Dressing Up Your Casual Clothing


In your most recent e-mail, you asked for fashion questions. I do have one question. I have quite a lot of fitted cotton/spandex tees. Would you wear them with knee-length skirts and flats? The skirts are corduroy, twill or cotton prints. The flats are casual ballet flats.

It seems to me that the cotton tees might be too casual for skirts other than denim. I would *love* for them to work, because that would open up a wonderful “smart casual” capsule for me that would be especially useful in warm weather (skirts look so much nicer than shorts).

Absolutely I’d wear cotton/elastane t-shirts with skirts, shorts and pants.  No reason not to.  The cotton tees that I tend to find look too casual are the ones that are just cotton, and are often ribbed in appearance.  They tend to bag and go out of shape quickly and look very sloppy.  But t-shirts with a good mix of cotton and elastane that have a fine and smooth appearance are particularly useful for a smarter casual capsule.  It’s not going to be super smart, but if you also accessorize and the t-shirt is a basic, then no reason not to wear them.


Smarten up a tshirt and flats

You can take your more casual t-shirt, put it with a skirt, and then add a lovely necklace and bracelets. A structured jacket will make it look more dressy, a cardigan will make it softer and less formal.

In many ways it comes back to the level of refinement.  If you add in a good quality t-shirt to your smart casual look, you will only downgrade the formality slightly.


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  • I haven’t read any post regarding this matter but about the level of refinement, Im wondering: Does print matters when it comes to dresscodes about down/up-grading them)?
    I know that floral is consider too girly for professional/corporate settings, but does a floral pencil skirt look more casual than a plain one? Ive several pieces like these, they have a cute-ish print but in a more formal cut and the fabric is neither casual or formal (thick jersey/viscouse. Think the fabric on classic shift dresses). Two examples: A shift dress with…err..spade-heart card print (no idea what print this is… Seems creative?) http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5473/12118627956_39f9abd06f_z.jpg (probably not corporate hemline but it def. has a dressier cut) and the floral pencil skirt: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5501/11725812435_1c10789c1c_z.jpg

    Unciously I tends to dress more monochromatic and simple for dressier occasions, but for more casual social functions I tends to go more wild with prints and color blocking. Its feel like a ruby blouse and black pencil skirts looks more refined than a black blouse with a floral pencil skirt, but perhaps thats just an conlusion I got…like if it doesnt matter. Im more of the dressier side of “smart casual” and tends to dress down garments with dressier cuts with fine knit sweaters and viscouse/chiffon tops and smart boots/flats, but always get lost with the prints. 😛

    • Patterns make a garment less formal. The finer the pattern the more formal it is (think a fine pinstripe vs a bold Breton stripe). Florals are definitely not corporate wear – the curved pattern is also softer and takes away some of your power. I’ll do a post on this!

      • Thanks alot for doing a post! 😀
        Ive been googled about this for a long time but never got any answers. This is a thing that is always misleading when it come to formality. I understand the concept of fabrics and that some prints/colors are less formal/professional than others, but the trickiest part is when it comes to garments that has more a formal cut like shift dresses, pencil skirts, blazers but their print and fabric is not consider formal. Such as a cordoroy and floral pencil skirts. Its really confusing whether you should go for the fabric/print or the cut of the garments like this when up/down grade them. 😛 I mean, just because its cordoroy https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS3g2Wr7oA_a2qOk9PcwhVzyrdwoLSgByZkgSOWU8mQhKt8nW99BQ I feel very sceptical about wearing sneakers and cotton tops with the pencil skirt. haha I only wear canvas sneakers with short bodycon, ruffled and denim skirts personally…

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