So. You’re ready to take your jeans + tee game to the next level? Here’s how:
Step one: Throw on your loosest, drapiest tee.
Step two: Make a knot on your hip and push up your sleeves.
Step three: Add high rise jeans, a crossbody bag, sunnies, and your coolest shoes (bonus if they have short block heels).
Done and done.
Also, did anyone else notice that I’m wearing a color other than blue? It feels amazing!
Color isn’t usually my thing. I just don’t love wearing bright colors. Or colors that are a normal amount of brightness.
Even jewel tones — the grown up version of color — don’t do it for me.
And yet I’ve been wanting a bit more color in my wardrobe lately.
I finally figured out how to do it in a way that feels true to my style.
It can be summed up in five words:
Wear a highly saturated neutral.
Like, this shirt is cognac-y, orange-y, right?
But if you were to tone down the color, it would probably be kind of a warm tan or brown.
So I’m telling myself it’s really just a tan shirt with the saturation levels turned way up.
Any of you in the same boat? Where you love neutrals but want to invite a little color into your closet?
• • •
Liked today’s outfit? You can shop it and support Unfancy at the same time by using these affiliate links:
01 | Tee by Madewell (on sale)
02 | Jeans by Madewell
03 | Sandals (almost sold out) | similar (on sale) | different but still super cool
04 | Sunnies by Ray Ban
05 | Bag (old) | similar | similar (made in USA)
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I am wearing that exact same shirt and color today! HA! It is so comfy, isn’t it?
I primarily wear neutrals, but I do occasionally mix in reds, wines and berries, because they look really good with my dark hair and fair skin. I thought the red plaid/check shirts and burgundy sweaters you wore in your Fall 2014 capsule looked good on you too, Caroline.
Thanks for the deatiled instruction! I think now I will be able to created a similar look as I really like what you are wearing here :)
xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
Love that colour. : ) This may sound very strange, but my rule is “would I see this in a desert,” when venturing into colours. I have very pale but yellow-undertoned skin, hazel eyes and brown hair so I look best in “desert tones”—camel and mustard-ish and deep green and terracotta and saturated blue. Haha. Still all fairly tame as far as colours go, so I justify it to myself that way. :D
This just blew my mind! I have very similar coloring to what you described (more neutral than yellow-toned, but have always preferred these “desert shades” as well.) I might start using that constraint when I go shopping now! :)
Hey Ky, what a smart idea! They say colors found in nature are the best ones, but can sometimes still be a little overkill for me. Colors found in the desert, on the other hand — that sounds like something I could get behind! :) xo, Caroline
I ordered that shirt and loved it, but it pilled terribly after just one wear. I was so disappointed! Thankfully, I sent it back and Madewell exchanged it for another (100% cotton) option.
I avoid viscose for this very reason, or I’d be tempted by the rose one
I like the rose color too, but Madewell doesn’t make petite sizes, so the sleeves would be too long. And that pilling wouldn’t make me happy.
Janette, oh man! I hate when that happens. Glad they were at least able to exchange it for you. :) Were you able to find a similar color as you had before? xo, Caroline
For me, the amount of color matters a lot. I’m a Clear Spring so bright colors are recommended for me. But I don’t like them, they feel overwhelming and conspicuous especially since everyone else wears way subtler colors. So I wear neutrals, but often add a small pop of color: a red bead bracelet, scarf with a colored pattern (never an actual bright scarf!). The brighter the color, the smaller amount is needed in order to brighten up an outfit.
I’ve also noticed that in order for the outfit to feel just right, it’s important to wear just the right amount of contrast between hues, be they neutral or colors. For example, since I’m a Clear color type, I need enough contrast in my outfit even when I wear neutrals- my go-to formula is a very light neutral, very dark neutral and medium neutral to soften things a bit.
People with low contrast look good in subtle monochromatic looks or single color outfits. And many are something in between, looking great with medium-contrast outfits like dark/medium or light/medium combos. Not that anyone needs to wear colors flattery in mind, but for me personally this way of thinking has been very helpful in finding outfits where colors feel just right.
Do you have any recommendations for finding out what season you are? I tried some online quizzes, but had a really hard time answering the questions they asked.
Tanya E says
I used a local, independent image consultant (I’m in the UK), she did a whole colour and style session a few years ago. It really helped me rediscover my style rather than telling me what to wear. It helped that she is a very stylish friend of a friend.
Tanya, that’s really cool to know that much about what season you are! Gives you a very clear outline for what looks best on you. Very interesting :) xo, Caroline
Marie Therese says
Jeans and a tee or my go-to, every day uniform, and I like how you snazzed it up. So, I’m going to try and borrow some of that style. I generally where black, white, blue and maybe a pop of red. But for me, the other colors can be too much. I like your idea of going for saturated versions of your favorite shades. :)
Hey Marie, give it a shot! Let me know how it works out :) xo, Caroline
I think the Colour your looking for is Mustard Yellow!
I’m always keen to try this trick, but I worry so much about the shirt stretching out! Have you ever experienced that?
I’m in the market for a new pair of Madewell skinnys – do you usually get a pair that fits tighter and let it stretch out or a pair that fits perfectly when you buy it?
I’ve taken the same color approach to home decor…we put up some warm and colorful goldenrod curtains, but they read like a neutral. Our ‘gray’ couch is a little on the gunsmoke-blue side (although that was by accident, it’s been enjoyable). The wood furniture is honey-colored. It’s a lovely way to keep the house feeling clean and restful but not stark. I hadn’t thought of doing the same with my wardrobe, though!
As to the tee stretching out, I’ve occasionally tried mimicking a knot by bunching the shirt with a hair tie. You have to be careful to keep the look from going soccer-girl-y, but it does help keep the shirt from stretching out as much.
I wore that exact same color yesterday! It’s so dreamy for Fall, a warm yet neutral tone. I love how you’ve styled it here. It’s fun to see you branching into a little color!
I ordered a pink chambray shirt to let a little color in and am yet to wear it! I’ll have to tell myself it’s saturated blush! ;)
Oh I love your “highly saturated neutral” idea for adding color! I too generally only feel comfortable in neutrals, but am stumped when I do sense that need to add some color, so this is fabulous. Can you give us some examples of other highly saturated neutrals? I’d love to see more examples of how you incorporate this. Thanks a million!
So in regards to clothing, neutrals are specified as black, gray, white, navy blue and a few different shades of brown. Like the top I’m wearing would be a tan (shade of brown) with the yellow turned up.
Other colors that work well are khaki green (since that’s a shade of gray with the green turned up) or a warm pink (shade of brown with the pink turned up) or even a mauve (shade of gray with the purple turned up just a little bit).
It just depends how much color you’re comfortable with. But sticking to a neutral palette will ensure that everything you’re wearing goes together. Then you throw in a saturated version for that pop of color and you’ll be good to go! Hope that helps :)
Liesbeth Verlinden says
I mix in some colour, usually only one coloured item per outfit and the colours are muted. Some powder pinks and then some dusty burgundies and forest greens. I also wear a lot of blue, but that’s denim or navy so I consider those nearly neutrals. For the longest time I thought I ‘needed’ more colour in my wardrobe (my mother wears a lot of colour) but I’ve accepted my neutral disposition now :).
Hi Liesbeth! Isn’t it funny how we put pressure on ourselves to incorporate certain things into our wardrobe, even if we don’t necessarily love it? I’m glad we can accept our neutral-loving ways now! :) xo, Caroline
You’re so pretty! I love this tip!
Such a beautiful color on you! Warmer tones are so inviting and really play up the feeling of warm and cozy as weather gets cooler.
I could see you venturing into deep indigo-grey too. Just maybe. ;) It’s also a saturated neutral type color.
this outfit is amazing! love the jeans!
Fash ‘n’ fudge
Fash ‘n’ fudge
Hi Caroline! I am currently finishing up my second week of my very first capsule! I am loving it beyond words so far! My question for you is, when doing capsules did you ever have outfits that you thought were just ok? Like you didn’t have that totally in love feeling wearing it? I’ve had 1 or 2 outfits like that so far. How did you handle those if you had them?
Hey Amanda! Yes, of course — I’m sure everyone trying a capsule has run into the problem of not loving every single outfit. I think the best thing you can do is try to remix! Wear those “ok” pieces with other items and see if they work out better. If it turns out that they’re still just “ok”, I would try finishing up the season and then tucking them away. Once you pull them out for another season, you might be able to see them with fresh eyes. Good luck! :) xo, Caroline
This looks almost exactly like one of my favorite fall outfits to wear! Mustard tee, blue high rise denim, and black cutout heels – I think it’s got a slightly retro feel to it
The golden-yellowy colour looks great on you :)
I love the color combination. The whole outfit is very casual but still en vogue-ish. Something one could wear on a daily basis and not look boring. Perhaps I would have added a few folds to the denim to let my sandals steal some focus.
This outfit looks so good! I love the knotted top style – do you find this stretches out the top at all? Or is the key to make sure the top is already loose so your not pulling the fabric to much? Also maybe you could do a post on how to tie the knots as I notice you tied this top differently to the shirts you have previously done?
Love this, and I’m so obsessed with your blog!
I was wondering if you could do a holiday post (what to wear for thanksgiving/christmas)
This is always so hard for me=/
Hey Cassandra, I’ll add it to my list of ideas. Thanks for the suggestion :) xo, Caroline
Love this! TBH this is kind of my day-to-day go to look. Simple and chic :)
Love this look! You make a tee and jeans look so good. Also, I’m totally with you about the highly saturated neutrals!
Tanya E says
I often wear smoky, muted colours like denim blues, soft violets, aubergines or put tonal colours together so that they feel less bright. So I know what you mean.
That colour looks great on you.
I really love the richer color of the shirt! It looks fantastic on you, and it’s the perfect non-crazy break from your normal color palette.
Very nice! I call this “jeans thread color”. Ha! It dawned on me of few years ago: of course blue denim would look really awesome with camel/chestnut/orangey yellow, that’s why they use that color of contrasting thread on most jeans (well, that, and it’s just tradition). So I started wearing a dark blue chambray shirt under a few camel sweaters that I had not been able to figure out how to wear, and waa-la! Blue and this orange brown/camel are across from each other on the color wheel, meaning they contrast well. Speaking of contrasting colors on the color wheel, I also love to wear in fall a very dark green or a vintage faded moss green with red — like a red flannel plaid shirt with a vintage green puffer vest… it sounds like a lot of color, but it strangely doesn’t feel like it to me, even though I am mostly color-phobic (but the red flannel has to be just right!). I think the green plays like a neutral and the red is just the right amount of color to add interest but not be overwhelming. The other day I saw someone with a red/gray/ivory/blue flannel shirt and a dark blue-tealish vest and gray jeans – the colors just melted together perfectly, effortlessly. The overall look was fairly neutral (well, in a red plaid sort of way). I thought I hated anything teal but this looked so nice. I thought, oh brother, here I go again. I want a vintage dark teal vest or sweater something or other. :)) In summer, when I’m not wearing the volume of clothing I wear at other times of the year, I wear almost no color, as there aren’t enough articles of clothing on my body to layer the colors in a way I am comfortable with. :) Color – it’s a fine line!
Oh, and my point was, before I got distracted, that your outfit melts together effortlessly, I don’t look at this and see “color.” If you hadn’t pointed out that you feel like you are wearing color, I wouldn’t have even noticed…
Me too, I saw brown before I saw orange.
I have the opposite problem. I love color, but it’s hard to have brightly colored pieces as wardrobe staples, because at least I can’t seem to get them to mix and match as readily as neutrals. I have some really fabulous dresses, but the summer of them only match one sweater out of the four that I own, which, if I spill coffee on that one sweater, means I have to change my whole outfit. I hope you start to explore color in your wardrobe more, if only because it might help me figure out ways to inject bright colors into a wardrobe based on neutral staples, helping me pare down my wardrobe to more mix and matchy basics without giving up on my colors!
I like this post of yours! I enjoyed reading it and I was just wondering how exactly you tied that knot in your shirt? It looks so good! x