lighten up !

faux fur coat, Gucci Marmont pumps

One of my wardrobe goals for 2016 is to Lighten Up, both in color and attitude. Adding a few lighter neutrals to my wardrobe last year was a game-changer, and I love the mood lift they provide. I’ve also been wanting to add some lighthearted pieces to express my playful side. This Madewell faux fur jacket actually ticks both of those boxes. It’s on sale too, pretty deeply discounted (with an additional 30% off the sale price, came to $132). I would not have thought to order this from the website to try, as the image there makes it look bulkier and heavier than it actually is. It was a bit of luck that I spotted it during a visit to the store to return a couple of didn’t-work items, and am SO glad I tried it on. The “fur” is really soft too. I’m wearing an XS, just for reference, and I’ve rolled up the sleeves.

Brahmin bag, Michael Kors watch

A cream-colored bag is also a nice way to lighten up an outfit of darker neutrals. Used to be we saved our light-colored bags for Spring and Summer, but those old rules no longer apply. This one’s from Brahmin (Duxbury Satchel in “Cava”) and I continue to be impressed with the quality of these bags! There’s also a removable shoulder strap. The Chinese Zodiac charm was purchased during our visit to Hong Kong in 2014, and includes the animals that are supposed to be most auspicious for my Rooster sign. The Michael Kors watch was purchased last year (love the blue face on this one, and I get compliments every time I wear it). Spiky bracelet from Stella and Dot.

Gucci Marmont pumps

Ok, so about the shoesLove. At. First. Sight. Funky? You bet. Big honking logo? Well, yes. But it works as a design element. 😉 A bit outside of my usual wheelhouse? Perhaps. It didn’t matter. I was a goner the minute I saw these puppies and tried them on. They are extremely comfortable too. They work for both office and weekend outfits. I have to confess, I couldn’t decide between these and the gold ones, so kept both. You’ll be seeing them soon.

faux fur coat 7
Note to self: remove Fitbit before photos!

Other items:

earrings | scarf (years old from Ann Taylor, similar) | top (similar) | jeans

What are your wardrobe goals for the year? Do you mix lighter colored accessories with your darker neutrals?


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  1. Hi Susan,

    This looks great on you! I also stepped outside my comfort zone this year and am so glad I did. I started doing red gloves and scarf and also a bright fuchsia. (of course matching lipstick) I couldn’t do these colors as nicely before with brown/reddish hair, but now that my sexy silver has grown out (grey…) These colors work on me, and the bright color has brightened my moods. I also started doing a lot of dresses/skirts, this came after my trip to Spain and loosing a couple of kilos, I feel more feminine and I guess it shows on the outside, as I get more compliments.
    Is nice to not fit into everyone’s idea of what you should wear, but start really wearing what please you. Your style is always nice, but, yep, this definitely shows a fun side to you, I like it.

    1. Melissa, thank you! I love bright lipstick on women with silver hair, think it’s such a vibrant look and I’ll bet you rock it.

      1. Thanks Susan, we have a work party Friday night, is the party of the year, in a castle with food, drinks, DJ, our entire company Europeans and Americans get together (gets a bit crazy….) It is a blast, I plan on dancing the night away as always. I even found a silver dress to go with the silver fox:) hahaha. I emphasize the color rather than hide it and try to make it “my look.”
        I say go with what ya got and make it the best you can.

  2. You look very, very glam! I love that vintage-inspired, old Hollywood-influenced confidence and attention to detail. Shoes, scarf and bracelet show flair and fun. And creams and ivories are so becoming on you…

    Being quite fair myself, I do rely on light accessories and really, try to keep everything near my face– tops, jackets, jewelry, scarves– at the lighter and softer end of the spectrum. Anything too dark starts to drain my complexion…

    To be completely harmonious, I should probably shun deep shades altogether. At least according to my favorite color expert, David Zyla. However, like most women, I find that at least the occasional dark bottom– i.e. navy, charcoal, or even black, can be camouflaging and slimming. Therefore I do keep them around and try to lighten up everything else!

    1. nell, thank you! I’m with you on the dark bottoms; not only are they more flattering but also more practical!

  3. You are the boss!! Did you remove the logo dangle thing on the bag and replace it with the charm? Or is it still on the other side of the bag…the shoes – swoon!

  4. That heel shape is good for women who walk around.
    It seems like it styles well with pants that either flare to cover it or end above the ankle.

    1. Ginger R, yes these are very comfortable and easy to walk in. Though you’re probably correct about the pants lengths, I’m loathe to cover these shoes up… 😉

  5. Adore the shoes. Will live vicariously through you – my husband just retired so for now, won’t be shopping much, at least for a while. Style goals this year will be to add color to my neutrals. I am fair with silver/white hair so I am thinking colors in the mid-range to add some contrast.

    1. Pink azalea, thanks! I’ve been seeing some very pretty colors coming up for Spring, so you should have some good options.

    2. Hi Pink azalea,

      My Aunt was the one I took inspiration from, while she is much older than us (85) when she came to visit me in Europe her silver\white hair was my inspiration to stop coloring. (it was a nightmare 2 years almost to get rid of the color) but I now have a silver stripe in the front, really cool looking. I learned by seeing when she wears reds and pinks how beautiful the color looks next to her hair. As soon as my new color came in I went out and bought a beautiful dark pink scarf and this winter I got a red one. I have had so many compliments since.
      When I had my natural brown/red hair I loved it but kept my clothing palette neutral, I felt the hair color was enough accessory.
      I still keep the basics/background in black blue or grey but my accessory scarf is always a fun color or a statement necklace.

  6. I can see a tad bit of Melanie’s style influencing you here : ) Fuzzy coat? Check. Funky scarf? Check. Rock start attitude and razor sharp wit? I’ll assume you’ve got it.

    I like that you are expressing your playful side.


    1. Suzanne, thanks so much and you would not be wrong re: Melanie. I love the wit and imagination she brings to her outfits and posts especially.

  7. I ordered an on sale off white bag from Kate Spade thinking I would save it for summer. When it arrived I realized it was just the right “winter white” and has been my one bag ever since. It does exactly what you say-“lighten up” the all black outfits and 200% polish up the off white and cream sweaters I pop on with jeans. Totally unexpectedly happy results!

  8. The Madewell coat is much more in my Price Points league than the Gucci loafers, but it all looks like a fun change for you — interesting that you managed all this in neutrals — no need to bring in colour, which might once have been the recourse…

    1. Frances, thanks! I tried adding bright colored pieces in the past but always found them hard to style without a lot of effort. Scarves are a much easier way for me to incorporate color.

  9. You look really relaxed and happy in this gorgeous outfit. I really love the coat. My college-age daughter has one very similar, and it is great when a trendy piece works for different ages.

  10. Wow! You look stunning! I always, always think you look very good, but rarely do your outfits surprise as this one does in such a glamorous way. And your bangs are getting slightly longer, is that right? The length looks perfect, really frames your face. Thanks for pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone; it inspires me to do the same. You’re definitely one of my style icons. 🙂

    1. SoSuSam, thanks so much! Yes, the bangs have grown out a little since my last cut. I’ll probably keep them about this length.

  11. I am between sizes on the Gucci loafers. Do you recommend sizing up or down? I don’t want to walk out of my too big shoes; nor do I want to be crammed in to too tight shoes!

  12. As another rooster, this coat totally appeals! It’s making me remember that I still have in my closet a big faux fur coat that my mother bought around the time you and I were born in the 50s. She passed it on to me when I lived in Minneapolis for 10 years. It’s never cold enough in southern AZ to wear, but I may need to get it out for an upcoming trip to Ann Arbor in late March. I’ve been trying to justify getting a new coat for that trip while so much is on sale, but now that I remember the cool vintage one in my closet, I can’t really get another one.

    I love all your lightening up!

    1. Linda B., thanks! Some of those vintage “faux’s” were really high quality, and yours sounds like one of those, and I’ll bet it’s warm too! This one’s just right for the chilly-not-frigid weather we’ve been having in LA.

  13. Oh, to be able to wear shoes (like this) during the winter. The footwear challenge of living in a winter climate where snow or dirty slush covers the streets and parking lots for or 4 to 5 months is a big one. Since I began working at home I find I’m either wearing boots (leather tall or short, rubber, cold-weather) or I’m barefoot in sandals, sneakers or flats. I’ve pretty much quit buying shoes to wear in the spring or fall.

    As for fashion goals, I, too, am adding more light colours, mostly shades of grey, as Eileen Fisher’s bone-coloured silk tanks and tops are not harmonious with my white/silver hair. I’ve had to search out true white in other lines. I have recently added several pieces in midnight blue as an alternative to the ever-present black, which I’ll wear with lot of white in the summer. I use scarves to add colour, pattern and texture.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how you express your playful side in the coming months.

    1. Laura, yes I may complain about LA sometimes, but can’t grouse too much about our mild winters! Try the EF color “smoke,” which is a very nice soft grey. Midnight is another fabulous and almost universally flattering color.

  14. Susan, those shoes, that coat, the handbag…OH MY! Love everything about your outfit. I’m tempted to try on those Gucci shoes!

  15. Love the jacket. Am tempted to but it, it’s in sale but not returnable. Would you share you size or measurements, I know that’s pretty personal but I don’t know what size to order. You look pretty petite (and fab.) I am 5’7″ med. Anthro and Jcrew and size 6-8 in shirts. Thanks for any info.

  16. You look like an ANGEL!!! Love the “lights” with your hair. Ordering the coat. And the Brahmin. I love my Duxbury bags. They wear like iron and are not that expensive. Can’t wait for my gold Marmonts to arrive. K

    1. Karen, thanks! I think you’ll love the coat. You were the one who put Brahmin bags on my radar and for that, thank you!

  17. So. much. fun. I love this. Bright, light, bouncy. The white faux fur is dreamy and playful at the same time. Throw in some animal print and huge honking logos, heh, you’ve got it made. I love the shoes and look forward to seeing your gold ones. I bet your purse would whap wonderfully should the occasion arise.

    1. Melanie, thank you! All of your faux fur coat subliminal messages have finally taken hold. Yes, this purse is well engineered for optimum whappage. 😀

  18. OK– I am officially jealous. Cute Gucci loafers, feminine and comfy and GUCCI. I don’t go for heavy logo items either, however, I think the GG really makes these look darling. Gold?? I can’t wait to see them. PS- love the white fur jacket… Micky Drexler still had it going on!

  19. I just discovered Brahmin bags last year and I love them. They are so well made, have great pockets, and I love the key clip! My keys are never lost in the bottom of my bag. I now have two satchels and one cross body bag. I want more…lol.

  20. Oh I adore your shoes and your coat looks so cosy and warm. I know what you mean about the Fitbit lol. It’s easy to forget you’ve got it on, isn’t it. 🙂

  21. My wardrobe goal is to wear everything in the ‘maybe’ pile of the great closet clean out before I decide whether or not to keep it.

  22. I just saw the price of the shoes. I agree at first glance it’s a shock, but if one wears them 75 times, the CPW is only 10$. They look well made enough that the CPW could be 1$ Or lower after a few years.

  23. I love you in this look; it adds a glow to you. I find your most interesting outfits those that are not just Eileen Fischer. I love Eileen but it can be too expected without a shot of accessories. You are moving in the right direction! I also have been using Brahmin bags this year and really love the quality and large outside pocket for my phone. I hate digging in my purse for a phone.

  24. The ‘animal’ themed pieces are fabulous…one at a time. If the faux fur were on it’s own over a dark top, pants and dark sleek booties the color of the jacket would not wash out a fair complexion and light hair. The leopard scarf is also wonderful as you have shown in other outfits. The light colored bag in a type of ‘skin’ is another item when on it’s own would be wonderful. Three pieces in the same ilk at the same time takes away from each item being something special. Branching out is always fun; not all at once.

    1. Hi Patrish, thanks for the feedback. Usually I’d limit myself to one distinctive “animal” piece, but here I felt that the bag was subtle enough, and the scarf classic enough to not compete with the jacket.

  25. I love the fur combo with the animal print scarf. I inherited a vintage blonde mink and am never sure how to accessorize it. I think I know know- thanks to you,

  26. Always love your style! I got the Via Spiga Faux Cheetah at Nordstrom on sale after Christmas; still available on line. I am wearing it with jeans and leggings. Such a fun change up. Even my sister likes the look, Ha!

  27. OMG I am SICK in love with the shoes. I’ve had my eyes on the gold ones for a while, but my husband bought me some very funky Miu Miu ones, and I can’t really justify both of them…yet! I love this whole outfit, top to bottom (but especially bottom!). You look fabulous. xx

    1. Stylopedia, thank you! That’s how I felt when I saw them! (SICK in love.) Sometimes we just have to give in to the Funky Side. 🙂

  28. UBER cool!!! I love this new, lighter side. It brings such a new meaning to you. Love how the entire look harmonizes with your pixie cut. You did good. Go with it, my dear. It’s you 🙂

  29. very wonderful coat! And …about those Brahmin bags! I knew you would be “hooked” when you bought your first one! They are amazing and the only bag I want to buy! We have a Brahmin Retail store in one of the malls and their sales are fantastic!! Really nice outfit in this post!!