Casual outfit with breezy summer separates - une femme d'un certain âge

A Cool & Covered Summer Look

Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age wears a striped J.Jill top, Eileen Fisher linen pants, a straw hat, and leopard sandals.

If I can be perfectly honest here, I’ve never been one of those people who is comfortable baring a lot of skin, even in the heat. Unless I’m by the pool or at the beach. (And often, a lightweight layer between the sun’s rays and my skin actually feels cooler.)

Earrings | Top | Necklace | Bracelet | Pants (Misses / Petite / Plus) | Sandals

When so much of what’s on offer during the warmer months consists of tank tops, shorts and sleeveless dresses, summer style can be particularly challenging.

Which is one of the reasons I love breezy linen and cotton pieces. I picked up these linen lantern pants earlier this year. I’m wearing the Petite Small.

The top is new, made from a lovely gauzy cotton knit fabric. It’s available in Misses and Plus sizes. It’s a bit long on me so I’ve done a half-tuck in the front. It runs a little large, I think; I’m wearing the XS. (I’ll grant that this might still be too warm for those of you dealing with high heat and humidity, but in our relatively dry climate, it’s perfect.)

Susan B. wears a striped top, straw hat and gold jewelry. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

A hat that breathes and keeps the sun off can also help you stay cooler. Finding hats has also been a challenge for me, as I have a very small head. So I was really happy to discover recently that Wallaroo Hats offers a Petite collection! I’m wearing the Petite Catalina.

Please note: some shady websites have been stealing and re-posting my content as their own, without my permission. If you are not reading this at, please click through to read where originally posted.

And when it’s very warm, I like to keep my jewelry light and minimal. This graceful brushed gold bracelet was kindly gifted from Dean Davison jewelry. They have generously offered my readers 25% off with code SUSAN25. If you love simple, elegant, and bold jewelry, do go take a look.

Susan B. wears a striped top, linen pants, leopard slide sandals, a straw hat and gold jewelry. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

More summer separates with coverage…

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  1. Diane B
    August 10, 2020 / 5:12 am

    I too like to cover my skin in the sun. It is rather hard to find anything but sleeveless in the summer months but as you said, cotton and a light linen are the go to items for me, and not too snug. My skirt lengths have crept lower as well and I find them to be cooler in the heat. You look so chic in your outfit and again, the colours are so flattering.

  2. Karen
    August 10, 2020 / 6:17 am

    I’m so excited that you found a hat company for women with small heads. The struggle is real. I’ve been on the site and see a few that I’m going to purchase. I have a great Coach bucket hat that I purchased in the kids section. My husband thinks it’s a riot and calls me “pea head.”
    Thanks for the reminder of the new season of Endeavor. We love Morris and Thursday.

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      August 10, 2020 / 6:56 am

      Opposite – I have a large head, or at least a large crown. It is equally hard to find women’s hats for large crowns, and men’s hats don’t usually suit me. I’m also more inclined to wear skirts or casual dresses in the summer and my favourite is sleeveless (fine black and grey stripes) but I do wear an open shirt over it when outdoors. You might be suprised about how hot and humid it’s been way up here.

      • Anon
        August 10, 2020 / 7:40 am

        It is very difficult to find women’s hats for large heads, and even more so if you have thick hair.

        • Nancie
          August 10, 2020 / 8:28 am

          for larger head sizes try Scala. They actually come in sizes!

          • Alexis I
            August 10, 2020 / 9:09 am

            I’m a member of the large head/thick hair team – Scala works for me also, I wear one of their fabric hats almost every day. I also have a woven hat from Siggi.
            I love your look today Susan, and the linen. I received my 1st purchase from Eileen Fisher renew and I am delighted with it – a simple linen dress – it’s cool and provides coverage!

          • Jill Lauter
            August 10, 2020 / 11:40 am

            Another big ol’ head here. I used to have thick hair too, but sadly that’s not a problem anymore! When I play tennis, I wear a men’s visor or hat, which is fine although the colors are boring. But it’s a real challenge to find a pretty straw hat that fits my big head. I was determined to find a packable straw one to take to Europe last summer, since we’d be out walking in the heat so much. I had success with one from Siggi, and later found one I Liked even better at J Crew! They sometimes do have hats in two sizes, S/M and L/XL.

    • Susan
      August 10, 2020 / 10:00 pm

      I have a small head and hats are usually too big.. however, you can buy a sticky foam adhesive band (approx 2″ long) which fits along the seam inside the hat. I put one or two of them in them and they fit perfectly.

  3. Christine Jensen
    August 10, 2020 / 8:07 am

    Petite hats – thank you. Like another commenter I have a “pin head”, even hats with ‘adjustable bands’ don’t really fit.
    Susan, while we’re talking about petite I am often puzzled by your size. I believe you’ve written you’re 5’1″ and a commensurate weight. But often the clothes you wear are not petite in proportion. I think women’s clothing manufactures have forgotten that petite is a proportion, narrow shoulders, shorter arms, torso, rise, and inseam. So few stores have a petite section now, I ask about petites and many salespeople will tell me “oh yes, we have XS, S, 00….” giving me a puzzled look as I wear an 8/10; oh yes, a short inseam does not equal petite. Sometimes you mention you have to “pull up a waistband on pants” as they are too long in the rise for your proportion. The top you feature today is “too long” so you did a front tuck. A good tailor can fix some issues, but often not the too wide shoulders, the too long rise. It’s really frustrating to shop. I’ve virtually given up on some retailers as the petites they do carry seem best suited to early 20s, not corporate business women. Aside from Talbots, JJill, Chicos, Lands End, Eileen Fisher (spendy using term), what are your recommendations for reliably finding petite proportion clothing.

    • Susan Blakey
      August 10, 2020 / 9:51 am

      Hi Christine, that’s a great question that really deserves its own post! I’ll get to work on it.

      • Susan
        August 10, 2020 / 11:53 am

        Unfortunately my problem is the opposite. I often need a Tall sizing due to long legs. Many manufacturers offer petite sizing both in store and online. Tall sizing is much more difficult to find. Do you know of any bloggers that focus on this issue?


        • August 10, 2020 / 1:37 pm

          I’m also another tall Susan. I’ve been very happy buying tall sizes from Land’s End. They carry many styles in tall. I’m thrilled to be able to buy coats with arms long enough! JJill also makes most of their garments in tall.

          • Susan
            August 10, 2020 / 2:00 pm

            Yes, I’ve bought from Lands End before. I wish JJill carried talls in their store like they do petites…..☹️

            Thank you for responding…..

  4. Karen
    August 10, 2020 / 8:43 am

    I am glad my little pinheaded friend found herself such an adorable and comfortable hat! Is your content copyrighted? Your content is so valuable now people are stealing it. Not cool.

    • Susan Blakey
      August 10, 2020 / 10:52 am

      Thanks! Yes, it’s called “content scraping” and seems to be an ongoing scourge with many bloggers. My content is copyrighted, but unfortunately many of these fraudulent websites are based outside the US and it’s often difficult to get them removed.

  5. Linda Simpson
    August 10, 2020 / 9:00 am

    Thank you for the information for petite hats. I always thought it was just me who couldn’t find a hat to fit. After looking at wigs and measuring my head, I found that I have a petite head. Why is that surprising, considering that my body is petite as well. I must now visit that site. Thank you, Susan!

    • Linda Simpson
      August 12, 2020 / 3:01 pm

      Susan, I ordered a gorgeous straw fedora on Monday and received it today. Even hubby loves it! Thank you for providing such great information.

      • Susan Blakey
        August 12, 2020 / 3:03 pm

        Oh, I’m so glad to hear it. Enjoy!

  6. Belinda
    August 10, 2020 / 9:05 am

    I just want too say that since your color makeover I just break out in big smile whenever you post an outfit. I can’t wear “your” colors at all but you look so good it makes me happy. I was honestly thinking of unfollowing you at one point because I was so bored with what you were wearing. Do you remember ages ago trying to choose a coat and you tried a mustard color one and it look so good on you and you went with a black one I believe. I was so disappointed!
    Anyway, just to say, I love your embracing color
    Stay well

    August 10, 2020 / 10:49 am

    What color hat is this? I was just on their site, and I have worn this brand before.

    • Susan Blakey
      August 10, 2020 / 10:50 am

      Hi Lisa, it’s the “Natural” color.

  8. Carolina
    August 10, 2020 / 10:55 am

    I too am in the show less skin camp so I appreciate your posts so much. I hope to attend an outdoor wedding in Sept of 2921. Surely then COVID19 will allow for that! It is a rather casual outdoor wedding and an indoor reception. Any chance you and your blogging buddies could offer some suggestions? Thinking something with midi-skirt and elbow sleeves that is not too much fabric. I’m not opposed to dressyish slack look either. Surely I am not the only one needing suggestions for events like this. In Missouri it is still hot and humid in Sept. The antithesis of your fabulous CA weather. Appreciate any efforts and suggestion you can offer.

    • Carolina
      August 10, 2020 / 10:57 am

      YIKES! 2021 not 2921 – duh

  9. Lee Rosenthall
    August 10, 2020 / 12:53 pm

    I just LOVE this outfit, Susan. The pairings of the colors and textures, the stripe with the leopard, and the combination of modesty and style is just A+. I was sorry to read about your son’s testing positive for Covid-19; I hope he remains asymptomatic and it results in some immunity, at least for awhile. Here’s to your celebrating his birthday together soon!

  10. August 10, 2020 / 2:03 pm

    I agree Susan. I feel it is cooler with a layer of linen or gauzy cotton brushing the skin as well. And I love Walaroo hats!!

  11. Susan
    August 10, 2020 / 10:06 pm

    Susan, you look absolutely lovely in that outfit – the colours and fit are so flattering. I checked them out on the website but was underwhelmed looking at them in the model (like so many clothes). It is only until you see an article of clothing on a live model that it can be appreciated as is definitely the case with you and the linen trousers. I would order the cinnamon pair, but am wary about the difference in sizing between the US and Australia.

  12. Caroline
    August 11, 2020 / 4:55 am

    Glad to see that you are also a fan of Wallaroo hats! I’ve been wearing them almost exclusively for years. I Have a small head also but find that the I’m able to wear the standard styles without a problem, by simply adjusting the hidden drawstring. I’m particularly partial to the Victoria styles as they are extremely light weight and comfortable to wear. If you haven’t tried the Victoria Diva yet, I highly recommend it. It provides fantastic sun protection not only for my face, but also for my neck, décolleté and shoulders. It’s hands down my best sun hat for those times when I find myself exposed directly to the searing rays of the sun. Despite the size of the brim, it is lightweight, very easy to wear, and looks quite elegant.

  13. Jacqueline
    August 11, 2020 / 9:39 am

    Love this post. I kept saying “me too” as I read it. I really like your sunnies too but no mention of them.
    As for the hat, I have a Scala hat that is similar, but I had to try the sticky foam band that one of your readers mentioned in the comments. They worked until they didn’t. Mine just wouldn’t stay in place. I figure the weave of the straw in my hat wasn’t smooth enough to hold the adhesive grip, but they were worth the try. I had found “your hat” on Amazon and had put it on my “list” in navy blue, as a possible purchase.
    Keep on writing and wearing such lovely things, Susan, you are an inspiration!

    • Susan Blakey
      August 11, 2020 / 9:59 am

      Hi Jacqueline, thanks so much! The sunnies were purchased in Paris last year, from one of my favorite eyewear brands, Jimmy Fairly.

  14. Kathryn
    August 11, 2020 / 5:23 pm

    Dear Susan, I thought you would appreciate knowing that Dean Davison, who you mentioned in your post, just gave lovely customer service. Admiring your bangle, I went shopping – but managed to check out without putting in the code. As soon as I let them know, they both refunded the discount and sent me a lovely note. I couldn’t have asked for more. And now I have the pleasure of looking forward to the bangles arriving – since yours looks terrific. Kind regards, Kathryn

    • Susan Blakey
      August 11, 2020 / 5:24 pm

      That’s so nice to hear, Kathryn!

  15. August 12, 2020 / 8:32 am

    It is a very together look. The colour of the trousers repeated in the stripe of rhe sweater. Much nicer than a contrasting pair.
    Normally this would be a good outfit for the Netherlands too, but with the climate change we now have 93 degrees F. Man!!! I am melting. Cancelling appointments as it it too hot to do anything.

  16. BarbaraR
    August 14, 2020 / 9:11 am

    As another member of the small head family I discovered Wallaroo hats many years ago and own several but my favorite style is the Sydney.
    The nice discount on the Dean Davison jewelry was too good to pass up and I treated myself to a couple of necklaces! Something to look forward to during this stressful time. Thank you!

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