Privilege Blog

Wearing Color That Doesn’t Pop, With Your Neutrals


In the continued quest for Polished Tomboy getups, I’m mixing old and new. I’m also building outfits based on neutrals, livening them up just a bit with color. Subtle color that would refuse to pop even if given free tickets to a Beyonce concert. In this case, I relied on new sneakers in a deep (and not too yellow) forest green suede.

And my ankles. Cover the ankles in this outfit and all hope of polish is lost.

Old pieces include: a scratchy but useful Michael Kors peacoat from Costco; gray tee from Old Navy, Etro man’s scarf from Neiman Marcus via my inimitable brother.


You’ll notice a blur, above. Tomboys like to move. They also like to get down to basics, winding up at some point in just jeans, tee, and sneakers. That’s why they wear dangly earrings as often as possible, if they are aiming for polish. These by Vicente Agore,


Gray braid courtesy a couple of decades, hair salon fatigue, and an ineradicable attraction to the subversive.


Above, Citizens of Humanity Boyfriend Jeans, and a pair of green suede Supergas, via Barneys. You will see in the Privilege-Go-Round detail, the edges are pinked. Pinked, my friends.


The earrings I bought, in the wedding aesthetic  frenzy of Must Wear That And Only That, for my rehearsal dinner. But the gods were forgiving of fools, and I now find them very useful. “Polished” Optical Quartz, indeed.

Here are some links so we can be twins. Hey, even subversives want friends. Where the items are too old to be available, I’ve included comparables. One thing, before we go. If I were to do it again I’d invest in a good, soft, part cashmere peacoat. The occasionally itchy back of my neck would like me much better.


47 Responses

  1. Oh, man, I love the sneakers, particularly the pinked-edging detail. And I’m a sucker for suede shoes. The loden-y green is lovely–almost as beautiful as the background greenery that surrounds you, happily soaking up your recent rains :)

  2. Lisa, you crack me up! This post is why I look forward to reading. “Hair salon fatigue”. Non-popping color. Love your way with words. Thanks for the morning giggle.

  3. You look so — chic-ly, of course — comfortable. Completely yourself, is the message your stance conveys. The sneakers and the jeans and the ankles and the braid and the earrings — all working! Go you!

  4. I’ve had some suede Ugg sneakers in my shopping cart but haven’t quite taken the plunge. While the rest of me has plumped up my feet have gotten thinner and they like the idea of a sheepskin lining.
    Now I think the reason I they’re still in my cart is that they’re too bright.

  5. I’m a firm believer that as long as you have on jewelry and lipstick then you are polished Add a scarf and you are “styled”.
    Glad to see someone else agrees. At least to the jewelry part.
    You look darling.

  6. I love those sneakers and I agree with Frances that you look chicly comfortable!
    If you are looking for topic ideas, it would be great if you did a post on sneakers for everyday life or fashion sneakers (maybe the same thing but not necessarily). This is a subject currently near and dear to my heart, having just received Not Good News from the podiatrist. Something about arthritis, injured soft tissue and wearing athletic shoes 80% of the time… Those cool green suede shoes look orthotic friendly, eh? :)

    1. @Murphy, OK. I will go round some up. And these suede shoes have the greatest footbed. I swear it’s made of memory foam. I boing down the sidewalks.

  7. “color that would refuse to pop even if given free tickets to a Beyonce concert”

    LIsa, your title made me snicker and that line above made me laugh out loud even though alone.

    I enjoy your blog so very much and your aesthetic is inspirational/educational/aspirational. Your writing gets better and better. Thanks, LA (another Tomboy, but with an inner Grand Dame) That’s a tough combo to sort out, but I’m getting there, thanks to you.

  8. You look absolutely fantastic, I really want to banish the phrase ‘pop of colour” to the most heinous level of hell. I really do love your style, it’s so much easier to carry that look off at our age in your part of the world, I envy your style and geography.

  9. Those sneakers are awesome!! I like reds and all but my idea of a color pop is navy blue. Great post!

  10. I love the Privilege-Go-Round, it made me laugh. Your retirement dressing project is going very well, you look relaxed, comfortable and at ease.

  11. Tomboy style suits you. I like your feminine touches and that Etro scarf which you have shown us before looks soft with the dangly earrings….cute sneakers with those pinked edges they are definitely fun.
    Interesting planting along the boulevard is that trimmed boxwood?

    1. @Bungalow Hostess, Yes, the scarf is something I put on all the time. I kind of want a second one… and the plantings are on someone else’s sidewalk, so I don’t know what they are!

  12. Love the green tennis shoes, scarf (I have 2 Etro scarves myself) and the earrings are great!
    But I wonder what the outfit would have looked like with a pop of color? Doesn’t have to be neon, just something to contrast, catch the eye…
    But it’s your blog, I understand.
    Btw, I am enjoying it quite a bit. Nice to hear from another 50+ who is so fashionable!

  13. My favourite kind of attire; you look so unforced and modest in the “virtue” sense of the word. It is simply lovely, comfortable, subtle… and your earrings, sigh- so glad you have them.

  14. Is it creepy to say I was wearing a similar outfit yesterday? 3″ of gray roots showing (work in progress), navy jacket aka peacoat, gray T, dangly earrings…oops, what about a bright lip?
    Thanks for the pointers and reminder to show ankle.
    You look fantastic!

  15. Nice earrings (well, that’s a passion of mine …)

    But: did you notice the pairs shown do not have a left and right earring, the pieces are identical, not mirror-inverted? It’s a problem I’ve encountered a couple of times now, seems to be in fashion.

    With specs that are symmetrical this looks strange, on me at least.

  16. Love this look! Super cute, but simple. It’s the details that make it great like the Supergas, your men’s scarf and the earrings, which I love! Nothing like a grey T! They are the workhorse of my closet.
    Have a good weekend!

  17. I particularly like the length to which you’ve cuffed your jeans. I’ve got a (self-proclaimed) Goldilocks complex about length when it comes to jeans and short sleeves–they have to be “just right,” as are yours :-) .

  18. Lisa, I love you. And the observation ‘Cover the ankles in this outfit and all hope of polish is lost.’ So acute.

    I have a couple of cashmere-mix coats (and once a peacoat, but I shrunk it by getting stuck in a storm), and they wear out so much more quickly than the serviceable wool-cloth: at the creases formed by bending my elbows, the edges of the pockets, and against my left hip, where my handbag (carried in the crook of my arm) rubs. So I think scratchy against the back of the neck is probably better in the long-run. After all, you can always tuck in a cashmere or silk scarf!

  19. Oh, also, I have a pair of similar, slightly sparklier, earrings:
    (These are from Gioielli via Boticca, but the lady who supplies their gems also makes her own earrings, which you can find at OddlyEnchantingLuxe on Etsy).

    They are simple yet sparkly, understated and glamorous. I’ve worn them with linen summer dresses, jeans and sweaters, LBDs and heels, and they’ve garnered me armfuls of compliments (way more than anything else I own, apart from my engagement ring!). They also come in plenty of different colours, from pink topaz to citrine to London blue topaz. I can’t recommend them highly enough! (can you tell?!).

  20. I love the Superga’s. Please let us know if this issue comes up: I bought the velvet “Maneater” this winter and the tongue would not stay in place but kept sliding to the side or top of the shoe. I suspect there was not enough friction to keep it secure under the laces. I had a shoe repair man fix that; he cut two parallel slits in the tongue and after threading the laces through, problem solved! This has never happened on the canvas/cotton pair I have from the regular Superga line. I’d love to get the green suede; I think the tongue should stay in place, but please post if the problem arises. Thanks for the clever, fun blog.

    1. @Clarissa, So far, although I notice that I have to focus on getting the tongue in place well, before I tie the shoes, I don’t find that it slips in the wearing. And the footbed is to die for. Is that true of other Supergas too? Welcome to the blog. Happy to ahve you here.

  21. Nice to hear the footbed is comfortable. Not a common attribute of any Supergas I have had (that’s not a deal breaker for my pairs). By the way, the velvet pair were “Man Repellers”, not “Maneaters,” lol. Interesting piece on the tomboyish muse who partnered with Superga on the velvet style; she has a site:

  22. “Ineradicable attraction to the subversive” is my new favorite descriptor. What a wonderful phrase.

  23. Perfect. And I adore your supergas. I wish they still had my size. At the moment, with a probable L5 or S1 disk problem, the only shoes I can wear are my brooks trainers or supergas; the latter being far more stylish as well as wonderfully supportive and comfortable. Finding a deep forest green that is not too yellow seems to be such a challenge for me.

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