Thursday Miscellany: Style Priorities, Pip, & More

Susan B. wears Eileen Fisher lantern pants in linen, and Xirena cotton top. Details and more about style priorities at une femme d'un certain age.

When I posted the caftan from Tuesday’s blog on Facebook and Instagram, a few people commented that the shape wasn’t “flattering” and “didn’t show off” my figure. I was raised to believe that the most important thing about any piece of clothing was that it was “slimming,” so this was a familiar refrain.

As someone who has worked hard to move beyond this notion, I’m going to ask, “why?” Why is it so important to look smaller (or at least not larger)? Why do we have to “show off” our figures (or conversely hide figure “flaws”)? And how are those priorities impacting our style?

Top | Pants (Misses / Plus / Petite) | Sandals (similar)

Above, these linen lantern pants aren’t necessarily flattering in the usual “slimming” sense, but I love the shape and how they look (yes, even with the wrinkles). And during last week’s heat wave, they were so cool and comfortable! To balance the volume, I added this more fitted top in lightweight cotton gauze. Here’s one with a similar look that’s more budget-friendly.

Of course we want to look our best, and look like our most authentic, vibrant selves. Proportion, balance, personality, and yes, color all play into this. Which means that one style, one set of style priorities, does not fit all. I’ve come to that point where wearing what brings me joy is more important than “looking slim.”

And of course it’s fine if you prefer more fitted or tailored styles. I guess all I’m suggesting is don’t let fear of looking “bigger” make you afraid of wearing something you otherwise love. Don’t miss out on the joy.

Pip Update

Hummingbird chick perched on the side of a box. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This photo was taken a few days ago. By last Sunday, Pip (the rescued hummingbird chick) had begun perching on the side of his box and trying out his wings. Mama bird was still around and feeding him, so I decided to hang back and let nature take over.

His first couple attempts at flight didn’t get him far. I found him on the ground a couple of times and put him back on his perch. (The second time it was Mama swooping down toward where he had landed on the grass that helped us locate him.)

I’d developed the habit of checking on him first thing every morning when I woke up. Tuesday morning he was still perched. An hour later he was gone and I didn’t find him on the ground anywhere. I haven’t seen him or Mama bird since. I’m holding a good thought that he finally had enough strength to fly off with her. 🤞

In other good news…

We get to see Jeune Homme today for the first time since March! 🎉 The group home where he lives has approved day visits, so le Monsieur will be picking him up this morning and we’ll have him here at home for a few hours. Fingers crossed all goes smoothly.

And, another Eileen Fisher sale alert! This time many of the “System” pieces are marked down.

How’s your week going?

Stay in touch.

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  1. Lorraine M
    June 18, 2020 / 1:22 am

    I have several pieces of wafty linen in my wardrobe that are waiting (and waiting) for a heatwave here in the UK. When it comes, I’m the one who feels cool and comfortable and because of that I feel good. I don’t do sleeveless or shorts in public!

    I’m waiting for restrictions to be lifted so that I can go and have my colours done. It was supposed to be a special birthday treat and I’m trying to hold off buying anything until I have some guidelines. I love how your consultation has lead to the changes in your wardrobe which is now so vibrant and flattering. Can’t wait!
    Best wishes to you all in the USA amid the tough times the world is facing.

  2. Lee
    June 18, 2020 / 4:13 am

    I liked the caftan look on you. It looked fun. For today’s post, I thought the colours were great.

  3. June 18, 2020 / 4:19 am

    I thought your Caftan choice was so gorgeous and chic. The colors were so vibrant and pretty on you and I could tell by the smile on your face that you felt amazing wearing it. Isn’t that what getting dressed should be about… If you like it and how it makes you feel? I have decided at 61 that comfort and “my style” is most important to me rather than trying to fit in with what others think it should be and it feels glorious I love your style and your blog!

    • Ann
      June 18, 2020 / 4:27 am

      I agree with Leslie! I thought your caftan look was very chic.

      • Linda Simpson
        June 19, 2020 / 3:54 pm

        I also agree; I didn’t respond on that day, but I thought the brilliant colors were dazzling on you, and, yes, you looked so happy in your choice.

  4. Katrinka
    June 18, 2020 / 4:23 am

    Susan, this outfit is fabulous on you! It looks comfortable as well as stylish. I love linen and was taught to machine wash on gentle, “iron” with my hands as I laid it out flat to dry. What is great about this particular pair of elastic-waist pants is that there is not too much fabric at the waist creating an uncomfortable bulk. I find that is often an issue with some brands.

  5. Leah
    June 18, 2020 / 4:27 am

    Strongly disagree with those commenters, the caftan was gorgeous and stunning. It’s a keeper!

  6. Margaret
    June 18, 2020 / 4:34 am

    I love your attitude – I agree most of feel the need to dress so that we appear smaller which really when you think about it, is ridiculous – we should feel free to wear what makes us feel good. I also love your hair as it grows out – you look fabulous.

  7. Jeanette
    June 18, 2020 / 4:37 am

    Love this outfit on you
    Colour looks gorgeous

  8. RoseAG
    June 18, 2020 / 4:38 am

    I have been trying to wear things with button-waists, not so much for flattery as to remind my inner refrigerator-raider that enough is enough!
    I like those pants. They’re a bit longer on you than on the website. I think the taper in the leg is an important part of the look, and that it should hit at a particular spot.
    Best wishes for the visit with your son.

  9. Jo
    June 18, 2020 / 4:47 am

    This color from your new palate is a home run! And the red watch and is an unexpected pairing with the color of your outfit, but it really works & keeps it fun. Perfect.
    Have a wonderful visit with your son.

  10. Janie
    June 18, 2020 / 5:07 am

    I totally agree with you about the strange ideas of beauty that we were raised with and think the caftan is fabulous on you!
    Have a great visit with your son. Great news about Pip too!

  11. Jill
    June 18, 2020 / 5:09 am

    I thought your caftan was lovely and flattering! I find when I opt for a slimming fit, I feel happier. I understand what you are saying, but couldn’t the same argument be made about color? If one feels fabulous in black, even if it’s not in her color wheel, why not wear it? Our local news channel has a cute morning anchor(fair like me) who regularly wears colors that aren’t in her season. (You made me pay attention to this-lol!) She always looks fabulous and she’s 50ish. I find it interesting that she’s able to carry it off. I don’t want to take away from the point you are making, just an observation. I love the new look you have created!

  12. Karen
    June 18, 2020 / 5:18 am

    I loved the caftan, it looks so comfortable while still elegant. I think it is good to have a variety of styles to choose from. I have linen pants similiar in color and style to what you are wearing. I have always been on the edge about ironing them, yours look great so you have given me freedom from that task.

  13. Travie
    June 18, 2020 / 5:19 am

    I too loved the caftan on you. The slim pants with it were great. The colors and the drape of the fabric did not look unflattering. Variety is sometimes the best in a wardrobe and that was beautiful on you! Ignore the critics!

  14. Sally
    June 18, 2020 / 5:40 am

    Hooray for Pip! (I hope!!) What a wonderful experience to be able to assist that wee bird.
    Although I still love your ‘black’ period’ I think it’s wonderful that you’ve switched up your look. Exploration and curiosity is always good. I love those lantern pants but the bunching of the material around one’s bottom and hips doesn’t flatter my pear shape. I did get the EF lantern pants in a tencel material that has a different waist band. I still look better in a slim pant but frankly I’m more interested in comfort these days. I wear my Vuori performance joggers all the time down. So far I’ve avoided getting paint on them!
    You seem to be having lots of fun with different styles of clothes and lots of color within your personal palette — I’m all for joy right now!!

  15. Beverly Mowry
    June 18, 2020 / 5:48 am

    I disagree with those comments. The caftan was perfect on you; your whole face brightened wearing it. I wish indeed I could wear all those beautiful colors that you are enjoying. Enjoy time with your son today.

  16. Gae Nunes
    June 18, 2020 / 5:54 am

    I am surprised that some people thought the caftan was not flattering. I thought it looked great on you. A flowing top with a slim bottom is a good look for you. You chose a caftan that was flowing and loose and yet did not overwhelm your petite frame, and that is the key for a successful look, just the right amount of fabric. Other than the shape of the “sleeve” which isn’t as structured as your prior choices of looser tops with a slim bottom, I really don’t see the difference. I’ve been contemplating a full length caftan, but it is hard to find one that is flowing and loose without too much fabric and doesn’t look like the dreaded shapeless mumu. Glad you are able to have a visit with you son……enjoy!

  17. Debra Koroluk
    June 18, 2020 / 5:54 am

    I think that caftan looked stunning on you. Some styles are not meant to be slimming.

  18. Lynn
    June 18, 2020 / 5:55 am

    We have to agree to disagree about linen. It may be comfortable, but it wrinkles too much for me. Linen=just rolled out of bed look. So, it isn’t that the outfit isn’t flattering, i just think linen looks sloppy. However, if you like linen, then your outfit is great. The top balances as best as possible. On a more important note, good luck with your son’s visit! I hope it goes great.

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      June 19, 2020 / 4:46 am

      Knit linen doesn’t wrinkle nearly as much as woven. I love my linen t-shirts in hot weather, and yes, we do have very hot weather now up in Montréal!

  19. Jannie
    June 18, 2020 / 6:04 am

    What a wonderful beginning today!! We arrived at our son’s home yesterday to see him and our granddaughters for the first time since New Year’s…they live 7 hours away from us! It is such a gift to see them and we will be together for almost a week. I agree with you about how often we let the “fashion world” affect how we feel when we dress. Love linen even the wrinkles because it is so very comfortable. Wishing you an amazing visit with Jeune Homme. Have a very special day!

  20. Becky
    June 18, 2020 / 6:20 am

    Oh Happy Day for you to be allowed to see your son finally! A long wait but necessary during these times. A wish for a great reunion for all.
    Having recently purchased a Caftan to wear around the house during Quarantine I have to share that the bright colors were uplifting and oh so comfortable to wear. I have found during this Stay at Home it was somewhat liberating to go make up free and dress to please me and only me.
    It has been a nice break to re-evaluate what is really important for happiness to live your best life.
    Wear what makes you happy !
    So enjoy seeing you glow in your colors !

  21. June 18, 2020 / 6:31 am

    I have a topic I’d love to have you address in a future post. My cotton t-shirts, whether Talbots, Lands End, or J. Crew (my most common purchases) constantly get little holes on the stomach area, sometimes after only a couple of wearing a. I have read that this is s “thing” that happens and a flaw in the garment that the consumer cannot do much about. Sometimes I get a good response from the merchant and a return or credit is given (if I bother to contact them). But what a pain! I lost 4 tees in the past week from almost new (2nd wearing) to a few months old (but far from worn out and worn less than once a week).

    I’d say this problem has been a round for a few years but it seems to me it is a side effect of “disposable clothing” that is relatively cheap. I get it if I buy a shirt for $12-$15 but when I pay $40, I expect more. Is it too much to expect? Are there any brands you’ve had good luck with? I shudder to pay $60 or $70 for a tee to wear for super casual wear (walks, grocery, yard work) only to have it fail.

    I have had better luck with active wear tees from Columbia, the shiny, breathable ones. But they aren’t so pretty, cannot be dressed up, and the colors are not often in my color pallet.

    Thanks for all the great info you dispense!

    • Lisa B
      June 18, 2020 / 7:11 am

      Hi Laurel,
      I had the same issue especially with J Crew and have found that my Everlane tees seem to hold up pretty well. I’ve had some from two years ago that don’t have the dreaded holes. Their white tee is a very thin material and I’ve just purchased it so I can’t vouch for that one but my black and navy tees have held up very well.
      Lisa B

    • Margot
      June 18, 2020 / 10:57 am

      I’m with you! Although I’m a big fan of j.jill, it makes me unhappy that their t-shirts quickly get holes (everywhere – not just “wear” areas) and their sweaters pill so much. I’d like some answers too!

  22. Jean
    June 18, 2020 / 6:49 am

    I bought some turquoise linen material, and then a “fun” (complimentary colors) linen that has cute elephants on it. My idea was to make a summer weight pants or skirt out of one, and top out of the other. But now I can’t get out of my head that because I am not the smallest of people, I shouldn’t wear linen OR the elephants. Self image is still being worked on here…

    I don’t think I’m a caftan person, but the colors were gorgeous, and I loved your expression when asking for the better gin! 🙂

    • NDakota
      June 18, 2020 / 7:48 am

      Go for it! Wear the elephants because they make YOU happy, Jean! I say it shows a spunky personality that loves life.

      • June 18, 2020 / 9:32 am

        I’m joining the chorus of those who loved your caftan! You looked cool, comfortable and happy. As Jennifer pointed out, caftans are not supposed to show your figure. Women living in hot humid climates have known for centuries that this type of garment works much better than something close to the body. You are so right to say wear what makes you feel happy and confident! Tight fitting is so uncomfortable and when those tummy rolls show, well, who wants to spend the day tugging at a top.
        Congratulations to you for helping Pip! He and mama may very well return.

    • Lee Rosenthall
      June 18, 2020 / 12:53 pm

      I just bought a huge (42″) square scarf with those colors AND elephants, and I love it. It’s polyester, not silk, but it’s a lovely weight, and less fragile, I presume, than silk. So many ways to wear it! And I am far from petite (or demure), but I love elephants. And linen. I no longer care what anybody thinks. Isn’t part of what makes getting older fun is that we can abandon what others expect of us and do our own thing? Go for it!

  23. Patty Ruth
    June 18, 2020 / 6:52 am

    I need to join in the chorus of caftan approval here: it looked great on you! Pay no attention to those people who are fixated on the idea that the only point of clothes is to make our bodies look as if they match whatever is the current notion of female pulchritude!

    • Margee
      June 18, 2020 / 4:39 pm

      Hooray, Patty Ruth! I agree completely! Susan, your caftan was gorgeous and you looked fabulous in it! Luxuriate in it and enjoy.

  24. Lisa B
    June 18, 2020 / 7:07 am

    I thought you looked great! From someone who has been “dieting” for about 52 years I say ENOUGH! I just had my 65th birthday and I am tired of never allowing more than a mouthful of cake or a spoonful of ice cream. I try to eat healthy but being my post aerobic instructor/ballet taking weight isn’t as much a priority any longer. I grew up in the 60’s with Twiggy in the age of anorexia. I remember being horrified when I reached 100 lbs. as a teenager. When do we become comfortable in our own skins? As long as we’re healthy, exercise and try to eat healthy when are we okay to just enjoy food? When can we stop judging other women? Do we think our tombstone will read “Here Lies—-She Wore a Size 4!
    Anyway, Love your clothes and your blog and your devotion to the sweet PIP.

  25. cynthia willis
    June 18, 2020 / 7:23 am


    May your weekend with your son be uneventful in the BEST possible way! I will be thinking of you and wishing you all the best.
    I loved the last post, you look like a ray of sunshine!

  26. June 18, 2020 / 7:27 am

    So happy you get to see your son! I saw mine in early March too, and haven’t seen my daughter since February:(. Don’t know when I’ll see them again. Forced separation is hard.

    I loved the caftan look. I don’t even know what the nay-sayers were talking about, but you know how I feel about the requirement to show off and flatter one’s figure. I only feel like doing that now and again. The rest of the time, for get it.

    Love the color of your lantern trousers, the only thing I might consider, at least with this long-sleeved shirt, would be shortening them to just above the ankle for proportion and a little skin for contrast.

  27. Linda
    June 18, 2020 / 7:55 am

    Caftan looked awesome, It inspired me to dig mine out!

  28. Alexis I
    June 18, 2020 / 7:57 am

    I like your thoughtful response regarding the caftan fit. I think that a looser fitting garment can be more subtle in how it reflects the body beneath it, which is fine – we can do what we want. I love the pattern in the blouse and the texture of the pant that you are wearing today, and I loved the color and flow of the caftan – I would wear both of these outfits in a heartbeat! I loved the story about the little hummingbird, and was glad to hear it was able to fly away with mom. I’m happy for you that you get to visit with your son!

  29. Vicki Levy
    June 18, 2020 / 8:08 am

    You saved a little life!
    I feel a little sad that your baby bird seems to have flown the coop, but of course this is the natural cycle of things.
    I hope you have a lovely visit with your son, and…..

    Your clothes look great, when you are smiling in them. That’s my thinking.

  30. Kathryn
    June 18, 2020 / 8:09 am

    Good to read your “good news” post this morning. Pip looks very healthy in this picture and I believe he’s off on his life adventure thanks to your kind intervention.
    I like your lantern pants—linen, especially the unpressed/washed fabric is perfect for our southwest weather.
    I hope Le Jeune Homme will enjoy this long-postponed visit with ses parents.

  31. Eileen
    June 18, 2020 / 8:11 am

    I love your new colors on you. I do notice that brighter and shiny clothes ( silk and leather) are photographing better on you than the matte fabrics ( linen as shown today). And since I sew, I do wonder what a tailor would change, if anything…you don’t mention if you use a tailor. Comfort is fine, if fit is addressed. Does an item need half an inch less? A couple of darts ? There is a difference between slimming, and “ fits correctly “. I notice also some pic angles and backgrounds can change how a garment appears…. I am learning a lot! Thanks for your site!

  32. June 18, 2020 / 8:14 am

    Right on! Why do we have to look slimmer and why do we have to look younger? Who started this? Women’s magazines? You look great in both features.

  33. Jan Whichard
    June 18, 2020 / 8:14 am

    Well….I thought the caftan was pretty and shouldn’t be relegated to the ladies who are really tall and thin….I think it’s more about where you would wear it and in that lovely outdoor cocktail “party” setting it was totally fun. I wouldn’t wear it to a symphony probably. I agree this “body must be thin” mantra is for the birds (had to get Pip in there!). I thinks it’s about what makes your heart sing. You have taught a lot about clothes and body shape and fit and color and how much fun clothes can be so thanks! I wear clothes that make me feel confident and that I like…..everything else gets taken out of the closet.

    So while linen isn’t my thing because of the wrinkles, I can clearly tell by the photo they make your heart sing….and “you look fabulous dahling”…have fun with your boy.

  34. Gitte F. Olsen
    June 18, 2020 / 8:22 am

    Susan, you looked amazing and radiant in the caftan outfit. You felt great in the outfit and it showed on your pictures.

    Enjoy the day with your son.

    All the best,

  35. Shari
    June 18, 2020 / 8:24 am

    SUSAN! The caftan was one of the prettiest things I’ve seen you model! A cute short choice for petite you and perfect coloring! I’d like one in pinks and royal blues!
    The idea of a caftan is to be breezy and your look accomplished it beautifully!

  36. Lily
    June 18, 2020 / 8:32 am

    I liked the caftan outfit. It fit my mantra of “just one piece”. For example, if I want to wear a bright color it’s not head to toe, it’s “just one piece”. In your case it is one over-sized piece (the caftan, which really wasn’t that big) paired with a slim piece, the pants. Jennifer’s look was head to toe big. Just what works for me.

  37. Nancy Karpen
    June 18, 2020 / 8:36 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more. It was beautiful and it lit up your face, as a lot of your new clothing does. Enough of the it makes me look fat. Interesting clothing isn’t always traditionally flattering, but it’s fun to wear. And, damn it’s not warm enough here on LI to wear linen either, but that will change quickly .

  38. Liza
    June 18, 2020 / 8:40 am

    LOVED the bright, happy caftan! and your big martini glass (reminded me of Ina’s hilarious cosmo video). I look forward to your posts and pics in the morning, always interesting, informative, and your funny personality shines through 🙂

  39. June 18, 2020 / 9:00 am

    The caftan on you is simply stunning.

  40. Lee
    June 18, 2020 / 9:01 am

    I read Jennifer’s post about caftans & she got similar comments regarding the way the caftans weren’t figure flattering! As you & others have noted, we need to work on getting past that & focus on being comfortable & wearing what we like.

    Enjoy your visit with your son! How wonderful to finally see one another again.

  41. Dara
    June 18, 2020 / 9:02 am

    Your outfits are Very flattering to me. Follow your heart and style with your clothing.

  42. June 18, 2020 / 9:11 am

    This is all good news. Pip flying out, you not being bothered with looking slim anymore and last but certainly not least, seeing le jeune homme again. I hope everything goes really well.
    As for the slimming thing… I think that your figure will shine through things like linen pants and kaftan. You move, they sit close to your body.

  43. Laura C
    June 18, 2020 / 9:31 am

    Thanks for the reminder that it’s not all about looking slimmer! That being said, I thought your caftan was extremely flattering, due to the colors, the shape, and the silk fabric.
    I love silk but I also love the texture of linen. It’s great to have the contrast.

  44. June 18, 2020 / 9:33 am

    I completely agree with you, Susan! In addition to asking why is it so important to look smaller, I would also ask why is it so important to look younger? Obviously, no one wants to look old and haggard, but I think our culture’s emphasis on trying to hide our age does us a great disservice. Like you, I want to look authentic and vibrant.

    Hope you have a wonderful visit with Jeune Homme!

  45. Anon
    June 18, 2020 / 9:43 am

    Women should be seen and heard. Dress for joy! Dress to take your righful place in this world! We are not taking up too much space. We take up as much space as we need. We are never too old or too big or too whatever. We are just right, Goldilocks!

  46. Susan D.
    June 18, 2020 / 10:01 am

    I thought you looked particularly beautiful in the caftan–as you do in every ensemble that is in your colors. What I see is the color, the movement, and that you look so happy. So glad that you are going to see your son today. I hope it goes well for everyone.

    June 18, 2020 / 10:05 am

    I, for one, loved the caftan you chose, vibrant and elegant on you.
    It seems the whole point of clothing pieces that lightly touch some body parts is to feel cool and airy.

  48. Chris
    June 18, 2020 / 10:40 am

    “I’ve come to that point where wearing what brings me joy is more important than “looking slim.”
    “Don’t miss out on the joy”

    Dear Susan, thank you. This is what it is all about. And in a bigger way what life is about. Look for the sunshine. You always look beautiful and your blog brings me joy. So happy you get to see your son. Also,
    I loved following the saga of little Pip so thank you for sharing that sweet story.

  49. Karen
    June 18, 2020 / 11:18 am

    I actually almost commented on the caftan post. I thought you looked fabulous! Several of the pics were lots of fun, but you actually looked really great in each of them. I will say this – of course we want to look our best, but I’ve found that I look best when I’m comfy and thus not thinking about how I look – just enjoying myself.

  50. Linda C. Green
    June 18, 2020 / 11:25 am

    Susan, thank you so much for addressing the question of “flattering” clothing. My biggest style-related peeve.

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