I found inspiration for this outfit from a pin on Pinterest (sorry — can’t find it anymore!), and I wasn’t quite sure how well it would work out in real life. It looked a little fussy to me.
But when I put it on, it felt right. Natural. I knew I had a winner.
All that tucking felt a little weird at first. Especially the blue plaid shirt — tucking one side but not the other. Really? Trying a little too hard, right? I thought so at first, but with the cardi on top, it somehow felt okay.
Anyway, I felt like this outfit was a layering success for me. It’s what layering is meant to be: light layers, done right, so you have a slight temperature change with each layer shed or added.
Sometimes I’m the worst at layering. Like, I’ll do a short sleeve tee with a winter coat. And it doesn’t make any sense because I’m either hot or cold — there’s no in between with that kind of layering.
I’m learning, but I was pretty excited about this one. Do you have any smart layering secrets?
White tee: J.Crew
Plaid shirt: Madewell
Shoes: old from J.Crew (similar)
I did a whole post a while back about ideas for layering because I’m literally cold all winter regardless of what I’m wearing. I love button ups and basically wear them daily and I get really sick of cardigans and sweaters over them, so I started wearing plain long sleeved tees underneath them. As long as the button up isn’t completely sheer it works really well. That’s not the cute visible layering but it was pretty successful! No tucking and shifting around required.
Big fan of layering. I’ve started being a bit braver with my layering. Though I have to say if I needed 3 layers in top my legs would be blue in those shorts. Bottoms are a whole lot harder to adjust to changes in temp.
I love layering but I admit that I looked at this outfit and went “whaaaaat???”! If you need 3 tops, don’t you need more than shorts and sandals on the bottom? Perhaps this is for air-conditioning and this is a southern thing? I am not trying to be mean (sorry if it comes across that way!) I was honestly baffled……
I would tell my teen – if you need a sweater then put on some pants! lol!
I agree, I would be freezing in those sandals… for me, those are for bikini temperatures only! But I’m living in a colder climate as well.
I like the way that you warmed up (color wise) the cool neutrals in this outfit with the cognac leather sandals and bag.
I laughed so hard when I thought about my layering; I’m in the geosciences- 50% office wear, 50% field. Here is my layering today (rain/snow overseeing a construction project):
-long johns layered beneath the muddy work pants I wore yesterday
-camisole, plaid button up, Mountain Hardware fleece, Goretex Windstopper fleece, rain jacket, bright orange safety vest
-accessories: Safety glasses, work gloves, clipboard, mud
Working in a male dominated field looking cute is unfortunately perceived as incompetence.
Loved your humor!
I absolutely love layering, have since my mid teens. In Chicago it’s absolutely necessary, keeping you warm outside in winter and warm in the a/c of summer and not dying outside. It also means that you can have a few basic pieces but combine them to make a multitude of different outfits.
I’m just starting to build my first capsule wardrobe, I have a lot to buy since I’ve bought 3 pieces of clothing in the past year and a half (unemployment is not stylish). I found treasure&bond at Nordstrom and for the first time ever found skinny jeans that fit my hippy-figure well that weren’t ridiculously stretchy. I bought the jeans ($88) but I can’t justify $68 for shorts, so I’m waiting for a sale. But it’s worth it for clothes that make me both comfortable and confident.
I have to say you are a big inspiration for me style-wise. I found your website and was immediately drawn in by both the concept and your style. I wear a lot of similar clothing (though I’m die hard for keds, not converse), and I knew this was how I could feel good about how I present myself without spending a ton, and to start buying responsibly. It’s inspired me to save for local & handmade jewelry (it’s not as expensive as you might expect, especially for simple beautiful pieces).
I was wondering, what do you do for your hair daily? I really need a haircut and loved having bangs before, but my current hair has like 0 daily maintenance (I let it air dry over night then brush it. ta da) and I can’t keep up with a lot of styling needed because I’m real lazy.
Thanks for all you do! And best of luck with your move to Seattle :)
Usually I don’t like the look of a shirt with only one side tucked in. Somehow it lookes fine in this outfit, maybe because it’s hidden below the cardigan.
My favourite layering approach is shirt/blouse/dress + cardigan + oversize scarf, because it looks good when only wearing one or two layers as well as wearing the complete outfit.
In Winter I like to add an extra layer (tank top or longsleeve with a tight fit) underneath whatever I’m wearing. But I don’t think that counts since my aim is to hide the extra layer and it wouldn’t work as an outfit on it’s own without the sweater/knitdress/etc on top.
As a Seattle gal. I’m all about layers that you can take off as the day gets warmer. Short sleeve shirt with a cardigan and then a jacket on top. Tank top, cardigan, jacket. Throw in a scarf if it isn’t cold enough for a jacket but you just need that extra bit of warmth. Sometimes I’ll wear pants with sandals if the day is supposed to warm up enough. I would be all over your outfit today :)
I LOVE your blog. When I first found it, I spent a couple of hours poring over your capsules. And the how to posts. You inspired me to purge and put more purpose behind my spending.
Gushing aside, themomedit had a great post years ago about layering. She was all about the rule of three. She also goes into how to mix textures and proportions. After reading, I feel like it’s the first time I can layer with swag, instead of looking like I put one too many tops on that day.
Ashley Gurley says
I am super excited about your moving to Seattle. I grew up in Alaska, and miss the PAC so much now that I live in South Arkansas!
So this doesn’t have to do with layering and I know you have a million things on your plate. But I was thinking the other day after I bought some cute silver gladiator sandals that I wish I could go back and see all the outfits you’ve done with yours! Or when I throw on a vest, I want to see all your vest outfits. I think it would be amazing if you could catalog all your outfit posts like that. I could click on “tulip skirt” and all your outfits with that skirt would pop up.
I know nothing about programming or HTML or anything computer. So I don’t know if that would be a ginormous pain, or what. But I would use it e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y……
Hi, you can already do this! Scroll up to the top of the blog. Just under the Unfancy logo, in the right column, under the headshot of Caroline with her hair up, there’s a blank text box. That’s the search box. Just type in the whatever word or phraset you’re looking for (like gladiator sandals) and the search results will show all the relevant blog entries. In keeping with the minimalist look of this blog (very clean design), the search box isn’t labeled–but that’s what it is and it works! Good luck.
A thin wool sweater or cardigan. It’s really warm but takes up almost no space in a bag. Perfect for going out on summer nights that get cold when the sun sets.
I totally get the 3 top layers and shorts. My bottom half doesn’t get near as cold as my top half. The trick is to make sure that every layer is a great layer. I used to buy skin tight long sleeved tee’s as an underlayer and then roast because I couldn’t take my sweater off!
The only change I would have to make would be to add booties or boots because my feet are always cold as well. In fact I could wear booties and a tank top and be very comfortable. It’s whatever works for your own body.
Question…. I’m attempting a capsule but having the most amount of trouble pinning down my style. There does not see to be a consistency in style on my pinterest board… Now what?
It’s okay to not have a ‘style’ per se; I certainly didn’t when I started making capsules. I actually have found that restricting my clothing showed me what I really wanted to wear! Here’s my suggestion: Figure out what pieces you’re always reaching for. There are a couple of ways to do this. The first is less labor intensive but longer, and the second is dramatic but has great results.
1. Try the backwards-hanger method, Pinterest style. Hang up all your clothes with the hanger backwards (or turn the ones in drawers over) and go about life as normal. When you wear something, turn the hanger the right way (or refold as normal). After a few weeks, you’ll notice that there is a lot you’re wearing, washing, and wearing again. These are the things you love, and the things that look good on you. The things that haven’t moved don’t inspire you. With the exception of out-of-season stuff that you’ll return to in winter, purge the excess.
2. Try the Konmari method. Take literally every piece of clothing you own, including accessories and shoes, and spread them out on the floor. Starting with shirts, hold each item in your hands and ask yourself: Does this make me feel joy? Does it flatter me? Does this add something to my life? Be honest with yourself: You will know what makes you happy. Maybe you feel ridiculously happy in your tulle maxi skirt but never wear that black blazer that you bought because Pinterest told you you needed it. (We’ve all been there.) Maybe you bought a romper because it was on-trend but have to admit it simply doesn’t flatter you. Style transcends time, so you won’t worry about trends once you’ve pared down. Oh, and make sure you handle literally every item–nothing gets a free pass without you holding it and analyzing your feelings. Once you have your joy pile, give away everything else.
Other tips: Look at pictures of yourself. If you took a selfie, you probably felt cute. If you look confident and pretty in a group photo, that outfit probably works for you. Also, ask other people what they think your style is. You don’t have to agree with them, but hearing the way they describe you may give you an idea of the image you project–and how it compares to the image you want to project.
Once you bite the bullet and build a capsule, you’ll learn who you are. You’ll realize what you miss when it’s in storage, and what you forget about. You’ll realize what you really prioritize when you only buy a couple of things a season, and what you can push off. Minimizing is definitely a journey, and definitely a challenge at times, but it is also so fun, so illuminating, and so creative!
I used to be terrible at layering. When I moved from Southern California to Northern California I was cold constantly because I didn’t layer. Now I always throw on a filled, lacy camisole under anything, a sweater over my cute shirts, and bring a jacket.
Krystin Leigh Smith says
I share Erin’s confusion about this outfit. While I totally love it I have no idea what season this would be appropriate in and seems impractical. In Toronto it’s either freezing or boiling with maybe a month or two of in between. If I wear three layers on top and shorts with sandals I will either be freezing or boiling!