A Grown-up Casual Look

The uniform for my life has been a tee with jeans. I have built most of my casual looks around this combo since I was a teenager.

These days it isn’t enough for me to leave the combination at that. The correct tee and color of jeans can be the perfect start to many appropriate looks, but accessories are necessary to give the combo some polish and personality.

We enjoyed a lunch date on Saturday followed by a long drive in the country because it was, for the most part, a beautiful sunny day. I wanted to be casual and comfortable but remain appropriately dressed to have lunch at Gourmet & Company.

The perfect tee must have a nicely finished scooped neckline that looks soft and feminine. I never wear a man’s style crew neck tee. Here, I am wearing the long sleeve Simple Comfort top from Covered Perfectly. These jeans are dark wash straight leg jeans from Fabrizio Gianni a couple of years ago. The great thing about investing in high-quality basics is that they always make you look polished and put together, and they hold up well to multiple wearings. I purchased the long black sweater on sale at Chico’s recently. The Antonio Melani tasseled hobo bag is from Dillard’s last season. The low heeled black Chelsea boots are from Frye Boots. The sunglasses are by Tory Burch.

I rarely wear the same color of shoes and bag, but it felt right on this day. When this bag showed up in the mail, I wasn’t sure about the size, but now that I have carried it for a couple of days, I love it. I will show you another casual look on Wednesday with the crossbody/shoulder strap attached to this bag. It is very convenient to keep the detachable strap inside your bag until you need both hands.

  1. Hi Susan–just wondering if this batch of handbags will be in leather? I don’t mind paying more for a quality bag. Thank you.

  2. You are speaking my language with the tee shirt and jeans. I’m trying to follow your lead by dressing them up a bit with a jacket or blazer. And low heeled boots. Great look!

  3. I would love to buy some Covered Perfectly tops in the length shown here, since tunics are unflattering to me. But all the ones on the website look long. Is this one just tucked in?

  4. Spot on, Susan. You really have made jeans and t shirt into something smart and grown up. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Casual but not sloppy. I love this. By the way, I want to buy Frye boots so badly, but they are leather on the bottom and slip. They tell me to get a rough surface applied to the bottom of the sole and I tell them that they should make a line of boots with rough soles. Face off! Who will win? They make gorgeous boots.

  6. Susan, I’ve followed your blog for many years…back when we were in our 50’s! I read every word. You’ve got quite a story and I just wanted to share my appreciation and gratefulness for all that you’ve survived and conquered. I thought your post to your “critics” was very well done. Here’s to happy and moving forward with grace and beauty.

  7. Can you show how you tied or folded the scarf in today’s post? How big is it. Your outfit looks great!

  8. This is a great casual yet sophisicated look. I love it as I do most of your outfits. I am currently plaanning my wardrobe for a two week trip to Germany and Austria in early April. Europe is usually cool in the spring and I expect these countries to be even cooler than others I’ve visited. This would be a great look for touring cities. Do you have any suggestions as to what to pack for a trip that inculdes daytime sightseeing and evening dinners, shows and concerts?

    1. You might want to take a nice dark colored dress (if you wear them) which can be worn with a jacket or cardigan and of course dressed up with a scarf. Take comfortable walking shoes and a pair of shoes you can wear for more dressed up evenings. You will get several appropriate looks from dark colored jeans, tees, jackets, cardigans, scarves and shoulder/crossbody bags as well as a clutch for evening. When I travel, I take a dark pair of jeans, white jeans and a nice black pair of pants. I bring several tops that can be worn with all of them to get the most outfits from the least amount of luggage. Have fun!

  9. This is such a beautiful put together outfit. I feel I need need to upscale my clothes. While I seem to have the right elements, some just need to be replaced by fresher versions. Thank you for such timely write ups!

  10. I struggle to find blue jeans that fit, look slimming, and on trend. I’m not overweight, but wow, what a struggle to find jeans. Thanks for mentioning the Giani jeans — I will check them out. If you have other suggestions in the future, that would be terrific. Thanks so much for your blog and great suggestions.

  11. Now that is like my look casual and put together. I don’t usually wear costume jewelry so I need to add a few pieces. Thanks- looks great! It’s been hot in LA and then cloudy near the beach- always need a sweater just in case! Karen

  12. Ran errands this morning & had located a local shop that carried the Jag jeans so I could try a pair on. Definitely not my favorite thing to do!! They had 1 pair in my size in a plain style with a dark wash. Fit was good; so I bought them..don’t usually pay that much for jeans, but considered it investment dressing. Will not be tucking my tops in, but great for tunics. Thank you for your great advice Susan. Glad I can post comments again from my phone. Yay! Have a great week.

  13. Hi, I love your blog, I too am just 60 years old with silver hair, 5’6″ and 158lbs (I’ve already lost 33lbs) just got a few more pounds to lose. After viewing your blog I’ve given my wardrobe an overhaul. Gone are the items that are too big, gone are the patterned items that are never worn, a few basic plain colored items have been purchased, I just need to purchase a few scarves to pull everything together. Changing my clothes/wardrobe has given me the confidence that I’d lost over the last few years. So a big THANK YOU to you and your blog for helping me.

  14. I am thinking of buying some Perfectly Covered tops and I’m wondering if I should order one size up so they don’t show my tummy? Any suggestions?

  15. I need a pair of low heel boots. Are these you have on comfortable? The last couple of years I haven’t been able to find any I can wear without my feet hurting.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.