Tuesday Miscellany: Hair, Color, and More

Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age wears a pixie cut and red lipstick. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

The Return Of The Pixie…

So yes, I went for “the big chop,” 💇‍♀️ and have no regrets. It was fun and a novelty to have my hair a little longer, but after a while, the annoyance of it being constantly in my face outweighed everything else. (As I mentioned in the “growing out” post a few days ago, I was already experiencing the itch to cut. 😬 )

(Lipstick is NARS velvet matte pencil in “Red Square.”)

Contemplating Color…

I’ll admit, I have a rather fraught relationship with color. Or at least with wearing color (other than accessories or lipstick). I really would like to wear more color, but when I do I often feel overwhelmed by it. Part of it, I think was my upbringing. I was taught to view neutrals as more sophisticated and classic. (While I think there’s truth to that, and that neutrals are a good basis for a wardrobe, a wardrobe with only neutrals can feel drab.) And part of it is my own coloring.

I’ve had my colors “done” before, three times actually since my twenties. And each time, the assessment came out differently. The most recent color analysis (several years ago now), put me in the “Light Summer” range. During the assessment the stylist wouldn’t let me put my glasses on, and I’m very nearsighted, so had to take her word for what effects different colors had on my skin. It’s true that some of the colors in that palette are “good” on me, but many of them feel somehow trite and juvenile when I wear other than in small doses (like scarves).

I’ll never be a person that wears a lot of color, I don’t think. Or who completely eschews black. But I feel my wardrobe is missing a certain joie de vivre, and that maybe getting color “right” is one of the keys to unlock that. I was intrigued when I read about Lisa’s (The Sequinist) experience with a color and style consultation with Red Leopard in London. Since we’ll be visiting for a few days in late June, I decided to book a session with them. I promise a full report!

And Those Pants…

AG Caden twill trousers in sulphur mahogany red. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

In the meantime, I’ve found that color is often easier for me to incorporate with pants or accessories. For many years when we’ve visited France during Spring and Summer months, I’ve spied both men and women wearing pants in a a faded brick red color. It’s a shade I like and can wear, and have often looked for something similar here with no luck. I recently spotted these trousers (I already have the same style in a tan color, wearing here) so ordered this color to try.

An Unwelcome Visitor

Yesterday morning as I was making my coffee, I noticed something that looked like mouse droppings on the counter. I dismissed this as unlikely, wiped off the counter, and started checking email. Not 2 minutes later, a fat grey mouse scurried across the counter and popped up into the console above the stove. Every few minutes it poked its head out, saw me still there, and hid again. I used to keep pet mice when I was young, so I’m not afraid of them, just don’t want them in my kitchen!

I’m not sure where this rodent interloper came from. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a mouse in 22 years of living in this house. I always keep my counters clean, and don’t leave any food open. (In California, we tend to get ant infestations, so removing all sources of food has become habit.)

Le Monsieur hustled over to Home Depot for some catch-and-release traps, but la souris has either made a break for it while I was out of the room, or decided to go to sleep where it was. I haven’t seen or heard it moving since. The traps are set (with some lovely cheese and peanut butter) and I have my fingers crossed that maybe it’ll be looking for a midnight snack and get caught. There are lots of fields nearby where I can release him or her.

What percentage of your wardrobe is neutral vs. color? And do you have any tips to get rid of mice without hurting them?

Stay in touch.

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  1. April 23, 2019 / 1:28 pm

    Your haircut looks AMAZING Susan… as does that lip pencil which I am getting after seeing this photo of you! We really have such similar colouring.

    I can’t wait for you to have your Red Leopard analysis. I’ll be on the edge of my seat, waiting to hear what they have to say and what you think. I know you will love Annie and Manina, and my goodness do they know their stuff!

    I know exactly the sun bleached brick coloured trousers everyone wear that you mention above, they are EXACTLY like the trousers you linked too. I’m quite tempted by those; it seems like a fabulous colour to wear with muted greens and cream.

    We are living parallel lives on the mouse front. We have one which is totally trap savvy, and eats the strangest things in my pantry– it eats the foil wrapper on an anchovy jar, it eats the paper on a soy sauce jar, and occasionally gnaws into a bag of sugar. No nuts, no flour, no cereal, no chocolate, no oats, etc. Whatever luscious cheeses and nut butters we put in a trap, it doesn’t go near it. I hope you have better luck! xx

  2. Nicole K
    April 23, 2019 / 2:50 pm

    Your hair always looks great to me. I love the color and I’ve liked it at every length. So, lucky you to be able to choose one you like.

    Colors? Wardrobe is about 90% neutrals (white, black gray, ivory). Just a few colors, mostly blues, but a few warm colors like russet or brick. Never had my colors done because I’ve heard too many stories of people getting it done and getting different answers. I just go with my own judgement. Have I made mistakes? Not than many actually!

  3. Hiluhilu
    April 23, 2019 / 3:12 pm

    The short haircut looks great! I enjoy reading about your style journey and your experimentation with colors.

    Now to the rodents. I appreciate your desire to relocate your visitors, and if you can do that without them coming back, that’s great. If you ever need to take more drastic measures, I recommend using an electric baited trap by Victor. A peanut based piece of candy bar works well as bait and is less messy than peanut butter. When the critter enters, an electric shock stops its heart immediately. Our house backs up to an open area, and we get tree rats in our backyard occasionally, hiding from the hawks. This is what we use successfully.

  4. Cathy D.
    April 23, 2019 / 3:42 pm

    Susan, your hair looks terrific, and you look at least 10 years younger. As for color, it’s so hard to see yourself objectively… just like the hair. After years of trying and advice, I’m finally convinced I’m somewhere between a summer and a spring. Whenever I wear a certain bright colors, especially blue, I get tons of compliments. I’ll be watching to see what happens with your color analysis in London.

  5. Angela in NZ
    April 23, 2019 / 3:42 pm

    My colour analysis was done as a result of trying to change my hair colour to a lighter shade as I was getting older. Looking back, disaster on both counts. My natural hair colour was dark brown with green hazel eyes. In attempting a more blond look I also tried wearing what I thought were blond colours. Wrong! So the colour analyst said I should never have gone blond and that I should let my now white and grey grow. Hell will freeze over before that scenario! As I suspected she put me as winter though my skin tone is now most definitely neutral (neither blue nor green veins) and since discovering violet shampoo I can now have lighter brown hair without going yellow. I find too that l can successfully wear more tomato reds to brighten my grey, navy, black neutrals.

  6. Kathleen Julien
    April 23, 2019 / 4:09 pm

    First time I find this, and may never find it again..it seems that as women, we all have the same concerns.

    Would love short hair, but am tall and wide shouldered and feel unbalanced.
    My face is a long oval too. So at my age, am sticking to between chin and shoulder for my fine fair hair. And when my greyish whitish hair showed up, I tried, but it was such a dreary colour – or absence of- that I couldn’t take it and went back to colour.

    As my little granddaughter says “colour makes me happy”…though not being brave enough to boldly wear the fresh Spring colours that are mine and I love, with lots of black, denim jackets, and light greys, occasionally white.

    So blue and white striped tees, warm pinky flowers on black tops, and today a warm yellow tee, the only yellow I own. I love scarves, in my happy colours. Detest brown and magenta.
    Browns are depressing and Magenta is violent. Strange how we attribute personalities to colours, isn’t it?
    I am a synesthete. This may have something to do with it all.

    But my budget is now limited, hair maintenance expensive, those gorgeous trousers you show beyond my dreams. And I have thighs. Sigh.

    I admire your courage, ladies!

  7. Susan B
    April 24, 2019 / 12:18 pm


  8. Anita
    April 24, 2019 / 1:35 pm

    I am going to jump on the bandwagon to say I think you look fabulous!! Your haircut suits your small face and that lipstick is the bomb! I have noticed your foray into color and applaud it. I agree that getting the “right” colors to complement skintones/eye and hair colors is a challenge as I age. I recently stopped coloring my (previously) brown hair. I love the silver short crop that I now sport, but the change in hair color has wreaked havoc in my wardrobe. I used to be a deep autumn, but am now in a much cooler range. I will follow your visit to the color consultant in London with avid interest.

  9. Pam Vetter
    April 24, 2019 / 2:12 pm

    Several month ago, I took all the tops out of my closet that were not black, white, or gray (or some tropes combo of those). I put them in the spare bedroom, and only missed a few of them I’ve added back those few–some dark blue and various burgundies, half a dozen, maybe. And I’m perfectly fine with that.

  10. Carol Granger
    April 24, 2019 / 3:19 pm

    I absolutely love your hair short! I wear mine in an identical pixie style and receive a least one compliment a day when I’m out and about. I was wearing my hair short when everyone else had hair down to their hinny. Not everyone can go as short as we do but when you can, girl, rock it! You look fabulous!

  11. Jill Ann
    April 24, 2019 / 4:22 pm

    I’ve never had my colors done…I do have a few clues about what “my colors” are, though. I’m fair, with green (not at all hazel) eyes. My hair was blond as a child, then turned darker. Now it’s probably mostly grey, but I have it colored blond. I get compliments when I wear cool pastels like ice blue, aqua, turquoise, and bluish-pink. I look awful with beige near my face! I do like color, but wear a lot of black, grey, and navy as well. I like navy but agree with other commenters that one has to be careful not to look like a flight attendant! Interested to hear about the upcoming color consultation. Not sure it would change anything for me if I had it done, though!

  12. Annag
    April 25, 2019 / 2:38 am

    Love the pixie cut! I grow my hair out a bit from time to time, and I always find it very aging.

    I see a lot of warmth in your hair and eyes, and clarity in your skin. I’d see you as a light-to-bright Spring, wearing ivory, cream, khaki, and camel as neutrals with popsicle colors as accents. The way that you rock the bright lipstick is indicative to me of a need for clear, bright colors.

    • Eileen
      April 25, 2019 / 6:25 am

      I agree, that’s what I see as well. I wonder what the London group will say.

  13. Susan from south OC
    April 25, 2019 / 3:16 pm

    Just wanted to add my 2 cents: I LOVE the pixie cut. Looks wonderful on you.

  14. Allie
    April 25, 2019 / 3:21 pm

    Love the hair! Like you, I’d been growing mine over the past year or so, but had reached the “over it” stage. Was due at the hairdresser the day I read your post, so took it as a sign to get mine chopped too, and am extremely happy I did so. Now I just need to remember how to style it!

  15. Karen
    April 26, 2019 / 4:02 pm

    I participated in a Color me Beautiful consultation in the 80’s. The biggest takeaway from that session was warm vs cool colors. A blue red makes me look like a vampire whereas a warm, coral red flatters my skin tone. There are however some warm hues that don’t suit me at all. Mustard yellow….Yecchhh!

    • Alison M Gunn
      April 28, 2019 / 12:47 am

      I also did a Color Me Beautiful consultation in the late 80s, and pretty much ignored most of their suggestions for a very long time. From time to time I have picked up my color swatches and compared them to the colors I wear, and I have made an occasional effort to line up the color swatches with my actual life, and buy the suggested colors. I always look better in ‘my’ colors. They told me in 1988 that as I got older, my correct colors would make me look so much better, and they do, but I have about 8 shades of green, and for whatever reason, I find it difficult most of the time (except summer) to wear green. But I am a “radiant luminous summer” or some such nonsense, which comes down to the ability to wear both silver and gold. I figure that as long as the colors I do wear don’t cry out in pain compared to my color swatches I’m probably in the ballpark, but by this age I already know the colors that work and the colors that make me look like death warmed over.

  16. Jacqueline
    April 27, 2019 / 7:12 pm

    Here is our mouse story…
    We have two “senior” cats, one who still likes to hunt. One night, or the very early hours of morning, I woke to the sound of yeowling and hissing on the stairs. When I got up to tell them to knock it off I saw a skinny tail slink off during the distraction. I woke my husband and got my slippers on, but by that time “Mickey” had disappeared. The next day we found droppings on the kitchen counter. We put out a couple of traps, one peanut butter, one cheese. No bites. The next morning one of the cats chased a fleeing mouse out of the pantry into a cabinet in the kitchen, and cornered him in there.
    My husband suddenly became a Man with a Plan! He immediate raced to his laboratory (he’s a scientist). He came home with chloroform which he sprinkled on a cotton ball, put the cotton ball in the cabinet and then taped the cabinet door closed so the mouse couldn’t escape. About 15 minutes later he looked in on a sleeping Mickey. We took Mickey to the creek that runs behind our house and put him in some ivy under a huge oak. When he wakes up I’m sure he will wonder how he got there.

  17. April 30, 2019 / 12:43 am

    Both hair cut & lip colour look fab. Looking forward to catching-up when you’re in London!

  18. May 2, 2019 / 12:34 pm

    This pixie is really “you”; feminine, charming, and brings out your eyes. And the poppy lipstick is gorgeous. (My problem wearing bright lipstick is that I eat it off in about 3 minutes and haven’t much interest in nonstop touch-ups.) The pants are the classic East coast Nantucket Reds, always worn in summer with boat shoes, •never• socks and one of those web belts. (Preps can be ‘rules’ persons.) I also see them worn a lot in France, especially by men.

    LOL re the colour analyst who would not let you see the colours yourself! Isn’t that the whole point of the exercise? Agree about exterminator for mice but even more important is to find where they are getting in. Catch and release means they’ll just return to Sue’s cozy kitchen.

    • Susan B
      May 3, 2019 / 11:03 am

      Thanks so much, Duchesse! It wasn’t that she wouldn’t let me see myself, it’s that I’m very nearsighted and seeing nuances or details beyond a couple of feet away is impossible without my glasses. But yes, it seems to defeat the purpose…

      BTW, I mentioned on your blog that you prompted a visit to Kojima pearls…and a purchase. 😉

  19. Lynn Nadjarian
    October 31, 2020 / 5:06 pm

    Ladies, looker Kettlewell UK for colour inspiration and Look Fabulous Forever for makeup! Found them during covid n my life has changed! Fabulous sites.

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