The shift in weather from winter to spring is great, but figuring out what to wear during that time? Um, not so much. Here are five transitional spring outfits to make your mornings a little easier (including shoppable options for each!):
MONDAY: JEAN JACKET SEASON IS BACK
Lighten up an all-black ensemble with a jean jacket, a warm-weather staple. I’ll be re-creating this look with my new Who What Wear sleeveless mock neck (obsessed, you guys) and Pixie pants from J.Crew. And black booties, because I do not own a fabulous white pair.
TUESDAY: DENIM ON DENIM + STRIPES
Canadian tuxedos are wonderful. I love this trick from Madewell to mix it up with some stripes underneath, too — a fresh twist on what has become a classic outfit.
WEDNESDAY: MOTO JACKET
Last year’s Rag & Bone v-neck sweater trend is still going strong, it seems… so I am very happy I scooped up an affordable version of the style at Banana Republic. Even Rag & Bone is re-creating the style this year, with their more affordable /JEAN line. I’m supposed to go check out CH Distillery after work on Wednesday, and this outfit can totally go from desk to happy hour. And also, apparently, the airport!
THURSDAY: MORE STRIPES
For days when it’s still a little cooler, you can’t beat the simplicity of a striped top layered under a sweater.
FRIDAY: BLAZER FRIDAY
So some people in my office do this thing called blazer Fridays, and I’ve yet to participate because it’s been forever and a half since I’ve worn a blazer. Also, it’s mostly guys who do it. However, when I cleaned out my closet, I decided that a couple of my blazers still “spark joy,” so now seems like an excellent time to break out the trusty blazer, jeans and t-shirt combo.
Note to those who know me IRL, including coworkers: outfits subject to change based on Chicago weather. And my mood.
Style is an art, and learning how to be stylish does take some effort. Because, in the immortal words of Countess (former Countess? I don’t watch #RHONY anymore…) LuAnn de Lesseps, money can’t buy you style. That’s what she said, right? Style, class, whatever.
Point being: anyone with a credit card can run out and buy whatever the heck they want, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will look good. Like, at all. There are some incredibly ticky-tacky expensive things out there, actually. Budget does not dictate style. Skill and taste dictate style. Luckily, both of those things can be learned — and in a very fun, non-painful, easy way. To get started, here are five quick tips that even the laziest of lazy girls can use to up their style game.
DO A HALF TUCK
A lazy girl invented this and called a Fashion Thing, right? Or J.Crew and Jenna Lyons. Either way, I can’t remember the last time I fully tucked in a shirt. This is such an easy way to elevate the simplest of outfits. Tuck just a bit of your t-shirt into your high-waist skinny jeans and a basic ensemble becomes a “look.” Boom.
ALL IN GOOD MEASURE (OR, PROPORTIONS)
Clothes are like life in that we should strive for balance in both. In outfits, this means that if you are wearing very tight pants, it’s probably a good idea to wear something a little bit looser, boxier and/or generally less tight up top. Yes, even if you are going to Da Club. If you really want to be tight all over, that’s what Herve Leger is for.
LEAVE ONE THING UNDONE
So French, and also a great lazy girl tip. Leave your hair a little mussed, wear sneakers instead of heels, or smudge out your eyeliner. Too polished and put together is boring. This ain’t Stepford, folks.
If you know what works for your body type and the types of clothes that make you feel good, getting dressed becomes so much easier. Yes, I wish I had Kendall Jenner’s wardrobe, but I also wish I had her body type. No matter how much I work out, though, I will never be a 20 year old supermodel. And that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Know thyself, accept thyself, and learn thy go-to outfits. Is there a particular combo you feel absolutely fabulous wearing? Great! Keep it on standby for those mornings that are just too much.
WHEN IN DOUBT, WEAR ALL BLACK
Shop stylish essentials:
I was catching up on my favorite blogs the other day, and one shared an article featuring eight pairs of can’t-live-without-denim. Eight! That’s a pair a day for a week plus one extra. Meanwhile, I’m over here wearing essentially the exact same pair of Madewell skinny jeans every single day. (The high-rise fit? Life changing! I don’t know what took me so long, but I’ll never let go.)
And I think there’s something to be said for that approach, too. I’m not a true minimalist and likely couldn’t pull off a capsule wardrobe because frankly, I like stuff and shopping too much. However, streamlining and editing your closet really does make life that much simpler. And I firmly believe denim should be part of any good, streamlined closet. Everyone can wear it, from preps to tomboys to It girls and street-style stars.
I know it’s kind of in vogue right now to hate pants (see: Beyoncé), but I wear pants far more than I wear skirts and dresses — preferably those of the skinny, denim variety. Heck, sometimes I will even throw pants on underneath a dress. Because pants are actually great. They’re versatile, comfortable and, yes, flattering… when you find the right pair.
However, I don’t think I’d know what to do with myself if I owned eight pairs of jeans. Like I said, I’ve got one favorite pair that’s in heavy rotation, and I really only need (in the truest, literal sense of the word) that one pair. But because this is a style blog, and I’m really bad at distinguishing needs versus wants, we’re going to bump that number up to three, plus one “trendier” pair.
Here’s the thing, though: these are essentially the exact same pair of jeans. They work for me. High-rise skinny, preferably from Madewell, is my denim match. That style complements nearly everything in my wardrobe: flats, boots, tees, going out tops, whatever. Sure, I was very excited when I scored a pair of J Brand boyfriend jeans on super duper sale…but I keep going back to the Madewell skinnies. Because I love them. Your denim love story? It might be something completely different!
So, without further ado, here are the four pairs of denim that pretty much make up the foundation of my wardrobe:
ONE. LIGHT WASH HIGH RISE SKINNY JEANS
A great, everyday pair of denim in a classic wash – the OG, if you will. Buy: Madewell / Nordstrom
TWO. DARK WASH HIGH RISE SKINNY JEANS
A “fancier” pair, for when you need to dress it up a little. Buy: Madewell / Nordstrom
THREE. BLACK HIGH RISE SKINNY JEANS
Everyone needs a pair of black jeans, useful in occasions where you don’t want to wear a Canadian tuxedo and/or maybe can’t get away with leggings. Buy: Madewell / Nordstrom
FOUR. BLACK DISTRESSED HIGH RISE SKINNY JEANS
This is the “trendy” pair. Distressing is in, and it’s hard to find a pair of jeans with the perfect knee rips — in fact, I’m still looking. This pair looks promising. But they just add a bit of “It Girl” to any outfit that other jeans don’t.
I’ve been a fan of Topshop for awhile, but recently discovered that they have an amazing, robust section of content and inspiration, including one of the best tools I’ve discovered yet: My Topshop Wardrobe.
More than just a style quiz, My Topshop Wardrobe takes into account your taste as well as your lifestyle, your figure and even what you hope to get out of the quiz.
The quiz also asks you to choose five words to describe your style (i.e. rocker, minimal, glamorous, casual, etc.), what your body type is and and which features you’d like to highlight, and what types of outfits you’d wear for weekdays, weekends and nights out:
I was quite pleased (but not surprised!) by my result, “The Chic Girl”:
Clean silhouettes and classic investment pieces? Yep, that sounds about right. Here are a few of the pieces that make up The Chic Girl wardrobe, all of which I would most definitely purchase:
The quiz also features a style guide with tips on pieces that work well on your body, as well as ones that might not. There’s also an edited selection of sample outfits to help you visualize how your Topshop wardrobe can all come together. It’s sort of like a capsule wardrobe, Topshop-style.
My item recommendations were all spot-on, and the outfits were all things I’d love to wear. In fact, I frequently use the outfit recommendations to inspire my own clothing choices based on similar styles I already own. I love the way that My Topshop Wardrobe uses the same pieces in multiple outfits, which makes the whole concept feel much more realistic and approachable. I’m trying to take a smarter approach to shopping (ahem, Kon Mari method), and seeing how pieces can form the basic building blocks of a wardrobe helps inform that approach, I think. I’ve even saved a few pieces to my list and plan to pop over to Topshop soon to give them a test run! (Don’t forget, if you don’t have a full-fledged Topshop nearby, much of the line is available at Nordstrom, too!)
What do you think? I’d love to hear what your result was and if you agree with it, and if you like the pieces Topshop suggests for you!
Caroline de Maigret is one of those impossibly chic, cool French girls. She literally wrote the book on it (How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are) and embodies that enviable, quintessentially French je ne sais quoi, as evidenced by this video from British Vogue:
One other thing about French girls? They’re basically an endless source of sartorial inspiration, somehow managing to look effortless and chic no matter what they wear. Why do you think I’m so excited for Carine Roitfeld’s second Uniqlo collection? When you’re severely underwhelmed by your wardrobe, or faced with yet another “closet full of clothes and nothing to wear” dilemma, look to French girls for outfit inspiration. The French have mastered the art of getting dressed without being overly fussy, resulting in always-stylish ensembles.
Not all of these bloggers/street style stars/celebrities are French, but they’ve certainly got the effortless, casual-chic thing down — proving that you don’t actually have to be from France to get the Parisian look.
Aimee Song layers basic, timeless pieces like a blazer and camel coat (ugh so chic) for a very Parisian vibe.
Caroline de Maigret and Chiara Ferragni both love leather jackets, and with good reason. They’re endlessly versatile and can add a bit of roughness and edge to nearly any outfit.
Case in point: the leather jacket thrown over a slip dress and heels combination that would be too obviously sexy on its own.
Seriously, how do French girls make a simple blazer, jeans and tee look so good?
Clemence Posey, a.k.a. Fleur Delacour from Harry Potter, masterfully mixes a ladylike jacket with menswear inspired loafers.
Finally, Emily Weiss proves that sometimes, simplicity is best.
Put together your own French girl outfit with the style picks below:
Are you a fan of French style? Share your style muses and inspirations in the comments!