Found In Translation

Susan B of une femme d'un certain age wears a casual look with camel sweater coat, lavender scarf and metallic mules.

Pinterest, style blogs, and even some retailer websites are rich sources of style inspiration. But it can be frustrating when those inspiring looks won’t work for me (wrong proportions, too structured, etc.) Sometimes I’m able to break down elements of those outfits and translate them to my own style.

Scarf | Sweater | Top (Plus)| Necklace | Ring |
Bag (similar) | Jeans (Plus) | Shoes

Perusing the Japanese clothing website that inspired my post “Rethinking Flattering,” this outfit was one that caught my eye:

Lilac and camel outfit with woven bag. Details at une femme d'un certain age.


What really grabbed me here wasn’t necessarily these particular pieces, but the camel-and-lavender combo, and how the woven bag added a nice bit of texture. Not long after, I spied this scarf and everything clicked into place. I was able to incorporate the color combo into my “uniform” of jeans and a soft top. While my outfit isn’t quite as simple as the one above, I’m happy with the result!

Detail: Susan B of une femme d'un certain age wears a French Kande necklace with Mont St. Michel medallion.

Necklace is from French Kande. This style offers the option to choose a medallion, so I selected one of my favorites, featuring an image of Mont Saint Michel.

Regarding this scarf, the Nordstrom website describes it as silk but it’s actually a hand-loomed Ethiopian cotton blend, so nice and lightweight enough to wear well into Spring.

Detail: Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age wears a lavender plaid scarf, silver signet ring and carries a rattan bag.

I added a signet ring with a mini Louis medallion, and pulled out this little rattan tote (similar) that I picked up last year (after being inspired by Lauren Hutton’s rattan backpack). Straw and rattan bags are a fun (and often inexpensive) way to add a touch of Spring to an outfit.


Detail: Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age wears L'Amour des Pieds mules and cuffed jeans.

I’ve had these metallic mules for a couple of years, and yes, they are still comfortable! I love the quirky shape. (These run large, so order a full size down.)

Back To Basics: Go Anywhere Jeans


Have you been inspired to try any new color combinations lately?

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  1. That cool lavender and warm camel is stunning combination; I love it on you! It feels very Provencale. It really looks so pretty and spring like, doesn’t it? I need to check my colour chart and see if I can wear lavender 😀

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I’ll bet there would be at least one lavender or lavender-adjacent shade in your palette.

  2. I am probably the only one I know who doesn’t like shades of purple. Thinking light pink would work well with camel as well.

  3. I love the inspiration outfit and that color combination of lavender and camel, but I just can never get myself to mix wool with summer fabrics and materials (linen, straw, etc.) Maybe it’s because I’ve spent most of my life on the East Coast and in its more traditional four seasons. Five years in southern CA did show me that people in different climates have different rules, but I just can’t mix the two. (The exception being tropical weight wool.) Is the bag in your inspiration photo an open-weave leather? That to me works better as a transitional bag than raffia or straw. I’ll carry leather in the summer, but I can’t carry straw in the winter unless I’m somewhere with a tropical climate.

    And can we have a conversation about this whole sloppy hem phenomenon? I’m finally warming up to unfinished hem – even removed the hem of some cropped jeans that were just too short to wear and now they’re the perfect length, but I still think we’re going to look back on this trend in a few years and just cringe. The same with half-rolled cuffs on jeans. I like a crisp fold on jeans if I’m going to cuff them. That style has come and gone, and mostly stayed, after several decades. But the half-rolled? Maybe with sandals and a tank or wispy peasant top, but it just doesn’t look right to my eye with the more structured pieces you’re wearing here.

    I so appreciate your experimenting on our behalf!

    1. Thanks, Lee! I’m not sure if the bag in the inspiration photo is leather or straw. I tend to think straw because most of the other bags they showed were. In Southern California, our seasons are more blended, and it can be cold in the mornings and evenings, and warm in the afternoons. I find lightweight wool (like this cardigan) transitions well. I kind of like the half-rolled cuffs to keep things from looking too “done,” but you’re right, we all have a different “eye” and should go with what feels right to us.

  4. I love the camel and lavender. I think the handbag and shoes (along with the garments) seem dissonant – but that’s just me, I guess. A lot of texture? But… always look great Susan!

  5. In L.A., do you get any hand-loomed scarves from Mexico or Guatemala? Not all are in loud “tourist” colours. That lavender scarf is beautiful; odd that they did not identify the fabric properly.

    1. If you know where to shop, you can probably find them. Most of the ones you see in the touristy shops are made in China or elsewhere. Thanks!

  6. The lavender colour suits you. I wonder what this outfit would look like if you substituted your jeans for either white jeans to match your shirt or caramel coloured pants to match your coat??

    1. Thanks, Ali. I actually have another outfit in mind with this color combo that includes tan pants. 😉

  7. I adore this unexpected color combination and love how it looks on you. I followed the link for the scarf, but the stripe pattern and coloration looks slightly different than yours, which I prefer. Is there a link for the actual one you are wearing? Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. Thank you so much for opening up my eyes to the lavender and camel color combination! It’s gorgeous and will give me umpteen more ways to wear things I already have and love. You go!

  9. Beautiful! I love the look of the French Kande jewelry, but can’t get over that they only seem to use religious and royalist medallions, which are all associated with super-reactionary politics here in France. It would be so nice if they would dig up some nice republican (in the French sense) medals and coins for those of us who don’t want to give the impression of supporting the far right!

    1. Hi Ellie, the medallions are actually from the 1950’s and 60’s, and were tokens that businesses had created to give their customers, sort of like business cards. I guess that sort of accounts for the traditionalist themes.

  10. Do any of you ladies have an idea of how to order from the human woman,net site? There seems to be no comparable US site and I am seriously loving some of their items. Thanks for any help.

      1. Thanks, Susan. I hope you will continue to post outfits from the site at least occasionally. I enjoy the look and will certainly use today’s outfit as inspiration and a sort of jumping off point for spring shopping.

  11. You wore a solid lavender scarf in Paris a few years ago that inspired me to buy one myself. I never thought of wearing it with camel. The combination looks wonderful. (Lavender is a good color for you.)

  12. Love this unexpected color combo! I own the camel jacket and since camel/tan/beige is never a good color near my face I am always looking for something to punch it up and the lavender is very pretty. In my climate when its cool enough to wear the sweater jacket it would be too cool for that pretty cotton scarf but there are plenty of heavier weight materials available that would work. That being said that scarf would look great in the summer here with a tan linen blazer or cardigan.
    Those of us in the North East (and North of the 49th) are STILL in parkas, snow boots and toques so ANYTHING that says Spring is most welcome! Hoping to break out that camel jacket by May1!!!!

    1. Thanks, Ainsivalavie! I’m currently on the lookout for a lighter tan/camel jacket for warmer weather.

  13. Love, Love the lavender and camel combination. You are inspiring me to incorporate some lavender shades into my spring wardrobe. We are starting to see and feel some spring in Ontario now. I noticed crocus popping out of the earth this morning. Hallelujah!

  14. I love these colors, and I LOVE the mix of textures. So light, so playful, so modern, so a little bit edgy which is my favorite. Love rolled hem jeans, for that non-domesticated look;).

  15. Lavender is a great color for me, so I really enjoyed your post today. It gives me some ideas. I also like your longer hair (loved your short hair too) and will wait to see how long you let it get.

  16. I love discussions about color! The colors in your post today look awesome on you! I recently have become enamored with my best color palette and it really does make a difference. I need soft and warm colors. Those shades are my best look and I am actively seeking them out when I make any new purchases. And the right color combinations are so much fun!

  17. Susan, I just saw a bag that’s what I was getting at when I asked if the one you featured might be leather. It’s Madewell’s Medium Transport Tote: Basketweave Edition. It’s offered in English Saddle, the perfect shade of dark tan for transitional weather. I think you’re right that the Human Woman bag is some type of straw or raffia, and it’s probably the darker color (it also comes in navy) that makes it work so well with the entire outfit in your source of inspiration.

  18. Our styles, you and me, are a little different, but I bought those slides when I saw them on you. Like you, I love wearing them with jeans. You have worn them, too, for dressier occasions, but I like the contrast with more casual outfits. I have worn them to the point that they need to be replaced. The leather is worn due to my walking patterns, but what amazes most is that the heels look as new as when I first bought them. So comfortable, too. Yours appear to be the same. Great shoes.

  19. Great outfit. You cleverly applied the idea to your own outfit. I love how easy you wear the scarf. I am always fighting with them. So sad. Have seen so many scarf tutorials and still do not master it.
    The bag is a beauty. Much nicer than the ones you usually see.

    1. Thanks so much, Greetje! The nice thing about this scarf is that the texture “grabs,” so it tends to stay put where I’ve arranged it.

  20. I love the lavender color, delicate, soft but enough to pop out and catch your eyes. Love the necklace too. Great combination Susan!!

  21. In Japan a few years ago I saw gorgeous clothing. All well tailored, not trendy, just perfect classic clothing. I would have been in purchasing heaven if not for the fact that everything was in American preteen sizes. All so small but exquisite. All I could do was look! This lavender top is perfect. Love the band collar and the color. So nice you found a way to make the look work for you.