The Power of the Third Layer (or How to Master Upscale Casual)

One issue I see so many clients dealing with is bridging the gap between looking professional and looking casual. Often, after coming home from work, working from home, or spending time around the house, they slip into sloppy sweat pants and a nondescript tee shirt that is devoid of shape.  Their style is nonexistent and they feel frumpy.  Just hope no one drops by to say hello!

While I am a big believer in having your favorite comfy clothes to lounge around the house when you know you won’t be seen by anyone, I’d like to encourage you to build a wardrobe that has plenty of casual options that you’ll feel great about being seen in! Think it can’t be done? Think again! I want to show you just how easily you can have a wardrobe that goes from dressy to casual without missing a beat.

First, let’s redefine casual. I like to think of casual clothes as jeans and a t-shirt, perhaps a pair of sneakers and little else. Casual to me is what you wear around the house or to work in the yard. I realize that it’s my nature to be a little overdressed (when I as little, I wore my smocked dresses and Mary Janes to play in the dirt!), but what I’ve found is that when women are dressed casually for an event, they typically feel underdressed, and not quite as confident as they’d like to feel. So let’s talk about one of my favorite forms of dress, which is what I refer to as Upscale Casual.

Now upscale casual is a great form of dress for women that can be appropriate for both the workplace and the weekends, and leave you feeling as if you can get more done during the day because you don’t have to stop and change your whole look. The beauty of upscale casual is there are a few small, but very important, details that make this look what it is. Read: it’s simple! However, like any great wardrobe, it just takes a little planning. Let me take you through the process and you’ll see what I mean!

1/ First, start with a great pair of jeans (or pants). Now if you’re not a jeans gal, by all means find a pair of pants that feel great, fit you to a tee and are versatile. Forget that faded pair of ‘mom’ jeans you’ve had for a few years. You want your jeans to look fresh and modern. This is key because the wrong kind of jeans will ruin in the look. I think all women should have a great-fitting pair of jeans that fit you like a glove. Not too tight, but not too loose. These go from day to night, from work to weekend, and just may be your most versatile wardrobe staple.  Our Stylista’s can help you find a pair that works for your body type.

2/ Next you want to choose the right top. Start with a solid knit top in one of your best colors. Skip the boxy tee and opt for something that shows your shape. If you’re feeling bold and want to wear a print or texture, you’ll get a bit more of a boost. Simple works just as well here. That’s the beauty of this look!  Our Tees by Tina and Clara Sunwoo tanks are some of our favorite go-to items, but choose what works for you!

3/ Now it’s time for my favorite item, the third layer. You want to choose a third layer that is going to be right for what you’re doing. Wear a jacket or cardigan if you’re heading to the office or a meeting and want a dressier look. Opt for a more casual cardigan or jacket if you’ll be running errands.  This third layer is what takes your look to the next level and creates a look that is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s magical!  Our liquid leather jackets and wide selection of cardigans will help you decide what your favorite is.

4/ Accessories are last, but definitely not least! If you’re puttering around the house, all you need are a cute pair of athletically inspired flats (skip the big sneakers). If you’re heading to the office or out for dinner try adding in a fab pair of earrings, bracelets, a pair of wedges or heels and a great scarf that enhances your eye color. This dresses up your look and takes it to a completely new level! The accessories really are the icing on the cake. Change them out and you can transform the look from simple to more dressy.

5/ Makeup and hair are what you should always have in place if you’re heading to work, but even on the weekends you want to opt for a casually elegant style that helps you feel great while still looking like you didn’t do a thing! Master the art of the chic ponytail or the wash and go style for weekend chic. Keep your makeup simple and just do the basics–lips, mascara and brows–and you’ll look polished without looking like you tried too hard.

While the beauty of the upscale casual look lies in its simplicity, feel free to put your own spin on it! If you want to elaborately layer a couple of tops and a funky jacket that’s just your style, go for it! Add in a great pair of heels or if flats are more your style, find a chic yet comfortable pair that make you feel great! This look is open to interpretation, so find the strategy that makes you feel fabulous while helping you to get dressed with ease!

Need help?  Our Stylistas are masters at helping you put together a chic, upscale casual look that can take you from work to weekend without missing a beat!  Call 919-454-3068 to learn more, or simply stop into the boutique and try on a few ‘third layers’ for yourself and see how they can truly transform your look.