“Feigning Effort” In My Favorite Outfit Ever (And You’ll Never Guess Where It’s From)

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Have we talked about feigned effort yet? It’s my favorite way to characterize my style, aside from schleppy chic. I gravitate toward pieces that deliver some kind of style impact while remaining extremely easy to wear. For me, feigned effort is about looking like a lot while doing very little.

This outfit is perhaps my finest example of feigned effort yet. I am thoroughly smitten.

In fact, this might be my favorite outfit I’ve ever shared here on The Mom Edit. Zero exaggeration. It’s extremely comfortable, easy to move around in, and packing-friendly — all while managing to look impossibly chic and genuinely interesting.

A Summer Travel Outfit With A Dash of Drama

pants (S) | top (S) | denim shirt (M) | sandals (TTS) | sunglasses

A Summer Travel Outfit With A Dash of Drama

The proportions of the pieces, the juxtaposition of textures, the literal volume of it all feels elevated and cool — but it wears with all the comfort and ease of your favorite pair of pajamas.

This outfit is so freaking enjoyable to wear, I’m having a hard time not putting it on for every occasion this summer. It really is suited to just about any activity, indoors or out: the playground, shopping, brunch, even date night. And since all the pieces wash and pack easily, it will be an excellent multipurpose travel outfit.

What’s perhaps most exciting about this outfit is that it’s all sourced from Backcountry — namely, their exclusive, in-house brand Basin + Range.

You know by now that Backcountry has been a longtime partner here on TME, and it’s one of the first places we turn for high-quality adventure gear, cold weather essentials, tried and true hiking boots — and their well-reputed customer service. (A real person almost always checks in to ensure you’re enjoying your purchase, and their “gearheads” are great for offering personalized recommendations on everything from sizing to equipment.) Use code: THEMOMEDIT for 15% off your first full-price purchase (exclusions apply)!

Backcountry’s Basin + Range Label Is A Pleasant (And Stylish) Surprise

Previously, I’d really only considered Basin + Range as offering what we’ll call “active adjacent apparel”… bra tops, flannels, leggings, sweaters, etc. All things you wear before and after one of the many outdoor adventures that Backcountry inspires. But when I saw these wide leg nylon pants a few weeks ago, I did a double take.

Upon closer inspection, I realized Basin + Range stands up as a fashion brand all its own. It offers a distinct point of view that perfectly embodies everything this California girl wants to be wearing: playful jumpsuits, breezy cotton tops, elevated loungewear, unfussy denim in on-trend silhouettes. And yes: the biggest, swishiest, and arguably most joyful pants I’ve worn in quite some time.

But when I saw these wide leg nylon pants a few weeks ago, I did a double take.
It's a great summer travel outfit because all of the pieces wash and pack easily.
It really is suited to just about any activity, indoors or out: the playground, shopping, brunch, even date night.

pants (S) | top (S) | denim shirt (M) | water bottle

I mean, let’s be real. Any label that just casually throws pants with this much drama into the mix? They’ve got my full attention.

Well played, Basin + Range.

Black Wide Leg Trousers to Dress Up or Dress Down

Black Wide Leg Trousers to Dress Up or Dress Down

Starting here, because these Basin + Range High Waist Wide Leg Pants catalyzed this entire post. And let it be known that I wasn’t required to gush about Basin + Range (or any brand, in particular) for this Backcountry partnership. Rather, I stumbled across these pants on the site and immediately realized what a hidden gem they are. From there, I tumbled down the Basin + Range rabbit hole. And dadgummit, friends. They’re so. freaking. good.

Before I get into the details, let me first acknowledge that, yes, you’ll hear these pants approaching before you see them. They’ve got that nylon pants swish going on. And while it is an alluringly nostalgic sound for me — and one that’s more or less lost among the white noise of the outside world — in a quiet house, it’s…not going unnoticed. Remarkably, Chris didn’t drop one bit of snark as I loudly sashayed around the kitchen, but maybe that’s because he knows I only really sashay when I’m feeling an outfit, and he decided to let my little bubble remain unburst for the time being. (That, or, more likely he had his ear buds in. Hmmmm…)

It’s hard to discern from the photos, but these pants have a subtle, all-over wrinkle texture (my words aren’t doing it justice) that makes them feel almost like crinkled satin or taffeta. The texture makes them a great starting point for so many summer travel outfits. Also, because the drawstring waist isn’t too dorky or athletic –in fact, it’s almost…ruffled? — they could also be dang-near formal if the occasion called for it. Especially given how the billowy fabric lends plenty of extra drama. In fact, when I first came down the stairs in these, Lana exclaimed, “whoa mom, cool skirt!” followed shortly by, “wait a minute — those are pants!?” complete with eyes popped and jaw dropped. Lord, I love kids.

Fit Notes: I love drawstring pants because you can, in theory, choose your own rise. I’m wearing a small — on my 5’5″ frame, worn high-waisted, these pants are are still long– they skim the ground by an inch or so. (That said, they’d be excellent with a platform sandal, so if you’re shorter than me and willing to add an inch or two in footwear, go for it! I’d also say the versatility of these would be worth a quick hem, if you’re not shy of alterations.) Taller girls: you lucky ducks could easily wear these right at your waist, as more of a mid-rise or even hip-slung and the effect would still be so very cool.


White Cotton Top For Summer Elegance

The Basin + Range Cotton Gauze Short Sleeve Top is the perfect blend of bohemian, sporty & even a little bit flirty.

Another piece that embodies that whole feigned effort vibe is the Basin + Range Cotton Gauze Short Sleeve Top. It is the perfect blend of bohemian, sporty and even a little bit flirty. The fabrication is cool, 100% cotton gauze that’s double layered, so it’s airy without being overly sheer. In fact, I’m wearing a black bra in these pictures and you can only just tell.

The wide elastic hem can be folded under or not depending on how cropped you want the style. I wanted a peek of skin between the top and the ultra-high-rise pants so I’m wearing it folded under, here, but with jeans, I’d probably wear it unfolded (see more images of it in the product listing). And the dolman sleeves and easy drape keep it elegant and feminine. A perfect summer top that I’d happily collect if they made it in more colors. (Basin + Range friends, if you’re reading this, I’d adore a black version!) I’m wearing a Small.


Denim Button Down Shirt For A Flawless Layer

Denim Button Down Shirt For A Flawless Layer

You know that whole Coastal Grandma / We All Want To Be Diane Keaton thing that’s happening in a big way at the moment? Funny enough, this is just kinda how I’ve always dressed (thanks in part to my mom, who has long made oversized, tailored pieces and natural fibers look surprisingly feminine and casually cool). If you’re into that vibe — or just want to dip your toe into a 90s aesthetic — this Basin + Range Denim Shirt is an excellent foundation piece. In the product listing, the fabric looked rigid, but it’s actually soft and drapey while still being substantial enough to keep you warm after sunset. It’s the perfect not-too-light wash that goes with everything. It’s intentionally oversized, but even so, I sized up to a medium for an extra-generous fit.


Comfy Sandals I’ll Be Wearing With Everything

The Comfortable Tan Sandals I'll Be Wearing With Everything

I’m finally the proud owner of a pair of tan sandals (or, ahem, Tandals TM), and just as Shana promised (again and again), they are the answer to easy summer dressing. I don’t know what took me so long to snap up these Sorel Ella II Sandals. These stylish walking sandals are elegant and simple enough to go with just about everything. Super flattering on the foot, too — but more than anything, they’re just extremely comfortable. The sole is flexible and soft underfoot — I have bony feet and the elastic straps don’t dig or rub. Wearing my usual size 8. They’re not too bulky and would pack easily into a suitcase or backpack for a family travel adventure.


A Handy Hip Pack In Recycled Nylon

The Cotopaxi Cada Dia Coso 2L Hip Pack is super convenient, even with a babe on the hip. It can be worn  as a hip pack or a crossbody bag.

I’m a big proponent of hands-free bags these days. The Cotopaxi Cada Dia Coso 2L Hip Pack is super convenient, even with a babe on the hip. It can be worn as a hip pack or a crossbody bag. It’s got plenty of enclosed pockets — including a softly-lined zippered phone pocket and an internal key clip — ensuring nothing falls out when I’m flinging it around. My favorite feature, though, is the unenclosed stash pocket; it’s a snug gap between the main compartment and the front zippered pouch that allows me to quickly tuck things away without having to fuss with a zipper. This is where I keep the paci (in its case) for easy access, and also where I stash the rogue burp cloths, hats or tiny socks that we always seem to leave in our wake. It also serves as a catchall for all manner of shells, leaves, sticks, flowers and other treasures we accumulate when spending time together outdoors. It won’t replace a full diaper bag, but it’s roomy enough for the fundamentals. Bonus points for being sustainably made from 100% recycled nylon. And, as with all Cotopaxi products, the colors are happy as heck.


Retro Ray-Bans Are Refreshingly Different (And Still Classically Cool)

These Ray-Ban Round Double Bridge Legend Sunglasses have a fun retro vibe -- the green frames make them an instant statement, but not overly shouty.

These Ray-Ban Round Double Bridge Legend Sunglasses are a fun departure from my usual oversized black sunnies. And I won’t lie … I love how they veer the whole outfit toward MK+A Olsen territory (forever among my top style icons, and I say that without a drop of sarcasm). The double bridge gives them a vintage vibe and the flash of green on the frames (which isn’t depicted very well, if at all, in the product image online) makes them an instant statement, but not overly shouty. Absolutely tickled by these.


My Fave YETI Water Bottle

I hardly go anywhere without my YETI Rambler 26oz Chug Water Bottle.

I hardly go anywhere without my YETI Rambler 26oz Chug Water Bottle. I love the lid on this — there’s a narrower opening that’s easy to drink from and a larger cap that can be removed for thorough cleaning (or filling with loads of ice).


Shop More Of My Favorite Summer Styles From Backcountry

Here’s to feigning some effort this summer (and always).

xo,
Em

Big thanks to ShopStyle Collective and Backcountry for sponsoring this post. Backcountry is a long-time fave of mine, and it was such a joy branching out from their outdoor gear and discovering more of their lifestyle pieces. I’m genuinely so impressed with the style of quality of everything featured here — can’t wait to turn to them again in the future for elevated, casual looks that are unexpectedly chic.

Friends! Follow me on Instagram for accessible, easily adaptable recipes; sneak peeks of The Mom Edit content (and sales!); and more snippets of 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 the lovely Carolyn Stockman.

Oh hey, Pinners! This one’s for you…

I'm pleasantly surprised with on-trend summer travel clothes at Backcountry: wide-leg pants, a cotton crop top, stylish walking sandals, retro Ray-Bans & an easy mom-essentials hip pack.