The All Day Outfit Already In Your Closet: Part I

Casey of Dressed to Code holds out a lemon cupcake from Jenny Cookies Bake Shop.
Are cupcakes the latest accessory?

An Outfit for All

Growing up, the concept of day-to-night was one that never really resonated with me. Where I was raised in Southern California, the hot days and cool nights meant that cycling through three different outfits a day wasn’t unusual. Of course, as someone who works in tech and rarely gets dresses-and-heels dolled up, it still feels mostly irrelevant. However, with Seattle’s long summer days, the idea of one outfit to take me from work to other activities now has merit. As the sun currently sets around 9 pm, this concept is less about day-to-night and more about an all-day look. While nothing work-appropriate is going to take me to the gym, there are plenty of options versatile enough for a variety of activities.

After wearing this look to work one day, I felt very comfortable in my own skin. The sneakers add that critical third neutral but keep me comfortable during my commute and standing at my desk. Even better, my boss wore a variation on the formula the next day. Overnight, it became one of those looks I threw on as soon as it came out of the laundry, and I began thinking about how I could tweak it.

As a nod to this concept of the all-day outfit, I’m posting more than one version this look, along with a few personal notes!

Dressed to Code - The All Day Outfit - Work
Looking back, this outfit is a natural progression from many of my intentional wardrobe choices.

The Outfit Formula

As time goes on, I’ve been expressing a little more of the style you see on the blog at the office. That doesn’t mean complicated or fancy, but I’ve been branching out from the standard jeans and tee shirts. As part of this, I’ve been paying close attention to the clothing choices of women around me at work.  The styles range from jeans and sweatshirts to photographer-worthy street fashion.

One of the outfits I started consistently noticing and appreciating has a few different iterations, but there’s an easy formula:

1. black dress or jumpsuit
2. denim jacket or chambray shirt
3. shoes in a third neutral color

The most common version I see is a knee length black dress with a denim jacket and brown booties or sandals. It’s a great, classic look, and an easy Monday no-brainer.

My wardrobe wishlist already has strong influence from this three-neutral scheme, specifically black-blue-brown. That said, I didn’t own a jean jacket at the time and wasn’t about to wear my heeled sandals to work. (I have since purchased a denim jacket and immediately wore it almost every day for a week, but that’s a story for another post.) One of the great things about moving toward an intentional wardrobe is having cohesive pieces that easily lend themselves to new combinations in the same aesthetic.

Dressed to Code - The All Day Outfit - Work
Swap out the dress, throw on a jacket — this outfit is only the beginning.

Part I: An Outfit that Works

First up is my original pairing for my causal office. For this variation, I layered my dark wash chambray shirt over an old favorite dress and tossed on my white Stan Smiths. You likely have everything you need to pull this off already tucked away in your closet. I’ve also worn this look to work with a black maxi dress swapped in. Unless we’re in a particularly chilly meeting room, I keep the sleeves rolled up, and I like how the turned-up cuffs lighted up the outfit. Not shown in these photos is my badge, which I wore on a royal blue lanyard with this look.

Wearing a badge is certainly a new complication to consider when choosing outfits in the morning. I have two ways to wear mine. The first is a lanyard I wear around my neck, and the second is a combination clip and carabiner badge holder that I can hook on a belt loop or clip on a waistband (similar).

Dark Wash Denim Shirt

This denim shirt (Banana Republic, Riley Fit 2P, Summer 2016) was one I picked up on sale because it checked off all my boxes. The petite fit is comfortable, the material is stretchy, the sleeves roll up well, and the dark wash keeps it a little less casual. Initially, I struggled somewhat to pair it with my dark-wash wardrobe, but once I threw it on over black pants, dresses, and skirts, this no-iron option became a weekly staple. As an added bonus, denim with denim has come back in favor, so I do occasionally just wear it with jeans.

High Neck Black Sheath

I don’t remember why I originally bought this dress (Loft, 00P, ~2009), but I’ve ended up wearing it for two different momentous photographed occasions, first as part of a rare family photo shoot and again for my college graduation photos (shot by Michelle Chan).

If you’re wondering how the same dress could possibly fit for so long, I was wearing a scoliosis back brace when I initially bought it. Yes, that kind of brace — a bulky, stiff thing from my armpits to my hips. The thick material of this dress hid the brace completely, and looking at the family photos, you wouldn’t have a clue. Side note: If you or someone you love is getting a brace, please reach out to me for support, encouragement, and clothing tips. I have high school classmates who saw me daily and still don’t have a clue I wore one.

Stan Smith Sneakers

If you saw my original post on these sneakers (Adidas, US 6), you know that I resisted buying them for a long time. That said, they’re now the ones I reach for first during the week. Thankfully, they also stay fairly clean and wipe down easily. Because my current pair of jeans is still staining my legs and clothing, the inside of the tongue is now navy. Oops. Additionally, I like the pop of green on the back, which adds just a touch of color my mostly-neutral outfits. Best of all, these sneakers look crisp and white while keeping my feet happy.

Casey of Dressed to Code holding a lemon cupcake from Jenny Cookies Bake Shop.
Nothing says celebration quite like a cupcake, and the blueberry on top coordinated well with the shirt.

One Year Update

This time last year, I was a recent graduate who had just moved to Seattle full-time. Torn between job hunting and taking some breathing room, I soon needed something else to do. This blog began out of a need for something to focus on that felt productive when other aspects of my life didn’t. What I didn’t expect was the warm welcome from the Seattle blogging community, the incredible people I’d meet, and a shift in the way I see myself.

A year later, I am an employed software development engineer, one of several adult-sized steps toward adulthood I’ve taken in the past year. There have been ups and downs, but I’m gaining a clearer picture of my life, my loves, and my let-it-gos.

So, as part one of this celebratory mini-series, I’m toasting (with a cupcake) to professional growth, a significant life change, and hanging in there!

The cupcake is lemon from Jenny Cookies in Lake Stevens, WA. In my informal taste-test, one of the three testers rated this cupcake their top pick.

When your goals seem far away, look back to see how far you’ve already come.
-Casey

How to Balance Black Leather

Banana Republic top, Abercrombie faux leather mini skirt, and Hinge Drea peep toe leather sandals from Nordstrom.
This black on black leather look could have gone biker chick rather than casual chic, but it’s all about balance.

As my birthday approaches each year, I start to reflect on my life thus far and the year to come. This year, even as I chase my goals, I need to simultaneously slow down and enjoy being in my early twenties. It’s so easy to keep worrying about the next steps and forget to enjoy the now. So when I spotted this faux leather mini on the sale rack at Abercrombie (and it fit at the natural waist with an A-line shape), I figured now was the time to rock a piece like this!

I know that when you hear Abercrombie, you probably think of brightly-colored, branded t-shirts. They still have some of those shirts, but they also have some great pieces, like this satin bomber in black or burgundy. They have also introduced petite and tall sizes online! I’ve actually found enough worth looking at lately to add the store back into my online rotation. If you want to avoid shipping costs, you can pick up online orders in store (and immediately make a return if it doesn’t work out).

Skirt

This fully lined, faux leather mini includes a functional full-length zipper up the front. (That could be helpful if you’re currently rocking a bootie of the medical variety). A tab snaps on either side of the zipper, so I’m not worried about accidental unzipping. I was a little worried about the length, so I put a small pair of shorts on underneath. The waist also comes down to a slight point on either side, which is an interesting touch.

Banana Republic top, Abercrombie faux leather mini skirt, and Hinge Drea peep toe leather sandals from Nordstrom.
It’s texture rather than color that really makes this look.

Top

I told you that this staple piece would be making a reappearance! In addition to sitting well under a blazer, this Banana Republic favorite looks great on its own. As I mentioned previously, I never found it online, but if you find a similar piece, let me know! (I’ll buy three more.) I like the simple, flowy top to counteract the leather skirt and add balance. With the black top and bottom, the overall outfit has a sleekness to it while relying on texture for visual interest. The soft nature of the top counteracts the potential harshness of the bottom and keeps the look firmly in my aesthetic.

Sandals

If you’ve been reading this blog since the beginning or following me on Instagram, you’ll recognize these Hinge Drea Peep-toe Leather Sandals from Nordstrom. This outfit would have also worked well with black sandals, but I love the leg-lengthening effect of the nude sandal. See a close-up here. As it gets cooler, I’ll swap out these sandals for tights and my black INC booties.

Banana Republic top, Abercrombie faux leather mini skirt, Fossil Georgia leather watch, and Danforth pewter squirrel necklace.
Black and silver (and pewter) accessories tie in nicely together and with the silver snaps on the skirt.

Accessories

I paired this outfit with my black leather, silver hardware Coach purse, which I believe is an earlier iteration of the Dinky bag. This year’s version reimagines the interior slightly with a coin-purse-style pocket, and has more pronounced topstitching in a contrasting color. A well-cared for Coach purse will last for years (my other Coach purse is approaching 40!), so buying a preowned classic is a great option.

I’m also wearing my black and silver Fossil Georgia watch for a little wrist sparkle. (A few years ago, I rarely wore anything on my wrists. Now my Fitbit tan line is pronounced enough that I almost never go without something.) As I have mentioned before, I love the large, readable face of this watch paired with the small band.

Little touches like a charming necklace add a personal element to an outfit and even serve as a conversation starter. The distinctive squirrel I’m wearing here (on an 18″ chain) is from Danforth Pewter, made in Vermont. The squirrel cast shown here is still available in a pin. You won’t find any more charms because but I bought out all their remaining stock after they discontinued production. They made great little gifts!

There are a number of other shapes of charms to choose from, and they have a warm, handcrafted quality in your hands. The best way to pick out your charm is by going through the big wooden chest with all the little drawers in store, but online shopping works as well if you aren’t planning a trip to Vermont anytime soon. (I adore this little tree frog!) I paired this necklace with simple brushed silver studs.

Where nail polish is so much less expensive than paying for a manicure, I don’t feel too guilty about picking up a new color every other trip to Target. This medium berry tone is a Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear polish in 189 – Mauve Over. The color on my screen is pretty true to the color on my nails, which makes a perfect transitional color between the fresh brights of summer and the deep tones of fall.

Banana Republic top, Abercrombie faux leather mini skirt, and Hinge Drea peep toe leather sandals from Nordstrom.
This black leather purse with shiny silver details pairs equally well with my everyday aesthetic and special occasions, with plenty of room for the essentials and more.

#onthecusp

I ended up immediately wearing this outfit for an On the Cusp event at Neiman Marcus Bellevue. Five Seattle area bloggers had pulled pieces for the fall season, including Pumps and Plaid, AikA’s Love Closet, Story of My Dress, and xxKarlieRae. While most of their gorgeous pulls won’t be joining my closet anytime soon ($$$$), it was fun to look. I had a wonderful evening meeting other bloggers and thinking about how I could incorporate some of the elements.

IRO Han Jersey-Knit Motorcycle Jacket in Pink Grey from Neiman Marcus
IRO Han Jersey-Knit Motorcycle Jacket in Pink Grey, available at Neiman Marcus

One of my unexpectedly favorite pieces was this IRO Han Jersey-Knit Motorcycle Jacket in Pink Grey pulled by Megan of  Sort of Style and paired with a crisp white shirt. This subdued, neutral pink is popular with many of the bloggers I follow, and the texture was buttery soft. While I’m not going to convert to a light-colored closet anytime soon, this pin-worthy jacket had me giving this color further consideration. If you love the light-leather moto look, this BLANKNYC Faux Leather Moto Jacket in might do this trick!

 

What are your stop-and-smell-the-roses moments? This week, mine was remembering I’ll only be in my early twenties once and rocking a (faux) leather skirt. Share yours in the comments below!

Be even more amazing than you ever thought you’d be.

-Casey