Most days, I don’t want to expend a lot of mental energy getting dressed in the morning, so this week I took the time to craft a basic, casual uniform with lots of jeans, tees, and sneakers that I can mix and match.
I don’t have an urgent, deep need to put a fabulous outfit together every day, especially on the days no one outside my family will see me. But wearing my workout gear all day isn’t cutting it, so after an infusion of style inspiration last week, I decided that the time had come to collect the ingredients necessary for an everyday, casual uniform and put together a handful of outfits I can wear (and put on repeat) this fall.
What follows are a list of ingredients for a basic casual uniform – plus a few pieces to elevate my looks when the occasion calls for it – a few suggestions for mixing and matching your basics in a variety of combinations, and a few easy styling tips to help you achieve a relaxed look you can wear every day.
A quick note about jewelry…. For these photos, the only accessories I changed were my sunglasses. These days low-maintenance jewelry is key. Pretty, delicate pieces I can wear every day (preferably without ever taking them off) are what I’m going toward. They look good and are effortless: A winning combination.
The Ingredients for a Casual Uniform
The first ingredients I collected were my most useful and versatile bottoms: A black circle skirt, a pair of slubby camo pants, and, of course, my favorite pairs of jeans.
Next, I gathered together a handful of my favorite tee-shirts. This included my go-to black, white, and grey tees (a must), as well as a few old tees I found while cleaning out my son’s drawer last week. (Lucky me! I can finally share/steal clothes from him!)
Once my ingredients were selected, I could set about mixing and matching items to build some easy, repeatable looks.
Distressed Blue Jeans
I’m loving the current trend of cropped jeans and frayed hems. They solve the problem of what to do when you wear jeans with ankle boots (tucked in? left out? rolled?) and they look great with flats and sandals, too. Also, with a steady hand and a good pair of scissors, you can trim your jeans at home and save yourself a trip to the tailor!
Styling Tip #1:
The 80’s are back in full force. Try incorporating some of the same styling tricks you relied on back in the day, like rolling your tee sleeves.
Jeans:Levi’s Made & Crafted. Shirt: Quicksilver, Boys. Shoes: Nike. Shades: Quay Australia. Bracelets: Olivia K.
There’s nothing more comfortable than a great pair of jeans and I love the look of an artfully ripped knee and other signs of love and wear. These Levi’s are a great staple and they go with just about every ingredient in the mix. (Literally every single ingredient I pulled for this exercise – including my black, heeled sandals – works with these jeans, so I decided not to model every possible combination.)
Styling Tip #2:
Borrow from the boys. Raid your husband’s or your son’s closet and look for pieces you can incorporate into your wardrobe.
Jeans: Levi’s Made & Crafted. Shirt: Boys Raglan Tee Shirt. Shoes: Nike. Shades: Quay Australia. Bracelets: Blessing Bracelet.
Wide-Leg jeans are another good staple for a casual uniform. Since I’m short, I like mine long so that the volume is far away from my face and broad shoulders. Plus, that allows me to wear them with heels, which gives me a little extra length, and also gives me the option to dress them up a bit when I want to.
Jeans: Levi’s. Shirt: Paige, Grey V-Neck. Shades: Quay Australia. Bracelets: Olivia K.
Jeans: Levi’s. Shirt: Boys Raglan Tee Shirt. Shoes: Vince. Shades: Quay Australia. Bracelets: Blessing Bracelet.
As the temps keep dropping, I’ll add a cute little bomber jacket or long cardigan to these looks.
Black Skinny Jeans
Is there anything cooler than a great pair of black skinny jeans? Paired with my Def Leopard tee (a Marshall’s find for $5.99 in the boys’ section…sorry to disappoint any purists among you) and black ankle boots, I can almost forget that I’m a 40-something year old mother of three.
Styling Tip #3:
The loosely-tucked tee made popular by the stylists at J.Crew is still in vogue, but for a truly modern, figure-flattering silhouette, try tucking your tee into your jeans. You can add a belt or keep the waistline unadorned.
Jeans: Levi’s. Shirt: Marshalls. Shoes: Rag and Bone. Shades: Quay Australia. Bracelets: Blessing Bracelet.
Jeans: Levi’s. Shirt: James Perse. Shoes: Soludos. Shades: Quay Australia. Bracelets: Blessing Bracelet. Necklaces: Ele Rae and XIV Karats.
Styling Tip #4:
Update your jeans by cutting an inch or two off the hem and letting the edges fray for an on-trend, DIY look.
Jeans: Levi’s. Shirt: Volcom, Boys. Shoes: Soludos. Shades: Quay Australia. Bracelets: Blessing Bracelet. Necklaces: Ele Rae and XIV Karats.
Like my trusty, distressed blue jeans, these black skinnies will carry me through the next ten months and are an absolute must for my casual uniform. Add in a black blazer or a silk top and I can also wear these to a meeting, to church, or to dinner out with friends.
I have an expensive pair of camo skinny jeans that fit like a glove and yet somehow just don’t convey the right image. So I bought these from Amazon a few years ago after seeing the same pair on my sister-in-law. They’re super inexpensive and the next best thing to wearing sweatpants. Although technically junior, they’re sold in a variety of sizes that fit many adults. (I bought mine one size larger than usual to get that extra baggy, relaxed look.)
Styling Tip #5:
Add texture, color, or pattern to a look by wearing a shirt or denim jacket tied around your waist. Take a page out of Sarah Rutson’s playbook and try it with skirts, dresses, and heels to make a formal look more relaxed.
Pants: Jolt. Shirt: LNA White Tee. Jacket: Levi’s Trucker Jacket. Shades: Quay Australia. Bracelets: Olivia K.
Pants: Jolt. Shirt: Paige, Grey V-Neck. Shoes: Adidas. Shades: Quay Australia. Bracelets: Olivia K. Belt: Linea Pelle.
I like to keep my camo look really casual, but could easily take a page out of Gwen Stefani’s style book and try dressing them up a bit with heeled boots, a black silk blouse, or a gauzy cashmere sweater and a blingy belt.
(If you don’t have or want to buy camo pants, you can achieve the same look with an inexpensive pair of boyfriend jeans.)
Black Circle Skirt
I love this skirt. The cut is flattering, the length is perfect, and it looks expensive (it wasn’t.) Best of all, I can dress it up for a night out with heels or I can dress it down to add a feminine touch to my everyday style.
I plan to try these looks out with sneakers and ankle boots, too, this fall.
Skirt: Sam Edelman. Shirt: Marshalls. Shoes: Stuart Weitzman. Shades: Quay Australia. Bracelets: Olivia K.
Styling Tip #6:
Call your skirts up to relief pitch for your jeans from time to time. Dress the look down with a tomboyish tee or a pair of sneakers or flats.
Skirt: Sam Edelman. Shirt: Volcom, Boys. Shoes: Sam Edelman. Shades: Quay Australia. Bracelets: Olivia K.
In about an hour, I was able to put together more than 20 looks to serve as my casual fall uniform and make my mornings just a little simpler, taking the guesswork out of what to wear. Whether borrowing from the boys, trimming new DIY hems, or dusting off an old pair of Nike’s, casual styling doesn’t have to be hard and can actually be pretty fun. Why not get a little creative?
Styling Tips Recap:
Channel the 80’s, borrow from the boys, tuck your shirt in, wear frayed hems, tie a shirt around your waist, and dress down your skirts.
Good luck! Have fun and thanks for reading!