Two Elevated Casual Outfit Ideas (And Fine Jewelry on a Demi-Fine Budget)

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Sponsored by Saks OFF 5TH and ShopStyle.

We took a vacation this month for the first time in…well, I’m sure you can guess. It’s been well over a year. And by vacation, I mean we loaded ourselves, a kiddo potty and a whole lot of hand sanitizer into the car and booked it 6.5 hours south to Palm Springs to work-and school-from-home in a different thoroughly decontaminated house for five days. But said house has a pool. And a hot tub. And exceptionally delicious Vietnamese food within delivery distance. And so we vacationed to the best of our ability. And, no surprise here, it was exactly what my mental health was seeking.

The funny thing is, even though I knew the only people who would see me through the duration of this getaway are the same people that see me day in and day out, I still wanted to dress the part of The Vacationing Woman. In this day of sweatsuits and house dresses, that meant choosing an elevated, neutral color palette that I wouldn’t usually embrace at home (creamy white and nutty butterscotch — the latter of which is such a ridiculously luscious shade that even my mom called it chic on FaceTime) and then elevating those sweatsuits and house dresses juuust a little with a flash of fine jewelry.

Building An Everyday Fine Jewelry Collection
(on a Demi-Fine Jewelry Budget)

In this day of sweatsuits & house dresses I chose a casual-chic neutral color palette & elevated those sweatsuits + house dresses juuust a little w/ a flash of fine jewelry.

dress (TTS) | gold bracelet | evil eye bracelet (also similar) | rings (my own)

As you may have noticed by now, my jewelry (and accessories) game is pretty minimal. I tend to gravitate almost solely to pieces that I can literally wear every. single. day — and the majority of those pieces never leave my body, even when I shower. So if I’m going to add something to the mix, it’s gotta fit the same criteria: minimal enough to complement the vast majority of my wardrobe; special enough to catch the eye. And for it to be adopted into the daily mix, it’s gotta be fine enough to hold up well over time — but not so much that I can’t fathom buying it for myself. (Curious how we’re hesitant to invest in gifts for ourselves, but for me, it’s true.)

So yes, I’m talking about spending a little more than you might pay for a fashion piece, but fortunately, my recent obsession with Saks OFF 5TH (here’s where I remind you about my fave rag & bone jeans for under $100) led me into their fine jewelry section. Turns out, they have loads of pieces that hit that sweet spot I’ve been looking for: everyday-worthy fine jewelry — we’re talking solid gold and genuine gemstones — at prices that fall more in line with the demi-fine jewelry category that is so popular right now.

Shop More Everyday Fine Jewelry Picks from Saks OFF 5TH


If you haven’t shopped Saks OFF 5TH yet, it’s such a fun place to go down the late-night (or any time of day — that’s just my preference) shopping hole. They offer discount designer clothing, handbags, shoes and yep, fine jewelry — all the styles and brands you would find at Saks — up to 70% off retail price and with free shipping over $99. (If you’re a Shoprunner member — I signed up for free with my PayPal account — many pieces ship with free 2-Day shipping and returns, too.) I spotted a couple of brands I’d been wanting to try, like the WeWoreWhat sweatsuit here, plus longtime favorites suitable for a range of budgets, like Vince, rag & bone, Paige, Frame, Free People, Versace, Stuart Weitzman, Dolce Vita — you get it.

Long story short, I had absolutely zero trouble finding a couple of timeless, elevated casual looks that will last long beyond our Palm Springs getaway. More on both, below.


Casual-Chic Outfit #1:
T-Shirt Dress + Statement Sneakers + Gold Jewelry

White is one of those colors I all but wrote off when I had a kiddo. I mean, let’s be real — I’m already pretty stain-prone and rarely don an apron in the kitchen, so I can hardly blame Lana. But it felt exceptionally risky when I was cradling a babe against either my hip or my boob all day long. Which is why even the simplest cotton t-shirt dress from Free People feels so luxurious in this creamy hue — and perfect for Palm Springs, where white is everywhere, popping off the desert landscape in a way that is both calming and energizing. It’s also the perfect blank canvas for allowing even the most minimal pieces of gold jewelry to really shine.

In this day of sweatsuits & house dresses I chose a casual-chic neutral color palette & elevated those sweatsuits + house dresses juuust a little w/ a flash of fine jewelry.

dress (TTS) | gold bracelet | evil eye bracelet (also similar) | shoes (TTS) | necklace (similar)

In this day of sweatsuits & house dresses I chose a casual-chic neutral color palette & elevated those sweatsuits + house dresses juuust a little w/ a flash of fine jewelry.

dress (TTS) | earrings | gold bracelet | evil eye bracelet (also similar) | necklace (similar) | rings (my own)

In this day of sweatsuits & house dresses I chose a casual-chic neutral color palette & elevated those sweatsuits + house dresses juuust a little w/ a flash of fine jewelry.

dress (TTS) | gold bracelet | evil eye bracelet (also similar) | shoes (TTS) | rings + turquoise bracelet (my own)

In this day of sweatsuits & house dresses I chose a casual-chic neutral color palette & elevated those sweatsuits + house dresses juuust a little w/ a flash of fine jewelry.

dress (TTS) | earrings | gold bracelet | evil eye bracelet (also similar) | necklace (similar) | shoes (TTS) | rings + turquoise bracelet (my own)

In this day of sweatsuits & house dresses I chose a casual-chic neutral color palette & elevated those sweatsuits + house dresses juuust a little w/ a flash of fine jewelry.

shoes (TTS)

Elevated Midi Dress Outfit Details

Dress: Free People On Repeat T-Shirt Midi Dress // I bought this dress with some reservations. Would it be too sheer? Too shapeless? Too…puritanical? Turns out, while it walks a pretty fine line with that last one, it’s really lovely when styled with pieces that lend a bit more personality. These Dolce Vita sneaks did the trick here — but that’s not to say I wouldn’t also wear it with classic low-tops or a sporty platform sandal. The construction of the dress was especially surprising: it’s thick (but not heavy), definitely not sheer, with pleating detail that lends just enough visual interest. Pockets, too. And while the overall effect of the dress is oversized thanks to the generous shape, it actually fits true to size across the bust and upper body, which keeps it from looking just plain ol’ sloppy. Even Chris, who is vehemently against the resurgence of all things oversized, said it was cute. Not that I need a man’s validation, but seeing as how he’s 50% of my live audience, I’ll take it. (If you just can’t fathom the white, it’s available in black and a clay color, too.) Fit is TTS (wearing an XS).

Shoes: Zonya Leather High Top Sneakers // These are my first pair of — statement sneakers? What are we calling them? And while I was worried that they might feel a little trying too hard, I have to admit that I freaking LOVE them. In fact, they make any outfit feel like you’re trying just hard enough, which is a step up from the not-trying-at all vibes that most of my quarantine closet has going on. (I now most definitely get what the hype is all about with those other glam sneakers people shell out the big bucks for.) Happily, these are 40% off, making them well under $100 — much more in-line with my usual street sneaker budget. Fit is true to size, and the leather on this specific pair is nice and soft (which makes me think the couple of negative reviews might have been for one of the other colors?). Fit is true to size with standard thickness, no-show socks, too.

Bangle Bracelet: Saks Fifth Avenue 14K Gold Yellow Gold Bangle Bracelet // This is exactly the type of piece that will become part of my everyday jewelry game. It’s undeniably elegant, but there’s also something — sporty? — about its simplicity. The bolo closure is a really elegant way to ensure a precise fit on a variety of wrists — I cinch it a bit tighter if I want it to sit in line with a stack of other pieces, and I loosen it to allow for more romantic movement up and down the wrist when I wear it solo. (The bolo closure cinches pretty snugly, too — I needed Chris to help me adjust it the first couple of times.) And guys — the chain detail on this piece is beautiful. You can’t tell from photos, exclusively, but it’s an almost tubular knit chain that feels like it’ll hold up really well to daily wear. Normally almost $500, but it’s $180 at Saks OFF 5TH as we speak (60% off). Just an all-around lovely piece of fine jewelry on a demi-fine budget.

Earrings: Saks Fifth Avenue 14k Gold 2-Pair Huggie Hoop Earring Set // These two little pairs of hoops — both in solid gold (one white, one yellow) — are perfect for double piercings and are the ideal way to carry a mixed metals theme all the through your everyday jewelry look. The hinges on these are discreet and the closures are secure — I wore them for several days straight, including through showers, sleeping and swimming without worry. The flat surface of the hoops makes them feel a bit more modern and fresh (and again, just a little sporty). At 60% off the original retail price, the value feels high, the cost-per-wear low. Kind of the perfect combo.

Evil Eye Bracelet: Saks Fifth Avenue 14K Yellow Gold & Diamond Evil Eye Bracelet // Posting this bracelet here is a bit of a risk because a Saks OFF 5TH insider told us that sellout risk is high (it’s actually really nice when they do that! and you can find almost the exact same style with a sapphire accent here, if that’s the case), but it’s so freaking lovely that I can’t let it go completely unmentioned. A dainty 14k gold chain (adjustable, mind you — my wrist is on the slimmer side and it fits perfectly on the snuggest loop) with a little pave diamond evil eye that feels at once elegant and playful — not to mention I’ll take all the good juju I can get in 2021. I was a little worried that keeping the bracelet from flipping to the non-diamond side would make this piece too high-maintenance for me, but I’m really pleased to report that the few times it has flipped, it’s just as cute on the backside — solid gold with a little opening where each diamond is set, so it’s just as detailed but without the bling. Despite the high quality, the full retail price for this piece isn’t within the budget I would normally allocate for myself, but dropped down 60% it feels exceptionally worth it — especially for a piece that would be so easy to incorporate into everyday looks.

Shop More Elevated T-Shirt Dresses


Casual-Chic Outfit #2:
Neutral Sweatsuit + Statement Sneakers + Gold Jewelry

Ok ok, you’re onto me. All I did in this outfit was swap the dress for a loungey matching WeWoreWhat sweatsuit. But let’s admire for a second how this outfit, too, is indulgently casual and yet still…elegant in its simplicity. I want to chalk it up to this decadent butterscotch hue, with its warm, caramelly, Kardashian-esque appeal — but the matching sweatsuit (hoodie here, pants here) is also available in black and an icy blue, and I think the effect could be equally lovely, albeit a bit more cool-toned, in those shades, too.

In this day of sweatsuits & house dresses I chose a casual-chic neutral color palette & elevated those sweatsuits + house dresses juuust a little w/ a flash of fine jewelry.

hoodie (TTS) | sweats (TTS)

In this day of sweatsuits & house dresses I chose a casual-chic neutral color palette & elevated those sweatsuits + house dresses juuust a little w/ a flash of fine jewelry.

hoodie (TTS) | sweats (TTS) | earrings | gold bracelet | shoes (TTS)

In this day of sweatsuits & house dresses I chose a casual-chic neutral color palette & elevated those sweatsuits + house dresses juuust a little w/ a flash of fine jewelry.

earrings | gold bracelet | rings (my own)

In this day of sweatsuits & house dresses I chose a casual-chic neutral color palette & elevated those sweatsuits + house dresses juuust a little w/ a flash of fine jewelry.

hoodie (TTS) | sweats (TTS) | gold bracelet | shoes (TTS)

In this day of sweatsuits & house dresses I chose a casual-chic neutral color palette & elevated those sweatsuits + house dresses juuust a little w/ a flash of fine jewelry.

hoodie (TTS) | sweats (TTS) | shoes (TTS)

In this day of sweatsuits & house dresses I chose a casual-chic neutral color palette & elevated those sweatsuits + house dresses juuust a little w/ a flash of fine jewelry.

sweats (TTS) | shoes (TTS)

Sweatsuit Outfit Details

Hoodie: WeWoreWhat Oversized Cotton Hoodie // Ohhhh boy. We’ve been talking a lot about choosing quality over quantity lately, and I would classify both of these pieces from WeWoreWhat as just that — super high quality, excellent construction and fit, 100% cotton, no weird pilling or fuzz waiting to accumulate in your armpits. (You know that’s a thing.) The oversized fit is fan-freaking-tastic. Delightfully large and not at all cropped — which is a nice break, if we’re being honest. I obviously love wearing it with the matching pants, but I’d easily pull this on with black leggings or cutoffs on a summer evening. Best yet, it’s more than 50% off right now — though the quality is high enough that I would absolutely consider it a worthy investment at full price. Fit is TTS (wearing an XS).

Sweats: WeWoreWhat High Waist Cotton Sweatpants // Also amazing. While the name says they’re high-waisted, you could absolutely wear them lower on the hips for more of a drop-crotch thing (I’m wearing them somewhere in between here — not super high nor low). That said, I think these could absolutely work for tall gals so long as you’re not married to the idea of wearing them pulled up to your belly button. Love the pockets and the metal tip detail on the drawstring. Also 50% off. Fit is TTS (wearing an XS).

Shoes: Zonya Leather High Top Sneakers // These are my first pair of — statement sneakers? What are we calling them? And while I was worried that they might feel a little trying too hard, I have to admit that I freaking LOVE them. In fact, they make any outfit feel like you’re trying just hard enough, which is a step up from the not-trying-at all vibes that most of my quarantine closet has going on. (I now most definitely get what the hype is all about with those other glam sneakers people shell out the big bucks for.) Happily, these are 40% off, making them well under $100 — much more in-line with my usual street sneaker budget. Fit is true to size, and the leather on this specific pair is nice and soft (which makes me think the couple of negative reviews might have been for one of the other colors?). Fit is true to size with standard thickness, no-show socks, too.

Bangle Bracelet: Saks Fifth Avenue 14K Gold Yellow Gold Bangle Bracelet // This is exactly the type of piece that will become part of my everyday jewelry game. It’s undeniably elegant, but there’s also something — sporty? — about its simplicity. The bolo closure is a really elegant way to ensure a precise fit on a variety of wrists — I cinch it a bit tighter if I want it to sit in line with a stack of other pieces, and I loosen it to allow for more romantic movement up and down the wrist when I wear it solo. (The bolo closure cinches pretty snugly, too — I needed Chris to help me adjust it the first couple of times.) And guys — the chain detail on this piece is beautiful. You can’t tell from photos, exclusively, but it’s an almost tubular knit chain that feels like it’ll hold up really well to daily wear. Normally almost $500, but it’s $180 at Saks OFF 5TH as we speak (60% off). Just an all around lovely piece of fine jewelry on a demi-fine budget. (Also loving this rose gold version with diamonds.)

Earrings: Saks Fifth Avenue 14k Gold 2-Pair Huggie Hoop Earring Set // These two little pairs of hoops — both in solid gold (one white, one yellow) — are perfect for double piercings and are the ideal way to carry a mixed metals theme all the through your everyday jewelry look. The hinges on these are discreet and the closures are secure — I wore them for several days straight, including through showers, sleeping and swimming without worry. The flat surface of the hoops makes them feel a bit more modern and fresh (and again, just a little sporty). At 60% off the original retail price, the value feels high, the cost-per-wear low. Kind of the perfect combo.

Shop More Matching Loungewear


Perhaps the best part of all these pieces is that, since I ordered them with Palm Springs in mind, I’ll be giving a little nod to our “vacay” every time I wear them, even back at home. Which, given the state of things, will likely be pretty dang often.

Here’s to escapism through fashion, friends. And, for one lovely short week here, escapism through actual, uhhhh…..escaping.

xo!
Em

Thank you so much to Saks OFF 5TH and ShopStyle for sponsoring this post. I have exceptionally fond memories of shopping Saks OFF 5TH with my mom, aunties and my best friend, Kevin. I even picked up my first Rebecca Minkoff bag there — a gift to myself when I landed a new job many years ago. (To this day I’m no less excited when I score something fabulous there, and the online experience offers much of the same thrill.) And thanks to you, as always, for reading along and supporting the brands that allow up to keep creating content for this space. Your presence is so genuinely appreciated.

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!

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