I have a three-year-old article pinned to my bulletin board in my den where I work on the blog. It’s from a series in Harper’s Bazaar called “Women of Style.” In the article Franco-Morrocan novelist Leïla Slimani talks about what fashion means to her. Slimani is a very smart woman. An accomplished woman. Who loves clothes. And who believes that how she dresses expresses who she is. So, how do smart women who love clothes dress? Well, however they please, my friends. However they please.

I don’t claim to be smart or particularly accomplished. Not like Leïla Slimani or Linda Grant, whose book The Thoughtful Dresser I often wax lyrical about here on the blog. But I have always, always loved fashion and clothes. My clothes, clothes in magazines, in stores, on other people. Ha. I always compliment other women on what they’re wearing. A great outfit is pleasing to me. So I tell friends, and lately, fellow shoppers, other women in coffee shops, or in stores that I like what they’re wearing. And of course I talk and talk about fashion here on my blog.

And I collect articles like the one I’m writing about today. Articles and books about fashion written by women I respect. Perhaps I do this to shore up my belief that loving fashion and clothes isn’t superficial. Not entirely, anyway. When smart women talk about how they dress, I listen.

My first fall outfit of the season.

In the Harper’s Bazaar article, Leïla Slimani says that her clothes “tell the stories of the various stages of [her] life.” She says that a few weeks previously she’d been interviewed by a journalist at her home, and he examined her bookshelves, asking about her favourite authors, and books she’d loved as a child. She writes: “After he left it occurred to me that he would have been better off looking in my closet than my library.” But of course she didn’t mention that to the journalist because, as she honestly admits, she was afraid that he might find her “trivial, superficial.”

Slimani goes on to say that “female intellectuals sometimes feel obliged to be ultraserious, to think of their appearance as unworthy of consideration. As the famous expression ‘Sois belle et tais-toi‘ (Be pretty and shut up) makes clear, if a woman chooses to care about her appearance, she is in some way giving up on being heard.” Certainly Slimani, herself, has had experience of this, especially of being criticized for making her love of fashion public. Even her editor warned her that as a serious writer she should avoid “frivolous events” like a Chanel fashion show to which she’d been invited. She ignored him, she says, and went anyway.

Over the course of my career in teaching I sometimes felt that by loving clothes, and caring about my clothes, I was being put into a box, perceived as being a bit of an airhead. Sometimes I played it up. Other times it pissed me off… if you’ll excuse the profanity. Most of the time it rolled off me because I did as Hubby suggested and “looked to the source.” I knew that colleagues mostly thought I had an enormous closet, shopped all the time, and was a terrible spend-thrift. It was useless to try to counter these assumptions, so I mostly ignored them.

I hoped that those who came to know me saw me as a smart woman. And as I said above, smart women dress however they please. And it pleased me to care about my wardrobe, plan my acquisitions, make lists, and shop wisely. I spent more on individual pieces than some of my friends. But you all know how I feel about quality over quantity.

Outfit #1: Mixing old, really old, and new pieces for fall.

Recently when I was shopping for a few pieces for our upcoming trip to Portugal, I had some time to kill and went “off list” you might say. In Schad, a shop on Sussex Drive in downtown Ottawa, I found a lovely green silk shirt from Frame and bought it. No, it wasn’t on my shopping list for the trip. And no I won’t be packing it. I splurged on this one good and proper, and I don’t take my really good clothes when we travel.

I love this shirt. It triggered that little flutter some of us get when we try on something that feels just right. I knew right away that it would come home with me. And that I had lots of things in my fall wardrobe that I could wear with it.

I tried it first with my very old Alfred Sung houndstooth blazer, above. I bought this in the late eighties. I know, it’s ancient. But it still fits and I still love it. I buttoned the blouse to the top, pulled on my old Citizens of Humanity Rocket skinny jeans, my Vejas sneakers, the blazer, and a new green tote from Everlane that I bought in the summer sale a few weeks ago. This outfit felt like me. Kind of classic and conservative, kind of modern, definitely comfortable and casual.

Outfit #2.

For Outfit #2 I tried the shirt with my Levis 511 men’s jeans, the Vejas sneakers, and a suede moto jacket that I won on Alyson Walsh’s blog That’s Not My Age back in 2016. This outfit was not as successful. I didn’t like the green shirt and the green jacket together. I prefer the jacket with a bright white tee shirt underneath.

Outfit #3

Outfit #3 was okay. For this one I tried my new black, straight-leg, slim jeans from Uniqlo, my old black Stuart Weitzman loafers, and tied a soft green polo-neck sweater from Everlane around my neck. I like this outfit, but it was a bit boring. So I tried it with a bright gold Michael Kors tote bag. That was better. But I think I’ll wear the sweater and shirt later in the fall with my black leather pants and my black ankle boots and feel more me.

When you know, you just know.

Outfits have to feel right. They have to make me feel like me. And when they don’t feel right, I just know.

As I’ve waffled on ad infinitum, the me I am dressing for now is not the same me that I was in the nineties when I was in my thirties and early forties, or the me that I was ten years later. Even though some of the pieces I wore then are still in my closet and still work, I don’t wear them at all the same way. Some of this can be accounted for by looking at the changing trends in fashion. But mostly the way I dress now is because of who I am. Now. And the “me” I want to project.

That’s part of what Leïla Slimani was saying in her article. That over the years her clothes tell the story of who she is, or was, at that moment. They tell the story of the woman she was, or who she wanted to be.

As a thirty-seven-year-old teacher I dressed a particular way. I loved clothes and wasn’t afraid of wearing trends, but I was always aware of my role in the classroom. As a sixty-seven-year-old retired teacher with white hair I dress in a different way. Surprisingly the older I get the less seriously I dress. And I know the way I dress now is partly because I do not want to be put into a “retired teacher box.” Whatever that might mean.

This one is the winner, I think.

So I’m very interested in what smart women say about how they dress. And why they dress the way they do. And I love to talk about clothes and what they mean to me. As my friend Nancy might say, I love to philosophize. Except now most of my philosophizing is about clothes. Ah, the freedom of retirement, folks.

I think that it’s worth noting that the editor who counselled Slimani to not attend the Chanel fashion show, and the journalist whom she was afraid would see her as superficial were both male. As was the columnist who criticized her for taking part in a magazine photo shoot in Paris saying that “the photo shoot proved [she] was not a serious writer.”

I know things have changed a lot over the years. There are many serious women, like Leïla Slimani, who have seriously great personal style. But clearly young women like Slimani who are smart and accomplished still feel the pressure to fit into the intellectual box created by society. A woman can be shallow and love fashion or they can be serious and intellectual. Not both. As Slimani admits in the article, she played the game with the journalist who interviewed her and talked about herself only in relation to the books she loved and loves. I wonder if she wishes she could go back and, if not give him a tour of her closet exactly, at least tell him that her identity can be seen just as easily through what she wears as what she reads.

What about you, my friends? Do you know any seriously smart women who have seriously good style? I’m off to order a couple of Leïla Slimani’s books from the library. I’m ashamed to say that I have never read anything she’s written except this article.

P.S. Many, many thanks for all the coffee you have bought me since I installed that “Buy Me a Coffee” button. It is very much appreciated. Very much appreciated. xox

P.P.S. There are still affiliate links in this post. Not all of them. But some of them will pay me a commission if you make a purchase after clicking my link.

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55 thoughts on “How Smart Women Dress”

  1. I love Slimani’s writing, and now I want to find the Harper’s article — I’m thinking of a few passages describing clothing of characters in her Moroccan trilogy — those sartorial descriptions work brilliantly for giving readers insight into characters, into social structure, into changes to society through mid-20th-century.

    Chimimanda Ngoza Adichie is another brilliant writer who loves fashion — and she uses the stage her prize-winning writing has given her to model and advocate for Nigerian designers. Like Slimani and Linda Grant and many other smart women, yourself definitely included, she works to destroy this false binary that says we can’t be smart AND interested in fashion. As foolish as the one that says we can’t be Blonde and Good at Math (Not that I would know about either of those attributes, although I did love proving theorems (Or whatever they were called) way back in high school trigonometry, all those decades ago!).

    And oooh, that blouse — what a sophisticated shade of green and such a sumptuous-looking fabric! A splurge that will keep on rewarding you for years!

    1. In the article Slimani says that when she “invents her characters” she tries to put herself “inside their skin” and she always imagines how they would dress. I love it when I find a writer who loves clothes. Makes me feel smart just by having at least one thing in common with them. 🙂

  2. The blouse is beautiful….and the juxtaposition of it’s luxurious colour and “feel” with houndstooth blazer and jeans….amazing! So far,as I’m writing,there are only three of us,you,Frances and me….I love both your style,here and IRL,they are different,but very recognizable and very you (both)! Absolutely smart and accomplished
    My choice here would be Christine Lampard,President of the ECB
    I’ve read L. Slimani’s books and I think you’ll love them,too. The person who criticized her for her photoshoot didn’t read her books IMO
    It is amazing if we evolved and our style changed with it,style has to be something that follows our path in life
    Blonde and (Very) Good at Math
    (aka Dottoressa)

    1. I love this comment so much, K!! Not because you say nice things about me (thank you!) 😉 but because you demonstrate a Very Smart woman who’s also very interested in style. And because your last line cracks me up! (and is also true!)

    2. Ha ha… very quick, Dottoressa aka blonde and very good at Math. I see that Frances approves too. I also admire Christine Lagarde’s style although it is a bit serious for me. Still, I wonder what she’ll dress like when she is no longer in such a serious job.

  3. You hit the nail on the head when you said dressing for your personality. That is key. And.. I’ve been making a point to complement people as well on how they look. It’s amazing what a mood lifter it is for both of us. I approach dressing when I’m out and about much the way I do when I have company coming to my house. I want to make a good impression, neat, tidy, comfortable and I want my company to know they are special. When I’m out and about I want to look “company ready” putting my best face forward. This doesn’t mean I’m dressed to the nines but not sloppy either. The other day I was putting on some makeup, not much because I was puttering around the house, and I thought this is vain. But.. then I remembered my dad got up and shaved every day. Even when he was ill. He said it got the day off on the right foot. So I approach dressing that way too. Now that being said I do have my slouchy days at home. I always have a messy project to tackle, but a little bit of lipstick helps. My mom, even in the nursing home always wanted a touch of lipstick. To some up a very long comment thinking about how you present yourself isn’t superficial it’s quite the opposite. It shows that you care and respect those around you, that they are worth the effort. And that you are too.

  4. I feel exactly the same way. I’ve always wondered about how much is too much in terms of how I am perceived. The first thing I notice about people is what they are wearing; I love to compliment people. I realize sometimes after something has come out of my mouth that people might perceive me as foolish because I am looking at the clothes. Since I work in a role that is male dominant (the others in analogue roles are male, etc. etc.), this feels more urgent sometimes, and many barriers to feeling fully equal in the workplace remain. I’m a visual person and I like style. I try to hold my head high and lean into what makes me feel like me. My grandmother was always impeccably dressed and she inspired in me a love of beautiful materials and workmanship. My style is more gamine and quirky, for lack of better words to describe it, but the same impulse is there: to experiment, to curate, to luxuriate. By the way, I enjoyed this episode of Writers and Company with Leila Slimani and you might too: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/writersandcompany/leila-slimani-fuses-imagination-and-memory-in-novels-inspired-by-her-french-moroccan-family-1.6880348

    1. I sometimes feel that people I meet in a public place might feel it a bit odd that I am complimenting them. So sometimes I apologize for interrupting their shopping or whatever. And without exception women always say… no, no, please don’t apologize, I love it. Or something similar. Who knows maybe one day we’ll run into each other in downtown Ottawa and compliment each other. 🙂
      P.S. Thanks for the link.

      1. That would be funny! I would compliment you for sure. I’m often struck when I see someone and I simply blurt out, e.g, “Ooh I love your blouse/shoes/purse/colour combos…!”

  5. I’m the seriously smart woman with style. Women remark, you’ve been shopping. I tell them: I was married. My husband died 17 years ago. I had these clothes I have on when he was alive. Do people really throw clothes away ’cause they’re old?? I’m lucky to have an artistic eye. Thanks for making me feel normal, as I live in the land of mauve sweatsuits.

  6. Totally agree with how you feel. As a teacher I always made an effort to dress nicely and I always felt my (mainly female) students appreciated it. When I was about to retire a much younger Maths teacher asked me: ” What are you going to do with all your lovely clothes now that you retire?”
    Oh that hurt!

    1. Oh my. When I retired from teaching I got the same comment. They even added would I be having a sale! I was taken aback as I planned to keep most of them. I kept the jackets and mix them with jeans. I still put a nice sweater with the slacks. I did send dresses and most the skirts down the road.

    2. As if you’d no need for lovely clothes in retirement. I will admit I gave away to young teachers some of my strictly business clothes, and sold a couple of suits. But I’m still happily wearing my blazers.

  7. I think that caring about how I look means that I care about myself. And even when, perhaps, I do not look my best, that is also making a statement about me and my state of mind. Feeling like I look good makes me feel good, like I can take on whatever the world throws at me.
    Your new blouse is lovely and I like all three outfits. The houndstooth blazer looks like it was made to be worn with that blouse.

  8. Love the outfit (#1) you settled on. I first found your blog when you won that suede jacket. It is a beauty, although I agree about wearing something that blends less with it — white sounds perfect.

  9. I know a retired Supreme Court judge who has a lot of fun with fashion…she wears what I call casual chic but does it with flair!
    She doesn’t go in for big logos or designers that like their names on garments…it’s more subtle…but her keen eye finds the most attractive clothes. Think of your green Max Mara coat but in camel mixed with a black turtleneck, black pants, and exquisite loafers…beautiful large gold hoop earrings and a classic leather Coach bag…she throws on a bold silk scarf around her neck adds some bright lipstick and when you meet her getting her groceries you are awestruck!
    This woman hid behind a black robe on the bench in a court for most of her career!
    She’s free to choose what she wears now!!!
    I love seeing her outfits…the most recent casual one was a pair of black shorts and a Saint James white and black striped top with a cable sweater thrown over her shoulders and white sneakers!!
    I really enjoyed The Thoughtful Dresser by Linda Grant.
    Enjoy your week!!!

    Leslie
    Hostess of the Humble Bungalow

    1. I can imagine that a retired judge who loves fashion would be in heaven now that she can dress as she pleases and not hide her style under her robe. Sounds like she is indeed elegant.
      P.S. I’m glad you liked The Thoughtful Dresser, Leslie.

  10. Every combination you showed was a winner for me – even the green jacket and blouse. The fact that it was a bit off, rather than too well-matched, added some tension/interest. Your new silk blouse was a great purchase! Will it play well with your lovely Max Mara coat? As for loving clothes, I find that when I’ve hit on an outfit that feels “totally me”, I can then forget about myself. If I’m uncomfortable either mentally or physically, it’s hard to focus on anyone or anything else.

  11. Your blouse is beautiful. As a child and young girl I went to schools that required uniforms. My first job had a uniform and at 19 when I was in college people only wore jeans and t-shirts. I had a hard time learning how to dress for work once a uniform was not required. I also was a frugal gal. It took me years to know my body and what looked best on me. In my thirties I had a corporate job and I was required to wear dresses or suits. So basically most of my life I was dressing as required. I am now retired and I recently cleaned my closet and got rid of a lot of clothes. My goal is to be more intentional like you, wear what I feel good in and is flattering and with more color.

  12. Isn’t it great to find something that calls to you like your new blouse . I’m loving green now too . Toast have a gorgeous green tweed check coat in their new winter range which is calling to me but I’m not going to be tempted . I do not need another coat .
    I’m always interested to hear of compliments on outfits being given to total strangers . It doesn’t seem to happen here . Perhaps it’s our British reserve ? Perhaps it’s a Yorkshire thing ? Or perhaps it’s just me ? We were out for lunch the other day at a place in the centre of York which is very popular with visitors & a young woman came over to tell me that she loved my outfit & said that was how she hoped to dress when she was my age . She was from the Philippines . I was walking on air for a while . I know , we dress for ourselves not others but it’s very nice to think I must have got it right this time .

    1. How lovely of that young woman the make the effort to pass on a compliment. I’d have been walking on air too. I still remember the day in a grocery store parking lot in the eighties when an older lady walked over to me to tell me how good I looked. I was wearing an outfit that I always felt great in, and even greater that day.

  13. Si les diplômes que l’on possède prouvent votre intelligence ,j’en suis largement pourvue !
    Je suis professeur de Lettres classiques (français,latin ,grec ).En France nous passons des concours pour accéder au professorat .J’ai obtenu l’agrégation a l’âge de 20ans ..J’ai enseigné dans les classes préparatoires aux Grandes Écoles , Khâgne et Hypokhâgne à Lyon .
    Puis j’ai soutenu une thèse sur la littérature de la Renaissance et j’ai obtenu mon doctorat trois ans plus tard .
    J’ai été maître de conférence dans les universités d’Amiens ,Rennes et j’ai terminé ma carrière a la Sorbonne en tant que spécialiste de Spinoza .
    Et j’adore les vêtements .
    J’ai une pièce de ma maison ,en Provence , pleine de portants remplis de vêtements .Et curieusement c’est l’endroit où je me sens le mieux , où je me sens apaisée .
    Lorsque je travaillais ,mon apparence était primordiale . Elle devait susciter le respect et maintenir une certaine distance avec les étudiants .
    Mes cheveux étaient impeccablement coiffés .
    Je portais des tailleurs de prix ,des chaussures a talons hauts ….mais des chemisiers légers en soie ,de belles ceintures et toujours un petit élément joyeux et fantaisiste .
    Et mes jupes ne recouvraient jamais les genoux ,l’ourlet était juste au dessus .
    Quand je rencontre d’anciens étudiants il se souvienne davantage de mon élégance que de mes cours !!!!
    Aujourd’hui je suis a la retraite ,mais je garde le même amour pour mes vêtements .Ils me représentent .
    Je porte comme tout le monde des jeans et des pantalons .Je possède une infinité de chemisiers ,de pull-overs.
    Mais je reste très attentive sur leur qualité et leur tenue . Il faut qu’ils soient irréprochables , repassés .
    J’ai découvert les blogs de femmes américaines qui parlent de mode .Cela a été une révélation . Je me suis rendue compte que je portais tel pantalon avec tel haut ,comme un uniforme .Désormais je mélange ,je mixe .J’ai l’impression de retrouver une certaine fantaisie et beaucoup de liberté . Comme l’on dit en France ” je suis moins coincée ” !!!
    Oui , je suis une femme intelligente et (j’ai failli dire MAIS )j’adore la mode ,elle fait partie de ma vie .
    J’aime beaucoup votre blog et je copie certains de vos looks .

    1. Merci, Célia. I know that when I was teaching my outfit was sometimes the only thing some students remembered about my class. I’m flattered that you have found inspiration from my blog.

  14. My husband and I dragged ourselves to a concert this last week (the Lumineers, which turned out to be fabulous fun and so worth staying up past our bedtimes). After it was over, standing in line for the loo, the woman in front of me turned around and told me how “chic and put-together” I looked. I was wearing chinos, a striped tee, denim jacket, leather sneakers and a baseball cap, but at 69 suddenly I felt like royalty. It takes so little to lift someone’s spirits. I compliment people on their outfits, haircuts, shoes, or jewelry whenever I can. Too often, women at our stage of life feel invisible. Or personal style is not the single thing that defines us, but it contributes to our dimension and our presence.

    I loooove that green blouse with the blazer! And long live the skinny jean!

  15. Smart women dress however they please! I love that! Long gone are the days when I tried to dress to please anyone other than myself.

    I agree that Outfit #1 is best of the three though it was fun to see the suede moto jacket making a reappearance. That tells me how long I’ve been following your blog and Alyson’s too as I remember you winning it.

  16. I have never felt terribly successful with fashion — it seems as if the looks that appeal to me most are not well matched with the body that I currently have to work with. But you inspire me to approach my wardrobe with more intention. I enjoy hearing about your process for purchasing clothing items and putting together outfits.

    I love the green shirt! I know that you weren’t keen on Outfit #3, but I was drawn to it because that beautiful shirt was less covered up.

  17. Your blogs always add an intellectual dimension to fashion -so much appreciated among us veteran clotheshorses. Fortunately I always had positions that required a professional wardrobe. I’ve consigned or given away most work clothes since retiring 10 years ago. But like you, I’m finding new ways to restyle some classics in a more relaxed look.

    Sue, I notice you’re sticking with slim jeans/pants. I bought a couple of flared bootcut jeans for fear of not being current and am still trying to decide whether they’re for me. Should I keep them? Anyone else facing that dilemma?

    1. I remember reading, somewhere, that if you were dressing in a fashion trend the first time it came around then you shouldn’t be wearing it the next time it came around….”mutton dressed as lamb” and all that disparaging criticism. I don’t buy that as fashion is so cyclical and the cycles seem to get shorter or closer together…but maybe that is just to me and showing my advancing years as time does seem to be rushing by me lately! I wasn’t around when wide leg pants were fashionable in the 1930’s but I loved them in the 1970’s. I am older now, under 5’2” now, matronly of figure but I still love the look. Does it flatter me? Probably not my best look but I LIKE IT. So, with boots and a shorter, fitted top or cropped sweater I will feel current and content. My two cents- if you like the look and you feel good wearing it then it is a good choice for you.

    2. I tried to go away from slimmer jeans. I bought a loose pair of men’s Levi’s 511 jeans which I still wear. Then a pair of really baggy Levi’s dad jeans. I just cannot make myself love them. For one thing they are too short, I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought them. My problem is that I am so short waisted, and carry all my weight around my middle. I just feel that a long lean leg is more flattering on me. I’m still wearing my Frame boot-cut jeans, although not much this summer. And mostly I’ve been wearing straight-leg jeans, like my new-ish white Levi’s jeans. Then when I was looking for something to wear with my flats a few months ago, I hauled out an old pair of Citizens of Humanity skinny jeans from 2015. They are a bit looser than the skinny jeans I bought after them. And I fell in love with them all over again.I have decided to give up the battle and just love what I already own. I still do love a bootcut, though. 🙂

  18. I remember days when I did not feel like teaching – and on those days, I was really intentional about wearing something that made me feel good – and it really helped! 36 years in the school system has left a little emptiness about not having to “dress” for work. But I am slowly creating a unique, personal style that goes with my errands, meetings, grandchild sitting lifestyle.

    I have also learned to wear something special for an ordinary event – not glitter of course, but a special blouse with jeans, etc. You and your readers are helping me curate clothing that speaks to me, is comfortable, and looks good.

    Michelle Obama comes to mind when I think of a smart woman that knows fashion and knows herself. I have watched the changes in her clothing choice, hair, and style since she is no longer wearing the “first lady” uniform – though she was able to incorporate her individual style. Interesting journey.

  19. I also was around when you won that jacket from Alyson Walsh. Loved reading about your smart views on fashion, your closet organization, keeping your wardrobe current, etc.
    Today, I did receive a compliment from two young women at church and we all chuckled when I shared that I had a pair of black linen overalls older than they were. Very sweet. I did feel very “me” today in a casual v-neck, black sweater (long sleeves scrunched to elbows) and black, white checkered pants (your influence) and driving mocs. Add my minimal silver jewelry and a fresh haircut and I felt very put-together. Yes, finding the “me” in fashion has added more self-confidence in my seventies.
    Bravo on finding that beautiful green blouse and purse! Nice way to begin the fall season.

    1. I met the Max Mara sales rep at Nordstrom one day. The MM jacket from the early nineties which I was wearing was older than he was! I’m sure he got a kick out of my “vintage” jacket.

  20. THANK YOU so much for this validation! As it happens most of my friends are friends for reasons other than than a shared love of style. Which I find tremendously interesting. Odd to feel that you almost must have a “safe place” to express an interest in fashion and style, which can bring so much enjoyment, where you’re not going to encounter the kind of blowback, real and imagined, that your post outlines.

  21. I just want to say as someone who worked under your supervision for 12 years or so, I never felt that anyone in the building considered you an intellectual light-weight. I never heard or felt any such judgement. I loved your leadership style – you mentored us without making us feel dumb about our weaknesses, and led by example.
    I am trying to remember to cultivate the philosophy of “and”. We can be smart and fashionable, we can address climate change and social justice issues. We can improve conditions at home and abroad. For too long the patriarchy and capitalism have led us to falsely believe a win-lose mindset. I am going to reach and work for the win-win!! 🙂
    I love your blog. I feel like many of your readers and commenters feel the same way – a nice community of smart and fashionable voices here!!

    1. Ah, thank you for saying that, my friend. Let’s all cultivate the philosophy of “and”, be whatever combination of traits we choose, and pursue whatever passions drive us. Assuming they’re not illegal that is. Ha.

  22. I’m not at all familiar with Leïla Slimani’s – work – off to explore! But what a thoughtful post she inspired. I can think of a time or three when I wore something that just made me feel great, only to have someone say “What are you so dressed up for?” (Reader, I wasn’t). It’s a curious thing, why people feel the need to comment in that manner on how we dress.

    The greens of the blouse and the suede aren’t quite right, tonally – I think your instincts are spot on there – but I love the textural juxtaposition. The rough of the suede and the silky smoothness…

    1. Colleagues used to say that to me on “casual Fridays” because I usually wore my jeans, boots, a sweater and a blazer. Guess it was the blazer that did it. Yes, that green suede jacket is definitely a warmer tone than the shirt. They did not go together at all. But I agree the silky with the rough was good. 🙂

    2. Carol I used to have people say that too me too, I would answer “I’m not dressed up, it’s just a dress”. Living in a mostly hot climate, a dress is often the easiest, coolest thing to wear. The saying “one and done” is real here.
      Love all the smart women commenting here.
      And I compliment women whenever I see the chance, add joy to their lives just as they have added to mine. I consider them little pieces of walking art.

  23. Another great blog. It is true, as we age, we need to find our fashion selves and you have found it. Love the shirt and the jacket. Owned several pieces of A.S. in the day. Now, as a woman in her early 80s, and although I think I found one of my fashion selves many years ago (I was once called a “clothes horse” by a co-worker) I have now found a different “self”…….more relaxed and comfortable but still fashionable. I love the jeans and loafers/boots look, as do you. Love your blogs and await them somewhat patiently each week.

  24. I haven’t read any Leila Slimani and her books are now on my TBR list. Thank you for introducing her to me.

    I know what she and you are saying about the message women get about being smart and serious vs. liking style and clothing. I’ve gotten the message loud and clear, although no one has said it in so many words. I’ve always been aware of not appearing too interested in fashion in my job. Like you, as I’ve gotten older and have a little more time away from work (still contracting), I feel a lot more freedom in what I choose to wear.

    Speaking of fashion, that blouse is stunning. I can imagine how good it feels just from looking at the photos. It looks great with the houndstooth blazer. That is a classic look. You are smart to keep your favorites for years. Slow fashion at its best.

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