Neutral Zone

Some shopping trips you just get lucky. I’d set out last weekend to replace my black pencil skirt, and hit the jackpot on the first try. This season’s Eileen Fisher ponte knit pencil skirt hits all the right notes: simple, knee length, and in a nice substantial fabric that doesn’t wrinkle (even after sitting at my desk all day, as it turns out). And at the same time, I spotted this cardigan which nicely fills the role of a non-black neutral “third piece” to lighten and add interest to my black basics, an item I’ve been searching for for ages. It’s a linen/wool blend which will be wearable 9 months out of the year here, drapes beautifully, and the black and ivory weave satisfies my Need For Tweed.

This was one of those instances where it paid to shop in person rather than online. Had I seen and ordered this sweater online, I would have gone with the Petite version. But when I tried it on in the store, the Sales Associate thought the proportions weren’t quite right, and convinced me to try the corresponding size in Misses. She was right, and the longer length worked better.

pinky ring fleur-de-lis
Yes, you CAN wear a pinky ring without looking like a Mob Boss!

Is this gold vintage fleur-de-lis pinky ring not gorgeous?? It’s from Beladora 2, and one I’ve had my eye on for a while. I was inspired by Belle’s post on BHB modeling several different styles of pinky rings. If you have thick fingers like I do, wearing a smaller piece on the pinky keeps it from looking too diminutive. Again, proportion is everything.

Cardigan: Eileen Fisher, here.
Sweater: J.Crew Tippi, here.
Skirt: Eileen Fisher, here.
Boots: purchased in 2008, similar.
Scarf: Eileen Fisher, similar.
Tights: DKNY, here.
Earrings: Majorica, here.
Pinky Ring: gifted, from Beladora 2. More gorgeous vintage rings here, and here.

The scarf tie above is a slightly sloppy version of one I’ll show you on Monday.

Bon weekend!

Do you wear pinky rings?

Linking up with Patti’s Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style!

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    • January 26, 2013 / 4:27 pm

      FF, thank you! Beladora has so many fantastic pieces.

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:28 pm

      She Wore It Well, thank you! I was very pleased to find both these pieces right off the bat.

  1. January 25, 2013 / 12:57 pm

    Isn’t it grand to find the basics right off the bat! Love your new cardigan, and the ring is just lovely.

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:29 pm

      Patti, yes it is grand, and very serendipitous. Thank you!

  2. January 25, 2013 / 1:10 pm

    Beautiful ring, really unusual and I love the elegance of your whole look.

  3. January 25, 2013 / 1:10 pm

    Beautiful ring, really unusual and I love the elegance of your whole look.

  4. January 25, 2013 / 2:10 pm

    You look wonderful in every way— chic, fresh, easy. I do miss the informed advice from a good salesperson. I live quite far away from such retailers. I’m certain you’ll find the pieces very versatile–a la Janice!

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:31 pm

      Swissy, thanks so much! Janice’s blog and ideas for combining has definitely been an inspiration and influence.

  5. January 25, 2013 / 2:22 pm

    This sweater looks better on you than on the Nordstrom model—a LOT better.

    And no, I have never worn a pinkie ring. Yours is really pretty. I have HUGE hands for a woman and I finally figured out that my rings should be large as well. I used to hide my hands when having my photo taken because of their size. Finally, I realized that while large, my hands are graceful and look good in photos. Why did it take me so long to figure that out? With age can come confidence.

    I love the skirt on you. For some reason the EF skirts have not worked for me. I think losing some weight would help.

    Have a good weekend!

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:37 pm

      Susan, thanks! I think a lot of EF pieces look better when there’s some shape to fill them out. 😉

  6. January 25, 2013 / 2:25 pm

    Love the sweater on you. It’s perfect and looks so cozy.

    Funny that I read this today as I wear my pinky ring. A blue faucet stone in brushed gold from Lia Sophia (a party gift).

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:37 pm

      LaShaune, thank you! Your ring sounds lovely.

  7. January 25, 2013 / 3:34 pm

    Exceptionally figure-flattering that outfit is!

    Yoda also likes the ring and your hair:).

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:44 pm

      LPC, Young Skywalker appreciates your support. 😉

  8. January 25, 2013 / 3:47 pm

    Gorgeous,flattering outfit.

  9. January 25, 2013 / 3:51 pm

    Pseu, you lucky thing to replace a basic without any hassle and find a sought-after item.

    I’m biased toward loving the outfit as a whole as it’s a close sibling to one of my favorites — though your shoes are more modern and my sweater ingredients involve ruffles and cashmere. Gotta love being able to step away from all-black with a “black-lite” topper….When the seasons shift, yours sounds like it will be great with lighter neutrals if you’re so inclined. Enjoy your workhorses!

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:45 pm

      Vix, thank you! Finding this skirt right off definitely felt like hitting the jackpot! And yes, I think this sweater will transition nicely into spring and summer.

  10. January 25, 2013 / 4:50 pm

    Blogger ate my first attempt to tell you how fabulous you look here — a perfect outfit and it really lets that red hair shine!

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:51 pm

      materfamilias, thank you so much! I’ve been wanting to comment on your recent post, will get over there shortly.

  11. January 25, 2013 / 5:44 pm

    You look very pulled together and professional yet fashionable.
    I have never worn a pinky ring, yours has a lovely french flair which suits you and must remind you of your many trips to Paris.

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:53 pm

      hostess, thanks so much! Yes, I’l always a sucker for fleur-de-lis designs, and it does make me think of Paris.

  12. January 25, 2013 / 5:59 pm

    You look great!! I love that skirt and sweater on you. You’re right, proportion is everything!!
    I occasionally wear a pinky ring but only on my left hand, because I’m right handed and otherwise I bang it up writing. Is that a fleur de lys pattern on your ring? Very sharp looking.

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:55 pm

      A Well Styled Life, thank you very much! Yes, it’s a fleur de lys, one of my favorite designs.

  13. January 25, 2013 / 6:36 pm

    What a classy outfit! I love colors but mostly, I’m a neutral kinda gal. This outfit is absolutely perfect! You DO look marvelous in it!!!
    I don’t wear a pinky ring, but yours is really pretty!

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:56 pm

      gracefully50, thanks so much! I love my neutrals too.

  14. January 25, 2013 / 7:50 pm

    Susan, you’re looking so slim! I love the outfit, and the ring. Very smart.

  15. Pam @ over50feeling40
    January 25, 2013 / 11:53 am

    Love it all…the skirt, the boots, the neutrals, the ring! You look great! I also love knits! And each time I see your picture…your hair always makes me smile..the color suits you perfectly!!

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:27 pm

      Thank you, Pam! I’ve been worried I was getting a bit too vivid with the hair color.

  16. Neats
    January 25, 2013 / 8:28 pm

    One of the best things about your blog is that when you show us an outfit, you show where to get the pieces. So tired of magazines that list the source for an item is not (and often never will be) available.

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:59 pm

      Neats, that’s always frustrated me too, when you can’t find an item shown. So glad this is helpful for you!

  17. January 25, 2013 / 8:57 pm

    Just wanted to tell you how great your outfits have evolved over the past few months. You have really honed in on your style. Whatever your doing, keep doing it!! 🙂

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:59 pm

      Marianne, thank you. I’m finally learning not to over-think this style thing. 😉

  18. Chicatanyage
    January 25, 2013 / 1:58 pm

    Very nice outfit. You can play around with the individual pieces.

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:30 pm

      Chickatanyage, thank you, and yes! That’s the beauty of simple pieces like these.

  19. Kathy
    January 25, 2013 / 2:10 pm

    Great outfit and I love the neutral scarf with it, rather than one with a “pop” of color. Keeps it looking minimal, yet interesting and shows off all the different textures well. Beautiful pink ring, and yes, I do wear one. It’s a signet ring I’ve had for years – almost never take it off.

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:32 pm

      Kathy, thank you! I do enjoy playing with texture as well as color/patterns.

  20. Cornelia
    January 25, 2013 / 2:18 pm

    Beautiful outfit. And no pinky ring ever. My hands are not my most attractive feature, and I will almost always only wear my gold wedding band, even leaving the diamond behind (to protect all those beautiful EF knits). 🙂

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:33 pm

      Cornelia, thanks! Do you like to wear earrings or other jewelry rather than rings?

  21. Val Sparkle
    January 25, 2013 / 3:30 pm

    I love all these things – the classic skirt, the cardigan that hangs so nicely (love the rounded hem), and that adorable pinky ring!

  22. sisty
    January 25, 2013 / 3:57 pm

    Wow! My heart skipped a beat when I saw you in this outfit, honest! One of your best looks ever. The whole thing just works — column of color from head to toe, interesting shape and color on the sweater, and I agree with Kathy that the neutral scarf elevates the whole look. I’m not a fan of ankle boots generally, but these look great… and so do your legs. There’s nothing that says “polished” like a knee length slim skirt, is there?

    I don’t wear pinky rings because for some irrational reason I feel like they will fall off. But yours is adorable!

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:47 pm

      sisty, thank you so much! There aren’t many ankle boots I’d wear with a skirt, but because these have a lower vamp in front and some curve rather than being straight across, it helps.

  23. April
    January 25, 2013 / 4:15 pm

    Gray really suits your color. That red hair…wow! And you can’t go wrong with anything from Eileen Fisher, one of my favorite sources for classic clothes. I usually go for a slightly larger size, too, as I like the extra comfort. Anything clingy just makes me squirm.

    As for pinky rings…never wore them until arthritis made my rings too small to fit on any other finger! lol


    • January 26, 2013 / 4:50 pm

      April, thank you! I do love grey as it’s such a versatile neutral. I don’t like clingy, but I do have to be careful not to overdo the volume. So sorry to hear about your arthritis.

  24. mette
    January 25, 2013 / 5:09 pm

    Well done. However, I think the outfit would work without the scarf too – or maybe the scarf could be worn in an even more effortless way?

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:52 pm

      mette, thank you! Yes, I could probably do a softer scarf. I tied this way on that particular day to keep my neck warm. Everyone around me has been getting sick, and I’ve come to believe that keeping my neck from getting chilled keeps me from getting sick as often.

  25. Debbi@SheAccessorizesWell
    January 25, 2013 / 6:16 pm

    You look so chic and comfortable in this outfit. It suits you so well. Pretty pinky ring! I have been looking for one for quite a while. I got a wild hair and decided I wanted one but so far I haven’t come across the right one.

    • January 26, 2013 / 4:56 pm

      Debbi, thank you! Yes, it’s a very comfortable outfit, which is imperative for me. Hope you find that perfect ring.

  26. Linda C.
    January 26, 2013 / 2:43 am

    I think this is one of the best outfits so far! You look great. This is one that I am copying.
    p.s. I like the look of the smaller scarf on you as well.
    p.p.s. Thank you for all the tips!

    • January 26, 2013 / 5:01 pm

      Linda C., thank you very much! And you’re welcome.

  27. nina
    January 25, 2013 / 7:58 pm

    You look terrific!! your hair is getting sbit longer. Flattering. Like it the length it is now.. frames your face… Love the pinky ring! how feminine… and your coordinates are right along my alley… love the sweater and scarf look… have a great week-end.


    • January 26, 2013 / 4:58 pm

      Cécile, thanks so much! I’m letting it grow out a little bit and just tweaking with the shape/texture.

  28. Amber of Butane Anvil
    January 25, 2013 / 11:50 pm

    So elegant! Everything is just lovely on you, Susan. You’re absolutely right that for certain items, buying in-person is where it’s at.

    • January 26, 2013 / 5:01 pm

      Amber, thanks so much! I wish I had more time to shop in person, but it’s probably better for my wallet that I don’t!

  29. josep-maria badia
    January 26, 2013 / 10:15 am

    Beautiful outfit, elegant and simple. Nice color combination.

    • January 26, 2013 / 5:02 pm

      josep-maria badia, thanks so much!

  30. January 26, 2013 / 6:37 pm

    I find this outfit amazingly lovely – when I saw it, I not only found it and you beautiful, I felt a quick sense of “Wish I looked like that!” (minus any negative self-deprecation, just honest envy). And, oddly, I was reminded of your wonderful photo on the motorcycle, which I also loved.

    The last time I wore a pinky ring, it was at my wedding – a childhood ring of my mother’s that seemed right. Perhaps I’ll wear it again today.

    • January 27, 2013 / 5:38 pm

      Marsha, you’re too kind, thank you so much!

  31. Marla Robinson
    January 26, 2013 / 2:26 pm

    I love your skirt and I love your neutrals. This is the look I wear also. It is so elegant, simple, and classy.

    • January 26, 2013 / 5:03 pm

      Marla, thank you! I do think we have very similar tastes.

  32. Viktoria
    January 26, 2013 / 2:40 pm

    That is French chic to the letter. The ring is so perfect for you.

  33. playingwithscarves
    January 27, 2013 / 3:15 am

    Simple and chic outfit! I love our scarf!
    Anne Touraine (Playing with Scarves)

  34. playingwithscarves
    January 27, 2013 / 3:16 am

    * Oops sorry.. YOUR scarf

  35. January 27, 2013 / 5:54 pm

    Very cool; you are giving us a great lesson in proportion. Love the ring, and your hair, as so many have said, is delish.

  36. January 27, 2013 / 11:32 pm

    Your outfit is classic chic, and the ring is so cute! I agree, proportions are very important!

    • January 28, 2013 / 1:36 am

      fourseasonsonewardrobe, thank you very much!

  37. California Girl
    January 27, 2013 / 3:48 pm

    This is a great look on you.

  38. January 28, 2013 / 4:17 am

    I wear my Memento Mori ring as a pinky ring every day!

    • January 31, 2013 / 3:13 pm

      Wendy B, that’s a very cool ring!

  39. January 28, 2013 / 4:36 am

    Love your hair! Everything about this outfit flows; the drape of the sweater and the addition of the scarf adds to your overall elegance. Your pinky ring is quite the find.

  40. January 28, 2013 / 4:51 pm

    Have i mentioned your red pixie is my fave of all your hairstyles? Fab in every way.

  41. January 29, 2013 / 5:27 pm

    Really, that skirt hits you just at the perfect length. You should always show off your gorgeous pins. Very pretty pinkie ring … you are so right. Your hands look so youthful. Might be that your fingers still look young because of the padding so many of us have lost. They don’t look fat to me. Just shapely.

    • January 31, 2013 / 3:17 pm

      Jan, thank you. It helps to be a hand lotion junkie too… 😉

  42. Anonymous
    January 31, 2013 / 3:02 am

    This outfit is great, but I have to say (and I know you love them) I think those boots are soooooo unflattering and make your legs and ankles look short and think.

    • January 31, 2013 / 3:23 pm

      Anonymous, thank you. I agree that the boots may not be the most ankle-flattering choice. But my regular pumps looked too diminutive and “da-dame” with this ensemble, and I felt I needed some “heft” to balance out the volume on top.

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