Today is the second post in a series I’m calling Spring Style Profiles, which is a series that talks through building blocks according to what style you’re going for. Like, what are building blocks for a spring athleisure wardrobe? How about for a casual on-the-go wardrobe? Business casual? We’ll talk through some, and you’ll be able to add as many or as few of these types of pieces as you need, depending how often you dress in that style.
Last week we started with a put-together comfy casual style, and today we’re taking it up a notch and talking what I like to call dressy casual. I used to think there was very little difference between these two styles. They were both everyday casual to me. But as I spoke with more and more PMT readers I eventually realized that the step between the casual style we talked through last week and today’s dressy casual style can actually feel quite big for some people. The good news is that they really aren’t far off from each other, and if you ever want to step it up a bit, it’s not too hard to do!
SHOP THE ITEMS:
denim jacket | moto jacket | gold necklace | crystal necklace | teal necklace
lace top | coral top | yellow top | green top | floral tee | striped top
black dress | floral dress | jeans | white jeans | olive jeans
taupe flats | leopard flats | blush flats | booties | cork wedges
I wear a handful of go-to completer pieces in the spring, but a denim jacket and moto jackets are my two absolute must-haves for a dressy casual spring look.
Denim Jacket. This instantly dresses down any piece that’s a little too fancy, like a pleated skirt or a solid or printed pencil skirt, a nicer dress, or nicer tops, while still looking polished. It also goes well with all the different colored bottoms in the collage above. Get yourself one of these if you don’t have one yet! Three solid and affordable options are HERE, HERE, HERE.
Faux Leather Moto Jackets. I have these in cognac, grey, and black, and while I wear them all during the spring, I’ve had a cognac one for the longest and wear it the most. If we’re talking a basic building block, I choose cognac. (Grey is second for me in the spring.) They totally chic up an outfit, adding polish and that “cool” factor. That’s why I grab them before anything else for a night out. But don’t get me wrong, I wear them plenty during the day. Perfect for dressy casual style!
A few of my outfits with denim and faux leather moto jackets below:
Cognac moto jacket: I had a surprisingly amazing one from Forever 21 for about 5 years before it ripped apart last year. Since then, I’ve been hunting for the perfect replacement. I tried tonssss, but nothing was classic/soft/fitted enough, or they felt cheap (cuz they were), or they were not the right color (most were too brown or dark). I FINALLY FOUND WHAT I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR thanks to someone in the PMT Challenges FB group! It cost more than the $50 I wanted to pay for faux leather, but given that it’s taken me over a year to find it, you’d better believe I forked over that money and haven’t looked back. Honestly, I’m tempted to get a second one so I don’t have to search for it again for years. ? That’s how much of a staple this piece is for me! See the one I got HERE. I wear it in size M and it runs quite small.
Similar grey moto jackets:
STATEMENT NECKLACES (OR OTHER JEWELRY)
If you want to dress up anything, even a plain t-shirt, throw on a statement necklace. Several years ago I didn’t recognize the power of a necklace, but now I cannot stress enough how much that little piece will finish off and pull together your outfit. (I illustrated this in Part 5 of the Building a Remixable Wardrobe Series.) The first two in the collage above (gold stick necklace and crystal circle necklace) have been the most versatile in my wardrobe over time. A mint or turquoise one has also been a staple in my closet for the last 5 years for when I want color.
See me wearing my three favorite statement necklaces below!
SHOP STATEMENT NECKLACES
SOLID & PRINTED TOPS
Though you definitely can use knit tees and tops and dress them up with statement necklaces and wedges, it’s also really helpful to have a few tops in your wardrobe that aren’t knits. They will instantly take your outfit up a notch, even when just paired with jeans. Find some with details like prints, a good drape, pleats, lace, or buttons, etc. Polish them off with a statement necklace and one of the shoe choices below, and you’ll have a super easy dressy casual spring outfit!
Here are just a few of my favorites that I wore on repeat last year through spring and many into summer:
COTTON, KNIT, OR RAYON DRESSES
I love dresses in these materials because they can be dressed down with slip-on sneakers or dressed up a bit more with different shoes. My favorite are what I call “pajama dresses,” which are like the black one listed in the collage above (found HERE). They’re so soft and feel like pajamas, and I have them in long sleeve, short sleeve, and sleeveless versions. I mostly wear them in the swing dress silhouette, but they come in lots of different shapes that are more flattering for different body shapes. Some are in the shopping widget at the bottom of this dress section, in different prints and cuts.
I also love dresses like the blue floral print one above, which is even easier to dress up a bit since the material isn’t knit which tends to be more casual. Throw on a statement necklace and some flats or wedges, and you’ve got a really cute dressy-casual outfit!
DIFFERENT COLORED DENIM OR CHINOS
If you haven’t heard me talk all about SOFT, STRETCHY, COMFY denim, go back to the Put-Together Comfy Casual Spring Style Profile and read the section on jeans. For dressy casual looks, jeans are still the main bottoms I wear (as opposed to skirts), but they can be dressed up with with the shoe choices below.
FLATS, WEDGES, AND BOOTIES
Your shoe choice can instantly change the feel of an outfit, taking it from casual to dressy casual, to dressed up, to fancy. For a step up from comfy casual, opt for flats, wedges, and booties.
SHOP SPRING SHOES
BUY MORE OR LESS OF EACH
Those are my general building blocks for a dressy casual wardrobe. If you’ll wear this style most days of the week, I’d get more of each category. Like, a few more statement necklaces or flats and wedges, moto jackets in more colors, more of the kinds of tops we talked about, etc. But if you’ll only need this style a couple days a week, buy less of each category to keep that section of your wardrobe smaller.