Regional style differences & how to navigate - une femme d'un certain âge

Thursday miscellany: the geography of style & more

clothing displays from various retailers, spring 2022

After my color and style training with Red Leopard, I feel as though I’m seeing everything with fresh eyes. I’m looking at color in relation to seasonal palettes (though am also just enjoying seeing MORE color this spring than I have in a while). And I’m looking at various styles with an eye toward Who might wear them, and When and Where.

I’ll be writing more in-depth about the Style Personality Profiles (or Essences), but since my return from London, I’ve been thinking a lot about regional style differences, and how we perceive style based on locale.

Style and the city

A few of you mentioned that you thought my recent travel wardrobe was “too casual” or too “country” for London. For the most part*, I think it was fine for the activities and venues on my itinerary. While there’s a lot of variety in how Londoners dress, I do notice more tailored or carefully coordinated outfits on the people I pass in the street.

It got me thinking about regional style differences and how clothing “reads” in different locales. If I were to go out running errands in my neck of Los Angeles in a very tailored ensemble, I’d feel stuffy and out of place. But what feels perfectly put together here reads as casual in London (and many other cities). What flies in Dallas might look overdressed in Seattle, etc.

Even within a city, the style “default setting” can vary widely. In Paris for example, you’ll see more tailored, upscale looks in the 8th arrondissement, while in the 6th you’ll see more relaxed styles (and even more variety in other arrondissements). New York’s Upper East Side looks quite different from the East Village. And here in L.A. too, the “look” can shift (sometimes dramatically) from neighborhood to neighborhood.

How much you dress in accordance with your surroundings or march to your own style drummer depends on your comfort levels with standing out. My comfort zone is feeling appropriately dressed. The bottom line for me when traveling isn’t to try to “dress like a local,” but to look neat and put-together.

*Still, I’d like to have a few more polished/dressed up pieces to pull from, and will be looking to fill those gaps in my wardrobe. These are often hard for me to find off the rack. So I had a couple of pieces made by Amanda Thompson Couture during my stay in London, will be sharing those soon.

Do you adjust your clothing to the locale when you travel, or do you stick to what you’d wear at home?

Shifting gears for a moment…

Sunflower, bee

For the most part, I stick to talking about style, travel, and lifestyle here. I know for many of you, reading une femme is a break from whatever else is going on in the world. I understand that and usually stay away from writing about current events, even though I try to keep up with them.

But it’s been utterly heartbreaking to watch what’s been happening in Ukraine, and I feel I need to acknowledge it. It’s a humanitarian crisis, and I fear things will get worse before they get better. I don’t want to open up a political discussion, but have been looking for ways to help and organizations that are assisting. So I thought I’d share a few that I donate to or that have been well-rated on Charity Navigator.

World Central Kitchen. Chef José Andrés‘ WCKitchen is often one of the first organizations on the scene after natural disasters or refugee crises. He’s been on the ground in Poland and in Ukraine helping to feed those impacted.

Medicins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). I’ve been a donor to this organization for many years now.

Samaritan’s Purse. They’re taking donations and also looking for volunteers (medical and non-medical) to aid with the refugees.

UNICEF.

Save the Children.

Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

Thank you.

Stay in touch.

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67 Comments

  1. March 3, 2022 / 2:24 am

    Thanks for the links re: the situation in Ukraine. Very helpful. Listen, I’m so excited for you now that you’ve returned from your excursion to London, and learning so much about color! I’m hoping to gift my daughter this experience once you’re ready (she lives in LA), and I am excited to be there too, I hope. You asked, do we wear clothes to fit in where we’ve travelled to. I do. I wouldn’t wear (and don’t wear) my home clothes out of the house here in the Seattle area. I wear nicer clothes just to go to Costco, because I’ve been to Costco with home clothes on and have been surrounded by people who make an effort; it’s embarrassing. I’ve noticed here that if I don’t make an effort, I feel like I stand out. People even make an effort at the grocery store. That never used to be the case in Seattle or the surrounding areas, but it is now and has been for about 20 years. I personally love the LA vibe, it’s chic-casual and you get sun. 😉

  2. Maria
    March 3, 2022 / 2:28 am

    I’ve been following your blog for a number of years. When you were going through your black mode I always wanted to stay “enough of all the black”. Red Leopard opened your eyes to all your other options. How exciting is that to see you wearing colour. Now to get you out of wearing so much denim. Who cares if you don’t blend in with your neighbourhood. Who wants to blend in in any case. I think as you grow out your hair to your natural silver you’ll find you enjoy wearing colour even more.

    • Nan
      March 3, 2022 / 8:22 am

      What I like about you, Susan, is that you dress like a woman who knows who she is.

      • Linda S
        March 4, 2022 / 3:10 pm

        In agreement.

  3. Robyn
    March 3, 2022 / 2:50 am

    Thank you for sharing places where we can donate to the Ukraine. Yes, I adapt my dress to where I’m going and to my circumstances., except for work. For quite a few years dress in education has become extremely casual, but I prefer to dress business casual. Posts on different areas’ style personalities would be very interesting. I notice what is consider stylish in one area is different than another area. Our daughter lives in D.C. and when you go to dinner people dress very nicely, somewhat understated. Where I live, well I have no words.

  4. KJ
    March 3, 2022 / 3:58 am

    I find the topic of regional differences in clothing very interesting. I remember traveling to Dallas for work and having co-workers immediately comment that I must be from the East Coast offices because of all the black I wore. I recently came back from two different vacations in Florida and found that the upscale casual resort wear that I picked up there does not feel comfortable for the DC area where I live (and I don’t just mean because it’s still in the 40s here!) I’ll give it a try when summer comes but I’m not sure it will translate.

  5. Mari
    March 3, 2022 / 4:20 am

    I too have donated to a charity for Ukraine this morning and share your horror at the situation.

    I have identified myself as a classic romantic but look forward to hearing about what you have learned at Red Leopard and how I view myself
    may change, after learning more.

    Love the pop of pinks in the London shop windows.

  6. Anita Dixon
    March 3, 2022 / 4:31 am

    Watching your style evolution has been so gratifying. As I enjoy Spring like colors, I anticipate each post, waiting yo which looks I might incorporate into my own wardrobe. Thank you for opening women’s eyes go color. Thank you for raising the issue of helping those in Ukraine. Those of us who live in relative comfort need a reminder to share.

  7. Jane
    March 3, 2022 / 5:04 am

    I always open your email first in the morning, Susan, because not only do I love your style suggestions, but I find you to be an intelligent person. Thank you for the links to donate for Ukraine.
    I live in coastal So Cal, so anything goes, not always successfully!!!

  8. Bonnie
    March 3, 2022 / 5:24 am

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the links to resources for Ukraine. It is more horrifying by the moment.
    Next month my husband and I are relocating from Massachusetts to just outside of San Diego. I do have fall and summer clothes – obv. I will leave my heavy winter stuff behind. But I am sure I will stick out for awhile until I get the gist of it all. (Although a “certain accent” is always going to make me stick out, I fear! lol!

    • Mary
      March 3, 2022 / 9:15 am

      Hi Bonnie: Don’t ditch too much of your heavy winter stuff. This has been the coldest winter in San Diego I can remember. We were at an outdoor event last night and many were wearing full on down coats and heavier winter coats. It was in the 70’s during the day but cool and damp by 6 pm. Welcome (soon) to San Diego

      • Bonnie
        March 3, 2022 / 9:32 am

        Thank you so much for your welcome and advice, Mary! That is so good to know. It has been so cold (single digits) and snowy here lately. I think in the 50s will be heavenly ! 🙂

    • Lee Rosenthall
      March 3, 2022 / 3:40 pm

      I must agree! I moved to San Diego 30 years ago now (and have been back east 25), but I’ll never forget my shock at experiencing “May Gray” and “June Gloom.” Especially as you get closer to the coast, it can get quite chilly in the mornings, and the early evenings are cool in most places. The humidity is relatively low by east coast standards, so it can feel positively cold when it drops below 60. (I tell friends it’s like living with the AC on year-round unless you get a good five miles inland.) The San Diego climate is NOTHING like Florida or anywhere on the East Coast, and that goes for the ocean temperatures too. The highs and lows were also different than what my husband experienced growing up in a much more temperate L.A. Keep some of your lighter-weight winter garments. You can always donate them later if you find you don’t need them. Congrats on the move. It’s a very exciting thing to pick up and move across the country!

  9. Lyn
    March 3, 2022 / 5:29 am

    Personally I loved all the outfits you wore in London and thought you looked comfortable in your own skin , as the saying goes . Why force oneself to dress in a certain way which does not suit one’s lifestyle. In London I’m sure the people wearing smart coordinated clothing were most likely there working or have a lifestyle that dictates they dress in a certain way . When one is retired there is no point in wearing business attire and much more important to be well put together in clothing that suits everyday life and I think the outfits you wore in London was a very good example of that . Well put together in a smart casual way that reflects your personality and lifestyle. I live in the UK in a semi rural area and wear jeans most of the time with smarter tops in my soft autumn colours and feel I can go anywhere and feel appropriately dressed .

  10. Gae Nunes
    March 3, 2022 / 5:30 am

    Thank you for your thoughtful post about how we can help those affected by the crisis in Ukraine.
    Your observations about dressing based on where one lives is very astute. Also your question about dressing for travel to other locations is interesting. I have been fortunate to have been able to travel to several parts of Europe (including Russia several years ago), the Middle East, Cuba and several other Caribbean locations, and to China. You are on target when you say to dress for the weather, your comfort, and to be “put together”. Sometimes I do tend to stick out but in a good way. I see no sense in traveling with clothes that I wouldn’t wear at home. I always receive compliments from the “locals” or fellow travelers.

  11. Mary Christiansen
    March 3, 2022 / 5:43 am

    Having lived in New York City for over 40 years, I’m always irritated by tourists who dress as if they are in their home towns or even the beach. I see this in mid town, the museums, and even the Opera! These days it’s not necessary to put on a suit and heels, but cut-offs, flip-flops, tanks, and leggings just make a person stand out. I hope this doesn’t sound too stuffy, but I’m sure it reflects the point of view of many who live in capital cities.

    • Téa
      March 3, 2022 / 6:39 am

      Thank you for stating this. I’ve even seen someone climb over the seats in the theatre because his row wasn’t exiting quickly enough for his next adventure! Good thing he WAS wearing track pants and trainers!! 🙂

    • Marianne
      March 3, 2022 / 8:00 am

      I live near San Francisco and I definitely agree with you! This type of work out gear worn to the theatre/museums, etc. is simply inappropriate. And, no, you do not sound stuffy 🙂

    • Maria
      March 3, 2022 / 8:19 am

      I don’t think you sound stuffy at all and completely agree. Flip flops etc. are not for wearing anywhere/anytime. I work a lot from home and even those days I still get dressed as if I’m going to the office. Come late afternoon when I call it quits it’s time to change in to my at home clothes. Having said that the other women I work wirth are dressed up if they have on jeans and a hoodie or sweat pants and hoodies. They all only wear sneakers. I work in a government office and I’m appalled at what is permitted.

    • MJ
      March 3, 2022 / 6:30 pm

      I agree! Seeing how so many tourists dress so badly in NYC makes me want to be nicely dressed when I go to other cities. I even leave my jeans and sneakers at home. So if you’re stuffy, at least you have company.

  12. Tina O.
    March 3, 2022 / 5:43 am

    Thank you for sharing and acknowledging what’s happening in Ukraine. This is personal to me as I recently made a new friend from Ukraine. Her entire family is there while she’s spending a year on her OPT visa in Boston looking at graduate programs.

    I was fascinated about comments your look was too casual. I love the focus on color and I’ve been trying to add more color daily. I feel etter with color as well. My size and coloring are similar to you so you’re my style inspiration! I look forward to learning more!

  13. NancyMK
    March 3, 2022 / 6:09 am

    Thank you for mentioning Ukraine. Never without a scarf in Paris or Rome, fun to dress a different aspect of myself. As my hair’s red whitened more often taken for French, even more fun. Agree , Susan, on 6th vs. 8th in Paris.

  14. Elizabeth
    March 3, 2022 / 6:19 am

    Your question about adjusting clothing to different locales is something I’ve struggled with for years. We spend 6-8 weeks in a warm southern climate each winter, but we also travel around the country and overseas when possible. Some of us DO wish to avoid standing out – especially for the wrong reasons. I understand that one’s personal best colors and style personality are the goal, yet it can be difficult to translate those to the beach/ New York City/Tuscany, etc. I hope you will address this in a future and post!

    Thank you for your heartfelt comments about Ukraine, along with the donation links. The s horror is real, and your recognition of this is most appreciated.

  15. Bette
    March 3, 2022 / 6:48 am

    Thank you for acknowledging the war in Ukraine and suggesting options for donations. I second Doctors w/o Borders, which was my father’s preferred charity for more than 40 years and is now ours.

    I can’t believe people would tell you directly that they felt your London clothing wasn’t right. Unless they were your best friends, I find that rude and presumptuous. But, I know bloggers have to wear armor to protect themselves from hurt.

    I look forward to posts on adjusting our style locally. I have definitely found that regions vary, and every time I move, I go through the same fashion disorientation.

  16. Catherine W.
    March 3, 2022 / 6:55 am

    Your post succinctly describes something I’ve been struggling with: I’m retiring at the end of the year and will be moving to a small beach town on the California coast. I believe my style personality is “Classic” and I’m already struggling to find clothes that feel right. Everything is VERY casual there and I don’t feel right in the types of relaxed bohemian or natural clothes I see other people wearing. The challenge will be to find clothes that reflect “me” but don’t look overdressed, silly or perhaps “uptight”.

    I also appreciate your mention of the horrible situation in Ukraine!

    Thanks for your reflections this morning! You’ve given me more to think about!

    • Bette
      March 3, 2022 / 8:14 am

      Catherine, I’m in the same boat (no pun intended!). I retired this year and moved from a city to a small East Coast beach town. I’m also a Classic style person, and my work wardrobe is useless here. I wish I’d thought it all through before donating and selling my clothes, though, as I now find myself in some weird fashion nether world, not sure what to wear at all and not having much of the old to choose from.

  17. Elizabeth
    March 3, 2022 / 7:11 am

    Susan, you are so fortunate to be starting a new adventure in your ‘60s. And, you are very brave to set up a business.
    Thank you for not shirking away from discussing the horrible situation in the Ukraine. Here in Canada, donations made to the Red Cross for the Ukraine will be matched by the Canadian government.
    Wherever I am in the world, hot or cold climate, I find a smartly cut black or navy blazer makes a very jeans casual to dressy skirt/pants look fit into any neighbourhood. A silk scarf elevates this look up a notch. A blazer & string of pearls, even when not wearing designer high heels, is perfect for the opera and Michelin Star restaurants.

  18. BeckyH
    March 3, 2022 / 7:13 am

    Just a thought on an easy way to add polish to your look for city locales would be to swap out corduroys for a pair of trousers. Vince does really nice ones that are tailored in the front and elastic in the back so they are very comfortable. I picked up different styles in chocolate, warm camel and navy this past season and would highly recommend them. A pair of trousers would look smashing with the fabulous brogues and loafers in your collection!

    • March 3, 2022 / 7:32 am

      I second the recommendation of Vince trousers. I have two pairs in the “cozy” wool-blend fabrication; they look neat but not fussy, feel wonderful, and are washable. (Also: pockets!) For spring/summer Vince makes the same silhouette in viscose or poly crepe. For dressier occasions I like Vince’s crinkle-pleat pull-on pants, which flow beautifully (and also have pockets!). The downside of crinkle pleats is that they’re not easily hemmed.

      • Susan Blakey
        Author
        March 3, 2022 / 8:00 am

        Hi Nancy, on your recommendation I tried the “cozy” pants a few months ago, but found they were just a little too voluminous for me. I keep hoping they’ll do something similar but a little more fitted.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 3, 2022 / 8:01 am

      Funny you mention trousers, I’ll be including more of them in upcoming outfit posts! 😉

  19. Lucia
    March 3, 2022 / 7:17 am

    Hi Sue! Love your posts and your current style. Hope it won’t change too much in the future. Wondering what you think of back packs. I have a bad shoulder and and shoulder bags make it sore. Have you any suggestions for back packs for 60+ women for city wear?

  20. Lucia
    March 3, 2022 / 7:19 am

    Hi Sue! Love your posts and your current style. Hope it won’t change too much in the future. Wondering what you think of back packs. I have a bad shoulder and and shoulder bags make it sore. Have you any suggestions for back packs for 60+ women for city wear?

    • Jill Ann
      March 3, 2022 / 8:24 am

      Lucia, take a look at Baggallini. They have several convertible backpacks in lightweight nylon (convert from a backpack to a sling bag). I bought one a few years ago to take on trips where I’d be doing a lot of walking, but needed to carry more stuff than would fit in my usual small crossbody bag. These bags aren’t super expensive ($100 range) but I think they look nice, relatively polished & not too casual.

      • Lucia
        March 3, 2022 / 9:21 am

        Thank you!

  21. cynthia willis
    March 3, 2022 / 7:25 am

    Susan, as I read your post yesterday I experienced a pang of guilt reviewing fashion when immense trauma is happening in Ukraine. Thank you for speaking to this humanitarian crisis, less we forget we are all connected. Fashion is wonderful, however as John F Kennedy said, “For of those to whom much is given much is required.”

  22. Kami
    March 3, 2022 / 7:45 am

    I do try to dress in a way that “blends in” with the locals wherever I am traveling, but without sacrificing my own personal style to do so. I have learned through previous mistakes that you need to bring only your “tried and true” wardrobe items when you travel, especially when you are working out of a travel capsule wardrobe in a carry on bag. I have a “uniform” of flats or sneakers, skinny jeans, a blouse or t-shirt and a jacket or sweater, but I have enough variety within that template to swap out for skinny trousers, a dressier top and a blazer when the destination requires a more elevated look than I typically sport at home. I still feel like “me” in those outfits but without the self-consciousness of sticking out. When in doubt, business casual seems to work just about everywhere these days, with the exception of Florida, where no one seems to wear anything dressier than shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops!

  23. Mary Alice
    March 3, 2022 / 7:47 am

    I have spent a lot of time in the UK (my husband’s Irish and has family all over the UK) and I think you looked exactly right. I’m an LA girl and my own personal style does not change when I travel the world, it has more to do with whatever activity I’m engaged in. I find that a pair of dark jeans, a T-shirt or sweater, a blazer or cardigan, a nice scarf, and either stylish sneakers or boots can take you almost anywhere. In bog European capitals I will switch the jeans for tailored trousers and It’s absolutely fine.

  24. Rebecca
    March 3, 2022 / 8:03 am

    Susan, thank you for providing information on how to make donations to assist the Ukrainian people.
    The situation is heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time. I’m learning so much from you on the adaption of color into my wardrobe. I’ve worn black and shades of gray far too long! Thank you for passing on what you’ve learned about color. Along with other useful information regarding packing, makeup, skincare, etc. Always eager to read your posts. You show us that we can continue to evolve, learn, travel, and remain stylish as time marches on!

  25. Pink Azalea
    March 3, 2022 / 8:13 am

    I think neat and put together is a great way to plan a travel wardrobe. When we travel, I think getting out and enjoying our trip is more important than what I am wearing. We moved from Houston to Santa Fe last year and it is more casual here, not to mention cooler and dryer (yay). I think dressing with intention and looking like some effort went into my appearance without looking too perfect or stuffy feels right for me. I also think it shows regard for others. If I wanted a travel wardrobe that could go from casual to more sophisticated, I would plan it around neutrals. Even though I love color, neutrals can read as dressier, depending on the details and accessories. I am looking forward to more about color and the style essences. Lastly, thanks for the information on how to donate to humanitarian orgs for Ukraine. We’ve supported Doctors without Borders in the past and will donate to one of more of these. I say a prayer for the Ukrainian people several times a day.

  26. Roseanna
    March 3, 2022 / 8:41 am

    Susan, Are you doing color analysis here in Los Angeles? If so, I would like to take advantage of it. If not, do you know anyone locally? Thanks

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 3, 2022 / 10:49 am

      Yes, I’ll be doing some color and other styling services, probably starting in May. I’ll have more information once I’ve sorted out the format.

  27. March 3, 2022 / 8:58 am

    Already donated to World Central Kitchen, even if my donation doesn’t go the the Ukrainian borders this is a great organization working to feed peopl in desperate situations. Their website is very insightful

  28. Sandra
    March 3, 2022 / 9:13 am

    Having lived in New York for 67+ years before relocating to Chicago, I know only too well about a black wardrobe! Despite the fact that Chicago is a big city, people here dress VERY casually to restaurants, theater, etc. I have donated all of my corporate clothes and now only wear casual clothes, but with more color. I haven’t been back to NY since 2015, so not sure if the style has morphed there as well.

    I having been traveling to France on an annual basis since 1967 and the changes in style there seem much more dramatic to me; more casual clothing (jeans, tees, sneakers) country wide, but scarves are still ubiquitous. However, there is, and always has been, a stark difference between Parisian-style and the rest of the country. It’s ironic that I now travel with less clothing even though my trips have become longer. Hoping to return to France in 2022, as it’s almost three years since my last visit!

    Thank you, Susan, for acknowledging the places where people can donate to support Ukraine. My Dad was born in a small town that was originally in Hungary, then became Czechoslovakia after WWI, then part of Slovakia and is now in Ukraine! It’s heart-breaking.

  29. Susan D.
    March 3, 2022 / 9:13 am

    I live in Dallas, Texas and for years, I did not wear denim blue jeans to run my errands. Then came my husband’s retirement–and then the pandemic where we did not go much of anywhere. I put all my jewelry in our safe and proceeded to dress extremely casually. These days I do wear jeans to the grocery story and out and about in a way I never have before. I am not sure if everyone in my locale has become more casual in dress or not–or if things will revert as things get more back to normal.

  30. Carol
    March 3, 2022 / 9:47 am

    My proudest moment on my first trip to France was while I was waiting for a train, when a woman came up to me and asked me directions in very bad French. She thought I was a local! I was rocking a perfectly wrapped scarf, so I assume that was why.

    I’m of the “blend in” school of travel dressing for a couple of reasons: I think it’s respectful, and I think it makes me less of a target for street crime if I look like I know what’s about. This doesn’t mean going out and buying a whole new wardrobe, but rather shopping my closet for outfits that will work in the city/cities I’m traveling to.

    Adding my thanks for the Ukraine donation sites. Jose Andres is one of my heroes – I’ve been a big fan of his restaurants in DC for years and years, and have been fortunate enough to meet him a couple of times at events in LA. He is truly a man who walks the walk, and his World Central Kitchen has been a gamechanger in the relief world.

    • Mary
      March 3, 2022 / 11:56 am

      I had a similar experience while waiting for a train in Italy–a French woman came up to me asking in French when the train was expected. I, too, was wearing a scarf wrapped neatly around my neck, and understood her question (my grandmother was French), but answered her in American English. The look on her face was priceless as she realized I was merely American!

      • Susan M
        March 4, 2022 / 3:03 am

        @Mary I am always mistaken for being European when travelling in France, Italy and Spain, even as a 21 yr old on my first trip to France. But, I always put that down to my skin and hair colouring which could be stereotyped as Mediterranean (brown hair, eyes, skin which easily tans), rather than what I might be wearing. Over the years whilst working as a nurse, my older Greek and Italian patients would ask ‘where I was from’ as they thought Anglo Saxons from England were blonde haired and blue eyed. As for clothing in London, like any city it very much depends on what part you are hanging out in. Anyway, Hardy Amies once remarked, ‘the best dressed woman is one whose clothes wouldn’t look too strange in the country’. So Susan’s wardrobe choices certainly nailed it.

  31. Alexis
    March 3, 2022 / 10:27 am

    I really appreciate the links to support the Ukraine – I was planning to research on this topic and your information is very helpful. I think that your wardrobe for your trip to London was appropriate. I aspire to be as well dressed as you when I travel! I’m going to Holland in a few weeks and I will be using your examples to guide my travel wardrobe.

  32. Kay
    March 3, 2022 / 11:04 am

    Mostly, I don’t argue with what anyone else wants to wear. If the parts are covered up, that should be the baseline. I, too, live in Southern California (closer to Palm Springs than LA), and I can see situations where flip-flops are appropriate. What pushes my tolerance level though, are the younger women (usually) dressed for clubbing while shopping at Home Depot. Skin tight, plunging, feathers and stilettos, you get the idea.

  33. Nancy Karpen
    March 3, 2022 / 11:10 am

    I find your wardrobe is generally more casual than I wear everyday. Basic difference is that I don’t wear jeans. But I still have issues having dressier clothing too. I have the advantage of being an almost lifelong sewer and sew almost all of my clothing. With a very flat rear end, it’s great to be able to make pants that actually fit me without all of those dreadful wrinkles and drag lines. Hopefully your made to order pieces will inspire me and point me in a new direction.

  34. Angela
    March 3, 2022 / 11:31 am

    Your blog translates so well for New Zealand and Australia as our lifestyles are very similar, more laidback than many business cities. Being confident in your own skin is, I believe, far more important than fitting in with a temporary environment. Having been born in the UK but living in NZ for nearly 50 years my upbringing has moulded my underlying classic look but local influence has added a more casual edge. Dressing weather/climate appropriate would be uppermost in my mind for travel.
    So very sad for Ukrainians suffering unspeakable atrocity.

  35. Kris
    March 3, 2022 / 11:38 am

    Hi Susan – I just can’t wait for you to start offering service (my sister-in-law lives in Palos Verdes so maybe combined with a visit to her?) – of through videochat – not sure what will be possible.

    I love the way you dress – and am surprised that some people found your looks too “casual” for London. I think regardless ofwhere we go, we wnat to be respectful, comfortable and feel like ourselves. So cheers to your travel wardrobe and your new business venture!

  36. Donna
    March 3, 2022 / 12:06 pm

    Hi Susan, I try to tailor my travel clothing style to the area I’m visiting. I don’t want to stand out in a way that would make me feel self-conscious. We’ll be traveling to France the last week of August through the first week of September—a river cruise between Avignon and Lyon, then a few days in Paris. I’m most concerned about dealing with hot temperatures, while still feeling ‘smartly’ dressed. I’m thinking that I need to lighten up my neutrals, in terms of both color and weight. I don’t generally wear dresses, but feel I should consider including a couple.

    I’ve enjoyed all the comments above, and any input in future posts will be greatly appreciated!

  37. Debra
    March 3, 2022 / 2:11 pm

    My base color is always black (I have ash blonde/grey hair) and that’s mostly what I’ll be bringing to London at the end of this month, black pants and tops, along with a pair of black/blue plaid pants (inspired by your European wardrobe) and a range of blue or white tops, with maybe one red top for variety. Black sneakers and my black Aquatalia boots (again, inspired by you quite a few years ago) will allow me to dress up/down. A black blazer and beige trench and that will be all for me! In fact, it was one of your posts years ago that convinced me one could travel with only a carryon (for a week or two) and look good doing so. Of course, I’ll also throw in some scarves to add color – yours on this last trip were amazing!

    One other thing that I think I learned from you is that it is ok to repeat outfits when traveling – after all, the people you see will never know as they are strangers! When I think about my first trip to Paris in 2003, and what I packed…geez, thanks to your lessons, I’ve come a long way.

    You looked very happy with your travel wardrobe and if you felt good about what you were wearing, that’s all that matters. The environment you were in looked to me to be very casual and thus I think what you brought perfectly suited the occasion. And that green sweater! Gosh, I think my fav ever color on you – I just love lime/acid green.

  38. Linda M
    March 3, 2022 / 2:14 pm

    One of my style words is “aware,” and that means I do change things a little depending on the locale or activity. I bought a lot of things in my last working years that I thought I would wear in retirement, but I don’t. Often, I will wear clothes to walk in, then while I’m out, I run my errands. So I’m slowly building a “better,” more coordinated wardrobe for what I really wear. In other words, very casual, but hopefully not sloppy. I’m a blue autumn, so I am wearing more dark, rich color than when I lived in black, and that too inherently makes things more casual. I think if I were going to a large city, I would focus on better fabrics and camel, navy and other neutrals, and leave my teal at home. Here in Ohio, it’s very easy to look overdressed, as the prevailing dress code is at least as casual as LA, in rather timid color combos, with very conservative jewelry, makeup, and hair.

  39. Jan Whichard
    March 3, 2022 / 2:49 pm

    When I travel I take clothes that are respectful of the location and culture. From there, it’s my decision and I always take one pair of jeans and one pair of pants/slacks/trousers and depending on the length of the trip, one other “go either way” pair of jeans. If I could ever manage to tie a scarf that doesn’t look bulky around my neck I would wear it! (Susan…another tutorial for the scarf tying challenged?).
    My grandparents escaped by rowboat across the Black Sea to the USA in 1906 from Kherson so the destruction being carried out in the Ukraine is particularly painful and we are helping all we possibly can. Fashion is a nice break even though the people there are getting no break at all.

  40. Lee Rosenthall
    March 3, 2022 / 4:12 pm

    Susan, I thought your London “working wardrobe” worked well (and looked great). It struck me as both very YOU and very respectful to a London aesthetic. I do imagine your trying some trouser suits in the future, as I find that’s a look that can be dressed up or down with a simple change of shoes, blouse, and accessories. When I dressed for work back in the day, I always felt most comfortable in what is now termed a “pantsuit,” even though a woman wearing trouser suits was pretty bold at the time. As you’re a gamine, I can see you emulating Marina’s style, but with your Golden Spring colors and in petite sizes. Can’t wait to see your new bespoke pieces and I look forward to learning more about “Essences.” Also, thank you for your comments about Ukraine. I was in Southern Russia 20 year ago this June to adopt my younger son from an orphanage on the Chechen border. (We were instructed to wear black so we would not stick out, but my sunglasses on my head were a dead giveaway!) I fear that that madman will do to Kyiv what he did to Grozny and weep at the thought. My Russian-born son enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard last fall and when I think that, after a few short months, he is so much better prepared to “defend the homeland” than those poor civilians in Ukraine being called on to take up arms they may have never held before, it breaks my heart. G-d have mercy on the Ukrainian people and all those poor conscripted Russian soldiers.

  41. Lady in Jeans
    March 3, 2022 / 4:22 pm

    Since Covid started, things have definitely taken a turn to the casual side. I’m not sure that office attire will ever be as dressy as it was 30 years ago, especially in non-public facing roles.

  42. Roberta
    March 3, 2022 / 5:14 pm

    I looked at her instagram account and am confident Alyson Walsh would approve of every outfit you wore traveling to/from, and while visiting London. I think you looked wonderful. We visited London and surrounding areas a couple of years ago and what you wore recently would have been perfect. We stayed at a 4 star hotel but dined in moderately priced restaurants. Note, I was there to see the sights and not concerned so much with being seen. My biggest mistake was not choosing more comfortable footwear. My second biggest mistake was not taking time to purchase a new pair of shoes.

  43. Maria Allen
    March 3, 2022 / 6:29 pm

    Thank you, Susan, for providing both a practical way to help people in the ongoing horror in Ukraine and for providing a brief and welcome respite from that horror. I have traveled in the Middle East and Eastern Europe and feel that it is only respectful to be sensitive to local norms. And there are a plethora of websites that provide guidance. One December in Cairo, I met an American woman who was frantically buying clothes in a hotel boutique and complaining that she didn’t know it would be cold. All the pictures she had seen were of a presumably hot desert.

  44. Marcia Rayne
    March 3, 2022 / 7:49 pm

    I received an email about renting an Air B&B in Ukraine. If you rent one for one night, then the other will give to a refugee to stay in. The owners want to help too and paying for a nights stay help the homeowner and the refugee.

  45. March 5, 2022 / 9:35 am

    I love all these bright colours you are showing in the first photo collage. My wardrobe usually screams “I want to stand out” as you know. But if I go to a small village in a rural setting I do try to tone down a bit. I don’t want people to think I am stuck up.
    Greetje

  46. March 6, 2022 / 5:51 am

    Very interesting subject and, equally as intriguing, your (and commenters’) response to it. Most people want to “fit in” and not stand out as dressed inappropriately, so knowing fashion norms in a place is important. Especially since they vary from place to place. This is where fashion crosses over into sociology and psychology — intersections that fascinate me. Good post!

  47. Becky Johns
    March 11, 2022 / 10:14 am

    I like your standard of looking “put together”. I am sensitive to excess in fashion, and also think modesty is in good taste.

    I liked your recent post about sweater jackets and got two in basic colors to update my wardrobe. I appreciated your links and finding good prices to match a nice style. It saves so much time for your readers! I am a winter, so many of your spring colors combinations don’t work for me, but I still learn from them how to look put together.

    During covid I found I could do without a lot of things that I used to fuss over. It added clarity to my wardrobe planning. I have donated about half of what I had, and now have only my favorites, that all mix well, and are comfortable. I like to buy from J Jill, because their colors are beautiful and match from season to season, so it is easier to build a wardrobe. Buying from one company is a strategy I use to prevent over buying. I have a good base, so I just like to add a couple of new things for each season to give myself a lift.

    I used to wear alot of necklaces, but now I just wear nice earrings, and a bracelet for around the house and errands. This is an example of paring down and simplifying, but still looking put together. I have also found a great black shoe that I wear a lot, because I usually wear black pants….rather than trying to match colors in the outfit. Another way to simplify but still look great.

    I think a post on how to look well in a photo would be helpful. You are a master at that.

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