Outfit: Modern Retro

Susan B. wears an agnes b. tan coat over black separates with a leopard print bag and buckle detail shoes. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Mid-Century Modern

I’ve always loved the look of a simple outfit with a black base and a tan or camel coat. The trick, I think, is to add just enough interest with accessories, but avoid mucking it up.

coat (similar) | necklace (similar) | top (similar) | bag | ring | pants (petite/plus) | shoes

When I purchased this agnes b. coat in Paris, one of the things that attracted me was the slightly retro vibe. The shape and cut reminded me of late-50’s/early-60’s coat styles. (And the costuming in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has confirmed that impression.) It’s one of my favorite fashion eras. I tried to keep the overall look modern with a streamlined base and bold accessories.

Detail: agnes b tan coat, Clare V leopard clutch. Info at une femme d'un certain age.

That necklace is from French brand Gerard Darel, and was purchased several years ago. (It’s occasionally available second-hand here.) It’s still one of my favorites.

Freda Salvador Twiggy slingbacks in black. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I’m totally infatuated with these shoes. I’ve been wearing them as often as the weather allows.

Is there a fashion era that you are particularly drawn to? What elements from that era do you incorporate into your style?

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59 Comments

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:51 am

      Thanks very much, Josephine! I’m so glad I didn’t pass it up.

  1. plutrell
    January 2, 2018 / 4:38 am

    Your shoes are so cool, Susan. I also love the look of camel and black. I hope your 2018 is full of joy and excitement. Happy New Year!

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:51 am

      Thank you, Pam, and a very Happy New Year to you too!

  2. Lea
    January 2, 2018 / 4:39 am

    That is a stunning jacket and it looks perfect on you!
    I love shawl collars and sweetheart necklines, they are not easy to find, though. I have a black tea length dress by Eliza J.that I bought years ago that I adore and wear to formal events, it’s my homage to Grace Kelly. Last year I finally bought a camel coat with a wide collar that makes a hood and just recently bought a hat to wear with it.
    Love your recent posts!

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:51 am

      Thank you very much, Lea!

  3. January 2, 2018 / 6:49 am

    Wonderful outfit. Wonderful. Sigh. Just wonderful. 🙂
    P.S. Happy New Year, Sue.

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:50 am

      Thanks very much, susan! Happy New Year to you too!

  4. Kellee
    January 2, 2018 / 7:02 am

    This is my dream outfit – thanks for the link to the leopard clutch – I am buying this today! LOVE the shoes! Is the fit true to size?

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2018 / 7:20 am

      Hi Kellee, thank you and yes, I think the shoes run TTS. I’m usually a 7 or 7½ and the 7½ is a perfect fit.

  5. Jennell Peteranecz
    January 2, 2018 / 8:08 am

    I do envy a climate that allows a coat. In Florida I’ve had to look for silk versions of jackets. As a teacher I admire the shoes: classy and comfortable. I will have to find these on ThredUP since I’ve got a teacher salary to work with.

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:50 am

      Hi Jennell, and thank you! Eileen Fisher does some nice lightweight jackets that you can sometimes pick up on sale. Or check out Union & Fifth, which carries a good collection of pre-owned items.

  6. Kathleen Ludgate
    January 2, 2018 / 8:21 am

    Love your outfit today. Camel and black are stunning. My favorite era is the 60s!

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:47 am

      Thank you, Kathleen!

  7. Desi B
    January 2, 2018 / 9:01 am

    Jennell, Eileen Fisher makes some lovely stand collar jackets and 3/4 coats in silk and other light fabrics, many of which are machine washable.

  8. January 2, 2018 / 9:19 am

    So glad you like the shoes. I ordered them when I saw them in your post. They arrive today!

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:47 am

      Hi Leslie, hope you love them as much as I do.

  9. Marla
    January 2, 2018 / 9:26 am

    Honestly just smashing! The capsule wardrobe idea is embodied in this photo. Chic! Comfy. Smart. I think one could do a version of this even at Walmart. Happy New Year!!

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:47 am

      Thanks very much, Maria, and Happy New Year to you too!

  10. January 2, 2018 / 10:05 am

    The shoes are gorgeous–your entire outfit looks divine–but women who wear size 11 do not exist in Calvin Klein’s world…

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:46 am

      Thanks, wendelah. That’s a shame about the shoes. I’ll keep an eye out for similar designs that are available in 11.

  11. January 2, 2018 / 10:55 am

    I like from that late 50s-early 60s era …

    * Coats with shorter sleeve lengths that can be worn with longer gloves
    * Anything Audrey Hepburn wore 🙂
    * “Court shoes” with substantial heels but no more than 2.5″ high
    * Sheath dresses
    * Classic Chanel-style suits and jackets
    * Pearls
    * Headscarves

    The Kennedy women popularized all those styles.

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:45 am

      I’m a big fan of bracelet sleeves too!

  12. Patricia
    January 2, 2018 / 11:11 am

    Hi Susan, I read your blog religiously but don’t comment very often. I just wanted to say how much I love the shoes. In fact, I love the whole outfit, but those shoes … no wonder you are infatuated with them!

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:45 am

      Thanks so much, Patricia!

  13. Kay
    January 2, 2018 / 12:43 pm

    I have those EF knit pants, and they get plenty of wear.

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:44 am

      Hi Kay, yes mine do too. Love them!

  14. Lea
    January 2, 2018 / 12:56 pm

    Love the agnes b. coat – looks great on you! Would you mind telling me which size it is (French 36/38) please? I am of a similar height/build and I am thinking of getting an agnes b coat online, so knowing which size you take would be really helpful!

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2018 / 1:03 pm

      Hi Lea, thank you! This one’s a size 38.

      • Lea
        January 2, 2018 / 1:11 pm

        Thank you so much! That is really helpful! By the way: I came across what I believe is the black version of the coat on the EU agnes b site. It is the “black leicester jacket”, and is still available in size 42 – in case any of the readers is interested 🙂

  15. Ainsivalavie
    January 2, 2018 / 2:44 pm

    The Black and Tan is so chic! I love the way you have kept every thing quite modern and let the coat have the ‘retro stage’ I think that’s the secret to pulling off any ‘homage’ to an era. Too many woman look stuck in a time warp by over eulogizing the styles of the past in a head to toe manner and never making room for the modern or current look.
    Great job Susan! No time warps for you!!

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:44 am

      Ainsivalavie, thank you! Yes, especially at this age I find I can’t carry off “homage” too literally…need to mix it up a bit.

  16. Jill Ann
    January 2, 2018 / 4:18 pm

    I love, love, love, the styles of the 40s, 50s, and early 60s. Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and stuff my mom wore before I was born! Although it’s hard for me to imagine how their waists were so tiny back then…but the silhouettes and the tailoring & fabrics, so elegant! Wish I had somewhere to wear those looks, most of the time.

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:43 am

      Yes, there was a certain elegance to those decades. I think the small waists were also a result of some serious corsetry (girdles and other shapewear). I wouldn’t want to go back to those underpinnings, though!

  17. Katharina
    January 2, 2018 / 4:52 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the coat 🙂

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:41 am

      Thank you, Katharina!

  18. January 2, 2018 / 10:38 pm

    I just love this outfit! A perfect blend of neutrals with attitude. The shoes are terrific. I may need them myself.

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:41 am

      Thanks, Jennifer! These shoes are a perfect blend of comfortable and fun.

  19. karen h
    January 3, 2018 / 3:06 am

    OMG…this outfit is my definition of pefect! simple elegence that will take you anywhere and everywhere.

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:40 am

      Thanks very much, karen!

  20. Susan Williams
    January 3, 2018 / 6:25 am

    I am wearing camel and black today. A dear freind gave me a shawl several years ago that seems vaguely Moroccan in shades of camel, browns and black. Camel doesn;t work too well with my silver hair but the black seems to balance that.
    My mother had a car coat in the late ’50s that I loved, shawl collar and swing shape. Your coat reminds me of that.
    Love it!

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:40 am

      Thanks, Susan!

  21. January 3, 2018 / 9:38 am

    Appreciate the accompanying “similar to” information but I prefer the exact same necklace you’re wearing. Who’s it by? Would like to get one. Thanks.

    • Susan B
      January 3, 2018 / 9:51 am

      Hi Lynda, it’s from Gerard Darel.

  22. susan
    January 3, 2018 / 9:46 am

    I am new and really enjoying your blogs. I have loved fashion all of my life. Thanks for keeping me interested.

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:39 am

      Hi Susan, and welcome! Thank you.

  23. January 3, 2018 / 10:36 am

    Love your look today. I WANT those pearls. Love the look. Camel doesn’t look so great with my grey hair. I need more contrast. But you look just great. Happy New Year!

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:39 am

      Thanks, Sandra!!

  24. Eva
    January 3, 2018 / 4:54 pm

    I have been drooling over the suits the “queen” has been wearing in The Crown’s second season on Netflix. Love the jackets.

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:39 am

      I love the costuming in that show. I think they’ve done a marvelous job with recreating her signature looks.

  25. SuD
    January 4, 2018 / 8:34 am

    The coat color looks like it leans more cool, the only color of taupe/tan I can wear.

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:38 am

      Hi SuD, yes it is, which is why it works well for me too.

    • Susan B
      January 5, 2018 / 9:37 am

      Thanks so much, Alyson!

  26. Dorothy
    January 6, 2018 / 8:12 am

    That camel coat is just lovely!! And I love keopard everything!! you look terrific!

    • Susan B
      January 6, 2018 / 4:49 pm

      Thanks very much, Dorothy!

  27. Duchesse
    January 14, 2018 / 5:12 pm

    I have loved agnès b forever; you look wonderful in that coat!

    For those who want the pearls, you can have a jeweller make a genuine version very reasonably using Chinese freshwaters. I think that’s an idea, since these artificial ones are no longer available.

    • Susan B
      January 14, 2018 / 6:53 pm

      Thanks very much, Duchesse!

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