April 13, 2012

Spring Uniform: Work and Play

I think my style is progressing backwards. Right after college, one of my dear friends got a job at American Apparel. I remember sitting on my stoop talking to him on the phone about our low-paying jobs, and asking him what I needed from his new gig. “You’re kind of beyond t-shirts,” he said. And let’s just say that I smoothed my hands over the perfectly cheery vintage sundress I might have been wearing at the time and agreed.

But today I’m in love with a t-shirt (that lilac-colored one up there), and it’s the cornerstone of my spring uniform. Tuck it into a pencil skirt with a blazer and go to work. Tie a scarf on your head, slap on some jeans and platforms, and you’re ready for any kind of fun. Allow me to introduce you to my new muse, the Daybreak Tee. It’s linen jersey which feels a little grown up, and gives the fabric a streaky, almost space-dyed quality. It’s got an uber-flattering v-neckline, a scooped hem, and sweet little cap sleeves. It’s also $40: the most I’ve ever spent on a t-shirt. And this is where the cost-per-wear calculations come in. By the end of the summer, I think these little singlets will have proved themselves a great value.

And so for spring, at work and at play, I’m gravitating towards super-flattering basics punched up with quirky, personality-filled accessories and a swoop of liquid eyeliner to channel that ’60s starlet feeling. I find putting together collages like these so instructive both for shopping and getting dressed: once you have the template laid out, it’s much easier to pull it together in real life. A word about these Polyvore collages: I often choose items based on their color or shape, not because I’m actually going to buy a $500 A.P.C. trench coat. (Just felt the need to get that out there.)

What’s your uniform in this hard-to-dress-for season? Do you rely on the perfect cardigan, or a beloved trench? What do you wear on those days when a t-shirt is too little but a jacket is too much? And why did no one tell me how amazing a great t-shirt can be? (This feels like the moment when I discovered down was a bajillion times warmer than wool.)

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  • Monday's Nugget - Lana: Are we living in parallel universes where you just read my mind and solved my spring wardrobe problem? Yes, yes we are.6 years ago

  • AMAZING!!!6 years ago

  • Cadi: My lack of a job means very little folding money but that I can spend my afternoons thrifting my heart out at all of our great Goodwill and SA stores, and I have found some treasures that are helping to build my fun and funky spring wardrobe (and thank goodness for a spring birthday and the birthday money it brings!). This + shopping in my closet, made amazing in the walk-in closet in our new house + sewing new skirts/dresses = a whole bevy of fun spring options. I’ve been building collages too, hanging outfits and accessories on the back of the closet door and taking pictures. Great minds think alike! So much fun!

    Here’s wishing you lilacs and daffodils and all the spring goodness you can handle! 🙂6 years ago

  • Designing Diva: Love the collage idea – what fun! I do the same thing as Cadi – I find that hanging my clothing options on the back of my door for the up-coming week makes life a lot simples, especially when I mix-and-match pieces. All so accessible – and it’s fun to experiment with the looks before you exhaust yourself trying them on in the morning!
    I am a real clothes-horse….I adore shopping, any time,
    anywhere! Bargains, here I come!6 years ago

  • Designing Diva: Oops….I meant a lot SIMPLER – fingers flying too fast on the keyboard….6 years ago

  • domestikate: Layers, layers, layers all the way. And a good umbrella. Spring is defnitely the hardest season to dress for!6 years ago

  • Lizzy: So, the T-shirt…is it really worth it? I’m debating…it’s $40 plus $8 shipping…debating. I am in need of staples like that, and I love the lilac…thoughts?6 years ago

  • S&C: I’m still not completely into Mad Men yet (only in the first season!) but the ’60s starlet eyeliner is really inspiring me too. That Joannie makes every woman try a little harder 😉 The pressure of those days!

    PS Love that French tote!6 years ago

  • SarahJ: Sarah, i love seeing your collages. i am the worst shopper and i’m loving using pinterest to decipher my style so i have a strategy for shopping. i find myself in military style jackets in the spring (khaki and olive). i’m also relying on some a-line skirts for work and need to push myself out of my corduroys. it’s like taking a blanket from a child, though.6 years ago

  • Emily Chapman: I love the outfit posts! And particularly those shoes, oh dear. I’m in Dakar at the moment and it has TRASHED all of my shoes, so looking at anything prettier than my beat-up sandals sets my heart all aflutter.6 years ago

  • Just Mixed: I envy your ability to wear wayfarers and trenches.6 years ago

  • Sarah: I love the idea of shopping your closet and hanging outfits on the back of the door–kind of like real life paper dolls.

    Lizzy, $8 shipping for a t-shirt feels kind of brutal if that’s all your getting. Have you looked at American Apparel tees? A friend also turned me on to the Truly Madly Deeply v-necks at Urban Outfitters.6 years ago

  • wishful nals: love that scarf and bag! i could definitely play in those! 🙂6 years ago

  • Amy C: Sarah, I’ve been snatching up t-shirts everywhere lately! Not normally my style – I tend to be a flowy-blouse/tunic kinda gal – but lately I’m loving a simple white t-shirt, a colorful scarf, and a cute, knee-length a-line skirt. It’s such a classic look, and it is endlessly versatile.
    Do you have a pinterest to follow? I can only imagine your boards are filled with all kinds of awesomeness.6 years ago

  • wishful, isn’t that bag just the cutest? agreed!

    Amy C, Sounds like we have the same idea for an effortless uniform (because really: skirts are so much more comfortable than jeans, especially as it gets hotter.).

    Yes, I’m on Pinterest here.6 years ago

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