Susan B. sits on a bench wearing a striped blazer, pendant necklace, blue jeans, and raffia sneakers.

Welcome to une femme d’un certain âge!

My name is Susan Blakey, and I’m 67, widowed, and a mother to a special-needs adult son. I began writing this blog in 2007 to start a conversation about style for women over 50, and never stopped 😆. A few years ago I left my job as an administrative executive and went full-time with writing and managing une femme.

In 2022, I completed an intensive training for color and style analysis and I’ve just launched personalized style services, including Color Analysis. But writing is always my first love, so I’ll be sharing my ideas, tips, finds and more here and keeping the conversation going. (Be sure to sign up to receive updates and exclusive content.)

Why “une femme d’un certain âge”?

It’s a question I’ve been asked often recently. Une femme d’un certain âge is a French expression (“a woman of a certain age”) that suggests a positive attitude toward age, and alludes to the wisdom, experience, and elegance that we acquire along the way.

This blog is about helping women be their best selves at any age: expressing themselves through style, experiencing what the world has to offer, packing lighter and smarter, and leading a balanced, adventurous and delicious life.

Thanks for reading, and for joining me on this journey!

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  1. I have been so confused. When I googled une femme d’certain age Tish Jett came up so I thot you were her model. Now I see that blond YOU are the author.

  2. Oh, Sue! Thanks for this post. I am thinking hard about these questions. At age 70 it’s surprising that my personal style commands so much attention. I’m in a new phase of life (retirement after a life of work with more energy now available to address my own needs and those of loved ones who need my help). Amidst these changes I find I don’t want to default to my younger incarnations.

    We all learn from role models of various kinds, but there are so few style models 70 or older. I don’t fancy at all the “Advanced Style” popularized by Ari Seth Cohen. The simple styles of Georgia O’Keeffe, Lauren Hutton, Katherine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Gloria Steinem reflect what I would like to present. It’s time to wear less jewelry, prints, and trends and to shed things I’ve saved but never wear.

    I hope you continue to write about these questions. I could use the inspiration.

    1. I enjoyed reading your post! I’m turning 50 this year and am looking forward to the next phase of my life. Any advice that you’d give your 50 year old self?

      1. Hi Erika, welcome! I’ll be celebrating my 10-year “Blogaversary” in a week, and am working on a post looking back and looking ahead. I hope you enjoy it!

    2. Mu thanx to Ann! It is good to know I am not the only one in my 70’s! I am up ere in British Columbia Canada and although it is plainly still summer from the temperature, the smokey haze cuts out the sun. I am hoping that the readers from California, Oregon and Washington states are able to stay out of harms way. Meanwhile, my thanks to Susan for a great blog. I caught the French style while living in Montreal and your blog helps me keep up with what is new pour les femmes de mon age! Thanks all round!

  3. Hi Susan, I discovered your blog a few weeks ago & it immediately became a favorite for so many reasons! I completely relate to today’s post. At nearly 57, I’m slowly getting over decades of hating my body’s perceived “flaws”. I never received criticism at home about my shape, quite the opposite- when I’d lament my slightly larger frame & very normal height (and weight), mom would say “you have a cute shape”. Mom loved wearing all the latest fashions, whatever her size & I never heard her complain about her size or shape, ever. Food was always celebrated in the household & everyone was skinny (not mom, no problem!) I’ve often wondered where the entrenched negative feelings came from, probably media & peers, especially mean boys and the American pressure on women to be perfect. Now I say, this is the body I received, let’s be grateful & make the best of it! I’m getting the same joy from clothes that I did when I was little & the hand-me- down box from the cousins would arrive, always with the exciting potential for something special.

    Thanks again for your great blog. I’m also in Southern Calif., so that helps me with choices & recommendations for our climate. Also, with the help of your blog, I feel newly inspired & I’m enjoying refining my look every day- there’s a new leopard top from J Crew in the closet (amongst other things!) & my wish list at Nordstrom is a mile long! 🙂

  4. Sue,

    I recently discovered your blog, and I’m so happy that I found it! I’m retired, in my mid-sixties, and find that my wardrobe expression is evolving into a more relaxed chic than what I wore when working. I’ll definitely be looking to you for inspiration.

  5. Was introduced to your blog today, and have had such fun looking at your fashionable travel capsules – and the glorious places you have visited. In just a couple of weeks I am off to cruise down to the Amazon River, and packing just the right amount, but not too much, is major on my mind. Your taste in clothing is all I want mine to be, so shall be peeking in each day to see the decisions you have been making. Thank you for sharing your adventures, in clothing and in travel destinations.

  6. I’ve only just discovered your blog but I am enjoying it – did the Girl on the Go trench work? – I”m also considering it for Paris and would like to know if it’s reasonably fitted (since I have a waist, I don’t want to wear shapeless clothes!). I also like the fact that you’ve got colour and interesting patterns in your outfits – I see so many travel and capsule wardrobes that are totally boring and nothing like what I would wear (I wear lots of dark red, dark purple, burgundy the cooler months, I love colours and patterns). Having been for my first overseas trip (with husband and three teenagers in tow) in June/July this year, I am now looking forward to revisiting Paris in April, but the weather will be cooler and less predictable, so thinking that that trench looks perfect, the ones that I’ve got don’t offer much warmth and I really feel the cold.

    1. Hi and welcome! I wound up returning the trench. The fit was fine, I just thought a packable puffer coat was going to suit my needs better. I’m afraid you may be disappointed in my final wardrobe choices…because I’ll be spending probably most of my time in outerwear, I’ve decided to let my scarves carry the color/pattern load. You’ll definitely want something for rain in April. I’d suggest giving the trench a try to see how you like it.

      1. Yes, I’ve also decided that my Paris scarves will be the main items with patterns that I pack (plus one colourful shirt from Coton Doux – if you haven’t been there, worth a visit, one of the few shirt types that I’ve found in my life which are nicely fitted, because I am not flat chested most shirts look like a maternity smock on me – Coton Doux women’s shirts have a lovely cut, don’t need ironing after washing, and have lots of choices in patterns and plains). Although I’ll have some red in there with sweaters.

        Thanks, I think that I’ll give the trench a try, if it’s a nice fit then that plus some scarves will make things easy on the cooler days – April in Paris looks like it could be anywhere between warm and very chilly (and I like the idea of the removable lining, since I’ll be there in spring probably won’t have the warmth need that you’ll have in December). I live in Melbourne, Australia, and coat choices are quite limited here compared to the US.

        Enjoy your trip! Oh, and I wore long boots and packed Skecher style Mary Janes when we went in summer. And short boots. I didn’t use the short boots much, but as my long boots are comfortable, I wore them on the plane and they were great on the cooler days (wore them more in London than in Paris); we still got some cooler rainy days even in summer.

        When you get back, can we have a blog post of any clothes shopping purchases? Whilst I did a fair bit of wandering round and shopping in the Marais district (plus Galeries Lafayette), I’m sure that there are lots of shopping delights that I missed! (was told to go to Forum des Halles, super boring, even the teens didn’t buy anything there).

        1. HOBBS (UK) do great trench coats, the closest you will get to Burburry ones, but at a fraction of the cost. They are so well made and come in various colours, and lengths. Perfect for Northern European climates. Im from ireland, so know all about the rain, though its gloriously sunny these days.

  7. Looking forward to your blog, which I learned about on Fabulous After 40. Now that More magazine has folded, women of a certain age are in need of great role models. So thank you for doing this. I’ve just discovered fashion bloggers my own age, and couldn’t be more thrilled. You ladies are giving the rest of us the courage to spark up our style and try things we didn’t consider before. Thanks so much and I look forward to my new subscription!

  8. Going to France on a tour in Sept 2017, any thoughts on what to pack. Rick Steeves bus tour Paris and northern France. Thank you

  9. Hi Susan, I have been really enjoying your posts. Do you ever travel with your special needs son? I have a teen son with a developmental disability and we are planning on taking a trip to Europe in 2018.

    1. Hi Bernie, we used to travel with him a bit when he was younger, mostly to beach resorts (he loves the water) and skiing (he loves the movement). But when he started having behavioral issues at around 15, it just became too difficult. (Our son’s cognitive functioning is at about the 3-to-4 year old level.) Best of luck with your travels!

  10. Just found your site & love it. Wondering if you have ever been to Prague? I live in Fargo, ND USA, am 66 & I too have a son with disabilities.

  11. OM Goodness, I cant believe that I finally found a blogger my age (Im 55) that shares my style sense and that I can relate to from an age and stage point of view. There are lots of bloggers out there in their 20s and 30s who share my style and are very talented but beyond clothes and some beauty recommendations I cant relate. As they say, ‘been there done that;

  12. I was wondering how tall you are? I thought you were a taller woman, but when I googled petite women bloggers your site came up. I often feel as if your clothes wouldn’t fit my 5.1 frame but if you’re short and you look so great in them, that gives me hope!

  13. Hi Susan,

    My name is Merrissa, I just had to stop by and say that after reading your “About”, I honestly feel like I’m looking at the future ME. You really took it home when you mentioned loving your dogs, coffee, Paris, wearing black + Champagne. Can’t wait to dig in to your posts. Happy New Year!



  14. For some reason, although I’m an avid Not Dead Yet reader, I had yet to link to your blog. Very happy I found it. Love the travel tips which mix style with travel so well. I’m over 60! and reaching toward one of those ‘important’ birthdays so your last post on style and aging was right on the money. Thank you!

  15. Hi Susan,
    Thank you so much for writing your blog, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy it. I look forward to each and every post, it brightens my day!! As I was searching your archives for warm climate travel wardrobe suggestions, I noticed several posts about Palm Springs. I am traveling in 10 days with girlfriends to Indian Wells/Palm Springs. We will be spending most of our days at the BNP Paribas tennis tournament, but have an extra day to explore the area. Can you recommend any galleries, shopping, dining or spas? We will be packing mostly casual attire and love anything involving a margarita!! Thank you so much for any insight.

    Kathy Hendrickson
    (58 yrs, 5’2”, Oklahoma City ☺️)

  16. Merci bien! We are not our mother’s 60’s, so our role models back then were sensible clothes, sensible shoes, and hairspray. We baby boomers are breaking it up and breaking out of whatever molds we were supposed to follow. Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, the gaggle of starlets who are entering their 50’s, and the dynamic duo of Frankie and Grace (Lily and Jane) are trailblazing our fashion and attitudes about aging, bunions, arthritis, wrinkles and all.

    And then there’s you. You have made sense of this new pioneering fashion movement with grace, style and practicality. I always walk away with a nugget or two from your posts. Brava et merci bien!

  17. So helpful- I am going to Normandie next July. I hate to go anywhere looking like a schlump, but comfort is key.Are shoes like Sketchers a good choice for walking on rough streets?

  18. I am 65. I used to live to dress. I could pretty much wear anything. Until me mid 50’s I weighed between 138-142. I weigh 148 now. Its not just the weight, my weight distribution has changed. I have never had a belly!

    So. Here is my question. I look at your ensembles and outfits and wonder how it would look on me. Would you mind sharing your height and weight so I have a frame of reference?

    I understand if you decline to share that info!

    1. Hi Melanie, I don’t mind at all. I’m 5’1″ and weigh around 120 lbs. (I say “around” because my weight fluctuates within a 4 lb. range.) I’ve *always* had a belly, so find a softer top worn untucked works best for me.

  19. Susan, I’m 68 and living in Florida. I’m thankful for you and all your fun, sensible, interesting content and your attitude.

  20. I have been reading your blog for a long time. Your style reset hits the mark for you, on point. I wonder if there is any way to include the rest of us in a transformation? I am feeling left out since your reset and wondering if there is any way to speak to other color profiles and style types. I realize this is a tough question and would be much more work. Unfortunately your new focus is narrowing your audience.

    1. Hi Phyllis, thanks! As I’ve mentioned previously, the outfits I show are all my own clothing. So I won’t be purchasing items for other style and color profiles. But for other types of posts, yes, I will continue to show items and ensembles in a range of colors and styles.

  21. Hello Susan, Thank you for your blog ! I am 58, 5’10” I still feel as though I am in my 30’s……..however I just did a closet make over as well and boy what a revelation! I decided I would use the fabulous Emmanuelle Alt as my fashion icon: black blazer ( Erickson Blazer Aritzia ) great high waisted cropped black jean ( Levi’s) Black kick flare cropped work pant ( Everlane) black loafers, I cannot let go of the vintage band t-shirts.
    Oh well nobody is perfect ! I have a great pea coat ( Aritzia) warm fake fur ( Max Mara) and wonderful cashmere sweaters, I feel truly ready to be an adult…..I did a lot of research in terms of fit, fabrics, sustainable and ethical companies. Anyhow I am hoping this might help some of your other readers.

    1. Hi Louise, love Emmanuelle Alt, and your style choices sound fabulous. But please, please KEEP those vintage band tee shirts!!! I wish I’d kept the ones I gave away several years ago!!!

      1. Oh the Author is prompt with her replies ! How very wonderful.
        I did neglect to say ” I really appreciate your writing and the very well researched blog “.
        Just read the French Pharmacie post, sooooo agree!

        Yes, I am keeping all band t-shirts…I just saw them featured in the In Style Magazine worn under blazers, Oxford shirts, and topped off with great vintage custom jewelry.

        xoxoxo take care, keep up the great work, you inspire ! Je suis one gamine !

  22. I just discovered your website, and at 51, I now consider myself “une femme d’un certain âge” – and I lived in France in the mid-1990s! I love that there are now blogs for women 40+ who still want to look attractive and stylish!

  23. Susan,
    As a blog follower of yours for several years it was so good to read about you although over the years you
    have been good enough to share.So love your Paris days.
    I am 78 now (ugh 2 years away from 80, cant believe it!!!) I so like your style and would like to emulate but on a fixed income it is often hard to shop for stylish, unique, inspired items. Any advice? .

  24. Love your style and relaxed lifestyle you present. My goal is to be happy in my body and quit worrying about all that is wrong with it. Thanks!

  25. Hello,

    Love your website. Hope to go on a South African safari in Sep 2021. I would appreciate any advice you care to provide about what to wear. Not thrilled with the suitable safari colors, but I will comply. Ok with, but not excited about, the outdoor clothing. Looking for clothing ideas to spice up the outdoor wear.

  26. Just found your site today. Looking forward to learning some tips and tricks as you have fabulous, but relatable, & hopefully, attainable style. I’ve been to Paris, and most recently on safari in Africa, so wish I’d found your site sooner, but now I have access to your expertise.
    Thanks, Connie

  27. Hello from a midwestern Susan. I am so happy to come across your blog. I am a recently retired 65 year old former executive. My closet always had “work clothes”
    and “play clothes.” Now, I can focus on “play clothes,” which a far more fun! Thank you for the inspiration to try new looks and shut out the voice that says, “You are too old for that look.”
    Thank you for putting your effort into the blog. I truly appreciate it.

  28. Hi Susan! I started following you a few months ago and just love what you do. I’m 54 and was looking for someone in my peer group to follow for fashion, makeup and lifestyle suggestions that are current, practical and relatable. You really fit the bill! I really like your sense of fashion, how you style clothing and your reviews of the pieces. I also like your mini tutorials. They take the mystery out of things things like how to do a French tuck or style a scarf differently. 🙂

    Thanks for the work you put into maintaining the blog and everything else that goes with it!

    Heidi Smyksy

  29. Hi, Susan –

    I’ve followed you on Facebook for several years, but recently started perusing your blog. I’m also mother to a special-needs young adult son (well, he’s 24 now – I guess that qualifies as young adult), but he still lives at home with my husband and me. I went through a phase (too long) of not really putting much emphasis on style or presentation, which I think has affected how I feel about myself. But I’m ready, at 51, to make some positive changes in my life. My oldest son is getting married later this summer, and the wedding planning has forced me to look at clothes and shoes more than usual. It’s been eye opening, for sure, and I feel very outdated all of a sudden! Thanks for being a positive place on the internet!

  30. Dear Susan,
    I found your blog after discovering Red Leopard, I really loved your wardrobe declutter with Annie. I’m due to have a style consultation with Rachel very shorty, I can’t wait. I’ve never really being into fashion, it just seems to much effort constantly shopping, but I want to dress well and look pulled together. My children are now moving on to the next stages of their lives so it’s time to have a bit more focus on me and my changing role. Having read your post about Red Leopard I know I’m in good hands.
    Thank you for producing a blog that isn’t about fashion but looking stylish at a certain age!
    Best Ali

  31. Susan,
    SO excited for you! Can’t wait to hear all about this adventure! We had traveled quite a bit until COVID and I’m now feeling a little hesitant about travel. YOU will be my inspiration for getting back in the saddle! The crowds should be very manageable now. I know you will have an amazingly wonderful time and I’m. Wry much looking forward to photos and narration of your experiences. Keep us posted on the whole travel experience. And, have a lovely, lovely time!

  32. Thanks Susan for your fashion trends. I found your tips in Pinterest and use them for packing ideas. I feel a kindred spirit with you. I am 68 and just lost 50 lbs this year so the fashion ideas really help me.
    Before pandemic, we would go to Paris every odd number year for the Air Show (my husband works in Aviation). Finally we are planning to go again! I am such a Francophile that all my friends want to go with me!
    Anyway. I love your posts! I love the lavender & pink ideas and just purchased the lavender Tee.

  33. We’ve heard a lot about algorithms deciding the fashion of the future. It’s already here. Algorithms seem to be deciding hem lengths, too, not realizing that some of us who don’t like cropped and ankle pants were ordering the tall inseam in order to get regular-length pants. In other words, we bought our usual inseam length, no matter if the pants were supposed to be cropped or ankle length.

    I think a lot of us were doing this. Now a popular manufacturer that uses algorithms has changed its sizing. Petite inseam is 30″, regular is 32″ and tall is 36″. Hemming pants will become an added expense for those of us who never had this problem before. Petites especially won’t be able to find off-the-rack clothing if this continues. Some styles like flared pants do not look right when shortened.

    One thing an algorithm can’t do is shop like a person who knows what they want, and works around awkward inseams by shopping the inseam length, whatever it is called. Savvy shopping has backfired on us, because the algorithm has decided we all have long legs, and that’s what it’s going to give us.

  34. Love your blog — thank you! Trying to picture myself in some of your outfits and wondering how tall you are. Do you mind sharing?