Small Steps: Adding Color

Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age wears a casual summer outfit with a red linen shirt, jeans, and raffia sneakers.

Some of you have expressed that you’re eager to see some new outfits based on my recent color and style analysis. Believe me, I am too! If I could wave a magic wand 💫 and conjure up a new wardrobe in “my” colors and styles, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

A Summer Outfit With Some Color…

Earrings (similar) | Top | Leather Bracelet |
Gold Bracelet | Jeans | Bag | Shoes

One thing I was certain of at the outset was that replacing the black and “wrong” colors I purged from my wardrobe would take some time. And I suspected that my investment in my Red Leopard session would pay for itself over time with fewer shopping mistakes. It looks as if both predictions will prove true. Because of the guidance I received, I’ve become a much more focused and discriminating shopper.

After I cleared out my closet, I identified “lightweight tops with sleeves” as a shopping priority to get me through summer and early fall. And wouldn’t you know, I’ve found just about everything but! Other than tee shirts and sweaters, the few tops I’ve seen in my colors are mostly too fussy, frilly, floral, oversized, or long.

Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age wears Hermes leather bracelet and French Kande pearl studded cuff.

This red top has been one of the few keepers so far. It’s linen, so comfortable on warm days. It’s a little more polished than a tee, but still casual. The color is a warm poppy red. The cut is boxy, so I sized down to a 2 for a neater look. (I’m usually a 4 in Everlane shirts.)

I can already hear you asking, “doesn’t it wrinkle?” I’ve worn it for several hours at a time, including stretches of sitting in a car wearing a seatbelt; found it creases only minimally.

Detail: Susan B wears Clergerie raffia sneakers. Info at une femme d'un certain age.

The shoes were a recent splurge, but they are so comfortable, and really add a fun, funky element to a simple summer outfit. (Remember my Gamine style mantra is Cute, Neat, Funky.) I’ve been wearing them almost daily!

At this point, I’m going to wait until more of the pre-fall and fall collections arrive to look for additional tops. With any luck, the selection will be better 🤞.

Do you sometimes have difficulty finding clothing in your preferred colors?

Stay in touch.

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65 Comments

  1. SuD
    August 1, 2019 / 4:12 am

    You look great in that color! I always size down a few sizes in Everlane tops and I am a v shape. My lines suit the flamboyant gamine style with no fussy frills as well. I guess i’m a minimalist/gamine hybrid. I was surprised that boxy tops (not too wide) work with my shape.

  2. August 1, 2019 / 4:23 am

    I love that blouse on you Sue. Looks like your colour and style analysis has really worked for you. I always thought you looked great. But I love the new avenue you’re exploring style-wise.

    • Kathy
      August 1, 2019 / 7:03 am

      I have to agree. I thought you looked great before, but you look amazing now! Getting my colors done.

  3. Jeanne
    August 1, 2019 / 4:28 am

    I love this outfit! The shirt is so flattering to you. I love the texture of the shoes. Please please let us know where we can get colors done in the states! I am pretty positive I am an autumn and it’s funny how I recall brown in the wardrobe of my youth. My mom was intuitively good at this I surmise. When I was in the eighth grade I had a brown dress with big daisies and puffy sleeves. It was 1968, the Twiggy era. I realize now why I loved that dress. It looked good on me! I would love a palette of colors to reference. Look forward to more posts like this.

  4. Ainsivalavie
    August 1, 2019 / 4:47 am

    Total change from your last post…this is you!! I had my doubts about that aqua top you were wearing a few posts ago ( pretty but meh) this tomato red looks so lively and looks great with the jeans. I adore your earrings because I tend to wear a slightly more boho style and they would be in my basket for sure but I guess they answer your ‘funky,fun’ look too.

  5. Frances C Geissler
    August 1, 2019 / 4:49 am

    I congratulate you for embracing change – so hard for us to do! Your look had gotten drab and now you seem to be more yourself. Thanks for showing us courage and that it can be done 🙂

  6. August 1, 2019 / 4:54 am

    I love those shoes, and they would be fun in red as well.
    Yes, it is very hard to find the right color. I saw a great dress at Mango and it fit well but the color was acid yellow. I didn’t want to look like Big Bird. I would have bought it in a heartbeat in red.

  7. Maire
    August 1, 2019 / 5:07 am

    Ever since I read the post about your in-depth color analysis I’ve become rather timid about purchasing new items until I have mine done.

    I have a walk-in closet full of clothes and don’t really need anything but I do like to add a few pieces here and there to freshen my look and add some interest. But now I discovered that don’t want to do anything until I have confidence that I am heading in the right direction.

    What a quandry.

  8. E E Deere
    August 1, 2019 / 5:10 am

    I absolutely have trouble finding colors, they go in and out of production. I have an amateur and undocumented impression that warm reds (poppy, tomato, etc.) are in now, and I’d say buy extra. I need a blue toned red and they are scarce.
    But you do look adorable in this outfit, for sure.
    Sometimes I go to an English website called Kettlewell Colours and they sell clothes in all four “seasons”. The things I’ve gotten there were well made, they have a lot of knits.

  9. Ellen
    August 1, 2019 / 5:33 am

    I always have trouble finding clothes in thecolors I want. Right now, the stores are filled with blue, blue, and a little more blue. In the early summer there was a pale, tepid coral. I like blue, but not as the only color in my closet. I think that the lack of choice makes it hard to do a wholesale makeover as you are trying to do. I wouldn’t get rid of my Fall clothes just yet.

    • Susan B
      Author
      August 1, 2019 / 5:47 am

      Yes, if you’re a Summer, you’ll have no trouble finding your colors! There’s so much blue! I wonder if retailers consider it a “safe” color, since most people don’t shy away from it? I’ve also found that there are lots of nice colors for those with an Autumn palette, the mustards and warmer olives. If you’re a Spring, some of the warm browns that are starting to come in will work as neutrals.

  10. August 1, 2019 / 5:48 am

    When I saw that pic in my email, I gasped (slightly). It was so striking! Good work.

    I just got back from Nova Scotia, where I found a little store that had flow-y, jewel-toned pants for a ridiculously low price. I bought 4 pair. Now to pair them with the appropriate tops….

  11. Barbara
    August 1, 2019 / 5:49 am

    My comment has nothing to do with your new colors but rather linen. I’ve added several new pieces this summer and last and am learning to embrace the wrinkles while staying cool in summer heat and humidity. I’ve also discovered linen items don’t tend to be trendy which means they’ll have longevity.

    • Claudia
      August 1, 2019 / 6:40 am

      I have linen shirts that are 20+ years old. A hot iron and a little spray starch and I’m good to go. They are timeless. Also have several pairs of linen pants, but I rarely wear them if I’ll be sitting most of the day, like at the office. The wrinkles across the lap bother me.

  12. Sandy J
    August 1, 2019 / 6:29 am

    Susan,
    That color is very flattering on you. And, I think you’ve nailed the Gamine style with this outfit. Though I think you have always dressed well and stylishly, I can see how this style change suits you! How fun! It’s making me want to make a trip to London and the Red Leopard salon!

  13. August 1, 2019 / 6:32 am

    Love your shoes! I’ve looked at them several times and wonder if the raffia would be sort of itchy or uncomfortable?

    • Susan B
      Author
      August 1, 2019 / 6:33 am

      Thanks! I wondered that too, but surprisingly it isn’t. They have also softened up a little bit with wear.

  14. August 1, 2019 / 6:37 am

    Yay for color! You may have some better luck going forward on tops like you’re wearing, as it seems like I’ve seen a few while out shopping recently.

  15. Eileen
    August 1, 2019 / 7:02 am

    I am a summer, and other than blue, the colors are hard to find, as the tones are mixed, greyed navy, rosy brown, so they often look like a dye lot that didn’t come out right. And pastels… it’s hard to find unless it’s a cheap tee .

  16. stephanie ashworth
    August 1, 2019 / 7:09 am

    You look fabulous in that shirt! I am just dying to get my Red Leopard consultation. I want that glowing with vitality vibe you are giving off. It will come soon enough and in the meantime I congratulate you on taking the plunge and making the changes.
    p.s. Have you ever looked at RealReal.com? Their niche is resale of authenticated couture items but have many new with tag items. Also a great place to sell your items. They have thousands of clothing items in all different colors and all seasons. Might be worth a look.

  17. Debra
    August 1, 2019 / 7:16 am

    Love this! You do look wonderful in this color – and those shoes! Sadly, like many other Everlane pieces this is cut too short for me…but perfect for a petite like you.

    I thank you for showcasing the leather bracelet – I’m headed to Paris next year for my 60th birthday and I think a similar bracelet (in silver) will be my birthday gift to myself. I have loved this series on your ‘new you’ and look forward to reading more.

  18. AndreaB
    August 1, 2019 / 7:33 am

    It is oh-so-hard to find my colors, a softer/muted autumn palette, and I’m consistently frustrated. Even my favorite neutrals (indigo, not navy, and soft white, not ivory) can be a challenge to find. Add on top of that a desire for necklines that don’t choke me (lower than a jewel neck) and pants that are long enough in both the rise and the leg length, and I’m lucky if I can find anything that I love. I often settle, just to have something to wear. It makes shopping torture.

  19. Rondi
    August 1, 2019 / 8:40 am

    You look fabulous! I love that there are no layers and no fuss. Just a simple and rather happy look!

  20. Shar
    August 1, 2019 / 8:40 am

    What a great, well-edited and polished outfit! That top is a great color for you and I love, love, love the clean lines. I, too, have s difficult time finding the colors I like and styles that are not fussy and classic, yet stylish. Today’s “total package” is an absolute winner and you look fabulous.!

  21. Barb
    August 1, 2019 / 8:40 am

    I love you in both the color and style of that top. I’ve also been looking for summer tops that aren’t tee shirts that flatter my somewhat apple shape and have been eyeing this Everlane shirt. I’m 5’ 3” tall, and seeing it on your petite figure has convinced me to pull the trigger! I’m a “winter,” so I will go for the black. Thanks for the inspiration!

  22. Garden Goddess
    August 1, 2019 / 8:42 am

    If you are desperate for summer clothing and all you can find in the stores are fall and winter clothes, how about trying thrift and resale stores? So many people are cleaning out their closets these days and getting rid of clothes that don’t fit them or are the wrong colors or that just don’t spark joy. So many of these clothes are barely worn, or even with the tags still on! It’s really worth a try and probably the only place you will ever find “in season” clothing… Plus, the price is right! Good luck.

  23. Esmeralda
    August 1, 2019 / 8:42 am

    I’d guess I’m also spring & gamine-inclined (probably one of the reasons I’m always keen on your choices) … and yes, the colours are not all easy to find in England. Have a theory that if I went on holiday to Scandinavia, the shops would be full of choices for paler people? Have been looking at Kettlewell, but not bought – can anyone report on the textures/feel of the fabrics?

    • Susan B
      Author
      August 1, 2019 / 8:45 am

      I’ve actually picked up a couple of pieces from them (a tee and a jacket) and the quality seems to be good. The tee feels substantial. The jacket is a faux suede, and seems well-made.

      • Esmeralda
        August 1, 2019 / 8:52 am

        Thanks! Might give them a go …

  24. Eileen
    August 1, 2019 / 9:32 am

    I did some research, there are more winters and autumns and dark hair, than spring, summers and light hair, so it makes sense that there is more of those colors in the stores, hence the problem. And the stores are tightening their inventory, so I’m sometimes wondering if all that will be left, is jeans, black pants, and white tees, sorry, but it feels like that sometimes…..

    • Susan B
      Author
      August 1, 2019 / 9:44 am

      I agree that retailers seem to be playing it “safe” with colors these days. Something I’ve learned from Red Leopard that’s interesting though, is that dark-haired, dark-skinned people can also be Springs, and people who are fair can be Winters. It’s such a fascinating discipline.

      • Eileen
        August 1, 2019 / 2:23 pm

        Yes, I have read that also, I just looked it up because so many items were certain colors, like black, but not offered in other colors, so I was curious. I love your new colors on you, and I am curious what brands you will buy/ work with, I am looking forward to this adventure!

        • Rondi
          August 1, 2019 / 8:52 pm

          Eileen, color analysis is much more complicated then you think. It is not true that only fair haired people are springs and summers. It’s definitely not that simple. I am fair, blue eyed, and have ashy brown hair naturally. I am a soft autumn. And black is not in my palette either. I am not an expert on retail but I suspect stores are full of black because it’s easy.

  25. Jen
    August 1, 2019 / 9:51 am

    Like you, I am a spring. Yes, it is hard some seasons to find attractive colors and designs. I decided several years ago to wait for seasons that feature “my” colors to update. It has worked fairly well but some seasons I can be so bored.with my wardrobe.

  26. Daniella
    August 1, 2019 / 10:46 am

    Going in the right direction! Getting it right without trying too hard! Tres chic! It’s an attitude, “ nonchalante” more than anything else! And it’s irrespective of color ! Keep it simple with a few good pieces. Less is definitely more! European women know that instinctively! Besides, their wardrobes are much thinner than what you find here. They are very discriminating since their funds are thinner too! No mistakes, can’t afford them. Fun sneakers!

    • August 1, 2019 / 5:25 pm

      Daniella, that is not the reason. If you mean western Europe, it is far from poor, and far less dire poverty than in North America. But in general older build housing, smaller storage spaces, and even postwar housing followed this plan. Though frankly, throwaway “fast” fashion has become a worldwide plague.

  27. August 1, 2019 / 12:27 pm

    I finally succumbed to the endless wrinkles of linen and added two pieces to my wardrobe this Summer. A white linen shirt from Everlane (I find the size accurate) and slightly baggy white pants that taper to a cropped hem. The pants I bought from Maje a size bigger than they’re meant to be because I preferred this cut loose.
    Can I just say again how much I love your hair colour? It’s perfect, no fading necessary

  28. Eva
    August 1, 2019 / 1:21 pm

    I’m that person that neve pays full price for almost everything. When I first saw a picture of your bag in a past post, I knew I had to have it; however, I wasn’t going to pay that price. I searched until I found one almost exactly like this one (the beads between the slats are not on mine, I have small rectangles) for 37.00! I look at the style first & then look at the color, if they don’t have the color I want or I don’t like any of the colors, I move on.
    Since your post from Red Leopard (I’m still pouring over it!!) I have really been looking at color as well. Great post as usual, you look beautiful in this breezy, cool factor outfit!!

  29. Leslie Toms
    August 1, 2019 / 1:43 pm

    Unlike you I’m not of the same color season as you. It’s great to see you so excited about discovering a new direction for yourself. I’m just wondering if you plan to help inspire the rest of us deal with our color palettes!! Feeling a bit left out!

    • Susan B
      Author
      August 1, 2019 / 3:02 pm

      Hi Leslie, while I won’t be purchasing clothing and wearing outfits meant for other color seasons, I’ll continue to feature items suitable for people with different color “seasons” than my own.

      • August 1, 2019 / 5:32 pm

        I’m not at all of your season, but found this blouse smashing! The only problem is that it seems a bit short, and I am almost exactly your height, though I have a longer torso and shorter legs. I’m surprised you can take a size 2, as while you are very slim now, you do have a considerable bosom. (While I’ve lost quite a bit of weight, I’m still plumper than you, and alas have even more boobage, and small shoulders and back…

        I think this is a colour that can work for more than one “season”. And it is very mid-century gamine. Audrey, Jean Seberg…

  30. Angela in NZ
    August 1, 2019 / 3:55 pm

    I found your comment about dark haired people being Spring interesting. Whilst being consultant styled as Winter (4 seasons only) I am still drawn towards the brighter reds, not just true red. On a self analysed basis from reading Imogen Lamport’s Inside Out Style I’ve concluded that it is the contrast that is more important for me than the actual colour. High contrast, bright colours work so much better for me and so this year’s offerings will not be finding their way into my wardrobe. Patience seems to be the key but it’s not my strongest quality. You look splendid, can’t wait to see what your winter clothes will be.

  31. Elise
    August 1, 2019 / 3:56 pm

    Here is my question: Where did all the black come from? I am a Summer, yet I have so much black. Is it just safe and easy? I need a break of color!!!! This post is inspiring me. Now what to do with all the black????

    • August 3, 2019 / 6:34 pm

      Rehome it if you don’t love it, or find a way to combine it with other colours. My first real love outside the mammalian love for mum and dad was a wee black kitten my older cousins had. I have passionately loved cats since then, and especially black cats.

  32. Julia Lovatt
    August 1, 2019 / 4:38 pm

    You look lovely Susan, as always, though I have to say that a longer fringe (bang in American lingo) would suit you better. You have a high forehead. The really short cut is not that flattering.
    The high collar of the shirt suits you well ( have you watched Grace and Frankie, Jane Fonda is so gorgeous with her lovely clothes)
    So anyway, sorry about the (slightly) negative comments but I so love your blog.

    • Claudia
      August 1, 2019 / 5:43 pm

      Julia,I have to agree. Susan, I think the longer chin length bob with the thicker “fringe” is SO much more flattering and (dare I say it) a more youthful look for you. I do love that you are breaking out more colors after your Red Leopard session. But really, don’t we all know by this age, if not decades earlier what we look good in? I have no Idea what my “season” is…but when I wear any shade of coral or orange, I just feel good. The compliments come from everywhere, even men.

        • Susan
          August 1, 2019 / 11:19 pm

          I love your shorter pixie cut and also the red shirt. I’m another petite Susan, so always very interested in what you’re wearing, however I’m definitely a winter and find buying colours, apart from black, challenging. I live near Paris and so far from what I’ve seen, the new ranges are going to suit the Autumns.

  33. annie vanderven
    August 2, 2019 / 8:09 am

    You look fabulous in that colour. Love the shoes unfortunately cant bend far enough to tie shoes anymore, so any slip on shoes are my fate..

    • August 3, 2019 / 6:38 pm

      Annie, I have arthitis. Still, I walk and cycle a lot. Please get a stool, to adjust your shoes and keep on walking!

  34. August 2, 2019 / 10:36 am

    I don’t know if you’ve already seen this brand at Nordstrom, but I’ve been really pleased with just about everything I bought from it. It’s called Hinge and they use almost no poly (I just can’t wear it, I get so sweaty!). This blouse might be more patterned than you like, but the color is lovely and sunshiney! https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/hinge-pintuck-v-neck-blouse/5232646

    • Susan B
      Author
      August 2, 2019 / 10:42 am

      Thanks, yes it is a cute top and a good color, but a bit long for me. I’m keeping an eye on this brand, though, especially for the non-poly fabrics!

  35. August 2, 2019 / 12:06 pm

    That’s a good look. Hair is stunning; had mine chopped right back in similar fashion last week and love it. Really short hair looks cheerful to my eyes. Saw a woman yesterday who was totally brilliant – well into her 60s I would say, white haired and wearing boyfriend jeans, sneakers and white linen shirt, all very relaxed. She seemed happy, comfortable and had obviously put thought into what she was wearing but not too much thought. Still a bit cross with myself that I didn’t actually go up and tell her how great she looked. If I see her again, I will.

    • Claudia
      August 2, 2019 / 12:16 pm

      It took me some time to overcome my natural reticence but I almost always speak up when I see une femme d’une certain age looking fabulous. It has never NOT been appreciated!

  36. M
    August 3, 2019 / 9:11 am

    I hope your lovely red/coral patterned scarf survived your edit – I thought that colour suited you very well.

    • Susan B
      Author
      August 3, 2019 / 10:07 am

      Yes it did! Thank you. 🙂

  37. Cinzia
    August 3, 2019 / 7:29 pm

    Here’s the problem I have with seasonal color palettes — I don’t happen to like many of “my” colors. I just don’t feel happy in taupes, muddy browns, oranges. And if I don’t like them, I don’t feel good wearing them. So I disregard seasonal palettes for the most part. I wear what I like and feel good in. I do take a few tips onboard with regard to make-up colors, but that’s about it.

    What intrigues me about your experience is the style profiles. I hope to find out more about those. Not sure what mine would be. I’m mainly classic but a bit sporty in the sense of good Italian knitwear…. and not afraid of some pattern.

    • Rachel
      August 4, 2019 / 10:23 am

      That’s interesting, Cinzia. In the ‘Colour me Beautiful’ colour analysis, I am a cool&clear (or possibly what they call Winter in the seasonal categories?). If it’s helpful, there are some pinks in that colour range that I completely ignored for the last 5 years, and am only now enjoying wearing. I definitely had an unresolved issue with pink!! I also wanted to keep wearing muddier colours that I know don’t look as nice against my skin tone as the clear bright colours.

      My reaction to the colour analysis wasn’t as strong as yours though – as I do really like several of the colours in my palette – electric blue, dark green etc.

      And Susan, I am *really* enjoying seeing the results of your colour consultation! This shirt colour just sings on you.

  38. Sheila-Merle Johnson
    August 4, 2019 / 6:45 pm

    I had my colors done a few times many years ago. The best, most varied and true to me were done by PSC – Personal Style Counselors. They not only did a set of indivualized colors related to my eyes, hair and skin, but the style words (seasons) were done by percentages, not just giving me one. I have been an Image Consultant for the last several years and their colors have basically held up, except that I now have auburn hair, not sandy blond, so I have adjusted what I wear. I just came across PSC again through an Image Consultant’s blog so I know they still exist. You might check out if there is anyone in your area.

  39. Sheila-Merle Johnson
    August 4, 2019 / 6:46 pm

    This last post was not for you, Susan, but for the woman above who asked about getting her colors done. Sorry, I didn’t do it well.

    • Susan B
      Author
      August 4, 2019 / 7:10 pm

      No worries, and thanks for sharing your experience!

  40. Jean
    August 5, 2019 / 9:30 pm

    Hi, Susan…I’ve been enjoying your blog for some time but never posted…your pursuit of new colors has inspired me…years ago I had them done and was told I’m a Floral Spring…after seeing your red shirt I ordered this one — totally out of my comfort zone — and I feel like a million bucks wearing it (well, it was expensive)…just realized that what you can’t see in the online image is the white circles are off set by a peachy tone similar to the one in your best colors…I will be wearing this with jeans and neutral sandals to a casual work event this fall…by the way, I’m usually a L and had to size to a M…I see the XXS is sold out….https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/dottie-silk-peasant-blouse?category=tops-blouses&color=069&type=STANDARD

  41. August 12, 2019 / 7:28 am

    I love that poppy on you! Neat, funky and gamine absolutely describe you but I see nothing “cute” in you in this shot… which to me is fine. “Cute” is for girls and teens. So now I’m searching for a term that captures “cute”s lightheartedness but does not infantalize. Whimsical? Charming? Joyful?

    • Susan B
      Author
      August 12, 2019 / 8:46 am

      Thanks, Duchesse! “Whimsical” works for me. 😉

  42. August 12, 2019 / 12:03 pm

    After reading some of your recent posts, I’ve been turning my place upside down looking for the little packet of colour swatches that I received when I had my colours “done” back in the 80s. I used to keep it in my purse so I’d have it handy whenever I shopped, but I gradually moved away from paying attention to the “right” colours for me and tucked it away somewhere. I can’t imagine that I threw it out. It must be here somewhere!

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