Leaning In To Your Style

Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age wears a black Ruti jacket and metallic boots.

Sometimes an article of clothing or accessory serves to re-focus and clarify my style, almost like a compass needle pointing me in the right direction. (“Oh right, that’s where I wanted to go.”)

Perhaps it’s part of my overall desire to simplify; I’m still in “don’t muck it up” mode. I don’t want too many things going on in an outfit. A lot of competing focal points or detail feels “jangly” and overwhelming.

Earrings | Jacket | Sweater | Bag | Cuff | Pants | Boots (similar)

The Black Jacket With A Dramatic Side

Two pieces that I’m wearing here were style “clarity points” for me last week. One is this black jacket, which I first spotted online, and then tried on in the Ruti boutique. (Sadly, it seems to have sold out online, but here’s another style with a similar look.) It clicked immediately. Yes, it’s another black jacket, but is a not-so-basic basic that’s very different than anything else in my wardrobe at the moment. It brought into focus what I’ve been leaning toward style-wise: simple, wearable pieces with interesting shapes or textures.

Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age wears a black draped jacket, black pants, Hermes collier de chien cuff and metallic boots.

It was cold, windy and raining intermittently when I met up with my photographer last week in Venice (CA) to shoot this outfit, so we didn’t get a lot of angles or details. I re-shot at home under better conditions. Yes, there’s some volume (though it’s getting an assist here from the breeze 💨), but the jacket is soft and drapes nicely. The beauty is in the movement, which I think image at the top of the post shows well.

Back view of black draped Ruti jacket worn by Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age.

Here’s another angle to show the back and sides. I have more outfit ideas for this jacket, and will share in the future.

Simple-But-Not-So-Basic Jackets

While going through my jewelry last week to create “bundles,” I realized that the process felt forced. While I used to enjoy layering a lot of different pieces, what feels good to me now is wearing one or two bolder pieces.

Detail: Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age wears an Hermès Collier de Chien leather cuff.

This Hermès “Collier de Chien” cuff is the other piece that provided direction. I purchased this one second-hand several years ago, and it’s still one of my favorites. This piece really wants to be worn on its own, or with just a pair of simple earrings.

Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age in a black outfit with draped jacket, tan bag and metallic boots.

Those metallic boots are getting a lot of wear! Mine are the Bronze color which has since sold out, but they’re also available in Iron, which is just a bit darker and cooler in tone.

Are there any pieces that have been “clarity points” for you, helping you to focus and refine your style?

Stay in touch.

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23 Comments

  1. February 25, 2019 / 4:13 am

    I think we go through phases of maximalism and minimalism, where a bunch of bracelets feels good at one moment and just one statement cuff feels better at another.
    Same thing with clothes–layering or not; scarves or not.
    It’s good–putting things aside makes them feel new when you’re in the mood for them again.

  2. Pam
    February 25, 2019 / 4:26 am

    Wow, that is gorgeous. Suddenly I need another black jacket!

  3. Jeanne
    February 25, 2019 / 4:49 am

    I agree with taste of France. What spoke to me in this post is your all black outfit. That always feels right to me and so easy to accessorize. Leopard booties, colored bag, statement earrings, beautiful scarves, the list is endless to add to an outfit like yours. Love the jacket and the substitute from soft surroundings. May have to check it out. It’s rayon though and might not travel well. Very nice outfit.

  4. Ainsivalavie
    February 25, 2019 / 5:09 am

    Awww, this is my style! I adore a piece of clothing where the style is in the construction. So interesting! You don’t want jingling strands of gems around your neck with this look the selection of jewelry here is perfect.. You are lucky to live in a climate where a scarf is not needed for warmth or accessory as it would ruin the clean look. The narrow pants really work with this jacket as well. I love it!!!!

  5. Sandy
    February 25, 2019 / 6:07 am

    This whole outfit looks so fabulous on you. I would label it Cali-French Bohemian-Chic! You have just sent a hot dart of inspiration to my frigid endroit in . You look great!

  6. February 25, 2019 / 6:09 am

    On impulse, I bought a spendy pair of Cole Haan black and white ocelot print booties with a perfect square heel that gave me a little height without making them uncomfortable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worn them! And every time I put them on, not only do they make me happy, but they tie my otherwise ordinary outfit together. Purchasing these boots helped me better understand my clarity points and the items in my closet that serve that purpose.

  7. Eileen
    February 25, 2019 / 6:53 am

    I agree, it’s more polished than most soft jackets because of the lining and fabric used, and I love the plain buttons as well, very nice. Most soft jackets are too ethnic ( bone buttons) or too preppy, or the fabric is too inexpensive (fleece/terry) . This piece has a polished casual style, it hits the right note, you’re right.

  8. ann
    February 25, 2019 / 7:22 am

    I love the outfit. Are you letting your hair grow out? I’m curious because I have longer hair, a few years older than you, and I’m always being told to cut it. You usually keep us informed, maybe I missed a post.

    • Susan B
      Author
      February 25, 2019 / 7:44 am

      Hi ann, thanks! Yes, I’m growing my hair out, though it’s probably about as long now as it’s going to get. I’m just letting the bangs/fringe get to the same length as the sides.

  9. Suz
    February 25, 2019 / 7:35 am

    Another great look, just perfect. I find sometimes my black pieces are not the same black and can look a little off. It’s not bad when they are different textures. Do you concern yourself with that?
    And loving your hair, you did not seem to have any awkward growout phase (great 🙂 )
    Thanks for posting.
    Suz from Vancouver

    • Susan B
      Author
      February 25, 2019 / 7:45 am

      Hi Suz, usually I don’t worry about matching my blacks (or navies for that matter), unless it’s an actual suit. Having different fabric/texture between pieces helps.

  10. February 25, 2019 / 7:47 am

    Lovely items. All of them. I always have problems restricting myself. And I do agree that too many focus points is never good. Well not for me.
    Greetje

  11. Jennifer E
    February 25, 2019 / 8:13 am

    Susan,
    Love, love, love your style! I look forward to your daily postings. It has helped me define the look
    I ‘ve been visualizing. Thanks!

  12. BeeeBeee
    February 25, 2019 / 9:00 am

    Yes, last year I did have a moment of clarity that will shape my style for awhile. My mother had given me a printed maxi skirt and as an act of love, I made an effort to style it and wear it. So inadvertently, I ended up creating an outfit with an incredibly flattering silhuette and proportions. That inspired the aquisition of a couple more maxi skirts which I now wear with increasing frequency. I have given up on finding pants that flatter me and don’t expect to acquire any more in the forseeable future.

    Between my skirts and wide-brimmed hats, my style is evolving to the point where it is now 60s chic meets Boho .

  13. ann
    February 25, 2019 / 9:09 am

    I wish you all the strength and conviction in growing out you’re bangs. I have given up caffeine, I have quit smoking, I have stopped drinking wine, I have Kondo-ed my house, I have lost 20 lbs. BUT I CAN NOT GROW OUT MY BANGS!

  14. Sara
    February 25, 2019 / 9:22 am

    Love that asymmetrical look.
    Problems for me with the USA being (understandably) your shopping home, but for Brits following this post, try Jigsaw’s long cardigan jacket, with a single button high neck fastening; it can be worn fastened or open and falls beautifully either way. In several colours, many of which I have….. Gives a slimming silhouette and works with casual or more dressy pieces. Very good quality wool, too, much heavier than the average cardigan; it really holds its shape. Think it is popular as it comes back each season in different colours. Not sure if Jigsaw is available in the US?

    • Susan B
      Author
      February 25, 2019 / 9:35 am

      Hi Sara, thanks for the tip. Yes, Jigsaw is available here. Is this the cardigan you’re referring to? http://bit.ly/2T1WcCT It looks quite nice!

  15. February 25, 2019 / 9:27 am

    Happy to see you’ve discovered Ruti! I love the boutiques, which are welcoming and always interesting, even if that adventurous Israeli aesthetic is sometimes a little too challenging for me. The pieces I *have* bought definitely spark joy. I’ve met the eponymous Ruti (Zisser) on her visits to the Berkeley shop, and she’s a warm, delightful person. It’s a pleasure to support her business.

  16. Arielle
    February 25, 2019 / 12:57 pm

    I love this idea of “clarity points”–it’s a great way of articulating when an outfit just feels like YOU. For myself, I’ve found that I need some kind of original late 70s punk edge to my otherwise often feminine outfits, whether that be a studded leather cuff or biker boots or something leather. I need something tough like this to feel cool and ready (i.e., armored) for the world.

  17. Daniella
    February 25, 2019 / 12:57 pm

    Wearing a Ruti jacket is an improvement for taking you out of the “ordinary and boring”! Good going. As for bronze booties, well, this is up for debate. Not my version. A more stylish one would be a leather choice in a color to match the purse or a simple black. The attention should be on the jacket not the boot!!!! One is more interesting than the other!

  18. Jeanette
    February 25, 2019 / 4:09 pm

    This outfit looks great! It’s polished and sophisticated, yet with an unforced ease about it. That’s the kind of look that I would love to emulate and I’m trying to accomplish it. I’m distracted by the richness of a Boho look but it never works for me. I have to work on staying focused on how I want my clothes to feel on me; sleek, casually sophisticated, and comfortable in color and style. I’m entering a new decade of my life (scary!), and this is how I want to feel personally and to project that feeling about myself to others through my clothing choices.

  19. MaureenC
    February 25, 2019 / 11:25 pm

    Yes my clarity moment came when I tried on a shirt neck tunic/dress (Whistles, not sure if they are in the US), I had always thought that neckline didn’t suit me as I feel top heavy in shirts. Totally different with a longer line, now I have lots and wear them open as a duster coat in cooler weather. It helped me focus my style which is minimalist and a little edgy with pops of bright colour.

  20. Sara
    February 26, 2019 / 6:20 am

    Re the Jigsaw coatigan: it is described as Pique Ring Fastening cardigan on the website, several colours and a new fastener this season. I have it in four colours……

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