Archive for March 5th, 2022

Elevated Casual

Quote of the week:

Some call it smart! Some call it elevated! Some call it chic!

Whatever you want to label it, this fashion trend has been around since the ‘roaring twenties.’ And. . . yes, it has taken many twists and turns on its fashion path but here, in 2022, this fashion ‘persona’ or style of fashion speaks loudly and carries a big stick.

I remember some many years ago having lunch with a dear friend who goes all the way back to high school. We took a restroom detour before heading to our table at Arnie’s. As we were freshening up, she complimented me with this declaration. . . “Julie, you really do casual well.”

While I loved the compliment, I wasn’t quite sure what it meant.

Turns out there is a fashion stye called “elevated casual.” Who knew? Certainly not me.

Except for my years in the teaching profession back when “professional” dressing in that profession was a must, my lifestyle has always been casual dressing. Not to say that I would run to the grocery store in sweatpants, t-shirts and sneakers. I wouldn’t, as that felt like I was stepping outside the front door in my most homebound vulnerable state. You know. . . the stuff you put on after a hard day at the ‘office’ and just want to spread out on the sofa and watch the local news in total comfort.

Basically, smart or elevated casual simply means stepping it up a notch or, said another way, let’s “dress up” a casual outfit. And, as I’ve come to understand it after doing my homework, turns out it is my favorite way of dressing and has been since long ago. Turns out it is also my favorite way of decorating and gardening and just being in this world. I want to introduce a touch of (dare I say “elegance”) into many aspects of my life.

Key word being a “touch.”

Here’s a five step formula for doing exactly that in anyone’s closet:

While my illustration is pretty self-explanatory, you know me! I shall briefly explain anyway! And, one caveat I might add. . . I chose to use one of this season’s strong colors (hot pink) for my layering while research emphasized that using neutral layers is much more ‘classically’ elevating to a casual outfit. Please forgive me Katherine Hepburn, as you in your neutrals define casual elegant.

Believe it or not, my step one could have been a pair of sweatpants which would easily be dressed up by all the other layers, as are the black jeans that I did choose. Choosing a dark wash or back jean automatically begins an elevated look to the casual pant.

Simply said, you add a basic top like a tee, blouse, or shell. Then add a third layer as in jacket, cardigan or even kimono and you’re given the look more depth and interest.

Lastly, the accessories add a final punch to the elevated casual look. Choose a dressier shoe and handbag over a sneaker and a slouchy hobo cloth bag. Throw in a hat, scarf, necklace and you’ve crowned the jeans with elevation.

There you have it!

Wait a minute. That’s only four layers, but who is counting? So. . . just what is the fifth?

In doing my research for this post, I hesitated to even bring up the fifth layer.

“Well,” I thought to myself, “I could make it four layers and call it good.”

Guilty of omission because I am a big “offender” of this last layer. But every resource I visited thought it important to emphasize that posture and grooming are important to elevating any look we choose to wear from casual to formal. You literally “level up” any outfit by throwing your shoulders back and standing up straight and tall and by making sure there are no “loose ends” in either the garment we are wearing or our own personal grooming. In other words, no chipped nail polish, etc. on us and no wrinkles, stains or hanging threads, etc on the clothes we wear.

So there you have it “elevated casual.”

A look you already “own” or one you might want to contemplate?

I’m listening!!

Read Full Post »