When a follower, Carol, wrote to ask for suggestions for spring and warm weather purchases, I got to work on the next post immediately. One of my favorite looks from last spring inspired my choices in this post. I still have all the pictured elements and will look for similar replacements when these pieces wear out.
The items featured below are classic essentials. I’ve found that they are the elements I can wear repeatedly and layer in various combinations. We can always be comfortable and look our best while wearing well-made essentials in flattering colors. The key is to create interest and add personality with accessories. My mantra is “Make mundane activities chic.”
I wear white oxford shirts all year round. If I didn’t already have two, I would purchase a new one here. I like these shirts since the shoulder seams are not dropped, and the body isn’t too boxy. I don’t button all the buttons for a modern relaxed vibe; I pop up the collar and fold the sleeves to show the forearms. If the shirt feels too snug at the bust, wear a tank or camisole underneath and only button the three center buttons.
An oxford shirt is part of my look at least twice weekly all year round. I have them in pink, white, blue and stripes. I always look for a non-button-down collar for a flattering neckline with my fleshy face. When the weather heats, oxford shirts are my first choice for comfort.
A sleeveless blouse with a collar may be the best option if you often wear cardigans or jackets. I found the pictured blouse here.
Chinos are a great option if denim jeans are too hot for your climate. These are 98% cotton and 2% elastane. You can buy them here in white and also in other colors. They fit neatly around the waist and hips with no gaping side pockets or pleats. A straight-leg style that ends at the top of the foot will never look dated.
A simple pair of nude pumps or slingbacks with a walkable heel can take almost any look up a notch or two when you need to elevate your look. I found the pictured pair here.
I buy a fresh white microfiber tank here each spring since I often wear them. The tanks look sharp under a denim jacket, blazers, cardigans, and an oxford shirt above. I stick to neutral colors like navy, white, pale gray, or black since I rarely wear other colors. If you are busty, you might want to size up to avoid the horizontal pull lines at the bust. I rarely remove my third layer when I wear a tank and never the top layer when wearing a camisole with tiny straps.
Spring is the perfect time to refresh your sneakers. The Stan Smith style here is a modern classic and more elevated than athletic sneakers.
A cardigan might be the most popular item in your closet. If so, you may need a fresh one for spring. Here is a cotton one with the ease of no buttons and a relaxed style.
A bag-worn crossbody or over-the-shoulder in a light neutral color is a lovely way to top off any casual look. Here is one option (pictured), and here is another.
Perhaps white isn’t a color you can wear well, so I invite you to consider any of these items in tan, ivory, khaki, pale blue, pink, or navy. Of course, these colors work together but finding the tone that flatters your skin tone always makes the difference. In addition, different fabrics and styling of these essentials may make them more suitable for your lifestyle and weather.
Another point I want to make is that if you already have blue jeans, a navy blazer, and a trench coat or raincoat to wear with the items above, you will have a versatile wardrobe for most of the year. In addition, if all these clothing items skim the body rather than being baggy or oversized, layering will be much more effortless.
The easiest way to pack for a trip or build a new wardrobe is to invest in the elements you enjoy wearing in the same light color. Then buy all those same items in a dark color. You will have endless mix-and-match and layering possibilities from a few pieces, and they will always look great on you.
This post responds to all who asked for some lead time on items I would buy for spring. Supply chain issues currently affect nearly every industry, so we shouldn’t wait for warm weather to look for what we need. In addition, shopping links may allow me to earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Good evening, Susan. Did you get much snow?
No, just an inch or so as of now, but it has started to fall again.
We now have a sheet of ice covered with a few inches of blowing snow, and the temperature is 25°F. So I’m staying inside today.
Good evening Susan,
Thank you for your post. Sometimes I get sidetracked by all the pretty, patterned, flouncy clothes and I need your wisdom to bring me back to my senses …..ha ha ha
I just ordered the Oxford shirt and they are on back order until late March so I am glad you posted your suggestions prior to the spring season. I am in need of a good raincoat….. 5’2. 145 lbs. You posted one last year that I admired but it was sold out. Great post. thank you.
Great post for this snowy day and some snowy day shopping! Thanks!
Love your spring countdown – it will be here before we know it!
Merci pour cet excellent article.
Je vais profiter des jours gris et froids (en France) pour rechercher des articles similaires afin de compléter ma garde robe printemps-été.
Hi Susan, I love the look of an oxford, however, I find it too stiff to wear and feel as though it is bunching up as the day goes on. Is the LL Bean flexible? Thank you for linking the mushroom recipe; I can’t wait to try it.
You might like the sleeveless blouse better for layering. I rarely layer over an oxford shirt unless the outer layer is heavier, such as a fleece sweatshirt.
Susan, you are right about the Oxford shirts. I have several from LL Bean. I love their crispness and best part they wash and come from the dryer wrinkle free.
I really like the cardigan. It is hard to find a pure white color sometimes. I also like the weight of the sweater. It can be worn all year. Thanks for the info on the link.
This post was so helpful. I appreciate all the links.
I’m glad you benefited from the information.
Your recommendations are always straight forward and easy. Slap me on the head! What could be easier than buying my essentials in a light color and then repeat in a dark color! I instantly had an image of all the great outfits I’d have. Good thing to stay in when there are icy roads. I live at the mouth of the Columbia Gorge and our icy conditions in the winter can be dangerous when an ice storm hits. Take Care!
Thank you, Lynne. I hope you are safe and warm as well.
Thanks for sharing! Great post!
I really like your mantra.
Great post. It is so helpful to identify what works and why. I cannot find a white cotton shirt that works for me but I keep looking. I have slightly oversized cotton or linen shirts in light blue and pink and light beige. I have found that a silk blouse is another alternative and have these in white and ivory. One piece I have found to be a great completer piece over a classic shirt or blouse is a sweater vest. I have several long slightly oversized in black and gray and tan and white as well as some that are more classic. These go perfectly over a shirt or blouse with jeans or slacks.
Love all of these.
Do you have a source for blue and white seersucker slacks with a slim fitting ankle? I looked most of last summer and could never find any.
Here are some nice seersucker slacks on sale. If you check again in a few weeks, you may find more options.
What a great article!! Thank.you so much for such useful suggestions.
I noticed you wore no socks with your shoes. My question is, I live in Nebraska and this time of the year there is snow and ice but I would still like to wear a nice heel under my slacks for work. Would you suggest wearing a sock the same color as the shoe or wearing no show socks and have bear skin showing? Is that acceptable in winter or do you think that does not look fashionable?
You always look so classy and I have learned so much from your blog.
Thank you for your time.
When the weather is cold and snowy, I wear socks or tights in the same tone as my pants; for example, it might be dark jeans or black pants, black tights, and short black boots. I try not to break the line from leg to ankle to foot. The photo was from last spring when it was much warmer than it is now. I’m glad you enjoy what I share.
Thank you so much for these tutorials Susan! I would love to see more of them. It’s so instructive to know why something looks good on you instead of just stumbling across it. Sticking with a few colors in your personal range and mixing and matching! Thank you for your generosity of spirit and your willingness to share it with us!
Hi Susan, This article is getting Pinned immediately! You make putting these simple, classic outfits together easy for the rest of us. I’m so glad you are willing to offer guidance in fashion, travel and food choices, plus many more areas. I always read your blog as soon as it’s in my email. Thanks for blogging! Please keep it up! Carolyn from AZ.
As always, l❤️ve your posts and look forward to them.
I love the blazer you wear in the first pic. I did not see a link so I must try to find one like it and hope it looks as good on me as it does on you! Thanks for all the ideas! Going shopping
Stay warm, well and safe❤️
The blazer was from Nordstrom last year, but it is a classic style. You may be able to find a similar one year. I found a similar style blazer here.
Susan, thanks for the help. I sincerely appreciate your posts, and I have learned so much. I was wondering if when you post a certain item like the oxford shirts if you could give us an alternative in a lower price? I am loving more and more the things that you post and will be able in a few months to get upstairs into myCloset to clean out and bring my items up-to-date. Myra from Florida
I found women’s oxford shirts with a button-down collar for less than $40 here.
Thank you so much Susan! I’ve been reading you posts for about 2 months and can’t wait to read them. Your wardrobe strategy is perfect and I appreciate the links to everything. I already ordered the sneakers and the Ridley cross body bag. Can’t wait for these items to arrive.
Such an excellent post! Thank you so much. I’m off to sort through my closet and look through my oxford shirts right now. The light/dark color combo is another wonderful idea.
I really appreciate all your assistance in making my wardrobe so much more stylish.
When i touch the red to find out where to purchase the computer comes back with a message: the server cannot be found. Can’t tell where you purchase anything!
Your security settings may be blocking third-party links. I checked, and all the links worked right away.
Your tip about buying the same items in both dark and light shades to mix and match is probably the best fashion tip on any blog I have seen to date! So simple and so easy to implement!
Such great suggestions for the upcoming Spring wardrobe. Especially love the straight leg chinos. So flattering for gals with heavier calves, like me. I enjoy your posts so much and pin so many of your ideas. Thank you.
There is so much helpful information in this post and thanks for posting it now! I clicked on every single one of the links and will be ordering several things.
I started following your blog 2 or 3 years ago. What caught my eye was your style of clothes and how you brought pieces together. I am not a shopper so I was intrigued that I could follow your blog and purchase a few items from the same stores you shopped.
My problem is shoes. I need a wide toe base with good cushioning. Love the shoes you purchase but my feet do not feel comfortable in them.
Do you have any suggestions of stores that carry stylish shoes/boots for a wide toe base?
You might enjoy reading Kristen’s post here. She shares several different styles and brands.
Thank you so much for these judicious advices ☺️
You are most welcome.
It is so refreshing to see warmer weather clothes. Winter is fine during the holidays and that’s it for me. Considering a move. Nephew is in Clarksville Tennessee and I will plan a visit to explore less harsh winter areas. Michigan is a bear in winter.
Purchased a grey cardigan when I read a recent post of yours. With jeans and a collared shirt, it will be worn often.
I needed new jeans and bought a Levi straight leg classic. I am wondering if a change from skinny jeans is something to get used to with the extra width. They are comfortable and fit in the right places. Maybe it’s just me.
Thanks for passing on all that you learned about dressing well. Saves time and money for all that follow your blog!
It has been an adjustment getting used to wearing fuller leg jeans after all those years of skinny jeans, but I’m happy to see the change. Very slim-fitting jeans no longer do me any favors. Of course, I still like seeing skinny jeans on women who have great legs, but for me, a bit wider leg looks much more attractive now.
The white outfit with the blue stripped blazer looks very nice on you. Like your new do, too.
I wear white shirts and jeans year round..loved the all white look with the striped jacket. shoes were perfect too.
Susan, such a lovely post! Would you mind sharing what blouse you were wearing in the photo with Mr. Mickey at Christmas? You had a red cashmere sweater with a white button down. Stay warm and safe!
I was wearing the same lightweight tissue-thin shirt from Everlane a few years ago. It is almost too sheer to wear without a layer over or under it.
Thank you for your link to Brooks Brothers for the seersucker slacks. I’ll keep checking to see if they get my size in stock. I appreciate your help.
I am interested in your thoughts about the white oxford button down shirt you linked to. If you have purchased this shirt in white, can you tell me if it is see through. I’ve had a difficult time finding a quality shirt like that which doesn’t show through, even at the nicer stores.
Thank you for your post. Once again, I learn so much from you.
Oxford cloth is a casual, thicker material, so it is not too sheer. That makes it perfect for wearing alone. However, it may not be suitable for layering under a thin sweater since it has some structure. On the other hand, a tissue-thin white shirt that you might not wear by itself will likely be your favorite shirt for layering.
Susan, there is something wrong with my computer and I can’t open the link to the microfiber tank. Is it from White House Black Market? Thank you so much.
No, it is from Chico’s.
Thank you for the great tips, Susan. In reading your blog I realize that I have many of the listed items. I’m looking forward to putting spring outfits together even though we have some months to go! I guess trying them on would be in order to make sure everything still fits and looks good!
Hi Susan, Thank you for for your comprehensive take on Spring. May it bring good cheer when it arrives.
Best wishes, Thellie Ferris, Australia.
I have just recently found you on Pinterest and am throughly enjoying reading and seeing your
Lifestyle choices in your wardrobe.
I am a 73 year old retired wife, mother and grandmother.
We also like to travel and go out for dinners often.
I agree, staying fit and dressing well keeps us young.
I will continue to follow you.
Do you have a recommendation for a lightweight luggage to mostly be used for road trips?
There are some excellent lightweight options here.
I have recently found your website; blog and you tube videos. I am enjoying your advice and timeless look. My weight crept up to 178lb. I am now at 163lb. Your meal plan has encouraged me, I am trying to eat more plant-based meals, including fish. I am 65y/o have white silver hair, 5″6″ inches and similar skin tone. We could be twins!! 🙂
My goal is to lose weight, stop wearing things that make me look frumpy and eliminate them from my closet. However, I seem to keep buying new things instead of looking in my closet for outfits. Please continue to post ideas and encouragement to wannabes like me.
You are an inspiration!
I am so happy that you have benefited from the things I share.