Friday, October 1, 2010

Rainy Day Casz

Earlier Drafts:
I wore this classic white button-down on a return flight from summer travels.
I wore this vest in an outfit I'm almost too embarrassed over to reference.  Let's call it a lapse in judgment, shall we?  Or, better yet, a "teachable moment," because I won't make that mistake again.

white button-down (Gap)
wool blend vest (Old Navy)
dark wash boot cut jeans (Banana Republic)
black flats (Zara)
gold necklaces (gifted)
bracelets (thrifted and/or gifted, can't recall)

Yesterday's day-long downpour posed a dressing challenge for me.  The temperature had dropped too low for capris or shorts, and, as much as I fancy my polka-dotted galoshes, I wasn't mentally ready to flip the boots-plus-jeans switch.  Actually, I typically wear dresses on rainy days.  Jersey dresses and boots.  No soggy hemlines to contend with and all.  However, since I've been in dress overkill mode lately -- having worn frocks here and here and a few days in between -- dresses weren't appealing to me.  So what's a girl to do but call on her closet classics?

For me, a white button-down shirt and a well-fitting pair of jeans solve nearly all wardrobe dilemmas.  Uncomplicated and understated, the combination epitomizes casual elegance in my book.  You might say, as Katie did yesterday of her jeans and tees, that it's a way to downshift sartorially without stalling out.  (Does this analogy break down, drivers of manual vehicles?)

By the by, I managed to sport jeans despite the wet weather by fashioning some good ol' fashioned cuffed pant hems.  Nothing innovative here.  Nothing too chic either.  But I did remain dry while puddle-jumping.  I unrolled the cuffs after stepping indoors.

Anyway, speaking of Katie, her post yesterday helped me identify my own refreshed perspective on dressing casually.  Like hers, my recent months have been low-key.  While job-hunting and tackling home DIY projects, I've been marinating in the world of anti-professional style.  Not that it's foreign territory to me.  As much as I hope Liz's dressing habits are contagious, I've not yet caught the professional attire bug.  But when I was busy with work and school, and supposed to "dress up," my version of "casual" was downright sloppy. Tanks and sweatshirts, and not cute ones.  My weekends and off-hours were like collapsing at the end of a very confusing, pseudo-professional sartorial sprint: I gave up.  The awkward effort of merging my rookie student style with an aspirationally adult style exhausted me.  Now, after time away, I've come to regard "dressing up" and "dressing down" as distinct yet equal counterparts.  Neither one is necessarily more "mature" than the other.  Rather than neglecting casual style entirely, or allowing professional style to absorb it, I'm trying to distribute my attention evenly between the extremes.  One result?  I hope I'm generating more creative, intentional-looking casual outfits.  Perhaps the above ensemble is evidence?  After all, it was a dreary "off" day, and I didn't wear a hoodie.  Or even my usual one-and-done jersey dress.  Hooray, progress!

Happy Friday! Oh, and Huzzah for October!

  • How do you dress on rainy days?  Any go-to items or favorite combinations?
  • How do you wear classic white button-down shirts?  Do they serve double-duty in your closet as they do in mine, acting both professionally and casually?  Or do you reserve them for one or the other style?
  • Liz and Katie have both recently written about their professional versus casual dressing mindsets.  How do you describe your personal style on a scale from one extreme to the other?


Diana said...

I'm totally with you on the dress/skirt + boots for rain - there is nothing so gross as having to wear jeans that are wet from the knee down all day.

I like your outfit today a lot! I think the pointy shoes and the vest really make this a very smart casual look, which is what I prefer for a casual outfit. I try to dress that way most days. I work in a lab, I can wear pretty much whatever I want and most people are quite casual; honestly, I think some people around here think I'm dressed up all the time because, you know, I wear dark wash jeans that actually fit and shoes that aren't running shoes. I like smart casual because I feel creative and put-together without feeling uncomfortably overdressed.
White button-downs are so versatile, and I love them! I mostly wear them with jeans or more casual skirts, maybe with a vest, just because that's generally my day-to-day style. I don't often have cause to really "dress up" in professional attire, but my white shirts definitely work in those situations too!

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

egh, rainy days are so difficult to dress for, especially if you're leaving the house. i think you look FABULOUS here, kind of a quirky schoolboy look with the vest.

Katie, Interrobangs Anonymous said...

This may be my favorite outfit yet! Love, love, love it.

On rainy days I just planning on running like heck and leaping over puddles as I go to try and minimize the wetness factor. What I really want to get is a pair of tall, flat boots to wear with dresses and skirts while it's raining, but right now there are none (NONE!) anywhere in the world that are my skinny-foot size. Ah, looks like another fall of running...

Rebecca said...

Love the vest! I never know how to wear one.

On rainy days I usually wear a dress or skirt (and usually it's my denim pencil skirt from J crew) and my rock and roll Chooka rain boots. They are the one fashion item I own that is really--for me--funky. I'm tempted to get a pair of Tory Burch jellies for summer rains but haven't caved yet.

orchidsinbuttonholes said...

I love your rainy day look - so classy and classic, and that vest makes it cool and chic.

It's been raining here for two days straight, which is just too much. I tend to wear more comfortable (and easily washable) things on days like these, but I also push myself to wear something I love, too, because it always perks me up when the grey gloomies just want to get me down.

Scholar Style Guide said...

Thanks for the compliments, guys! It feels good to have nailed an outfit, especially when wearing something outside my norm.

Diana, I like that you distinguish "smart casual" and sloppy casual. Putting a little thought into anti-profesh apparel makes a significant difference. I suppose one can "dress up" while still wearing jeans and flats. From now on, I'll apply the term "dressed up" to any outfit that looks thoughtful and creative.

Thanks, Tania! A little boyishness always makes me happy. Have you seen Threadbared's recent shout-out to Tilda Swinton? Isn't she the queen of all things androgynous?

Katie, do you have narrow feet? Me too! Well-fitting boots are hard for me to find. I recently bought a Franco Sarto pair at DSW. Maybe that gives you a lead?

Rebecca, I'm so glad you mentioned jellies! These were on my mind when I wrote Tuesday's post about age-related apparel restrictions. I've wanted some myself, but I'm afraid they'll make me look too juvenile. Whatcha think?

Sara, great advice to wear something you love on dreary days. Pick-me-up pieces are perfect mood-boosters.

Thanks for reading! Have happy weekends!


Scholar Style Guide said...

AM, I really like this look on you, as well!

I must confess, though, that I am surprised it's a "rainy day" look. I avoid white at all costs on rainy days, though I can see that your vest would protect you from having an unintentional see-through moment if the top got wet. I'm still curious about the pants that touch the ground, though-- avoiding this is my #1 priority on rainy days because I DESPISE having wet jeans, and they take forever to dry. If it gets wet enough, it even pulls my pants down around my waist! If I catch myself in this situation, I always cuff my my jeans up before I go outside, and while in my opinion this gives me a cool Huck Finn-esque appearance, I think everyone else must look at me like "wow, what a weirdo." : ) I prefer bare legs on rainy days if at all possible, because my legs dry quickly!

I love white button downs in any register. This one seems particularly versatile since it's not as stiff and starched as some are.


Scholar Style Guide said...

Thanks, Liz! You're right, this outfit isn't the most practical for rainy weather. But, like I said, I had run the dresses/skirt look into the ground days before, and I wasn't yet ready to tuck jeans into galoshes. I cuff my pants while strolling through puddles, too, and I'm okay with looking Huck Finn-esque. At any rate, I chose pretty over pragmatic with this ensemble. But that's standard for me. I'm not the most sensible soul. :) It seems I inadvertently heeded Sara's advice by combating the rain with favorite clothes. It would have been a drearier day had I let the weather prevent me from wearing an outfit I loved.


Between Laundry Days said...

You look insanely put-together with this lovely casual ensemble. "Smart casual" is the perfect way to put it.

Scholar Style Guide said...

Ok, I've been meaning to comment on this post. I love the red lipstick. Love it. I don't think anyone has mentioned it, but for me, it shot this look up from "ohhh, that's cute" to "gooooo girl." (Did that make sense? I read a lot of theory today, so my brain is fried.)

Also, I love vests. Alas, I think it is an unrequited love because I have trouble finding vests that look good on me. I have one that has a deeper v-neck that works, but I like the men's wear look you have going on in this outfit. Anyway, gooo girl :)


Scholar Style Guide said...

Thanks, Katie! I recently bought two new lip shades, and I'm having fun wearing them. This one is L'Oreal Infallible lip gloss in "Rebel Red." Cherry-hued lips always up the ante on an outfit, right? :)

Me too! Vests rock my world! I have three fall/winter vests in my regular rotation, and two of them are from Old Navy. Neither one is a puff(er) vest, either. Go figure. The menswear look is my favorite. Why don't you wear yours more often? I bet you rock 'em!


Alterations Needed said...

I just want to say...I love a girl in a menswear vest! =P