look!! looks good and you know it!!

  11. Susan D.
    October 7, 2016 / 8:10 am

    I have several Eileen Fisher dresses that really click for me. My current favorite is mid calf length, black, with short sleeves. It’s the viscose fabric and I find it perfect for a warm autumn in Dallas. I can wear it almost anywhere—and have.

  12. Patti
    October 7, 2016 / 8:17 am

    This so so my style. No fuss but classy!

  13. October 7, 2016 / 8:46 am

    So many women (including me) love this denim-grounded look.

    My own clickable look includes skinny (but not skin-tight) jeans, a plain blouse or sweater, comfy shoes (either flats or wedges), watch and/or notable bracelet, stud earrings, and a good belt. When the weather cools, I add a leather jacket.

    In the “I adore them, so why don’t they work for me?” department, even adding one of my beautiful scarves feels strained. Likewise, donning a hat or necklace and carrying any purse except a simple crossbody one signals I’m trying too hard.

    My inner style editor usually tells me I’m settling,” that I’m “better than this.” Sometimes I agree with her. But usually I just default to the same pieces.

    I think I need two default looks, not a single one. Now, if I could only figure out what that second look should be.

    • October 8, 2016 / 5:49 pm

      In colder climates, some kind of a hat is simply practical for a good part of the year. Idem scarves. I’m moving into the béret zone now. In winter, sometimes even woolly hats (which I don’t like very much) with a warm long jacket or not-too-long coat.

  14. October 7, 2016 / 9:08 am

    Love the understated and effortless look. Love these jeans. I’ve vertically challenged too and hoping they will work for me.

    You phone cover is so cute! Where did you find it?

  15. plutrell
    October 7, 2016 / 9:10 am

    As I mature more (and still need to even more) I have learned so much about how to hit that sweet spot…I think that is why we started our Sunday event…to just share, encourage,and inspire int his area. I love your look at the top…though simple, it seems chic and so you. I believe we have similar aesthetics…and I have learned much from you. Isn’t it fun when we all hit that bulls-eye and understand how it affects our outlook!

  16. Alyson That's Not My Age
    October 7, 2016 / 9:19 am

    This is so true, Susan. Like you I’m always happiest when I’ve got my jeans on. Hope you had a fantastic time in Japan.

  17. Bronwyn Shaffer
    October 7, 2016 / 9:32 am

    I can totally relate to giving up costumes now that I am in my 50s but it took me a few years to quit buying pieces that fell into that category and its taking me a few more years to weed them all out of my closet. It is so much more cohesive and peaceful in my closet now, as a lot of those costumey pieces really struggled with each other.

    By the way I think this look is very easy and youthful in a good way.

  18. Karen
    October 7, 2016 / 9:55 am

    My “click” outfits are very similar to the one you have pictured…pared down, casual, and deliciously comfortable. I admired the crisp white shirt look and promptly bought a great looking, button-up tunic. I did not feel authentic wearing it. It felt stiff, forced, and ultimately rumpled.

  19. October 7, 2016 / 2:01 pm

    I had a great “click” moment last week. I was going out to a fundraiser where folks really dress up…many of the women wear beautiful gowns, elegant dresses and some of the men even wear tuxes. I have a short, funky afro and glasses…I look ridiculous in those kinds of super dressy clothes. I dutifully put on a pretty dress, but it just didn’t feel right. So, I shed it, and put on all black – fitted sweater and pants with a wild, cream colored fur vest and some strong classic jewelry including a super heavy gold chain bracelet from jcrew. I felt like a million bucks and my daughter said I looked like I was going to a Hollywood party! That was the best I’ve ever felt at a dressy event, and now I know the way I want to look when the time comes to get dolled up again!

    • Susan B
      October 7, 2016 / 2:30 pm

      deb, that sounds fabulous!!!

  20. Naomi
    October 7, 2016 / 9:07 pm

    One of my favorite posts of yours! Your writing and deep thinking always feel spot on to me, and I love the idea of adding some new ideas but still being in your own personal sweet spot.

  21. October 8, 2016 / 10:04 am

    Love your longer bangs. Looks very cool. Love the whole look, very what I wear everyday.

  22. Francoise
    October 8, 2016 / 10:30 am

    Susan, could you share your toenail polish color?

    • Susan B
      October 8, 2016 / 1:44 pm

      Hi Francoise, it’s Dior “Nuit.” Love this polish, it wears well and doesn’t chip.

  23. Katie
    October 8, 2016 / 12:06 pm

    I love this look! And many thanks for sharing an “everyday” outfit. Most of our days fall into that category! However I have a question. It looks to me as though the long pendant you’re wearing would really get in the way at the grocery store or any place where you have to bend over. I haven’t bought any of the French Kande pendants yet but it won’t be long. Any advice will be helpful!

  24. October 8, 2016 / 4:33 pm

    Your outfit works for me, you look just lovely!
    I do still do the ‘dressing like …’ plays occasionally, shopping from my wardrobe, as it gives me a chance to try wearing something in a different way. If I don’t like what I see in the mirror or what I feel after a day of wearing it, the outfit doesn’t get worn again and I had a bit of fun!
    I had a ‘click’ just yesterday, coincidentally. A black lightweight down coat from Uniqlo. I’d done a fair bit of analysis and research to work out what I needed and where I could find it and at a price that fitted my pensioner’s pocket, so I was relieved that my labours had paid off when I tried it on; I knew instantly it was ‘the one’ and that it was ‘so me’.

  25. Patricia
    October 9, 2016 / 9:37 am

    One of the reasons I love this outfit on you is that it shows off your wonderful, well-proportioned figure. More fitted clothing really is flattering on you.

  26. October 9, 2016 / 11:55 am

    I LOVE the outfit you are wearing in the pic. I have a few “click” picks. My old reliables. The clothing that I am most comfortable in. Striped Breton Shirts, skinny jeans, blazers. 20-year old Bass Weejuns. White Tee shirts. My look varies on a uniform. I’m pretty basic but in a fun way!!
    Hey, let me tell you something there missy, YOU made me go out of the boundaries of my comfort zone with those Paul Green toeless booties. Yes. You did. And I love them to death. So thank you!!!!

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