How To Step Up Your Casual Look

Step up your casual look. Before I retired, my work look used to be fairly polished. I had a flexible uniform of knee length skirts, solid and subtle print tops, colorful scarves for accent, and shoes/boots with personality. Almost all pictures of me you saw on this blog were taken on work days. There’s a reason for this . . .

My days-off looks (now every day) could use a tweak. I often use the “what’s clean and comfortable” method, which translates to jeans and a tee of uncertain provenance. My thinking is flawed: “I’m only going to be seen by my beloved husband or a few dear friends. They love me no matter my look. Save the good stuff for events and special occasions.”

A little past “casual”, heh. Source.

Well, I will be seen any given day by the public, including friends, acquaintances, and ex-boyfriends with their wives. And there is myself! I sometimes shortchange myself by glossing over my casual looks. And it shows. But I am worth the few extra minutes it takes to look better-than-OK, without going full-press career-wear.

Here are some ideas I’ve come up with to elevate my casual looks, and I’d love to hear yours, if this is an issue for you. Or maybe you dress well every day because you enjoy it, hooray for you!

  • Hair and nails. If I take just a couple of minutes to fuss with my unruly hair, use gel and a couple of clips, it looks much better all day. Good hair equals good look! Ditto my nails. Even with clear polish, they elevate my look when they’re neatly trimmed and oiled.

These are not my nails, but this is the look I aim for. Source.

  • Face: a healthy glow is the goal. All I need is mascara, moisturizer, blush or bronzer, and lipstick, with an emphasis on moisturizer.
  • Modern well-made tops, or funky print ones, don’t take any more time than standard tees. I have upgraded this corner of my closet, and almost all my tops are “good”.

This flattering, washable top is affordable and prettier than my “New York Yankees” tee.

  • No cheap crap. A mantra for every day of the week, actually. And it doesn’t refer to price. I mean cheap-looking and feeling fabric, construction and color. Good construction doesn’t have to cost the moon. I have some terrific jeans that were thrifted for under $15. A lot of companies make sturdy, good-looking tees for under $20.
  • Cool shoes. Not the same as work shoes, but flats, booties, and sandals that make me feel wow.
  • A piece of great jewelry. Again, it doesn’t have to be the Hope diamond, but a favorite bangle or pendant shows care.

This leather and goldtone bracelet looks good with everything.

That’s my commitment: to look more polished most every day. There are days for window-washing and car-washing, beach walking, and marathon Netflix-ing, during which no gilding is needed. ☺

You will, of course, spruce up your casual style in the way that makes the most sense for you. We’d love it if you shared any tips in the comments.

Keep joy in your heart, and stay fabulous, xo,

Here’s some cool casual pieces:

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  1. Agreed. I’ve started grabbing a “good” top vs. a T-shirt with jeans and shorts. It instantly takes a casual look up a level. I have a dear friend with great fashion sense who one said to me when I was trying on something slightly out of my “comfort” zone “If you saw another women wearing it at the farmers market on Sunday morning, you’d love what she was wearing. Be that woman!”

  2. I think I do quite well in the casual chic department. Although I still adore high heels, I was forced this year to wear flat shoes and boots. Which was really a struggle for me. On the other hand, like you, when I don’t HAVE to look nice and I am sitting around the house all day, I feel very drawn to jogging trousers with a sweater. I do, however, tell myself not to do this all the time, as the one person you should dress up for, is your spouce. Right? He is the most important person you want to look good for.

  3. I so agree with this post. For 3 years after I retired I wore nothing but jeans and then one day I thought – now wait a minute!!! Gosh it’s so boring to be too casual. Now 10 years later I aim to be both funky and glam although I admit that this is easy in a city (Brighton, UK) that expects you to be funky! Great post!

  4. I’m on board for this, Patti! I always try to make every outfit special, even when going to the grocery store (where I have run into many people I know!). Comfort doesn’t have to mean sloppy.

  5. great advice!, I totally agree on wearing something comfy&cool everyday (if possible)!. I think that hairstyle and shoes make a difference, same for not wearing crappy tees ;DD.
    I’m matchy (and totally myself) even in my pilates gear! It makes me feel so much better!

      • You’re right! The days I especially don’t quite feel right, are the ones to dress how I’d like to feel! I’ve been ill for a couple of years now & nearly able to get up. Consequently everything about me has aged tremendously, I’m adjusting! I’m getting the courage to challenge myself to move it or lose it! I’m going to feel better amongst ppl whether it just be to people watch, I enjoy that! But even though I can’t walk much to dress in workout clothes makes me “ feel “ more energetic! Thank you for bringing that to my mind & my heart! God Bless you! Have a delightful day!

  6. I struggle with this!!! I think i undervalue my casual/comfort everyday wear and I’m working on that—also, being honest about my daily wear style. I don’t dress up everyday, but I doesn’t mean I have to forgo looking chic.

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