(ABOVE) Me, June 2016.  In this post, I tell why I decided to start a blog and YouTube channel.


Thank you so much for visiting my blog, and welcome.

I am a 57-year-old, Corpus Christie, Texas-born girly-girl who now lives in Southwest Florida.  I arrived via The Hague, Holland; London, England;  Houston, Texas; La Jolla, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Los Angeles, California.

With my mother at our home in La Jolla, California, 1969. When I wasn’t at the beach or swimming in our pool, I would sit on our fence or in a tree and stare out at the ocean. I still love water today, whether it’s a tiny fish pond, a lake, or the sea.


I also am a wife (my husband and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary in 2018), a former co-host of a Southwest Florida visitor’s television channel, and a former editor of and writer for several upscale South Florida lifestyle magazines.  I am passionate about all things classic–and living a holistic, healthful lifestyle.

I hope you will stay awhile and have a look, and if you enjoy this blog please come back and visit again.  I post new features regularly.

Warmest Regards,

Janis Lyn Johnson

P.S. For additional information about me, my personal style, and why I created this blog…

Here I am in 1972, standing in the entry courtyard of our Pittsburgh home.  My bedroom in this 1928 Brandon Smith tudor had a gas-lit fireplace and French doors that opened to a wrought-iron Juliet balcony. I loved everything about this house–even the bats in the third-story attic. (More photographs of this home here.)


The Meaning of “Classic”

Q: Does classic mean “class” or “classy”?

JLJ: If for you “class” or “classy” mean pleasing, understated and timeless, then yes, classic means class or classy.  For me, something is classic when a) it stands the test of time; (b) it appears to not try too hard and gives a feeling of ease and effortlessness; (c) it isn’t garish or off-putting, and shows restraint and appropriateness; and (d) it elicits, at best, delight and appreciation, and at worst it isn’t even noticed.  Classic never shocks.

Beginning the Blog

Q: Why a lifestyle blog?

JLJ: I started this blog because I couldn’t find anything in contemporary media that reflected my tastes and lifestyle–who I am and the sort of things I want to know more about.  I knew there had to be plenty of other women in the world who were just like me, so I decided if I couldn’t find it, I would create it.

In the cobblestone courtyard of our home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, autumn 1976.  I had so much fun cheerleading at SSA (Shady Side Academy), but I’m afraid I wasn’t very good at it.  I could smile, yell, and do cartwheels, and that was about all.

About Me

Q: How would I describe myself?

JLJ: I suppose you could say I’m what a friend once described as “a Charlotte” (and I’m not sure she considered it a compliment).  My friend was referring to Charlotte York, the traditionalist romantic on the 1998-2004 U.S. television series “Sex In The City” (which also became two feature films).  Played by Kristin Davis, Charlotte was and still is one of my favorite fictional characters (along with Mary Crawley on the television series  “Downton Abbey”. I miss that program so much!).

Charlotte also was the one at whom the other girls often rolled their eyes, because they thought she was so naive. I loved Charlotte’s hopeful, cheerful, conservative wholesomeness.  I loved how kind and polite she always tried to be (I wish I could be so gracious).  I loved Charlotte’s understated and natural, fresh-scrubbed look, the classic way she dressed, styled her hair, and decorated her apartment on Park Avenue in New York City.  Charlotte inspired me to be perfectly comfortable with not being so-called “cool”.

Actress Kristen Davis (2nd from left), as Charlotte York on “Sex in The City.”  (Photo:


But there are few Charlottes in the media today, because edgy, cynical, and irreverent are vogue.  And that makes me feel so…well…frustrated, sad, baffled (and several other emotions that I can’t quite put my finger on).  Add to that the fact that I turn 56 this year (2016), and the media would have me and anyone like me believe that I am an old, ugly, irrelevant anachronism–especially since I stopped trying to camouflage my graying hair in 2012, and I don’t want to have a face lift, botox, or fillers.

By all means, I wholly support and respect any person who does believe in doing these things—of course–but they just aren’t for me.

My hope is, by putting my un-edgy, sentimental, over-50, un-cool, always-a-little-disheveled, classic-bent self into a blog for the world to see, I might be of some support to other women who also just want to be their classic selves.

For more about my personal style…

With my parents and oldest brother, after my high school graduation, 1978.  Back then for graduation day at SSA, all the girls were required to wear a navy blue blazer and white blouse and skirt. It is such a great classic outfit, I would still wear the combination today (with a pencil skirt).


Why Follow My Style

Q: I’m not a celebrity and I’m not in the fashion industry, so why would anyone want to know about my style?

JLJ: I think, because my taste is classic and it isn’t dictated by design trends, my style is relatable to women of all ages.  I am a real person who gets dressed in the morning for a real life–not for New York Fashion Week, reality TV, or paparazzi.  Truly, how many of us look like one of the women on any of the “The Real Housewives”  television shows (which I love, by the way).  These women go shopping in five-inch-high heels, which looks amazing and is definitely admirable.  But my poor feet would pay the price and I probably would break my neck.

What I love about classic style is that it makes good sense.  Not only does it flatter any body type and at any age, but it’s intrinsically appropriate to the occasion and doesn’t sacrifice comfort or health for beauty.  If a classic woman plans to do a lot of walking, like shopping at a mall, she wears a cute, lower-heeled shoe or sandal.  She may not be the peacock who attracts photographers, but a classic woman is okay with that.  And if you are a woman who’s a peacock, I think that’s fantastic, too.  I enjoy admiring you and all your lovely feathers.

Touring China with my mother in the summer of 1980. I swear we did not purposely plan to match. But oh how I wish I’d kept that classic, pleated-front, floral shift dress.


Developing Personal Style By Observation

Q: I’m not an expert, so how can I help you navigate the do’s and don’ts, and more, of classic fashion or home decorating?

JLJ: All I can do is share what I like and have learned up to this point.  The fashion and lifestyle bloggers who inspire me most are regular women just like me, not experts, who are not afraid to feature themselves—even on days when they may not look their best.  To me, because our hair or makeup or outfit is not always perfect—or we obviously did not get enough sleep–it makes our blogs more relatable and interesting.  I think it’s inspiring when others are not afraid to try and maybe fail but put it out there nonetheless.  There are enough wins, in my opinion, to keep readers interested.

Pablo Picasso once said, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn to do it.”  I think creating fashion and home decorating are similar.  I continually develop my own style by observing what others do, and trying it out for myself—with my own twist added in.

My youngest brother and I take our mother out for her 82nd birthday, 2009. Although I’ve had the Ann Taylor cable-knit sweater and Talbots embroidered split-neck tunic for years, their classic style still looks current today.


Expensive Taste, Frugal Budgeting

Q: What do I mean when I say my taste is expensive but my mentality, Depression-era?

JLJ: My brothers and I are products of parents who were children during the Great Depression.  Neither of their families had money, so they learned at a young age the importance of fiscal prudence.  By the time I was in middle school, my father had become an executive vice president for a large company.  Our family lived in a Pittsburgh suburb on 12 acres, in a 1928 brick tudor with seven fireplaces, eight bedrooms, a ballroom and wood-paneled study in the main house and a two-bedroom apartment above a three-car garage.  Yet, still, our go-to stores were Sears and K-Mart. Being frugal is in my DNA.

To see a video featuring excerpts from my YouTube channel and this blog, click here.

To learn about my heal-your-body eating plan (I have had some health issues, but because of my change in diet, I am finally experiencing the disappearance of most symptoms), click here.

46 Comments on Who I Am and Why I Love Classic Things

  1. Janis, so pleased I receive this and would love to see more. The Carmel house is Gorgeous! Haven’t seen you in many years, but you look gorgeous, too!!

  2. Could I be added to your email distribution list? I’m dear friends with Julie Adams and she is always forwarding your stuff to me. Much thanks. Amy Anthony

  3. Janis, I finally made the time this evening to meander thru your JLJ site and truly enjoyed everything I saw and read. I have always appreciated and admired your style and believe that the attraction of a classic syle in clothing is that people of any height, weight or shape can pull it off. My mother always told me to buy the “basics” and then I could mix and match. Over the years I found that I bought clothing with that thought in mind but also learned to invite some classic styles, prints, textures and even a little bling (not nessarily a classic staple), without it being too over the top. To me, being “classic”, whether referring to clothing, jewelry, home decor, appropriate manners or the way we carry ourselves speaks volumes. Understated, polished but noticeable and as my grandmother said, “never goes out of style”. For me it was learning the art of balance and that less was more. I smiled as I read of your love for Charlotte York and Audra Barclay….we have much in common! Thank you for putting the time into JLJ Back to Classic. Very enjoyable! Hope

    • Hope, my goodness, what a beautiful comment. “Understated, polished but noticeable” is such a great way to describe classic. And I am with you on the “little bling”–it’s so fun. As for Charlotte York, I so miss her! Thank you for taking the time to stop by here and leave such a kind and eloquently stated opinion!

  4. Just discovered your blog and am very excited to explore your inspirational words. I live in Corpus Christi. I was born and raised in Houston but have been here since 1975. I have a vintage clothing shop on Etsy called Bop and Awe. I do all the purchasing and modeling. I am 66 and still going strong or at least trying to. Thanks for your insights. I feel we are connected through Corpus. My husband has an advertising agency here. Please check out my shop if you think it might be of interest. I like to think that my inventory is classic and refined.

    • Thank you, Jean–a fellow Texan (and from both cities in which I, too, once lived)! I look forward to visiting your “classic and refined” (yay!) Etsy shop–I appreciate you letting me know about it! So glad to meet another over-40 woman who is still going strong.

  5. Thank you for such inspiration. I have been trying to identify my style personality, as I believe it is now called, and feel as though I have become lost along the way. Whilst I knew that I liked to be feminine,and liked things traditional in the home, I now recognise who I am – Classic Feminine. Family and friends have tried to encourage me to be more trendy but I never feel comfortable in myself. Seeing your pops of colour in accessories, I feel that I have learnt so much. Thank you. My best wishes. Andrea

    • Andrea, I’m so happy that you are now comfortable with your classic, feminine style. That’s wonderful! Thank you for watching my videos and for commenting. Cheers to you! ~Janis

  6. I’m so glad I found your YouTube channel. You really are what I have been looking for without finding anyone. It’s like Classic is the last thing anyone wants to be these days.

    • Thank you, Mila! I’m thrilled you love classic, too. I know exactly how you feel!! Thank you for your comment! ~Janis

  7. I just found you today on youtube and decided to visit your blog also.I hope you keep on blogging and doing your videos because us classical women need you and your lovely style. I live in Texarkana, TX and don’t get to travel much anymore so I really enjoy that you take us along with you when you go shopping. Anything about Naples, Fl I like. I was only able to visit there once and so enjoyed everything about the place. Enjoy yourself, take care, and keep on blogging. I love it!

    • Thank you, Texan Joan! I am thrilled you enjoy my vlogs. I appreciate your support and encouragement so much! Cheers ~Janis

  8. Hello. I recently connected with your Blog Janis and I am thrilled. It’s so enjoyable, the YouTube videos too. Your style is so me and it’s lovely to read and watch. Looking forward to a whole lot more. Linda, Derbyshire UK.

    • Hi, Linda Jean from Derbyshire, UK! I am so happy you found and like my blog and YouTube channel. It’s exciting to think you are way over there and able to see what I am doing here in Florida. Isn’t the Internet amazing and wonderful! Wonderful meeting you. ~Janis

  9. I absolutely LOVE your blog and you tube show. I too, love the classic style. I’ve also let my hair gray (after I shaved it to get the color completely out to start over). I like that you wear makeup, too. Too many women think the classic style is ‘frumpy’ and it’s not. Applied correctly, every lady looks better with a little bit of makeup.

    • Kathie, hi! I’m so happy you found my blog and channel! You know, I enjoy the freedom of going without makeup occasionally, but I would miss it so much if I stopped wearing it all together. It’s just so fun and girly. I’m currently experimenting with different eyeshadow colors and having loads of fun with it. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. ~Janis

    • Hi, Emmy! Thank you! Sure, I always wear the same one these days. I discovered it about 9 months ago and am hooked, because it thickens and lengthens well. It’s an all natural/organic formula. Here’s the link:
      Thank you so much for taking the time to visit, to read this section about me, and for commenting!! Cheers ~Janis

  10. Found your blog via Susan – “50, Not Frumpy. Live in Florida (one year) and adjusting to the heat and humidity. Saw you used to live in my hometown, La Jolla.

    • Hi, Louise! That’s wonderful! How is it you found me through Susan at 50 Not Frumpy? I’d love to know, so I can thank here very much!! Yes, we lived in La Jolla when I was 9 — in 1969 — and we used to go to Black Beach all the time. It was a family beach back then, for our neighborhood, which was above it. It was the first place we lived that I was sad to leave. I loved it there. The heat and humidity here do take adjusting to! It can be like being in a bathroom with the shower turned onto high hot! Very steamy. I spend most of the time in air-conditioning all summer, to be honest — unless I’m taking a walk or gardening. Hope you are enjoying it more and more. Thank you for visiting my blog! ~Janis

  11. Hello JLJ,

    Even though we were raised it seems to me worlds apart, I absolutely agree that simple everyday manners, politeness, appropriateness, earnestness, and kindness are sorely missing in today’s society as a whole. A life fill with or even visited by classics and / or
    being classy is so needed; but so misunderstood.

    • Hi, Betty! Oh my goodness, you eloquently describe my feelings – especially your comment about classic being so misunderstood. I remember talking to a man in the retail fashion business about 20 years ago. We were discussing style, and when I brought up classic style, he said it was stodgy and boring. He just couldn’t see what I see… Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving your comment. We are two peas in a pod! Cheers ~ Janis

  12. I’ve spent the day sick in bed and found your YouTube channel. What a pleasant way to spend a suck day! I enjoy your style and personality, as well as healthy living. I also recognized some of those shopping areas in Naples! You’ve got a new subscriber from Michigan.

    • Hi, Adele! I’m so happy you found me, but I’m sorry you had to be sick! I hope you are all better now. Thank you so much for subscribing and for taking the time to leave me your comment! Be well ~ Janis

  13. Found your YouTube channel when I was looking for how to dress as an older woman. I’m 60 years old now. For the past year I have been letting my hair go Gray and the front is very silver. I like the look but so many people are telling me that I’m too young to be gray. Not sure if I will dye it blonde or not. But I love your classic style. I have started wearing Shirtwaist dresses again, getting lots of compliments about my waist. and I think I look better in cardigans then Blazers. I have two vintage dresses from my mother that she wore in the 50s. Two little black dresses one velvet and one lightweight fabric for the spring. You’ve inspired me to get them out and wear them this year with some nice pearls. Look forward to more of your videos.

    • Hi, Reggie! I’m so happy you found me on YouTube and then took the time to visit me here on my blog! I went through the same thing with a couple of friends when I began letting my gray hair grow out. It was and still is most noticeable around my face. What helped me most was seeing pictures of myself with the gray. For some reason I’m better able to see myself when I see myself in a photo or video. I was starting to believe what others were saying until I saw myself in a photo, and I thought, I like the way that looks. So it made it easier for me to make my decision to keep going. There are always going to be people who look at me and say I look old because my hair is gray. I get those comments on YouTube occasionally. I’m ok with that. I get many more comments from people saying they like it. I’m with you on shirtdresses! In fact, I’m wearing one in a vlog coming up soon. Oh my gosh your dresses from the 50s most be so lovely. Women dressed in such a ladylike manner back then! I bet they look gorgeous with your pearls!! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your comment! Good luck with your hair. Being happy with it yourself is what’s most important–whether that means you still color it or don’t. Have a wonderful week. ~ Janis

      • Hi, Janis

        Just saw your video at The French
        You looked great! So French with that shirt.
        I love how long your hair has gotten. We don’t see many women with grey hair that length….fantastic on you.
        I wore one of my vintage dresses last week and received so many compliments. I also followed your suggestions about taking picture to see if I liked my look with grey hair. I do. So for now no dyes.
        Thanks for the support. Also looking for natural cosmetics,so will check what you use soon.
        Take care,

  14. Hi,
    Just found you blog by way of utube. I’m 57 yrs and live in a small town between Houston and Corpus. I’m overweight and have gradually been changing my eating habits, losing weight and looking for inspiration to keep me on the right path. I want a classic look but something a little different too can’t really define it yet.
    Anyway I believe I have definitely found some inspiration here.
    I just went to this page so I could read about you I was also curious if you were close to my age which you are. Thanks for putting all this together
    I really love your look!

    • Hi, Brenda! I’m so happy you found my YouTube channel! Thank you for taking the time to come over to my blog and have a look around. Oh my gosh, you are right between the two cities where I lived as a child. It brings back so many sweet memories. I turn 57 in August; we are also practically the same age! About your eating habits…That’s fantastic that you’ve found the motivation to change them and are seeing results. Congratulations! Focusing on our health is so important! You said you were looking for inspiration…Whenever I feel frustrated with my healing process or my appearance–and I do have those moments–I redirect my attention to the progress that I’ve made so far since changing my diet on June 1, 2012. That keeps me going. My own progress–that is my inspiration. It keeps me from comparing myself to others and also keeps me focused on my own personal journey. I also make a point to keep my focus on my health rather than on my appearance. That also keeps me from making comparisons to other women, Plus, I’m continually aging–which brings about visible changes in my body shape and skin texture, etc. that I wish I didn’t have to witness–but there isn’t anything I can do about that. I can, however, eat healthily, exercise, and work diligently to manage my stress with sufficient sleep and positive thinking. This is something I CAN do–continue to work to be my own best, healthiest me. I hope you are giving yourself the credit that YOU DESERVE. You have come so far already!! About your style…I think I know what you mean about wanting a classic look but something a little different, too. Maybe what you’re looking for is your own personal definition of classic–“Brenda’s Classic”. That’s why I call my blog and channel JLJ Back To Classic. It’s my own–Janis Lyn Johnson’s–version of classic. Now you’re developing your own classic look, too. I’m so excited for you and you’re new journey to continued well being and creating your own style. Please keep me posted on how it’s going!!! Thank you so much for your sweet compliment 🙂 Have a great weekend. ~ Janis

  15. I have enjoyed viewing several of your videos, after just finding your channel today. I then, looked for your website and am now wondering if you have a way to subscribe to your blog updates? I couldn’t find a place to sign up for your email updates. If you have a way to do that, I’d appreciate it! I am looking forward to reading more about all things classic!
    Thank you!

  16. Found your blog via YouTube and your video about aging. I am at a turning point in my life, not only because I am turning to 53 (never felt like that :-)) but more because I have to start from point zero. I know I will make it nevertheless sometimes I feel tired and empty, loosing my joy and happiness. Today. Your video popped up while looking for something else and I am so grateful for it. Thank you so much for doing what you doing, for being who you are and for sharing. It really helped me to move on today and to never give up no matter what ever occurs in life. To be alive is a precious gift and to be grateful for all we have is what makes the difference…. at least for me …. Thanks again! Love and blessings for you all. Dorothea

  17. Janis I only found your channel last night and I must say I am in Awe!! Everything you stand for is my life… I love classic styles, I was raised that you buy good and classic so it will stand the test of time… I’m not into all the trends… Actually when I purchase a piece of clothing or furniture I want to get something that will hold up and look great 20+ years down the road… I just turned 60 the 2 of September and I have been rolling it over and over into my head the more natural I am the better… I am tired of coloring and highlighting my hair…I have always taken very good care of my skin.. I do not believe in botox, fillers or anything else that takes away from what God gave me… I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 so that was the beginning of this holistic journey I am on… It was just meant to be that I have found your channel… I guess it would be appropriate to say I am a little,obsessed bc I have finally found someone that is living the life that I’m dreaming of when it comes to health, beauty and my overall well being…. Keep those beautiful videos coming… I am a born and raised gal from Lousiana… I have been married to the most amazing man, my very best friend for 35 years this November… He is my anchor and he is what makes me smile and believe that I am beautiful more on the inside than the outside….
    God Bless You Always

  18. Hi Janis,
    Thanks for sharing a slice of your world, it is most inspiring! I have just found you via Youtube, and am following your content across multiple platforms. So refreshing to find another who enjoys all things classic as I do. Indeed, it feels there are only a small handful of us, so I very much appreciate your blog and vlog.

    As I reach middle age (late 40s) my very simple classic style needs some refinement. The natural physical changes of age were compounded with a recent illness and not so fun treatments, so I don’t quite look or feel myself at the moment. I think a little refreshing of the wardrobe will help bring back the feel of elegance as I work to recover, and your social media is just what I needed to feel inspired, thank you!

    I’ve thought of starting a blog to share the journey of dealing with the changes of middle age and recovery / living with illness – if I decide to go that route, I know I will be giving you many references as your style is inspiring me to refine and step up my own style.


  19. HI Janis
    I’m really loving your great blog and videos on classic style, as I’m so sad about the way society dresses ans looks today with pink,purple hair and just sloppy looking clothing you really inspire me. please put me on your email 🙂

  20. Good evening!

    I just watched your video for the first time and I loved it, so I found my way here to your blog. I truly appreciate it that you are sharing your thoughts and experience with us, and presenting them in such a beautiful way.

    I am in my 30s, with a full time job as a software engineer, working in Silicon Valley. Although I am surrounded by the culture of being cool/chic/modern, I appreciate classic items, and traditional way of living. I am so happy to find your blog.

    I want to say thank you. I can already tell that there’s so much for me to learn in your blog. I wish you all the best!


  21. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing your life. I was wondering if you have ever had any Laser treatments or peels… on your face… or if you attribute your healthy skin to diet and organic topicals alone….

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