Thursday Miscellany: Minimalist Fashion And More

Shopping With Friends

I’ve always been drawn to the Scandanavian minimalist aesthetic of COS, but have often found the styles too long and/or boxy for me. But yesterday while out for some lunch and shopping with Brenda Kinsel, I was reminded that I need to give this retailer a closer look from time to time.

While flipping through the racks, Brenda brought my attention to the cool pattern on this light a-line shirt. It’s the kind of thing that I would have scrolled right by online. The fabric and print are SO much better in person, but it was the fun a-line shape that made me try it on. This is the kind of throw-on-and-go top that will be great for summer and warm weather travel. It’s fitted through the shoulders and bust which balances the fuller shape and keeps it from being overwhelming. I sized up to an 8.

Takeaway: sometimes it pays to shop in person, and ahead of the season. (I also found an in-season wool cardigan that I’ll show you soon.) We found some cute things for Brenda too, which I’ll let her tell you about.

Help For Winter Lips And Hands

Hourglass lip treatment oil. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

My lips get SO dry in the winter, and I’m always looking for products to help keep them comfortable, and avoid chapping and flaking. I love Makeover Workshop Re-Creation Lip Treatment, and use it at home daily. But it’s also nice to have something you can toss in your bag and take with you.

I’ve tried lip oils before, but found them messy and gooey. I tried this one reluctantly at the insistence of a Sales Associate, and came back and bought it the next day. NOT gooey, NOT messy, and the applicator makes it easy to control the amount. It really keeps my lips from drying out while on the go. Paraben-free, mineral-oil-free, not tested on animals, and vegan!

Aesop Reverence exfoliating hand wash. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

And while we were at the mall yesterday, I picked up another bottle of this hand wash (also vegan, cruelty-free). It’s an excellent exfoliant for rough winter hands and body, and smells heavenly.

A Valentine’s Offer…

French Kande Valentine's Day promo. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

If you’ve had your eye on any of the gorgeous pieces from French Kande, here’s something to sweeten the pot: get one of these Love Bracelet Sets for just $19 with any $250 purchase! These limited edition pieces tend to go fast, so don’t miss out.

Stay in touch.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for See my complete disclosure policy here.


  1. February 7, 2019 / 1:45 am

    I love the texture of that top but the shape would look dreadful on me (pear-shaped, I work best with things that emphasize my waist and have full skirts). But you never know. As you say, it helps to shop in person and listen to the advice of the salespeople, who have seen pieces on other customers and who can point you to items that you may have passed by.

  2. Ellen
    February 7, 2019 / 4:35 am

    I first saw Cos when we were living in London and fell in love with the look. A little edgy, but not crazy. Sophisticated, but not stuffy. I got an absolutely beautiful unlined wool jacket. among a few other things. But, you’re right…it’s a style that is best tried on. The nearest store to me is in Chicago and we don’t get there very often. I’ve been too scared to buy online, even though I buy tons of clothes online. It’s just hard to tell how things will hang, because their shapes are not traditional. But I’d love to see you post anything interesting you find there!

  3. Kandy
    February 7, 2019 / 5:00 am

    This look is too “Handmaid Tale” for me. I’d think she was in a cult if I saw her walking down the street. This is just My Opinion and hope fashion doesn’t go in that direction! Having said that, I do love your blog. I read it every morning and love your trips to Paris! Just giving you another Point of View.

    • Susan B
      February 7, 2019 / 6:10 am

      Picture this top with the sleeves rolled up, the top couple of buttons undone and the collar popped. Entirely different vibe! That’s how I’d wear it, or open over a tee shirt as a lightweight jacket. But I get this aesthetic doesn’t appeal to everyone, and that’s OK!

      • February 7, 2019 / 5:13 pm

        It reminds me more of Russian constructivist or Bauhaus fashion. Very theatrical; not so practical for everyday life. I can certainly appreciate the construction and the avant-garde references, as well as the beautiful texture, but I’d look utterly ridiculous in that. Too short and curvy.

        The aesthetic appeals to me very much; I get the references from history and art studies. They reflect the modernity of avant-gardes from 100 years ago, that still speak to us. But not every aspect thereof works for Madame tout-le-monde, especially over 40. Nowadays we’d say over 50 or well beyond, as the life expectancy as well as the years in good health expectancy has increased greatly in that interval. But it is still not a look everyone can wear.

  4. Ainsivalavie
    February 7, 2019 / 5:14 am

    Looks like its widest part would hit my widest part! Love the colour combo, definitely a bricks and mortar try on. I think best worn over a narrow bottom ie pencil skirt, skinny ankles or jeans. On my 5’1″ figure a bulky bottom would overwhelm. Thanks for showcasing this brand!

  5. February 7, 2019 / 5:30 am

    I do love COS and always stop by in London. But I think their website just does not do justice to any of the styles: it is so very digitalized (I know, that’s the point!) but everything looks so stilted and hard edged. Too bad they can’t put in at least one r-e-a-l photo!

  6. February 7, 2019 / 7:02 am

    Interesting shape with that top, I hope you show us photos of how you style it. Glad you found something for your chapped lips, I have been faithful to Aveda’s Lipsaver for years. Priced a bit higher than typical drugstore products but very effective for me. At night I use an eye balm, and that regimen seems to work here in the tundra called Minnesota.

    • Susan B
      February 7, 2019 / 7:04 am

      I absolutely will once the weather warms up a little bit. 😉

    • February 7, 2019 / 5:28 pm

      I do love Burt’s Bees coloured lip balm; the darkest tone is actually deep enough for my very coloured lips, and is more of a “stain” than a shiny gloss. Minnesota isn’t tundra – you do have trees, but it is definitely part of the frigid centre of north-central North America.

      I am so sick of the deep cold. Our climate is far less dry than yours, but the humidity combined with significant cold is hard for anyone with even a touch of arthritis. Still, there is nowhere else I’d live in North America…

      Keep warm!

    • February 7, 2019 / 5:38 pm

      I do love Burt’s Bees coloured lip balm; the darkest tone is actually deep enough for my very coloured lips, and is more of a “stain” than a shiny gloss. Minnesota isn’t tundra – you do have trees, but it is definitely part of the frigid centre of north-central North America.

      I am so sick of the deep cold. Our climate is far less dry than yours, but the humidity combined with significant cold is hard for anyone with even a touch of arthritis. Still, there is nowhere else I’d live in North America…

      I’ve seen a lot of similar styling in Northern Europe during work sojurns in Amsterdam and related trips to Copenhagen. The women of that body type (especially young to early middle-aged) looked splendid in them.

      Keep warm!

  7. Nancy Hall
    February 7, 2019 / 7:08 am

    Okay, this is too much for me – I’m 5/2″ and that would make me look pregnant!! Even the model in the picture looks “expecting” to me! Sorry – liked the fabric but not the cut. Will check out the COS brand and see what else is there – but I am a EF fan and have never gone wrong there. Her styles last for years. Thanks for your blog – I enjoy reading it.

    • Anon
      February 9, 2019 / 9:34 am

      It reminds me of “1950s maternity tops”. I did a google image search and they are exactly like that.

  8. Valerie
    February 7, 2019 / 7:47 am

    Whether this shirt works for you or me, I agree with Susan that sometimes a garment that is a “no” on the hangar can look fabulous when you try it on.

  9. Sara
    February 7, 2019 / 8:29 am

    I have an almost schizophrenic relationship with Cos. I adore several of their items, all of which are of excellent quality and very well-priced, but I find some of their designs just too way out and, I think, probably best on much younger women who can carry off that slightly geekish look. I agree about trying the clothes on. Until a planned new shop opens in Manchester (my nearest large city) I have to buy online and I find the photography on the website almost designed to make the clothes as unflattering as possible! What is the point of that? Many that have looked awful online have been great to wear.
    I’m quite tall but I couldn’t wear that shirt, just too A line and would hit at the least flattering spot on me; a long, slightly fitted one does much better to flatter my shape. Like other comments, will be keen to see what you do with it, Susan.

  10. Margaret
    February 7, 2019 / 8:47 am

    Lovely maternity smock for a young stylish mother-to-be!

    • Susan B
      February 7, 2019 / 9:11 am

      As I mentioned, it looks much different in person… 😉

  11. Lily
    February 7, 2019 / 8:52 am

    Oh Margaret! You win the internet today 😉

  12. Jan
    February 7, 2019 / 8:55 am

    Looks like a maternity top….been there done that! Sorry…a miss on this one. I.N.C. brand is big on this style and I finally ditched what I had. I think unless one is very very thin and tallish, it’s a miss.

    Apart from this, why does the email page say “no RSS feeds” on it?


    • Susan B
      February 7, 2019 / 9:09 am

      Hi Jan, is that immediately below the heading “latest Instagrams”? If so, thanks, I’m aware and have already asked my tech helper to take a look.

  13. February 7, 2019 / 8:55 am

    The top would work for me, long torso, broad shoulders, if I wore very straight jeans below.

  14. Kelly
    February 7, 2019 / 10:05 am

    I admire some of their clothing, but as they don’t go larger than L, moving on….Same with their brand &other stories. H&M updated their sizing to better fit more Americans – hoping that other brands they own will follow suit….

  15. Rondi
    February 7, 2019 / 11:20 am

    I don’t care for the top. It looks like maternity wear from the 1950’s. I looked at their site to give them a fair chance. It’s just not a look I would enjoy wearing. The clothing seems to be marketed to a certain body type and age group. I think most of their styles would look frumpy on my 5’3″, 60 ish frame. I need to have a little more fun with my fashion and, honestly, the styles are somehow sombre.

  16. Lee
    February 7, 2019 / 12:43 pm

    I am a fan of the bell shape. I would definitely wear this. And, no, I am not Twiggy esque but for me it would draw attention away for my menopot.

  17. Canada
    February 7, 2019 / 2:38 pm

    I’m with Sara on her comments. At 5’2″ I’m afraid COS clothes rarely look like anything more than maternity wear on me. I own two pieces which have been mainstays and worth every penny but these finds are, unfortunately, few and far between. Yes, trying on their clothes is the best way to approach this brand but, alas, no store near me and purchasing online from their styles has proven to provide nothing but returns.

  18. February 7, 2019 / 5:15 pm

    It’s a lovely top but we just need to find the long silhouette version of minimalist pieces!

  19. Maria
    February 7, 2019 / 8:21 pm

    Ha! What a a pleasant surprise just now to see your featured top!
    While visiting my daughter last week in Atlanta, we decided to go shopping and stopped in COS where I purchased that very same blouse, along with the folded-collar draped blouse.
    Really enjoyed shopping there. It’s one of those places where to you just simply have to “try it on”. I was pleasantly surprised with many of their pieces once I put them on.

  20. Lori McBryde
    February 7, 2019 / 9:56 pm

    Forget the top. I’m just happy to read that you and Brenda, my two favorite bloggers, know one another!

  21. Nicole K
    February 7, 2019 / 11:38 pm

    What a fun day that must have been! I love your blog and Brenda’s. You two should have a NorCal/SoCal meetup with followers!

    I can see you styling that top in multiple cute ways. And I saw Brenda’s purchases up on Instagram. So cute.

    Thanks for letting us share in the fun!

  22. Kathrinka
    February 8, 2019 / 2:38 am

    I’m so glad you introduced me to the COS brand. I live about 3 hours from Atlanta but seldom get there. I did a search and found there is a store in Oxford, England where we’ll be spending several week this summer. I may have “window shopped” COS on previous trips there but now know I need to try things on.

    What I love about this shirt, and no one mentioned this, is the print of the shirt is so subtle it doesn’t “wear you”. I do love the style of the shirt and could easily wear it. I look forward to seeing it styled with accessories. I think most people, like me, aren’t as visual as we think we are. What I love about your blog is seeing how you put things together as it’s hard to do in one’s mind! Thank you, Susan, for guiding us!

  23. SuD
    February 8, 2019 / 7:54 am

    I am petite (5’2”) and am always disappointed when I try on clothes in COS. The reality never fits the fantasy. Many of their styles overemphasize my upper body (I am a V shape). Perhaps if I were 6 inches taller, they would work.

  24. Tracy
    February 8, 2019 / 6:00 pm

    Total aside: I love the idea of you and Brenda together! I have followed you both for years, and find your take on life and style inspiring in different ways.

  25. RoseAG
    February 9, 2019 / 4:57 am

    I like the shirt and can see it in a light jacket/tunic role. I could do endless scarf combinations with it.
    The photo where the model wears the shirt and a long skirt would not be flattering to me, but the top paired over fitted pants or skirt would be good. The pants wouldn’t have to be black, I could see this with a jewel blue or red quite easily.
    The issue I see is their sizing which looks aimed at the young and firm. Their measurements for my usual size are on the slim side.

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