Thursday Miscellany: Hair, Getting Style Help & More

Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age with a pixie cut.

I debated on whether to post a photo of my recent hair update, as the color isn’t quite where I want it to be. Yet. (Though I’m happy with the shorter cut.) But hey, sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned, and that’s a part of our style journey too.

Earrings (similar) | Tee | Necklace

Back when I was growing it out, we’d gone from a single process color to a slightly darker base with highlights to give it a bit more dimension and volume. This time around I wanted to warm up the base color, but the existing cooler tones were tenacious. It took two applications of color to get it warmed up just this much. This color will get lighter and softer over the next week or so, and then in a few weeks we’ll be able to brighten it up a bit more, either with highlights or going a level lighter. I’m aiming for a light golden-honey shade.

To head off the inevitable 😉question of why I don’t “ditch the dye” and just go grey, the answer is that I’m not yet grey. I have some grey at the temples, but otherwise my natural (dark ashy blonde) color is still predominant. It always felt drab to me, so I started coloring my hair in my 20’s, long before any grey hairs made an appearance. I still consider professional hair color a worthwhile investment of both time and money. YMMV.

Personal Style: DIY?

Susan B. draped in warm colors during color analysis. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I’ve received some feedback (both here and on other social media) in response to my color and style analysis posts to the effect of:

  • Most women already know what their best colors and styles are
  • I couldn’t limit myself to just a few colors or styles
  • You don’t need strangers to tell you what looks good, just look in the mirror

Let me first say this: if you have always had a good sense of what styles and colors work for you, that’s awesome! Brava!! 👏 I’ve always been envious of those women who seem to have an innate and strong sense of personal style.

But not all of us have that aptitude, or at least the confidence in it. I was taught from an early age to view my body shape as “wrong” and something to be hidden or camouflaged. It warped how I see myself, and my ability to judge whether something looks “good” or not. A fresh pair (or three) of (expert) eyes helped me to see beyond the often conflicting “rules for figure flattery.” And that I can wear certain cuts and details I’d always believed were “off limits” for me.

And while some may see rigidity in working from a specific color palette or style type framework, I’m finding it freeing. We all learn and process information differently. I have an analytical brain that loves to understand why something works or doesn’t. I can use that as a springboard to create and hone my personal style.

And yes, I still believe in the concept of “tools, not rules.” Use what works for you, leave what doesn’t. And keep in mind that someone else’s process may differ from your own. 😉

Dans le jardin

Polka dot gardening gloves and small pruning shears.

I set out this week to prune/deadhead my lavender bushes. They’ve really taken off in the front yard especially. Using the pruning shears above, I was able to finish two of the 10 bushes in about an hour. That was about all I could manage before my hand and wrist got sore. I don’t want to give myself carpal tunnel, so am not going to push it. So this is going to take a while. For those of you who are gardeners…how do you prune your lavender (or other sturdy bushes), and are there other more effective tools you’d recommend?

Stay in touch.

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  1. Linda S
    July 25, 2019 / 11:59 am

    This new look so becomes you. And this from someone who thought your best color was forest green (jacket and scarf on a winter Paris trip). A vicarious adventure in color and style.

  2. Marcy
    July 25, 2019 / 12:01 pm

    Your new cut and color look FABULOUS on you! With the new “do”, the glasses, and the aqua top , your whole “Golden Gamine” look has come alive! Bah to the nay-sayers! If others don’t feel the need for something like Red Leopard, then by all means they should skip it, but your investment seems to have been very worthwhile for you. You have always looked great, but now you are simply glowing!

    You’ve inspired me to want to figure out my style personality. I know my colors- I’m a textbook Winter, but my style is kind of schizophrenic, and I struggle to be current but still look age-appropriate now that I’m in my 60s. If I find myself in London, I may just look up Red Leopard…

    As far as lavender, I wish I could get it to grow well enough to ever need pruning. 🙁

  3. Norma
    July 25, 2019 / 12:52 pm

    Lowe ( not big box Lowe’s) shears and pruners are made in Germany. We have orchards and use their products. I also use their pruners in my garden. We get them at our local farm supply. You can select for the type of pruning and also the size of your hand. While we have only had them for a year, they make the job much more enjoyable. Search for

  4. Denise
    July 25, 2019 / 1:01 pm

    The cut, color and glasses are perfection!! You look fab!

  5. Kelly
    July 25, 2019 / 1:25 pm

    I remember using Fanci-Full Mousse in Golden Spell years ago to warm up a too ashy highlight job. It’s temporary and washes out when you shampoo, but I’d probably run it by your stylist to be sure it’s ok to use with your color.

  6. Lily
    July 25, 2019 / 1:31 pm

    I self analyzed as a light summer. In my case it was obvious, very light and ash-y. A Google search for color swatch fans found fans of 35 colors for around $26. I plan to hit Goodwill for some tops in the recommended colors. Total cost for my experiment, around $200. Light summers get awful Disney princess colors. I am trying to keep an open mind.

  7. Pink Azalea
    July 25, 2019 / 2:24 pm

    I’ve always thought you had good taste and a good sense of style. Thanks for sharing the changes you are making. New information about color and style enables us to refine what we already know, adding more tools to help in making style decisions. I’ve learned so much from you – thanks!

  8. Rebecca
    July 25, 2019 / 3:17 pm

    The new haircut and all makes you look so much younger and fresh! Love the change.

  9. Eileen
    July 25, 2019 / 6:05 pm

    WOW, you look great! I am excited to see your journey! I love color analysis, always have, and I also feel it’s liberating. If there is a list of consultants coming , bring it on. I have looked on the AICI site, are there any other sites to investigate? Big thanks, this is fun!

  10. Cheryl
    July 30, 2019 / 7:44 am

    The way we cut down our large decorative grasses might work for your lavender. The key is to gather it all by tying it as a bunch then cutting it using electric hedge shears (aka a “hedgehog”). It is easiest done with two people. One to hold the bundle while the other cuts it. We are able to trim our grasses (all six) in about an hour. Tidying up is easy as once cut, it is already in a neat bundle.

  11. Ellen
    July 30, 2019 / 8:03 am

    I had color analysis done back in the 80’s and it was a game changer. Some of it was pretty stupid (get rid of all your gold jewelry…) but it changed the way I shopped and really helped me pinpoint what colors were the most flattering. I don’t look at it as a rigid thing. I adore white shirts and my analysis said to avoid white and black near my face but I find I can make white “just flattering enough”. Black I do sometimes and find the right scarf or jewelry can make it work. Kind of funny, sliver toned jewelry was what I was always attracted to and that IS what I most wear. Just couldn’t part with my 14K gold pieces!

  12. Claudia
    August 2, 2019 / 7:51 am

    HAhaha…. I mixed up reading comments between two posts and the discussion about hair cuts somehow turned into pruning shears and hedge clippers. What’s she doing to her hair NOW???I thought.

    • Susan B
      August 2, 2019 / 8:08 am


  13. Maggie
    June 28, 2020 / 9:20 am

    Tools make the difference and gloves save your hands. Buy the best quality garden pruner you can find. Depending on your hand size the Felco 2 for most people; the Felco 6 for smaller hands tested/rated by These will last for years and can be found in multiple sites. Don’t buy a cheaper version; that’s why your hand will hurt. They don’t cut as cleanly, easily nor consistently. Makes all the difference. Also a company run by women makes quality gloves based on women’s hands Women’s Work. Those are the only gardening gloves I order for myself and my husband. He doesn’t start outdoor work without them.

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