Upping My Casual Look

For most of my adolescence, when I wasn’t wearing fuzzy fuchsia sweatpants or neon yellow fleece sweatshirts (because the teenage years are the best time to make awful sartorial choices), I was a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal. That was my uniform; it was not stylish but it was comfortable, and I was already too worried about the body underneath those clothes to worry any more about the clothes themselves.

After I recognized that I enjoy experimenting with my outfits and, most importantly, found the courage to do so, I entered skirts, button-ups, dresses, and suspenders into my everyday casual wardrobe.

But lately, in the sloth-provoking winter, I’ve been slipping back into my jeans and t-shirt comfort zone. Now, I don’t think there is anything wrong with wearing what you find comfortable or with the jeans and tee combination. But I find my confidence and my sense of self-efficacy increase when I up my sartorial game. And jeans and a tee is not upping the game for me (unless one of those pieces is particularly interesting or “on trend,” which is not usually the case in my current wardrobe).

Enter the jean jacket and pencil skirt. The former is comfortable, but more interesting than a plain pair of blue jeans. The latter usually adds sophistication or composure to a look and can be comfortable with the right amount of stretch. Throw in a striped crop top and some vintage clip-on earrings, swipe on some orangey-red lipstick, and I’m ready to take on the weekend!

Doing my best “oh me? I always look this way” pose.

The jean jacket comes from Crossroads Trading Co., a chain of resale shops that buy and sell used, “on trend” clothing, shoes, and bags. I’m always amazed by the gems I find. While they’re a little pricier than your stereotypical thrift store, most clothing items are around $20, they’re well-organized, and they cater to a more contemporary closet. Whenever I get the urge to shop the high street retailers, I try to divert myself into a Crossroads Trading store instead. At least when I shop at the latter I’m preventing more fashion industry waste, and I’m not throwing money directly into the hands of large retailers that don’t care about the environment or ethics. Here, I rolled up the sleeves of the jacket to give my outfit just a little more polish. (Also the sleeve length was a little long for my short frame.)

I stuck some enamel pins from Laura Berger (mentioned in this post) onto the jean jacket collar, for some lovely quirkiness.

The clip-on earrings are from Vintage Underground, an amazing treasure trove of a store in Wicker Park. I’ve always had an aversion to getting my ears pierced, partly out of fear of pain and partly out of distaste for putting holes into my flesh. (No negative judgment on anyone with piercings; the idea of it on my own body just freaks me out.) So I was on a perpetual hunt for interesting and high-quality clip-on earrings, until I discovered Vintage Underground. As the name suggests, their wares are all vintage, and they have knowledgeable and friendly staff who are willing to help you if you are searching for something specific (or help you narrow down your choices if you are overwhelmed by the merchandise, as I often am). The owner is often behind the cash register, examining and polishing inventory. I love buying vintage costume jewelry because I always feel assured of the quality; after all, the piece has lasted several decades! Sadly, every time I shop from Vintage Underground I forget to ask someone there about the history of what I’ve purchased. Next time!

I also paired my Oliberté purchase (first mentioned in this post) with this look, to provide even more comfort.

Apologies for the glare from the flash, this is the best photo I had!

The pair I bought (“Kinsha”) is made of suede. I waterproofed them by rubbing them with lanolin, which is all-natural and easily found in your local pharmacy (it’s typically sold as a solution for breastfeeding mothers’ cracked nipples!). The lanolin works very well to protect my feet in the rain, but I think I spread it on unevenly, because my shoes do seem to have some dark splotches on them that weren’t there before. The sneakers themselves are very comfortable, with a thick rubber sole that is delightfully squishy. Sadly, they are a little big on me (I’m a size 7 and I bought a size 7/37). I usually knot the laces as tight as they can go and that works, but I do wish they were more true to size. I also have mixed feelings about the style of the shoes. They are very well-made but they are a tad too “rugged” looking for my taste. I’ll wear the Kinshas for my day-to-day traipsing, but I’m still on the hunt for ethically made, sleek-looking comfortable shoes.

Full disclosure: these photos were taken near the end of 2015… I’ve been extremely busy lately, so I didn’t have time to take and organize photos of my more recent outfits. Working a full-time job while trying to launch a freelance career is time-consuming (I have over five hundred pages of editing under my belt at this point). Also the number of personal side projects that I have is ridiculous. Maybe one day I’ll blog consistently…Sigh.

Till next time,

— S. (a.k.a. AMisplacedPen)

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way to post about the businesses I have mentioned. This post expresses my honest opinions.


One thought on “Upping My Casual Look

  1. […] For our second night out, I wore the DVF skirt again, but this time I paired it with an old Motel Rocks mesh crop top (because the best way to minimize your environmental footprint is to use things you already own!), fishnets, those same blue loafers, and a pair of vintage crystal clip-on earrings from Vintage Underground (one of my favorite mom-and-pop stores in Chicago, first mentioned here): […]


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