Years ago when Chris and I first moved to Ohio (yep, we did four years in Columbus, which is why Tiarra’s stories always make me so nostalgic), I met up with a friend for a weekday lunch. I walked into the restaurant — I think it was a Ruby Tuesday, Columbus’s dining scene has since drastically improved — wearing the same outfit I’d worn to my office job that morning: jeans, a graphic T-shirt, a blazer and heels. And when I sat down, the first words out of my friend’s mouth were “oh my god, you’re so California.”
As we approached the salad bar (what is it about green peas and julienned jicama that make salad bar salads so appealing!?), I invited her to explain.
“You wore a T-shirt to your office. And it looks good! I could never do that here.”
And maybe it was truly how California I was — or how woefully unprofessional — but I had honestly never given it a second thought. To me, adding a boyish blazer to just about any outfit made it reasonable for work. And to be fair, my previous position was at a tiny PR firm overlooking Pismo Beach, complete with golden retriever and mid-morning meditation sessions, so maybe I was exactly as West Coast-jaded as she was suggesting. But it’d been my go-to uniform for just about every occasion (happy hour, date night, brunch — and yes, the office) for as long as I could remember. I was shocked she hadn’t considered the combo. And then we spent the rest of our lunch break shopping the mall for graphic tees.
Today, obviously, this is still one of my favorite outfit formulas. Granted, for the office I would swap out the distressed jeans for a darker wash or even wide-leg crop with more of a trouser feel (and, yes, I’d swap these amazing gold heels — more on those later! — for a playful pump), but it’s just so effortless and easy, I can’t help but come back to it time and again. Guess it’s just the California girl in me.
Jeans // Sadly, this exact tattered wash from [BLANKNYC] is sold out, but this is the same cut in a little different iteration (limited sizes available), and I love the tattered distressing on this one, too. (Note that all the pairs I’ve linked here are 100% cotton, and I sized up to a 26. This particular style, the Madison Crop, is also sold in loads of other washes with varying degrees of stretch, so if you’re after a jean that wears more “rigid,” just be sure to check the fabric details.) For the office, I would swap in my new favorite Everlane High Rise Skinnies, which hold their shape all day.
Blazer // Old. But the same exact things I love about mine — the rounded lapel, the slightly oversized fit and the structured shoulders — can all be found in this well-priced option, which has loads of great reviews at Anthro.
Sunnies // Tiarra mentioned these $15 Amazon sunnies in a post months back, and I couldn’t stop thinking about them. They’re just the right proportion (big but not too big) and lightweight. So many colors, too!
Heels // THESE HEELS, yoo guys. I debated for so long between the black patent and the gold (so many of you chimed in on Facebook that you ended up getting both!), but I LOVE the finish on the gold. The slightly worn dot pattern feels like something between distressing and animal print. Truly a super-versatile heel that’s exceptionally comfy for the height. (True story: I wore these to a wedding and an afterparty, and even though I was glad to take them off at 2:30am, I was in much better shape than most!) Can’t wait to wear them again and again this holiday season. Wearing an 8, which is TTS.
Bag // Vintage! My mom’s mom’s, which my mom brought out to our house a few months ago for Lana to use as “dress up” — but I’ve since claimed as my own. Here’s something similar that is equally fun for evening or playful for day — the hoop handles are super on-trend.
Shop My Go-To Outfit For All Occasions
Shop More Of My Fave Graphic Tees
(For Dressing Up or Down)
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.