About Susan Blakey. of une femme d'un certain age

About

Susan B wears a red striped tee and layered gold French Kande necklaces.

Welcome to une femme d’un certain âge!

My name is Susan Blakey, and I’m 64, married, and a mother to a special-needs young adult son. I’m a former administrative executive who loves and writes about style, Paris, coffee, leopard print, history, travel, cute and comfortable shoes, and the perfect shade of red lipstick.

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!

69 Comments

  1. Marylou Cate
    May 27, 2015 / 12:11 pm

    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. Susan Gosman
    June 10, 2015 / 11:17 pm

    I would like to know where your little scarf tutorial went.

  3. October 31, 2016 / 6:09 am

    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.

    • Erika
      March 10, 2017 / 2:25 pm

      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?

      • Susan B
        March 10, 2017 / 3:04 pm

        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!

    • Kirsten
      September 16, 2020 / 8:16 am

      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!

  4. Brenda N
    October 31, 2016 / 2:33 pm

    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! 🙂

  5. Anne
    November 3, 2016 / 7:55 am

    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.

    • Susan B
      November 3, 2016 / 8:03 am

      Hi Anne, thanks so much and welcome!

  6. Rita Blanks
    November 11, 2016 / 9:32 pm

    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.

    • Susan B
      November 12, 2016 / 8:21 am

      Hi Rita, thanks so much and welcome! An Amazon river cruise sounds so exciting, enjoy!

  7. December 2, 2016 / 4:07 pm

    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.

    • Susan B
      December 2, 2016 / 4:17 pm

      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.

      • December 2, 2016 / 7:29 pm

        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).

        • Bernadette Connolly
          May 29, 2018 / 5:15 am

          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.

  8. Cindy La Ferle
    January 28, 2017 / 2:40 pm

    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!

    • Susan B
      January 28, 2017 / 2:42 pm

      Hi Cindy, welcome and thank you for subscribing!

      • February 6, 2017 / 4:54 pm

        Thanks so much for your work here — beautiful and inspiring for all of us!

  9. February 6, 2017 / 4:53 pm

    Thanks for providing a link to other sites like yours. This gives me an idea for a future newspaper column for my 50-plus readership. Cheers!

  10. Galina
    March 12, 2017 / 9:03 am

    I like your blog and your style, its simple and beauty. My name is Galina and I live is Moscow.)

    • Susan B
      March 12, 2017 / 9:23 am

      Hi Galina, thank you and welcome!

  11. Glenda
    March 26, 2017 / 1:27 pm

    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

    • Susan B
      March 26, 2017 / 1:34 pm

      Hi Glenda, you might want to check out some of my prior travel wardrobes here for ideas: TRAVEL WARDROBES The same kinds of items can often work for both spring and fall.

  12. April 28, 2017 / 12:58 pm

    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.

    • Susan B
      April 28, 2017 / 9:09 pm

      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!

  13. Sandi Mcdougall
    June 5, 2017 / 1:19 pm

    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.

  14. Margo
    September 17, 2017 / 7:28 pm

    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;

    • Susan B
      September 19, 2017 / 6:23 pm

      Hi Margo, welcome!

  15. Elizabeth
    September 25, 2017 / 12:32 pm

    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!

    • Susan B
      September 25, 2017 / 12:36 pm

      Hi Elizabeth, Thanks! I’m 5’1″ too. 🙂

  16. January 12, 2018 / 12:17 pm

    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!

    xx

    Riss

  17. LISA DAVENPORT
    February 5, 2018 / 4:11 am

    Did I miss a response to my question about walking shoes?? I am just wondering?

    Thanks,
    Lisa

    • Susan B
      February 5, 2018 / 5:30 am

      Hi Lisa, can you tell me where you originally posted the question?

  18. February 21, 2018 / 9:18 am

    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!

    • Susan B
      February 21, 2018 / 9:25 am

      Welcome, and thanks very much, Linda!

  19. Kathy Hendrickson
    February 23, 2018 / 6:15 am

    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 ☺️)

  20. Roberta
    May 8, 2018 / 5:11 am

    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!
    R

  21. penny luckenbaugh
    September 17, 2018 / 3:43 pm

    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?

    • Susan B
      September 17, 2018 / 5:27 pm

      Hi Penny, I’ve never tried Skechers, but any sneaker-type shoe with enough padding in the sole should work.

  22. Melanie D Millar
    September 24, 2018 / 7:02 am

    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!

    • Susan B
      September 24, 2018 / 7:10 am

      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.

  23. Allyson
    January 14, 2019 / 7:11 am

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

    • Susan B
      January 14, 2019 / 7:13 am

      Thanks, Allyson!

  24. Linda O’Hare
    July 15, 2019 / 5:57 am

    Are you still doing your blog. I stopped getting it

    • Susan B
      July 15, 2019 / 6:20 am

      Yes indeed I am. I’m not sure how you were receiving before, but you can subscribe here: http://eepurl.com/6Vz7r

  25. Phyllis Finnemore
    August 10, 2019 / 5:59 am

    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.

    • Susan B
      Author
      August 10, 2019 / 6:36 am

      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.

  26. Louise
    November 5, 2019 / 4:50 pm

    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.
    Sincerely,
    Louise

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      November 5, 2019 / 4:54 pm

      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!!!

      • Louise
        November 5, 2019 / 5:02 pm

        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 !

  27. Cassandra F.
    April 13, 2020 / 10:28 am

    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!

  28. Brechon, Melissa
    July 11, 2020 / 6:41 am

    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? .

  29. Jes
    July 30, 2020 / 7:58 am

    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!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      July 30, 2020 / 9:31 am

      Welcome, and thank you!

  30. Lodell
    August 17, 2020 / 12:17 pm

    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.

  31. Connie LIchtenberger
    August 29, 2020 / 8:34 am

    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

  32. Susan
    September 2, 2020 / 4:42 am

    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.

  33. Susan Blakey
    September 26, 2020 / 7:48 am

    Hi Susan,

    We have something in common! I enjoyed reading about you.

    Susan Blakey
    Dallas, TX

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      September 26, 2020 / 12:13 pm

      Well hello, Susan! Thanks for stopping by!

  34. Heidi Smyksy
    March 5, 2021 / 8:10 pm

    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

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 6, 2021 / 8:07 am

      Thanks very much, Heidi, for your kind words! I’m glad you find it helpful.

  35. Janet
    July 7, 2021 / 1:47 pm

    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!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      July 7, 2021 / 2:40 pm

      Hi Janet, and welcome! I’m so glad you’re here, and hope you find it helpful!

  36. Ali
    August 15, 2021 / 1:02 am

    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

  37. Kate Gale
    October 6, 2021 / 3:53 pm

    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!

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