Talbots’ Senior Brand Stylist’s 10 Spring & Summer Styling Tips

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
two women over 50 posing in talbots store

I’m back today with my friend, Barb Benesh, Talbots‘ Senior Brand Stylist, to share her ten Spring and summer styling tips! Barb is an amazing woman with a huge job! I am blessed to see her a few times a year when I model for Talbots’ seasonal Trunk Shows. Working with Barb, who is warm, encouraging, and fun, is always such a treat for me.

Barb travels all over the US styling and emceeing seasonal Trunk Shows at Talbots stores. She also develops and creates print and video stylist training tools focused on styling and product knowledge for retail stores & call center representatives. If you’ve ever worked with one of the store stylists at a Talbots retail store to pull together an outfit, you’ve benefited from her training! It’s little wonder I hang on every word she speaks, especially about fashion! She always gives me the “fashion courage” to try new things and have fun with my style!

Last fall, when Barb was in Dallas, and I was modeling in two of her Trunk Shows, I asked her if she would share her ten best styling tips with Empty Nest Blessed followers. She generously said yes, and the rest is history! After going viral on Pinterest, that post became the most-read Empty Nest Blessed post of all time! So, of course, Barb and I just HAD to do another one! This time I asked her to focus on spring & summer styling tips, and she generously agreed!

As always, click the pink text links or any image in this post for more information.

woman standing in talbots wearing ladylike cardigan

Spring & Summer Style Checklist

What to Wear in 2024

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Please note: The quality of the photos may not be up to our usual quality, as some of these were taken in-store. Thanks for your understanding! 🤗

Barb’s Spring & Summer Styling Tips

1. Column of Color

woman over 50 standing in talbots store wearing chambray outfit with white cardigan

Linen Johnny Collar Top | Linen Wide-Leg Pants (in chambray or oatmeal) | Knot Stitch Oversized Cardigan (Love the loose, open weave!) | Capri Leather Wedge Sandals – Metallic | Leather Trim Geo Straw Tote | Crochet Brim Raffia Bucket Hat | Fresh Air Necklace | Rachel Sunglasses (These came home with me!)

Build a column of color as a foundation of where to start when styling, then swap in pieces with color or print for your layers, tops, and bottoms to create multiple looks. (Barb says this is the key to building a travel wardrobe!)

2. Balance Your Pairings

Floral Pleated Patio Maxi Skirt (Also available in a beautiful dress HERE.) | Pleated Flutter Sleeve Crewneck Tee (Other colors HERE.) | Raffia Heeled Mules (from Target)

Pair a slim top with wide-leg pants or a full skirt. If you have a fuller top, try ½ or full tucking. Button down? Tie it at the waist to create balance and define the waistline. (See below.)

(This entire outfit came home with ME!)

Spring Fling Stripe Cotton Button Front Shirt | White Denim A-Line Skirt (Flattering Shape!) | Ribbed V-Neck Sweater – over shoulders (Sold out but other colors HERE.) | Striped Espadrilles | Leather Drawstring Crossbody Bag | Pink Bangles

3. Audit Your Closet

At the beginning of every season, take everything completely OUT of your closet! Try things on, looking for pieces that you’ve never worn together. Can you pair them for a fresh new style?

4. Build on the Basics

Basic pieces are wardrobe multipliers and give you more range. They’re a way to stretch and broaden your wardrobe! Add neutral trousers, jeans, shirts, tees, and blazers for the ultimate versatile wardrobe.
Suzy’s Tip: So many women ask me where to find tees with sleeves that cover their upper arms. This Split Neck Tee is a good one, and it comes in six trending colors. See them all HERE. (To read our post about the spring & summer color trends, click HERE.)

5. Nerd Out Over Neutrals

Polka Dot Pants Sold Out, but Similar in Green HERE) | Scallop Trim Crewneck Tee | Navy Suede Kitten Heel Pumps | Navy & White Spring Fling Necklace | Navy & White Spring Fling Stretch Bracelet

We’re used to thinking of neutrals as black or white, but things have changed! The “new” neutral includes unexpected shades like Olive, Blush, Silver, and Gold. In addition, patterns like stripes, polka dots, and leopard are also considered neutral and can be mixed with a variety of colors or prints.

6. Amplify with Accessories

woman taking selfie wearing talbots linen separates

Classic Linen Blazer | Greenwich Linen Pants | Zigzag Stripe Johnny Collar Sweater | Floral Silk Square Scarf | Navy Suede Kitten Heel Pumps | Metallic Leather Bamboo Clutch | Spring Fling Stretch Bracelets

Amp up your look by adding touches you love that enhance your personal style. Try a stack of bracelets, a scarf, a printed top, a colorful jacket, or a fun cardigan, or consider adding something with sparkle!

7. Travel Tricks

This would be a great color combo for travel. Build around these solids and have fun!

Lace Trim Knit Shell (Other colors HERE.) | White Linen Blazer | Pink Crop Pants | Blair Nappa Ballet Flats (Hurry! Marked down & selling FAST!) | Ikat Paisley Tote | Beaded Layer Necklace | Sculptural Pendant Necklace

If you’re traveling, pick 2-3 base colors and build around them. Remember, dark colors (especially with texture) look better after multiple wears, knits and solids show fewer wrinkles, and black denim is a must!

8. Mix it Up!

woman taking selfie in talbots dressing room wearing white crochet dress and denim jacket

Crochet Sweater Dress (also in Navy Crochet) | Collarless Denim Jacket | Denim Slides | Crochet Brim Bucket Hat | Straw Crossbody Bag (Sold Out) | Fresh Pearl Stretch Bracelets

Pair 2 polished pieces with 2 casual pieces (LOVE this short sleeve denim jacket for spring!) for an unexpected, modern look. In the photo above, Barb did a variation on this styling tip! She styled me in a very dressy Crochet Sweater Dress (also comes in a chic Navy Crochet). Then, she added a casual Collarless Denim Jacket and other casual accessories.

I bought this dress, and wore it to church with nude kitten heels the next Sunday! But pairing it with casual accessories was something I hadn’t thought of! Dressing like this expands your wardrobe! Brilliant!

9. Add a Pop of Color

I always get compliments on these pop of color shoes!

Sutton Shirtdress – Charming Floral | Blair Nappa Ballet Flats (Hurry! Marked down & selling FAST!) | Cane & Leather Handbag (Not Talbots)

Liven up any look with a pop of color in a layer, shoe, bag, scarf, or jewelry.

10. Use the Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is an outfit formula that every woman needs to understand! It’s actually a rule utilized in architecture, photography, art, and film. The subject is divided into thirds as a composition tool. When you place your subject where the lines intersect, you create a visually appealing image. With fashion, remember that no matter how cute the individual pieces are, if the proportion of your outfit is off, you can look frumpy, or the look can be unflattering.

Roll Cuff Johnny Collar Tee (also in other stripes HERE and solids HERE) | Wide Leg Denim Jeans | Pink Allbirds Sneakers | Similar Freshwater Pearl Drop Earrings | Similar Pearl Initial Pendant Necklace | Build a Similar Bracelet Stack (Take 20% off with code SUZY20.)

When it comes to fashion, think of it like this: when you look at yourself in the mirror, the middle mark of your body is right under your hips. (Yes, typically the widest part of your body.) You want to avoid creating a line in that area with your outfit. Instead, you want to create a longer section that takes up about ⅔ of your body visually, with the shorter section taking up ⅓. In the photos above, I did that by half-tucking the Roll Cuff Johnny Collar Tee into the Wide Leg Denim Jeans.

Style using the Rule of 3rds to create a flattering silhouette:

I hope you learned something today! Many thanks to my beautiful friend, Barb, for sharing her styling tips with us! Isn’t she the best? Right now, you can save 40% off markdowns at Talbots + an extra 15% off on top of that! Lots of the items I shared with you today are included!

Thank you for sharing my content!
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  1. You look absolutely amazing! Thanks for all the great tips. I’m 5’11” so finding things in the correct proportion is a challenge. Those polka dot pants are adorable!

    1. Susan,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks for letting me know!

      I have good news for you! Beth and I are working on a post about the best spots to find clothes for talls and another one on the best spots for petites! If you have some favorite spots for talls, let me know!

      According to my tall friends, both Banana Republic Factory (https://rstyle.me/+AxBA9unNtOpFvMKEW1jODw) and Boden (https://rstyle.me/+-URH1N07LSonc9ZD36vB8w) are great spots!

      Thanks so much for your comment!


      1. I am fitness instructor so I pretty much live in workout apparel. I purchase almost all of my workout leggings from Old Navy. I love the fit and quality and don’t want to spend a ton of money on something I’m going to sweat in. Ha ha! I tend to get jeans from Old Navy too. But they stretch out terribly. I’ve gotten a couple of coats from Lands End and Eddie Bauer.

    1. I agree disappointing. It is so hard to buy quality and fashionable clothing in plus sizes. Always disappointed

    1. Hi Doris,

      Thank you so much for your comment.

      I’m in my late 50s, and this post was about the styling the Talbots stylist did for me. I do believe that Talbots carries a wide range of styles that are appropriate for all ages of women.

      I would suggest you consider making a Styling Appointment at your local Talbots. That way they can pull the types of styles that you might consider more suitable just for you!


  2. I liked all your suggestions and styling tips and I realize you didn’t show any skorts, but older ladies would like to see longer skorts, 20” would probably go over big!! As we age the knee area isn’t as attractive as in younger days and we golfers and others who enjoy wearing skorts would highly appreciate them. Please consider this suggestion. I will be the first person in line to buy several skorts if Talbots would consider a 20” length skort!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Adrien,

    Thank you so much for your comment! I don’t work for Talbots, but I think your suggestion is a good one! I totally understand wanting a longer skort. I found these cute and well-priced ones on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3xFsGIi

    They come in a wide variety of colors, and I trust this brand because I’ve worn their athleticwear before!

    I hope that helps, Adrien! Have a great weekend!


  4. Suzy…thank you so much for this post! Every suggestion will be super helpful now and in the future! As always, thank you for putting in the research and thoughtfulness! I know it must be fun, but also a lot of work and time!! Much appreciated!! Best wishes and blessings to you!!

  5. Cynthia,

    Aw, thanks so much for your kind words! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and learned a lot! Every time Barb speaks, I learn something new! It thrills me to be able to pass those things along to you!

    I appreciate you!


  6. The photos you showed look wonderful. But the quality of the materials are cheap and there is a lot if polyester and very little cotton. Also too much man made materials. The slacks in the summer are too heavy snd only suitable for winter.

  7. Hi Wendy!

    I don’t work for Talbots, but I do like their clothing. They are featuring a lot of linen this season, which you can check out HERE (https://rstyle.me/+T_12FhhmoB7B9vNLr8toYA).

    My primary objective with this post was to offer and share styling tips from an expert. Hopefully, the tips Barb shared are ones you can apply to the styles you already own or ones you purchase from another brand besides Talbots. You may not need anything new!

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with me!


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