Beginning with the Basics

Begin with the basics with this petite-friendly Madewell radio tee in black with cuffed Quincy wash 8" skinny jeans and Hinge Drea peep toe lace up leather sandals in blush.
Elevate your everyday jeans and tee look with great fabrics, flattering fit, and simple accessories.

Hi! I’m Casey. For my first post here on Dressed to Code, I figured I’d be true to myself and show you my go-to look: jeans and a t-shirt! At 5’3″ tall (on a good day), even this staple look can be difficult to put together without looking too youthful. The key to success is to build on quality, well-fitting basics. I’ll admit I don’t wear heels on a daily basis, but these blush leather lace-ups are my current shoe crush.


After my well-loved, favorite jeans wore out and ripped (in a not-fixable area), I went hunting for a similar, heavyweight denim in a flattering cut. For me, that meant finding a pair that would fit my hips without being too large at the waist. Jeans are probably one of the most ubiquitous basics and the basis for many classic looks.

Fast forward a couple dozen pairs of jeans, and I found a great pair that fit at Madewell. These 8″ skinny jeans (on sale!) are one of their staple fits, and I love the darkness of the Quincy wash. I’m wearing a size 25 in the regular length, cuffed. The high-quality denim has a substantial feel to it, and doesn’t stretch out throughout the day. You can bet on seeing more of these in future posts.


The back of the basics with this view of Madewell radio tee, Quncy wash 8" skinny jeans, and Hinge Drea blush leather sandals.
These dark wash jeans are flattering from all angles.

I loved the new pair so much that I went online and snagged a pair in the Lakeshore wash (now only $50!). I ended up getting the Lakeshore pair hemmed and tapered through Madewell, which I’ll cover in a later post.


While in store at Madewell, I also found a new favorite in the pima cotton radio tee (now on sale for $14 in 3 colors). Tees are other critical basics. However, I often find shirts to be simultaneously too long and wide in the body and too tight in the arms and across the chest. (I call it the too-tight-tent!) This ultra soft tee didn’t have any of those problems.  I wear an XS, which means there’s even another smaller size for you to try. This might be a cropped fit on a taller person, but I like that the hem hits me just below the top of those 8″ skinny jeans without the excessive width of many cropped styles. The resulting fit is a close-to-the-body but not-too-tight tee in a flattering length.

The Madewell radio tee, Fossil Georgia watch, and Madewell 8" skinny jeans are all quality basics.
With a t-shirt that fits this well and feels this good, you might feel like you’re getting away with something.


I saw these Hinge ‘Drea’ peep toe leather sandals online and knew I wanted to try them on. As someone who usually saves heels for special occasions, I was happy to find a pair of comfortable casual heels! Although they also come in black, I loved the nearly-nude look of the blush leather on my fair skin. Because of the lace-up style, the leather adjusts to your foot like a second skin. I tried on multiple sizes and purchased my usual sandal size (5.5). I’ll be wearing these with summery dressed as much as I can before cool weather sets in, and then pairing them with jeans and sweaters to get even more use out of them.

The very first time I wore these sandals, I ended up walking over a mile through the city on one of the hottest days in Seattle all summer. When I got home, my feet were a little sweaty (sorry if that’s TMI) but content, thanks to the quality leather and attractive cutouts. Because the laces allow you to get a custom fit, my feet hadn’t slid around, and I had zero blisters. I had a little bit of that muscle soreness from being in heels all day, but I could have walked even farther. Win!

Love the basics with these Madewell 8" skinny jeans in Quincy wash, cuffed and paired with Hinge Drea peep toe lace up leather sandals in blush.
These Hinge Drea peep toe leather sandals manage to be attractive and comfortable, no breaking in needed.


This black and silver Fossil Georgia Watch (also marked down) balances a slender leather band and large face. The black leather with shiny silver accents fits perfectly into my aesthetic, and it manages to give the bold look of a large face watch without being overwhelming on a small wrist. The large face and notched dial also means it’s easy to read with a subtle glance.

Madewell radio tee in black with Fossil Georgia watch in black leather with silver hardware are basics for your closet.
Can you tell how excited I am about this watch? I could also be excited that it was almost time for lunch.


My pearl studs are my favorite earrings and were a present from my grandmother years ago. If you’re looking for a classic pair of pearls with a smaller price tag, these Charter Club imitation pearl earrings are a good choice.

The Madewell radio tee in black pairs well with classic pearl studs for a great version of the basics.
These classic pearl studs are subtle enough for everyday wear and refined enough for special occasions.

Whether you read this post or just scrolled through the photos, welcome to Dressed to Code and thanks for reading! Make sure to follow me on Instagram or your other favorite social media to keep up with new posts. You can also learn more about me or my goals for the blog. If you have your own favorite fit tee, leave a comment below!

May your closet be prepared for whatever you get dressed to do!

– Casey

12 thoughts on “Beginning with the Basics

  1. I like how you go into detail about everything you’re wearing. Not enough bloggers do that. Especially in regards to fit. Just the fact that you discussed the fit of the t-shirt made me open the link to see what kind of t-shirt you bought and how it looked on the model in comparison. And this outfit is really cute. I love jeans and tees 🙂

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