My Summer Basics – It’s a Circus of White and Chambray
Well, it’s almost summer so it’s time to really SHAKE things up, go outside my comfort zone and don this bod with blue, white and blush. (!) Listen. The great thing about having a predictable color palette and wardrobe is that day to day, month to month and year to year, all your pieces work together. Most of my wardrobe from last year is still in the mix; my sister pointed out to me that last year’s post is almost identical to this one – she got fired. But that didn’t stop me. It’s nice to update or add to my basics so I shopped, tried on, and bought (none of this was gifted or sponsored) some new pieces that yes, are “basic” but all comfortable, flattering, stylish (enough) and relatively affordable. Because all summer (year) long, I just want that.
This blazer is GREAT and MY SISTER JUST TOLD ME IT’S ON SALE FOR $39 RIGHT NOW. I paid $65 last week and plan on suing Nordstroms for whatever that difference is, plus my pain and suffering…and gas money. The sleeves are fitted but not too tight, and the rest of the blazer is loose and oversized. It’s so good that even my mother-in-law bought it for herself when we were shopping. It’s just so affordable, super lightweight and easy to wear.
The shorts are super distressed, which was controversial but I love that they are on the longer side. And don’t kid yourself – Levis 501s make your stomach look flatter than it is. Well, this combined with the best Spanx underwear ever.
Next up is an outfit I wore yesterday after we shot this post because I loved it so much (you can see it on my Insta stories, although yesterday I added the blazer from outfit #1 but left it at the perfumery that we went to for Brady’s birthday!!).
I’m pretty darn into it. I was unsure if the top was ‘ren faire’ or just ‘Victorian flirt’, but either way, those big sleeves are flattering, and it feels young, flirty and fun for summer.
Hot styling tip from the ’80s – the bigger your shoulders look, the smaller the appearance of your waist. It’s the science of visual proportion, thus the shoulder pad and princess sleeve craze of the ’80s.
Speaking of the ’80s, a short denim mini is nothing ever to be mad at. I’m sure there are great ones that are more affordable, but I couldn’t find any that I loved as much as this one.
From Renaissance fair to Pilgrim festival:
Now, there was a big debate on “set” about this one. My friend was there, convincing me that the belt, hat and scarf were all necessary. I kinda think I should have lost one of the three. But I’m also extremely easy to be convinced while posing for 13 different outfits. Plus, she is typically right, so I believed her. I’m now going to sue her for libel. Or slander. Whatever it is that ruins your reputation and the trust of the American people for the rest of your life.
Oh, but THAT DRESS. It’s so easy to wear, comfortable and long enough that I don’t even need a spray tan to wear it. Those shoes are from Target and they are GREAT. I rarely stray from my nude or camel shoe, but I made an exception for this mustard pair. They come in bone as well, which I’m going to snatch up asap. I typically don’t wear a belt and this dress doesn’t need it, it’s flattering and drapes in a lovely way regardless.
Up next, I strayed away from blue and white to the other predictable color that this now more “natural blonde” wears – RED.
This shift dress has a great cut – fitted up top and near the arms but hugs no body part that doesn’t want to be hugged. Plus, it’s $46. The fabric is also thick enough to not wrinkle easily and it doesn’t show any panty or bra lines. The way it falls is very good.
I would wear this to work, brunch, the park, on weekends anywhere, and even as a swimsuit coverup. The jean jacket is a stand-in because the one I wanted to show you was from Target. I had tried it on in Minneapolis and I wore it in this post, and the day of this shoot I realized we needed it for this dress but my assistant Emily couldn’t find it in time. The point is, I don’t mind this one at all, but with the red, I think it’s too blue and I wish it were lighter and more distressed. The one in the mood board below is the good one. Everyone loves it because it is stretchy while being form fitting and the collar stands up really well.
Now, for my “how to convince myself to wear pajamas out of the house” look:
Last year, I bought two of those pairs of linen culottes because they were so comfortable and fell perfectly. Sad news, though: They aren’t available anymore, but Target has a very good knockoff. That T-shirt is soft and flowy and has enough detail (ripped neckline, cuffed sleeve detail) to make it feel more special. Again with the drape. I don’t like things that hug anymore, but I still want it to be flattering. So in the right fabric (this is a poly/rayon blend) with that simple neckline, it does this nicely.
FYI, that T-shirt swallows me in the right way – meaning that it makes me look smaller than I am. Sometimes when something is too big, it can be unflattering, but with the right cut, it’s flattering.
Last year’s neck bandana is this year’s silk headscarf. It’s super important at all times to have some sort of fabric tied on or near your head, apparently (unless a hat is involved – DUH). But I’m loving the headband look; not only can it cover my roots (although I just got my hair done by Justin Anderson and as you can see it looks GOOD) but it gives that cute French-girl look that apparently all of us want based on my Facebook feed.
I tried on many a waist-tied shirt, but this one is GREAT. This shirt looks way better in person than it does in photos. The cotton shirt has the perfect amount of stretch and structure, and the top of it is more menswear, but that tie really makes it feel more feminine. I really embraced the white blouse this year. Maybe it’s because my kids are finally getting old enough where it’s not insane for me to wear white, but I’m not crazy and I refuse to buy anything expensive or hard to care for that is white.
And welcome to this year’s Levi shorts. I still rock last year’s, but they aren’t available online anymore and I could certainly use another pair. These are great. The leg is boxy enough that your legs look smaller and there is no thigh hugging involved. I can’t say the butt looks awesome because it’s kinda loose, but they are just cute button fly casual shorts.
You may remember my “wedgie jean” dilemma from 2017, how I loved these jeans despite them truly living up to their name. Well, I still love them for more “standing-only” occasions, as sitting down proved to be difficult post breakfast. But the real sell here is that shirt. It’s another easy, breathable boxy number that I think looks more special than a T-shirt, and is more flattering.
As I look at these photos, I have to imagine that Bearcat (bottom left corner) is likely thinking “is this the outfit that you felt worthy to show millions of people?” I don’t know. Part of me says, obviously this isn’t spectacular, whereas the other side of me says – but that shirt is so easy, casual and drapes so well. It’s a cute seersucker pink-and-white stripe and it looks good wrinkled (we steamed it, but it wants to be wrinkled in a good way). The cuff is boxy thus making your arms look little (my arms run big). Speaking of, the shirt itself runs really big – I’m wearing a small and I’m still kinda swimming in it, so if you are typically a medium, get a small.
Bearcat looks horrified that I’m wearing another chambray and white outfit, or maybe just confused by the extreme delight on my face. I get it. But when you find a cute princess sleeved wrap chambray shirt that you KNOW you can wear to almost any occasion, you buy it and hire a photographer to help you show the world. The shorts are from Target and you can’t tell but they have a little sparkle to them in a good way. They have a slight paper bag waist which I’m covering up, and really nice structure and flare. We couldn’t find them online but they are the A New Day brand, so look for the in-store.
I wear this shirt with white wide legs, skinny jeans, and my ripped white levi shorts. Blue and white is my thing. It annoys even me but I can’t stop it. The real question is HOW BASIC AM I?
Basic enough to wear some ruffle sleeves like it’s the new ruffle bottom shirt.
That shirt is from Creatures of Comfort, my new local threat to my wallet. Whenever I have a budget for a job, I sneak in there. But don’t worry, because those pants are Target and are strangely flattering. Yes, I’m wearing my new Spanx underwear that I’m now obsessed with (no lines, bulge, sans muffin top, and SUPER comfortable), which help the cause.
This top is a newer take on the typical chambray, and boy does it drape well. It’s boxy, with a rounded front which makes it flattering even if you don’t do the hipster half tuck. That bow on top takes it from basic to special. The shorts are from last year as are the shoes.
At the end of the post, I linked up a ton of shoes that I love and would buy if I needed them but didn’t want to waste the money (as returning shoes is harder if you walk in a backyard in them).
And now for my ‘I might give a really important but still kinda fun’ presentation look…
There is something kinda “Pretty Woman” about this. Not the whole lady of the night thing, but something about combo of the oversized blazer, tailored shorts and heels. I’m into it. Again, the blazer has fitted arms and is otherwise boxy and oversized. Plus, it’s $45 on sale right now.
But more importantly THOSE SHORTS. I saw them in the window of Topshop – a store that I often avoid because I almost feel like I’ll get kicked out for being in there past the age of 28. But I stopped, raced in, tried them on, fantasized about all the occasions in which I would don these adorable beauties and bought them, sure that the price was wrong. IT WASN’T.
The necklace is also from there and while I thought it was questionable at first, I’ve found myself wearing it almost every day, so apparently, I really like it. It’s three-in-one and was like $30 – which, with the exception of my max wedding ring, is my budget for any and all jewelry.
I just keep looking at those shorts thinking – YOU, you are my spirit shorts. And that blazer is so good, too. It has fitted arms and shoulder, but oversized, boxy and double-breasted (like me).
Oh, you thought I was done with the white shirt/jeans combo? NOPE.
I just couldn’t nix this one. The shirt is from Target and I wore it (and the one below) like five days in a row. It is the perfect half-tuck menswear top and it’s affordable, thus justifying the risk of the white. The sleeves are structured and cute with a roll, and the collar is small and creased (like a vintage man’s shirt).
Those jeans, despite being ripped to shreds, were a splurge. But the brand – Mother – is one that I love because it’s stretchy but somehow still flattering. It’s a mystery how. I want to wear these jeans every day right now because of how comfortable and flattering they are.
And for my last look, I went for more of a risky evening wear vibe. An outfit that I feel really takes the risks that I need to in life.
JK. IT’S A WHITE SHIRT AND JEANS.
Listen, if this shirt wasn’t special and yet affordable, I wouldn’t have bothered to feature it, but it’s just good. It’s structured and the sleeves roll up perfectly. It’s menswear, but with a cut that is flattering for us ladies. Those jeans got extra ripped, whoops, but the main feature here is the spray tan on my feet. Zoom in. Learn from my mistakes. Friends don’t let friends forget to thoroughly slather on barrier cream, even if they are parked illegally and rushing.
I have a “style,” apparently. And while it’s not shocking or breaking any rules or fashion barriers, it is simply what I want to put on my body right now because it’s comfortable, cute, flattering on me and just easy. I will say that I wish I had a stylist to help me pull more accessories to elevate my basics. Even having that mustard shoe (above) makes it look more special and deliberate. So if you know any fashion stylists who want to collaborate on some fun fashion posts, I could use the help.
1. Short Sleeve Button-Down Shirt | 2. Printed Neckerchief | 3. The Dutchie Ankle | 4. Mariella Mule | 5. Awel Ruffle Chambray Shirtdress | 6. Avocado Straw Hat | 7. Print Bandana | 8. Braid Belt | 9. Avianna Low Vamp Kitten Heeled Mules | 10. Light Blue Denim Jacket (similar) | 11. Kerry Top | 12. Linen Pants | 13. Dorathea Velvet Slide Sandals | 14. Military Jacket | 15. Cali Demi-Boot Jeans: Unpatched Edition | 16. Long Sleeve Alamosa Poplin Shirt | 17. Gemma Top French Plaid | 18. Ruffled Top (budget-friendly option) | 19. Love Knot Ring | 20. Infinity Necklace | 21. Skinny Denim Pants | 22. Mars Mules | 23. Medium Wash Denim Jacket | 24. Hailey Crepe Dress | 25. Zoe Buttondown | 26. Wedgie Selvedge Straight Jeans
1. Denim Wrap Top | 2. White Shorts | 3. Mariella Mule | 4. Double Breasted Linen Blend Blazer | 5. Chain Multirow Necklace | 6. Fitted Tee (similar) | 7. Button Shorts | 8. Lulla | 9. Embroidered Lace Top | 10. Le Mini Raw Edge Denim Skirt | 11. Front Zip Tech Crossbody Bag (similar) | 12. Cinch Sleeve Blazer | 13. Project Social T Textured Notch Tank Top | 14. Indie Shredded Cutoff Denim Shorts | 15. White Tie Front Shirt | 16. Silk Skinny Bandana | 17. 501 Long Denim Shorts | 18. Tie Neck Denim Blouse | 19. Flat Top Straw Hat | 20. Mars Mules | 21. 501 Cutoff Denim Shorts
1. Cali Espadrille Platform Sandal | 2. Pinot Platform Wedge Slide Sandal | 3. Lidwina Espadrille Mule | 4. Dane Espadrille Wedge Sandal | 5. Santorini Espadrille Wedge Sandal | 6. Penelope Espadrille Wedge Sandal | 7. Saundra Espadrille Sandal | 8. Marceline Squared Toe Wedge Sandal | 9. Naveah III Espadrille Wedge Sandal
So that’s what I’m wearing all summer. Nordstrom is having its Half-Yearly sale right now through June 3 (I sure wish it had been two weeks ago when I bought all of this), so if you like any of it, you can save some dough.
A few notes: I just got my hair colored to be more natural blonde by Justin Anderson (who I seriously love deeply as a person). Check my Insta stories tomorrow for the full process and thank you, Justin and DP Hue for brightening me while keeping me healthy. Oh and yes, I’m wearing some clip-in extensions for this – I’m in the process of debating going shorter or growing it out (with extensions until I do). Lastly, I get a spray tan frequently but typically it’s uneven so my friend recently recommended this product that is a miracle lotion that tans, evens out and has SPF in it.
And going forward, when the site relaunches to 2-3 posts a day, we’ll be doing fashion posts more frequently so it won’t be 12 full outfits, but instead 2-3 or even something like “What I wore this week.” Right now, as a design blog, I don’t want to overwhelm it with fashion, so I try to do a fashion post every couple months, but if you guys like them, I can add in more when we produce more posts (again, there won’t be less design posts, just more lifestyle posts). Happy Friday folks. Check my stories for video of these outfits in person and watch it tomorrow to see how we transformed my hair.
So which one is your favorite? The chambray top and white bottom? OH WAIT, maybe it’s the white shirt and jeans combo? OMG, ME TOO BECAUSE THAT IS ALL OF THEM. Have a lovely weekend wearing whatever easy, comfortable summer basic you want. xx
***Photography by Sara Tramp for EHD