Spring Style Profile: Dressy Casual

Building Blocks for a Dressy Casual Outfits

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!

Building Blocks for a Dressy Casual Outfits

SHOP THE ITEMS:
denim jacket
  |  moto jacket  |  gold necklace crystal necklace teal necklace
lace top  | coral top   |  yellow top green top  |  floral teestriped top
black dress  |  floral dress  |  jeans  |  white jeans olive jeans
taupe flats  |  leopard flats  |  blush flats  |  booties  |  cork wedges

 

COMPLETER PIECES

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 HEREHERE, 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:

Spring Wardrobe Building Blocks for Dressy Casual Style: Faux Leather Moto Jackets and Denim Jacket

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:

Spring Wardrobe Building Blocks for Dressy Casual Outfits - Denim Jacket and Faux Leather 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!

Spring Building Blocks for Dressy Casual Outfits: Statement Necklaces

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:

Spring Building Blocks for Dressy Casual Outfits: Tops

SHOP TOPS

 

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!

Dressy Casual Outfits for Spring

SHOP DRESSES

 

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.

SHOP DENIM

 

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.

MORE DRESSY CASUAL SPRING OUTFITS

Dressy Casual Spring Outfits

How often do you dress in this dressy casual type of style?  See the rest of the Spring Style Profiles HERE!

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Shloka Narang
    February 9, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Flats and denim jackets are two must haves especially for spring! Love this series!

    x
    Shloka
    http://www.thesilksneaker.com

  • Reply
    Anne
    February 9, 2018 at 7:37 am

    I’m all about this dressy casual – I always love a blouse + jacket or dress + jacket, and even better with a fab nude shoe option. Now if only my weather would be all about spring…

  • Reply
    Amy
    February 9, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Love these pieces! Have you every considered putting together an Outfit Calendar for Spring – sort of an abbreviated Challenge? I keep the Winter one taped to my closet door and it has been a lifesaver for my hectic mornings. I would be very interested in one for Spring.

    • Reply
      Audrey @ Putting Me Together
      February 9, 2018 at 10:16 am

      Hi Amy! I’m not sure what you mean short of an actual Spring Challenge outfit calendar. Can you explain more how they’d be different?

      • Reply
        Amy
        February 9, 2018 at 12:31 pm

        Hi! I think you’re right; they’re not really different. I was trying think of a way to make it a smaller product (and work load for you). I just love how helpful that calendar has been. I jump around on it a lot, matching weather/event/clean laundry :), but it has taken one task off my plate every morning – a priceless gift!

  • Reply
    md
    February 9, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Love these! I hope u realize just how helpful you are to us all! I hate spring dressing bc I never know what to wear! And if I find an outfit I’ll wear it everyday lol but thank you for these options! And recs, I never heard of lulus but i am getting those cork material wedges😉

    • Reply
      Audrey @ Putting Me Together
      February 9, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      Thank you so much, MD! Glad you find these helpful! I don’t shop at Lulu’s often because most of their stuff is super trendy. But they do also carry things I could/would definitely wear, like the cork wedges and moto jacket. I just have to kind of have to look past all the other trendy stuff and not let them deter me from shopping the rest of the site, haha!

  • Reply
    Ellen Lo Hoffman
    February 9, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks for these Audrey! Just ordered the tan moto jacket! Question: I noticed that you rolled up the sleeves on the jacket and it looks like it has zippers up the cuffs- how do you do that successfully?

    • Reply
      Audrey @ Putting Me Together
      February 9, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Ellen! I open the zipper part way and then roll the sleeves, trying to do one of the rolls over part of where it IS zipped together. My sleeves tend to stay rolled better if it’s rolled over a zipped part. Hope the jacket works for you!

  • Reply
    Amanda Crouch
    February 9, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Love these ‘building blocks’! Thank you Audrey! I have a shopping list ready for payday now 😉

  • Reply
    Kristin
    February 9, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    Dressy casual is my everyday look, so although I love all your spring posts this one is my favorite!!! You’re awesome!! I’m now ready for spring! Now if you could just convince Mother Nature…….

    • Reply
      Audrey @ Putting Me Together
      February 14, 2018 at 9:01 am

      So glad you like this post, Kristin! Annnnnd if you move to California, you don’t have to convince Mother Nature of anything 😀 At least not this time of year. Fall, though? That’s a different story–she sure likes to take her time bringing us the fall weather around these parts! haha

  • Reply
    Jess
    February 9, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Thanks for the great post! This is basically my every day office style, so these examples are super helpful. What I appreciate most about your posts is the many examples – It really helps visualize different versions of the same item. Also, I love your use of color – a nice change from the current “neutrals” trend.

  • Reply
    Monika
    February 10, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Audrey, I have just recently realized, to my dismay, that I no longer receive email notifications of new posts on PMT blog! Has something changed? How do I get back on email notifications? Thank you and God Bless!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    February 10, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    Loooooooooove your style and blog!! I have a question/issue I am hoping you can provide some help…..I am big chested. I’m normal size: not fat nor am I skinny. I find it very difficult to find jackets that fit me because of my chest. I am trying to loose weight in the hopes my breast size will go down. I feel when it comes to shirts, I am between a medium and a large. Sometimes a medium fits fine or it “fits” leaving stretch marks between my breasts. If I put on a large, I’m swimming in it. People have suggested getting the large size for a shirt and then getting it altered which costs extra money and can you really alter a t-shirt?When it comes to jackets and vests, mediums and larges both look bad. What tips do you have to dress a big chest? Oh! and I should mention I work with kids and really do NOT like to put my chest on display. I’ve tried using scarves but I’m a petite frame (I have a short torso and short legs) and they can just make look bulkier.

    Thanks for your help!!!

  • Reply
    gyen
    February 15, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    Dressy casual is my every day. And I’m a SAHM who homeschools, so it’s not like I get out a ton. I just like to look nice for my family, I guess!

  • Reply
    Robin
    March 2, 2018 at 8:19 am

    I have always had trouble with denim jackets – and so I went out of my comfort zone and ordered one. I think I ordered the wrong one because I feel boxy in it (I am an hourglass shape). I am now ordering a cropped one so that my waist can be the smallest part of my silhouette. Fingers crossed!

    • Reply
      Audrey @ Putting Me Together
      March 5, 2018 at 11:29 am

      Just like jeans, denim jackets are all different. Some are cut boxier, some are cut slimmer, regardless of whether or not they’re cropped or a fuller length. Also, just like jeans, some denim jackets are stiffer and less comfortable and others are stretchier and easier to wear all day. Hopefully that cropped one works out for you, but if not, keep searching until you find the right one!

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