Personal updates & your questions - une femme d'un certain âge

Saturday miscellany: what’s new chez nous & more

We’ll mostly be staying put this summer (and for the rest of the year, except for some short trips) but have already been noodling when and where we’d like to travel next year. Paris will be included in the itinerary, bien sûr!

Looking toward the exterior of the Louvre Museum in Paris from Jardin des Tuileries.

A few questions I’ve been asked lately…

You’re not French! Why does your blog have a French name?

A few people have asked this in recent weeks, and since I’ve been writing this blog for over 15 years, the origins may have been lost in the shuffle. So I thought I’d explain for those who weren’t there at the beginning.

I’ve always been a Francophile, and when I launched this blog in 2007, I was a few weeks out from realizing a lifelong dream of visiting Paris. It was not only my first time in Paris, but my first time traveling to Europe. At the time I was obsessed with All Things French: style, culture, food, history, and art. I chose the name une femme d’un certain âge partly tongue in cheek, and partly to reflect that focus.

In 2007, I’d also just turned 50, and was navigating a changing body, and relaxed dress codes at my corporate job. I was struggling to find clothing that fit and that I’d actually want to wear. I’ve always been interested in fashion and style, but had few friends or family who shared that interest. Online, most of the style blogs seemed to be geared toward women under 30. So I thought I’d start a conversation about style over 50, and see who chimed in. 15 years later, the conversation is still going!

A few times in recent years I’ve thought about re-branding and re-naming the blog to encompass the broader direction it’s taken. Maybe I will someday, but for now, une femme it remains.

How tall are you? What size do you wear?

I’m a shorty: 5 feet, 1 inch. I usually wear US sizes 4, 6, or 27 or 28 in jeans, Petite Small when it’s available. (Sometimes, larger or smaller depending on the cut of the garment.)

Why don’t you wear more dresses/special occasion/business attire/etc.?

When it comes to my own outfit posts, almost everything I show are pieces I’ve purchased myself, for my personal use. I don’t have access to a Fashion Closet somewhere, and because I so often have to alter clothing to fit my shorter frame, borrowing and returning isn’t feasible.

I occasionally receive gifted items, which I’ll always disclose. If you don’t see “(gifted)” or “(c/o)” after the item description, you can assume it’s something I purchased myself.

Our lifestyle is mostly casual, likewise for our family and friends. We don’t attend galas or fancy dress events. Many of you have mentioned that you have special events coming up, so I’m keeping my eyes open for options that won’t be One Hit Wonders.

👉 Looking for something specific? Be sure to visit The Style Hub, where you can search articles by topic. And if you’re looking for travel wardrobe tips and ideas, come check out my Travel Wardrobe Resource Hub.

But I realize I can’t address every style need here, so will take this opportunity to give a shoutout to some of my blogger friends.

Meet Bella!

Meet Bella! She's the latest member of the family, adopted from our local shelter.

We hadn’t set out to adopt another dog so soon, truly. But when this face ☝️ popped up on the Instagram feed for a local shelter adoption site, I had to meet her. We both fell in love immediately, and brought her home the same day. She’s been with us a couple of weeks now and is settling in well. We’ve named her Bella.

Bella, doing her Land Seal impression...

She’s about a year old, and still has a lot of puppy energy. (She doesn’t like to hold still for photos…) We think she’s a Dachshund mix, maybe some Pomeranian, maybe some Chihuahua. She’s the sweetest girl and has become very attached to us. She still needs some socialization training, so we’ll be working with a trainer in the near future. But she’s a doll and we are smitten!

Bella sez gimme treats!

We still haven’t given up on finding Gigi. We’ve concentrated our search online, and I’ve continued to post notices on lost pet sites, and check found pets. I tried a couple of those “pet detective” folks right after we returned home, but they said that after a couple of weeks without any sightings, they couldn’t do much to help. I continue to hope that she’s being loved and cared for, and still miss her.

How’s your weekend shaping up?

Stay in touch.

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  1. Lianne MacGregor
    June 18, 2022 / 3:18 am

    Goodness! I had no idea about Gigi! I can’t imagine how awful this has been for you…I’m so very sorry

  2. Paulette Levy
    June 18, 2022 / 4:32 am

    Love your blog! Keep doing what you’re doing. Loved your travel posts too.

    • Marian
      June 18, 2022 / 9:32 am

      I agree!

      • Carol W.
        June 18, 2022 / 10:41 am

        I agree…love this blog!

  3. Marie
    June 18, 2022 / 4:41 am

    BIENVENUE, BELLA!!!!! Wonderful news, choice, and decision. And glad you are still looking for Gigi. St Anthony, St Anthony, Gigi is lost and has to be found.

    Please keep the name of this site/blog. I found you because of the name. The name reflects the French philosophy of aging and of how our society should regard and respect us as we move through the stages of our lives. I find this view much more respectful and uplifting than the American culture’s adoration of youth and disdain for all other ages. I was introduced to the phrase in Montreal, where I lived for several years. The lack of angst, lack of anxiety, and lack of low self esteem among the French women there was visible, palpable, and quite rejuvenating. I continue to try to live with this positive outlook and demeanor.

  4. Marie
    June 18, 2022 / 4:44 am

    Oops. Error in my previous comment. Should read thus:
    St Anthony, St Anthony, look around, look around, Gigi is lost and has to be found.

  5. Kathy
    June 18, 2022 / 4:57 am

    Love your sweet pup’s face. It always helps to have another dog, even if no dog is a replacement for the one you lost. I like that you put options for other types of style. As you often say, your blog is your style! I enjoy your style and the casual nature suits me well. My last dressy event other than a wedding was five years ago and I was scrambling for something to wear. I recently bought a silk Eileen Fisher crinkle dress and scarf. I plan for it to be my one dressy option for years to come should any occasions arise. Thanks for all your work and enjoy that darling pup.

  6. Diane B
    June 18, 2022 / 4:58 am

    Bella is adorable. I am happy for you that she is becoming part of the family. It has been 4 years since our wee man just vanished and I still miss him dreadfully and I think I always will. We have had other pets that passed and knew that that was the end, but not knowing is so hard.
    I like the idea of your question and answer post. I knew right from the start that you were a misplaced Parisienne at heart, and that is part of your charm. It would not be the same if you decided to rename it, we are so used to une femme.

  7. Kathy
    June 18, 2022 / 4:59 am

    Do not change a thing in or with your blog! Everything about it is perfect.

  8. Susan H
    June 18, 2022 / 5:03 am

    Congratulations on Bella! She is gorgeous! Wishing you many years of happiness with that little snuggle bug!

    June 18, 2022 / 5:08 am

    Please don’t change the name of the blog. You are still une femme and we are all of a certain age and fashion anf France are almost synonimous.

    A francophile

  10. Kelly
    June 18, 2022 / 5:19 am

    That was a fun post! I always getting to know a blogger on a more personal level. Especially enjoyed the wedding day picture a while back. Bella is so adorable! It’s amazing how you can see a picture online and know she’s the one but we had the same experience 10 years ago with our border collie mix and she still holds our hearts!

  11. Karen
    June 18, 2022 / 5:22 am

    Congratulations on Bella. What a sweet face. She’s a lucky dog! I’m still hoping for you that Gigi will show up. Thank you for your blog. It is so quality. I look forward to reading it every morning.

  12. Susan Kelley
    June 18, 2022 / 5:24 am

    Bella lives up to her name. Bu I do see a little King Charles there. In the shape of the head, the way she lifts it But she looks like she will be a fun companion. I miss our Ranger who crossed the bridge in December. Still looking for him.

  13. Paula
    June 18, 2022 / 5:38 am

    Bella is so cute! So glad you found a new pet. I keep looking at the dogs up for adoption at our local shelter but haven’t taken the plunge yet. I agree with you I hope Gigi is in a good place. Maybe one day you will find her.
    Love reading your blog. I’m especially interested in reading about your color transformation.

  14. Carol
    June 18, 2022 / 6:06 am

    Congratulations on adopting Bella! She sure is a cutie. ❤️

  15. Elizabeth Palladino
    June 18, 2022 / 6:14 am

    Welcome, Bella. And still praying for Gigi, that wherever she is, she is happy and healthy, and as you said, Susan–loved and well-cared-for.

  16. Laura
    June 18, 2022 / 6:25 am

    Susan I’m so happy that you to have adopted another dog. Of course she can’t replace Gigi but Bella is a beautiful new addition to your family!!!

  17. Julie Brown
    June 18, 2022 / 6:31 am

    I love your style and love the blog name!

  18. MJ
    June 18, 2022 / 6:40 am

    Bella knows how to smile for the camera already. She’s born to the life as a style blog dog. I hope Gigi is being well looked after, too. Welcome, Bella!

  19. Bette
    June 18, 2022 / 6:44 am

    I am going crazy trying to find a MOB dress, so I come to your blog for a return to reality. My lifestyle is similar to yours, and I find your California chic style to be authentic and refreshing. BTW, this is oddly important (to me) — I love the font you use on your blog. I don’t know what it is, but please keep using it. It’s part of your style!

  20. Mary Lou
    June 18, 2022 / 7:29 am

    Congratulations on adding Bella to your family. Love your blog just the way it is.

  21. Sandra Sallin
    June 18, 2022 / 7:46 am

    It’s fun reading about your blog beginnings. Bella is adorable. Love those rescues.

  22. Claudia
    June 18, 2022 / 7:58 am

    Hello Susan. I appreciate the links to other sites celebrating style for femmes d’un certain âge. I always find some inspiration in your and blog.

  23. Kate
    June 18, 2022 / 8:38 am

    quelle jolie petite mignonette!

  24. Marla
    June 18, 2022 / 8:59 am

    Love your blog,and it’s name, Susan. It’s very true to and reflects you. And congratulations on adopting adorable Bella. Hopefully GiGi will turn up but is being well loved and cared for in the meantime.

  25. Ainsivalavie
    June 18, 2022 / 9:20 am

    Your petite chienne is adorable and agree with the previous comment about a little bit of King Charles in her bloodline. I am very sorry that you never found Gigi and hope that she is in a loving home. It isn’t unusual for a dog (or cat for that matter) to turn up after a year or two or more!Seeing as you left no stone unturned to find her it’s likely that someone took her in, she liked them and she stayed. Another group that is involved with animal rescue is Hope for Paws. Even in far away Canada I follow them on FB, they are based in SoCal and have a very large number of contacts within the rescue community there. Eldad and Loretta are amazing people.

  26. Marian
    June 18, 2022 / 9:33 am

    Thank you for sharing some history for us newbies. I love your blogs and posts. Bella is darling.

  27. Bonnie
    June 18, 2022 / 10:12 am

    Even though I have read your blog for years, I am now new to SoCal (after 60 yrs in Massachusetts) so I am paying attention more than ever to what you wear. I am not your size but I do get general ideas as to what to wear style-wise and weather-wise, so that is really helpful. Your sweet Bella is so cute and I continue to pray for little Gigi being safe and sound and with you soon.

  28. Joan
    June 18, 2022 / 10:37 am

    Ciao Bella!
    I’m very happy to hear that you continue to look for Gigi: it is so hard to think about a lost pet or losing a pet… When we lived in SoCal, my husband and I found and returned numerous dogs (and placed two in new homes), as there are always gates or doors left open, diggers who go under, and too MANY unwanted dogs.

  29. SueB
    June 18, 2022 / 11:07 am

    Bella is adorable — how wonderful of you to provide her forever home. And thanks for letting us know about Gigi. We’re still hoping for her return.

    Please keep your blog more or less the way it is. It’s by far my favorite.

  30. Tracy
    June 18, 2022 / 11:53 am

    Bella is adorable! I’m sorry Gigi is still missing, but join you in hoping she is loved and cared for.

    I don’t remember how I found your blog, but I’ve been following you for years. Your SoCal climate is different than my Midwestern one, and your style , colors, and lifestyle are also much different than mine, but you have a way of presenting content that still makes it relevant to me. You help me think about my own perspective on my wardrobe needs. I don’t need to copy you, I just need to consider things the way you do! And I just love your packing and travel tips!

  31. No Fear of Fashion
    June 18, 2022 / 11:58 am

    That is so sweet of you to mention my little blog. Thank you. And Bella is adorable.

  32. Christi S.
    June 18, 2022 / 12:16 pm

    I am so sorry to learn that Gigi is missing. She is precious and hope that she comes home to and Bella soon. Bella is adorable. I wouldn’t change the name of your blog – it is perfect! It is classy and it suits YOU to a T. So happy that your blogs have begun showing up in my emails again. Fingers crossed whatever “bug” had stopped them from coming through is gone. Sure did miss you! Have a great weekend!

  33. Vicki
    June 18, 2022 / 3:41 pm

    I love reading your blogs and have always found them interesting, informative and your travel wardobe/ packing tips helped me streamline my own travel wardrobe. I’ll admit to a bit of handbag envy over the years !
    Bella is a beautiful addition to your family.

  34. Lori Feld
    June 18, 2022 / 4:10 pm

    Love your blog just as it is! Bella is adorable and I’m still holding out hope for Gigi’s return.

  35. Lisa
    June 18, 2022 / 6:08 pm

    Very sorry Gigi is still missing but your new friend is a very cute little bug.

  36. Rose
    June 18, 2022 / 7:12 pm

    I really enjoy your blog. I am exactly your height and same size. I wear mostly classic styles and I feel your pain on finding clothes that fit. There are very few petite sections in stores anywhere, or at least where I live. Extra small online are almost always too big. Very frustrating as I love fashion!

  37. Maria
    June 19, 2022 / 8:19 am

    I absolutely love your blog. I love everything about it and style wise we couldn’t be more different. I love the way you embrace fashion for it to suit your lifestyle. Your love of animals speaks volumes about your kindness. Your love of Paris and all things French is just lovely. So I for one don’t want you to change the name or anything else. I also love you use a font that’s easy to read. So keep on doin what you’ve been doin. Bella is perfectly adorable. She smiles for the camera. You have a diva in the making there. Let’s hope GiGi comes home safe and sound. I once had a dog that was gone for over a year and was found.

  38. Helen
    June 19, 2022 / 12:40 pm

    Hi Susan, firstly SO delighted to hear about Bella!

    Advice please- I’m just about to “pull the trigger” at Daks to purchase the Loewe anagram belt as per your recommendation.

    I wear a 85 in Gucci- a bit roomy but ok.

    The one at see at Saks is labeled “ 85 small”

    Should I go for it? What do you think?

    Would appreciate your thoughts.

    Adore your blog – always read it asap after received.

    • Susan Blakey
      June 19, 2022 / 3:14 pm

      Thanks, Helen! To be honest, I haven’t tried Gucci belts. But I imagine the numeric size corresponds to the length of the belt, so should be consistent. I absolutely love my Loewe belt and am SO happy I took the plunge!

  39. Christine Thomas-O'Meally
    June 20, 2022 / 3:38 pm

    Oh the puppy is adorable. I’ve been meaning to ask about Gigi – so sorry she hasn’t been found.

    At first glance, I thought Bella had a look of a Golden about her. Not so much on second and third, but it’s the coloring and the smile. 🙂

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