This post is sponsored by Macy’s & ShopStyle.

If there are two things that definitely fall within my fashion comfort zone, they’re 1) all things black and 2) sweaters. Whenever I’m in a fashion rut or feeling particularly uninspired, I can always rely on a monochromatic, all-black ensemble to make me look (and even feel) grounded and pulled-together. And here on the coast, sweater season is more or less year-round, so I reach for one daily, almost by default.

So in a move that’s very “put your hands together” (can anyone name that reference?), when Macy’s gave me the opportunity to put together a post on some of my favorite seasonal pieces, I knew exactly which route I’d take. And, as it turns out when you update my favorite all-black look with a pop of another neutral color, suddenly the suggestion of effort is there — but it’s just as easy to make happen.

Casual Outfit Formula for The Daily: Black Pants + Neutral Sweaters (2 Ways)

Both of the sweaters in this post happen to be from MANGO, which makes some of the most well-designed pieces I’ve seen from an affordable fashion brand — and they are nailing the neutral sweater game right now. Everything they make feels very…off-duty model, let’s say? Fashionable, to be sure, but so easy to wear. (I also scooped up this taupe leather miniskirt in the name of “research” and holy crap it is good. Went with an XS, TTS.) They’re also super well-priced. As in, full-priced they’re under $60, but they’re both currently on sale! Doesn’t get much better than that.

Basic Black + Cozy Sweaters: Uptown Athleisure

I’m a big fan of athleisure, but more often than not, my take on the trend skews more toward truly athletic — yoga pants, ball cap, running sneaks, that kind of thing. This version, however, is so much more chic and no less comfortable, and I’m giving the sweater all the credit. While I would typically be tempted to pair these joggers with a hoodie for more of a sweatsuit effect, the oversized sweater here makes everything feel more fresh, and even a bit luxe — especially in the “winter white” hue, as my grandma would say. (I continue to be convinced that white and ivory shades feel especially indulgent since I avoided them for so long when Lana was at prime staining age.)

Grounding the whole outfit with both black joggers and sneakers allows the plush sweater to pop even more. And with the accent of a big earring, the whole thing has kind of a Hip Hop-Goes Brunch vibe, which makes me happier than you know.

As it turns out, updating an all-black outfit with a pop of another neutral color, the suggestion of effort is there -- but it's easy, chic-looking fashion.

Ivory Sweater // Joggers // Sneakers // Earrings // Tote

True story: this is the exact outfit I pulled on when I rolled out of bed the morning of the shoot (right down to the men’s undershirt you can’t see hiding under the sweater). It seriously doesn’t get any easier.

As it turns out, updating an all-black outfit with a pop of another neutral color, the suggestion of effort is there -- but it's easy, chic-looking fashion.
As it turns out, updating an all-black outfit with a pop of another neutral color, the suggestion of effort is there -- but it's easy, chic-looking fashion.
As it turns out, updating an all-black outfit with a pop of another neutral color, the suggestion of effort is there -- but it's easy, chic-looking fashion.
As it turns out, updating an all-black outfit with a pop of another neutral color, the suggestion of effort is there -- but it's easy, chic-looking fashion.

Outfit Details

Ivory Sweater // This isn’t what I would call the thickest sweater, but it is wool, so it’s plenty warm. I paired it with a sleeveless men’s undershirt to prevent itching, but the turtleneck and sleeves, which were in direct contact with my skin, didn’t bother me at all. It’s also long enough to have a tunic effect if left un-tucked, and with the leather skirt I mentioned earlier just peeking out beneath, the effect was tactfully sexy. (Oy, you know you’re an adult when the tactful part seems especially important.) Note: The sizing on these sweaters is a little different — the XS fits more like a S/M, so I imagine everything skews one to two sizes large.

Joggers // These aren’t labeled as joggers, but they’re definitely a trimmer fit than the term “sweatpants” would lead you to believe. Perfectly trim, in fact, if you ask me. Complete with pockets (which are a must, for me, when it comes to athleisure apparel). Wearing an XS (TTS).

Sneakers // Officially my new favorite sneakers, these will come into play everywhere I usually wear my trusty Stan Smiths. The gold accents pop particularly well off the black without being overly flashy. Also in White. Wearing an 8 (TTS).

Earrings // My most-worn earrings tend to be either gold hoops or something quasi-boho in nature, and these are the best of both worlds. The gold is muted and almost tarnished, and I love that the crescent is intriguingly organic. (You can’t tell from the pictures, but these are more ovular versus a true circular hoop — not a problem for me but worth noting.)

Reversible Tote (Under $50!) // THIS BAG, you guys. There are so many things going for it. First of all, it’s vegan leather with a very convincing, subtle pebbled texture that is good. Second, it’s REVERSIBLE! It comes in loads of colorways, but the one you see here reverses from Black to Silver with gold hardware. Third? It includes the crossbody bag you see in these pictures, which is actually a pretty awesome size and also has a removable strap so you can use it as an interior pouch within the tote, too. Time will tell how well it all holds up, but all told, I am impressed so far.

Basic Black + Cozy Sweaters: Downtown Daytime

OK, I know that the distressing on these jeans might make them inappropriate for some offices, but generally speaking, this look speaks to me because it translates so easily across daily activities — from an office environment or errand running to lunch or even a trendy dinner spot in The City — without being fussy in the least. And, again, even though I’m always tempted to keep things totally monochromatic when I’m wearing this much black, the steely gray sweater is exactly the reason this outfit feels a little more architectural and intentionally styled, but still approachable.

As it turns out, updating an all-black outfit with a pop of another neutral color, the suggestion of effort is there -- but it's easy, chic-looking fashion.

Sweater // Turtleneck // Jeans // Mules // Earrings // Tote

And this sweater really is kind of a sleeper hit. The almost-mock neck, the raglan sleeves, the boxy shape, the diagonal ribbing — it’s like the jackpot gem you’d find tucked away in the back of your mom’s ’90s closet. Interestingly proportioned and just…easy.

As it turns out, updating an all-black outfit with a pop of another neutral color, the suggestion of effort is there -- but it's easy, chic-looking fashion.
As it turns out, updating an all-black outfit with a pop of another neutral color, the suggestion of effort is there -- but it's easy, chic-looking fashion.
As it turns out, updating an all-black outfit with a pop of another neutral color, the suggestion of effort is there -- but it's easy, chic-looking fashion.
As it turns out, updating an all-black outfit with a pop of another neutral color, the suggestion of effort is there -- but it's easy, chic-looking fashion.

Outfit Details

Gray Sweater // This sweater is a total sleeper hit. The almost-mock neck, the raglan sleeves, the boxy shape, the diagonal ribbing — it’s like the jackpot gem you’d find tucked away in the back of your mom’s closet. Interestingly proportioned and just…easy. Note: The sizing on these sweaters is a little different — the XS fits more like a S/M, so I imagine everything skews one to two sizes large.

Black Ribbed Turtleneck // The perfect basic black turtleneck, ideal for layering. Extremely soft but not sheer, and the ribbing is super skinny, so it’s not necessarily noticeable but it adds to the easy, stretchy fit. Wearing an XS (TTS).

Distressed Black Skinny Jeans // These jeans are well-reviewed, and I have to agree that the fit is superb — if a little long. I’m 5’5″ (ahem, and a half) and, as you can see in these pictures, these go right to the top of my foot. It’s a released hem, though, so you could easily trim them to your desired length. Wearing a 25 (my usual) and could probably size down a 24 if I wanted more a compression fit.

Mules // When I was in college, I had a rule that I could only buy heels without an ankle strap because I was 80% more likely to actually wear them if they could slip right on, fuss-free — and I’m starting to revert back to my old ways. These are SO versatile and SO easy to slip right into that I know I’ll reach for them time and again when I don’t want to have to think too hard about footwear. Surprisingly comfortable with a supportive footbed, too. And the upper is leather despite the fact that the website says otherwise. Wearing an 8 (TTS).

Earrings // My most-worn earrings tend to be either gold hoops or something quasi-boho in nature, and these are the best of both worlds. The gold is muted and almost tarnished, and I love that the crescent is intriguingly organic. (You can’t tell from the pictures, but these are more ovular versus a true circular hoop — not a problem for me, but worth noting.)

Reversible Tote (Under $50!) // THIS BAG, you guys. There are so many things going for it. First of all, it’s vegan leather with a very convincing, subtle pebbled texture that is good. Second, it’s REVERSIBLE! It comes in loads of colorways, but the one you see here reverses from Black to Silver with gold hardware. Third? It includes the crossbody you see in these pictures, which is actually a pretty awesome size and also has a removable strap so you can use it as an interior pouch within the tote, too. Time will tell how well it all holds up, but all told, I am impressed so far.

As it turns out, updating an all-black outfit with a pop of another neutral color, the suggestion of effort is there -- but it's easy, chic-looking fashion.

Shop Everything Mentioned in This Post

Shop More Cozy, Neutral Sweaters

There are almost too many good options within MANGO’s line of sweaters this season, and they all skew neutral and casually elegant, with loads of handmade feeling details and softly structured lines. Note: The sizing on these sweaters is a little different — the XS fits more like a S/M, so I imagine everything skews one to two sizes large.

Hope you guys are having a stellar week, as usual, friends!
xo,
Em

Big thanks to Macy’s and ShopStyle for sponsoring this post. I’ve been a loyal Macy’s shopper for years (ask me about that time I worked in the shoe department!) and had so much fun browsing one of my favorite retailers for the pieces in this post. And, as always, thanks to you guys for continuing to show up to this space. We appreciate it so much!

Guys! Follow me on Instagram for more peeks into our life on the Northern California coast. And if you feel so inclined, pop over to my personal food + lifestyle blog, The Pig & Quill, where I share salty scribblings from my kitchen and home life. Byeeeeee!

Photos by Carolyn Stockman.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Joggers with a sweater and a pair of “dress up” sneakers is one of my favorite outfits for pretending I put effort in to my appearance while actually being as close to pajamas as possible, so you are really speaking my language here! Both sweaters are great, especially the gray one, and I’m loving Adidas everything right now, so I am definitely planning to try these pants. Thanks for the suggestions!

  2. Is “ovular” the Friends reference? That word definitely caught me sideways, it sounds like a Friends’ writers’ room joke!
    Totally cute everyday look, I love that sweater with the black mock undershirt!

    • Awh thanks! And ovular’s not the reference, though that totally sounds Friendsish, lol. It was up there near the intro: “put your hands together.” 😛

  3. Love these looks! Does the gray sweater have any wool in it? The website description is vague. Also, are the Adidas Sleek sneakers true to your regular sneaker size or true to your Stan Smith size? Thanks!

    • I bought an 8 in the Adidas, which is my true size, and they fit great — SO comfy (and they’re lighter than they look). I probably *could have* gone down half a size but they would have been just a hair short. So I’m calling these true to size unless you’re between sizes. In the Stan Smiths I’m a 7.5 — not sure why the difference in sizing!

    • Just realize I forgot to comment on the sweater, too! The cream sweater is acrylic, poly, wool and elastane, which I actually love because it keeps its shape well and doesn’t stretch out. The gray sweater is acrylic, poly and wool. And to Elisabeth’s point, in a perfect world, they’d be more sustainable (those wool percentages are on the lower end), but in the name of progress over perfection, I chose these items because they’ll live in my wardrobe for a long time thanks to their classic styling, so a little more sustainable than trendier pieces I would think twice about next year.

  4. I love these looks — I’ll have to try the joggers/sweater combo. And I’m loving all of these sweaters…but then I realize they’re all acrylic and poly. I’m trying hard to buy more sustainable materials, so sadly they’re a no-go. Bummer.

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