Monday miscellany: easing back in and what I’m eyeing for fall

Today I’m sharing a couple of simple fall outfit ideas, and some of the wardrobe essentials I’m updating this season…

Back to basics: the simple fall styles I’m leaning into now

I’ve always preferred simple, unfussy styles, and clean, minimalist-leaning looks. Some texture and subtle design details are great, but too much frou-frou (and most prints) don’t appeal to me. I’m not sure if it’s related to the “quiet luxury” trend, or just a pendulum swing back from the Instagram-ready but often impractical styles of the last few years, but a lot of the new fall arrivals I’m seeing now just look and feel more wearable.

J.Crew has a sale on that includes a lot of great transitional fall pieces, like the sweater-blazer shown above. (It’s available in several colors, sizes XX-Small to 3X.) There’s also a new v-neck version, included in the sale as well.

I purchased a pair of these 9″ demi-boot jeans a few weeks back in a lighter wash, and have been wearing them quite often. They’re a nice midway point between a straight leg and flared (or wide) leg style. I decided to take advantage of the sale and ordered this dark wash pair for fall. (Even though I’m 5’1″, I find the Petite is just a skosh too short for me. So I go one size down in the Regular length, and shorten if needed.)

Susan B. wears a tonal fall outfit in ivory & camel, carries a Loewe straw bag.

And the longer “Juliette” sweater-blazer is included in the sale… The sale runs through tonight only, though sometimes they get extended.

Espadrilles are a great late-summer-early-fall footwear option, when you want to ease out of sandals, but aren’t quite ready for heavier shoes. This low wedge style is available in navy and a fun green. More sale espadrilles here.

OK, so this cashmere v-neck vest isn’t on sale. But it’s such a versatile layering piece (and SO soft!) that I think it will earn its keep. Wear it on its own, layered under a jacket or over a tee or shirt. This “Buttercream” color is a great neutral for Springs, but there are colors for every seasonal palette available, sizes XX-Small to 3X. It’s a more fitted piece, so I sized up to a Medium.

Updating my blazers

I love how a blazer or jacket can really pull an outfit together, but I’m “over” the oversized menswear-style blazers that have dominated the style scene for the last several seasons. I’m really liking the more cropped and fitted blazers I’ve been seeing recently.

I had a chance to try on this (really cute!) cropped plaid blazer over the weekend, and yes, it came home with me. It has the sharpness of a classic blazer, but with a more feminine vibe. In sizes XX-Small to XX-Large. Runs true-to-size. The sleeves are just slightly long for me, but I usually push or cuff them anyway. Here’s the same style in a charcoal plaid for those of you with cool palettes.

I have the longer version of this blazer in a couple of colors (and love it) but kept hoping they’d do a shorter version which is easier to style with wider leg jeans and pants. The navy (above) is nice, but I’m glad I waited for other color options and went with the “Dune” color which is a warm cream (Springs & Autumns!). It nips in nicely at the waist for a flattering look, and runs true-to-size.

A note…

Thank you again for your kind words and support. I’m still adjusting, and probably will be for some time. And I’m still slogging through a lot of the administrative “stuff” that has to be done after a death. But I find having a routine is therapeutic, so I’m getting back to my regular morning workouts, and back to writing here about style.

I always think of fall as a time of fresh starts, and embrace the French concept of la rentrée. I’ll be re-focusing on quality content, and a “fewer but better” approach not only to my own wardrobe, but to what I share and recommend here. But if there are topics you’d like me to cover, or you’re looking to fill a certain gap in your wardrobe, let me know. I’ll either try to address it myself, of direct you to another blogger who may have a better handle on the topic.

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Susan – My deepest condolences on the loss of your beloved husband and travel partner. Your photo montage was lovely and captured what must have been a wonderful partnership. Wishing you peace.

    1. As others here have said, I also continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. And I also loved the photo montage you posted of your travels with your partner. Wish you all the best.

  2. I continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I enjoy your posts about classic style and fashion. I also enjoy your travel logs so very much-you and le Monsieur had wonderful adventures together. I wish you comfort and peace as you transition.

  3. Susan,
    So glad you are back and I am so sorry for the loss of le Monsieur.
    I do have a request. Even though I love the look of a thick, chunky sweater the Kansas winters (and summers) are not as cold as they used to be. Often times the thick, chunky sweater is enough to wear as a “coat”. My thicker sweaters are usually a pattern. Do you have any recommendations on lighter weight sweaters or tops to layer underneath? I do like the ideas you mentioned above.
    Stay well and thinking of you.

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss of your dear husband. Those photos will help you to remember the good times. Grief comes and goes, I lost my hubby 3 years ago and still have some weepy days. Hugs.

  5. The Juliette sweater over the cream top and pants looks beautiful on you!

    Keeping you in my thoughts.
    Here is a book (available on Kindle) that is a positive, uplifting work that I highly recommend to you:
    “Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief” by Martha Whitmore Hickman
    She begins each day’s thought with a quote, followed by a brief thought about hope, life, etcetera. My favorite (Feb 23rd) is the one about our ongoing connection with the loved one who has passed, which begins with this:
    “It may be

    that some little root of the sacred tree still lives

    Nourish it then

    That it may leaf and bloom and
    fill with singing birds.
    ——Black Elk

    It is a very thoughtful book, drawing on a wide variety of sources, and always helping in some small way. The entries are brief and easy to read without feeling overwhelmed.

    Thanks for continuing your inspirational work here for us.

  6. Susan,
    Thank you for sharing your style tips and your life with us. I am grateful for you.

    PS I ordered the sweater blazer in the autumn nut color – cannot wait to get it – though it is still so very hot in Boston!

    xo susan

  7. Hi Susan!
    Well, fall does seem to be the best and most exciting fashion season, and I always enjoyed back to school shopping, for myself as a teen and now with my nearly grown kiddos. I am loving these last days of summer now. Time to savor the last of them before we are in the back to school routine. My family is on vacation and I am refreshed and starting to make my list of goals for the fall. It is fun and exciting. I will go through my kids’ closets, and eventually my own as things get colder and the sweaters come out. I recall packing away a lot of sweaters. I lost weight this summer and so it will be interesting to see what still works and what needs to go (all the black). I don’t have any immediate wardrobe needs but want to work on styling outfits with what I own. I will work to use more accessories and try to have a more put together look this fall. I often feel very mish mash, but maybe that is my thing. I like your style!

  8. Hi, Please allow yourself time to heal- not only from his passing but the stress leading up to it. We will be here waiting for you. One topic I am interested in is your thoughts on how we can (or should we) transition our wardrobe from going into the Office to retirement. I don’t need the same professional clothes I’ve been wearing and I don’t want to just be in in jeans and tee shirts all the time. (If this makes sense.) Any thoughts? Take care of yourself and your family, Elizabeth

  9. So glad to see you back at your blog. Life has a way of moving us forward, sometimes whether we are ready or not. Live your take on the fall fashions. At my age, I look fir pieces thst can carry me through many years.

  10. So good to have you back! I was where you are exactly one year ago. It does take a very long time.
    I’m with you regarding minimal style. This summer was a ruffled frenzy! Simple, classic shapes, quality fabrics, and good design are worth investing in. Even if I buy only one or two pieces a year.

  11. You’ve been in my thoughts. I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband! I lost my father almost two years ago and my mother is still “slogging through the administrative stuff.” I’m glad you’ll continue to blog. You’re one of my favorite fashion bloggers as I share your “quiet luxury” style, and appreciate your references to the seasons. Your posts are always interesting to me and I look forward to reading them. Take care of yourself as you go through this process.

  12. I look forward to your blog, Susan. Here in southwest Florida I can only wear sweaters in the winter. However, I love your esthetic and have enjoyed the shoes, tees, pants, jeans, and jewelry you have recommended. I just modify for my climate. Thanks for a great blog!

  13. Thank you for these beautiful recommendations Susan . Mundane question: did you get the C a S Chloe jacket (the longer version)in size 4? I’ve been eyeing it for quite a while.

      1. Dear Susan,
        My deepest condolences.
        I’m glad you’re back on the blog that can be helpful during this time for you!

  14. >>I always think of fall as a time of fresh starts, and embrace the French concept of la rentrée.

    Love this approach and look forward to fall. September has always been my favorite month — freshly sharpened pencils may have been replaced by updated software, but J Crew penny loafers rule!

  15. Thanks for coming back to us Susan. I have always liked the classic style and have many clothes, but you have given me great ideas on putting together great ensembles with what I already have. our love to you!

  16. Dear Susan, I’ve followed you for several years and appreciate all you give to us. My condolences on your loss and wish you and your family peace.

  17. Thank you Susan. Some how you always read my mind, and the direction I’m feeling about my wardrobe. I am so very sorry for your loss. I wish I had perfect words of comfort. Know you have legions of support out here and healing thoughts for you as you cope . Best love to you Susan .

  18. So sorry to read of the passing of le Monsieur. Having followed you for several years it was obvious that the two of you had a lovely relationship. Selfishly I’m glad to have you back on line.

  19. Your first outfit is spot on for me. It captures my style perfectly and in my palette! I feel as you do…I like that non fussy chic easy luxury style. I feel “me” in outfits like that.
    Again my condolences to you Susan. You’ve been bringing me joy for so many years now and I hope we are all returning a little of it back to you now.

  20. Dear Susan,

    I am so very sorry to learn of your husband’s death…how wonderful to have so many happy memories to carry you through the difficult days.

    Take care of yourself…and be kind to yourself.


  21. I’m so sorry about the loss of your husband. I’ve been there too and just wanted to mention that several of Rachel Naomi Remen’s books were a great help and comfort to me and might be for you as well.
    It’s wonderful to have you back!

  22. I am very sorry for your loss. I am happy you are back to posting some helpful comments for us. le Monsieur seem to be a great travel adventure partner.

  23. I discovered your site quite by accident about 4years ago and so appreciate all that you do. Your content and inspiration during our 3 year isolation of covid was
    Such a blessing. Thank you Susan Blakey for sharing your life journey so honestly.

    My sincere sympathy for you and your family for the recent loss of your husband
    Doug. May you be surrounded with gentleness, love and care as you begin your grief journey.

  24. Hello Susan – I bought the J Crew leopard belt you have pictured then I happen to go into a J Crew Factory Outlet over the weekend and there’s the same belt for much less. I checked both the regular and factory websites and I swear it’s the same belt but the only difference I can see is about $20, LOL. I bought the outlet belt and am returning the other one! Thanks for always putting up relevant content. I like your style.

    1. Thanks, they do look quite similar. From the description, it looks like the Factory belt is just a little narrower, and the buckle looks to be a bit more brushed or matte. But good catch! Here’s a link to the Factory belt:

  25. What a sad time for you – and how brave you are to continue on helping us with your upbeat posts. Sending condolences and thanks, please take care.

  26. My husband passed May 13. Yes, so much paperwork, even if you were organized! It is an odd feeling after being married for so long. (I’m 62). The first 2 months I really tried to stay at home, little TV or news and enjoyed the silence. I read a lot too. I think it gave my brain a rest. Now I am going out to eat with friends and very slowly entering being social. Between attorney and financial advisor and going through closet.
    My biggest takeaway after 3+ months is to give yourself time and do what feels good to YOU. Sending positive energy your way.

  27. Susan, I was away for a few days, so didn’t have the opportunity to express my condolences, until now. I am so sorry for your loss. I am certain that like me, everyone who are part of your blogging community sends love and prayers your way.

  28. Susan-
    We never get forget such loss but we do learn how to live with it. We wish peace for you.
    You asked for some suggestions for future posts. Quiet Luxe is very big right now. You have always been the epitome of that sentiment. Would love to have you help us to shop our closets to come up with outfits are Quiet Luxe with a little modern twist.

  29. Susan – I’m admiring your strength.

    Question: For blazers/sweater jackets, I’m so confused. Short/boxy? Long fitted? Long boxy? For preference, I’d like shorter (since I’m 5’2″) and not boxy. What is in for fall? I’m so confused. Thanks!

  30. Susan, all best wishes to you and your Jeune Homme.
    Your ‘unefemme’ community is here for you, as you have been here for us all these years.

  31. I’m sure it’s good to get back into an old groove now. Always a pleasure to read your musings on fashion. You are so in tune with where I’d like my own style to be, dragging me along into the modern world. Haha.

    It’s so hard when you lose a loved one. Their memory can be simultaneously for a blessing and also painful. It’s a dance as old as time, and connecting with your community (ies) is a way to find out how you are going to meet the world now. Love to you and your dear ones.

  32. Susan, I had sympathetic thoughts but wasn’t able to put them into words to share with you my condolences until tonight. You see, your loss hits close to home for me. My husband is suffering from a terminal neurological disease as well. Please know that I will be following your fashion guidance and also your life as you move ahead. All of my prayers and good wishes go with you.

  33. Susan – I’m so, so sorry for your loss. I’m one year out from losing my husband and it has gotten a bit better. The paperwork is less now and getting through the year of “firsts” without him was hard but each month seems a little brighter now. Lots of support from family and friends has helped me. I miss him and I miss the “me” I was with him. Many prayers and blessings to you as you navigate this journey. I love your blog. Thank you for coming back to this community! Question – and I know this is way too soon to think about – but maybe you could contemplate taking a small group of ladies to France with you someday…or Italy…. I love to travel with folks who have “been there”!! Count me in if you every decide to go for it!

  34. Dear Susan, thank you for posting so soon and sharing details of a personal nature. You are so dedicated to your readers.
    I love the first outfit (I’m an autumn), and all the tips you’ve given – the Demi-boot cut is new to me and I’m inspired by the cashmere vest…thank you.
    Spring has sprung early down here, and I’m feeling energised with a sense of re-entry too. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on fewer-but-better wardrobes, which I’m aiming for too.
    Big hugs from NZ xx

  35. I’m glad to see you are back. I really like your style! I’ve been reading all your travel articles because I have a big trip coming up. Question: what do you wear on the airplane? Do you have a favorite outfit?

  36. My sincere condolences on the loss of your husband. The photo montage was such a beautiful tribute to him. I will pray for you.

  37. My sincerest sympathy.

    Shops have really switched to Fall and with the heat we’ve had it’s hard to get into the mood! I hope you can feature some fall-ish colors in light fabrics. I think this year is going to have a long transitional season.

  38. With Fall approaching, would you suggest a few basic outfits that would be suitable for dressy casual outfits for about- town , car travel, dinner in a nice restaurant. Maybe mix and match ideas so one can look chic without spending a lot. Maybe a few new updated items to use with items we already have in our wardrobes.
    Thank you for your kind expertise even though you are experiencing such a sad time. Your readers appreciate you!