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Do You Have Your Spring Wardrobe Base Layers?

Building a Wardrobe
February 27, 2023

Welcome to Spring Wardrobe Building Week at Dressed for My Day. I’m so excited to roll out my personal Spring 2023 Capsule Wardrobe and share with you how you can put together a similar wardrobe that mixes and matches and serves you beautifully. But that’s for tomorrow! Today we need to make sure we have all the spring wardrobe base layers that will work with the more colorful, unique and on trend pieces we might want to add to make our outfits POP with style.

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Spring Wardrobe Base Layers

I’m so excited for spring. Aren’t you? Spring is a great season to layer on style, but in lighter weight fabrics and new, fresh colors. Be sure to check out the colors that are trending for Spring 2023 in this previous post.

Pro Tip: I recommend limiting your seasonal wardrobe to just 3-4 neutrals and 3-5 colors. You don’t have to wear the same colors all year long unless you just really want to. But when you limit the colors and neutrals in your seasonal wardrobe you’ll find that it’s easier to stock a closet that really mixes and matches and works beautifully for you.

But before we add those beautiful spring colors – whether you go bold and bright or soft and subtle – let’s make sure we have the necessary base layers in the neutrals of our choice. These are the essentials that generally will serve as the backdrop for the more personality driven selections with which we create our outfits.

Spring 2023 Essential Base Layers

Of course I use the word “essential” somewhat lightly. What’s essential for my modern, classic wardrobe and casual lifestyle may not be necessary in your boho, artsy closet or your natural, casual collection. And what I need to weather the cold spring days here in Ohio, you probably wouldn’t need to survive the more humid spring days on the Gulf Coast. And if you work outside the home you may need more polished options than I have included. So definitely keep in mind your personal style aesthetic, body type, location and lifestyle as you consider these “essential” base layers.

The main goal is simply to ensure that you do have the neutral, basic pieces to work with those that add more color and character to your outfits.

Monday - Base Layers (1)
Links to all items and/or substitutes below.

All of the base layers shown above are in my personal wardrobe. And I’ll have links to all of these below. But I’m also sharing other options – both in a full range of prices and in different style aesthetics – in the sections below.

Pro Tip: When selecting my essential base layers, I look for good quality fabrics and seams because I want these items to stand up to a lot of wear. I generally try to wear these essentials for at least a couple of years or more, so price per wear decreases over time.

Essential T-Shirts

I think it’s smart to have a few t-shirts in your closet that are very basic and in the neutrals of your choice. I’m leaning into black and white this spring, but I’ll still be wearing some camel, grey and beige because I already have those colors in my closet in these essentials (plus I’m just loving grey for spring!). Look for short sleeve as well as long or 3/4 length sleeve tees to round out your collection.

Spring Base Layers - T-Shirts
Kay’s Spring Capsule Wardrobe Base Layers: white v-neck tee // black v-neck tee // ribbed polo top // white johnny collar top // long sleeve black tee

And don’t be afraid to think outside of the box if your personal style aesthetic calls for something different. For instance, I’m really loving wearing collars in my t-shirt tops these days. So I’ve included a ribbed polo top and a white johnny collar top, but those are just personal style choices. If you’d prefer, stick with more traditional crewnecks, scoop necks, v-necks or boat neck tees. Or add a sporty Henley collar.

hooded London Fog active jacket (TTS, also in white & orchid)
My v-neck t-shirt from Kohl’s is not included in the shopping widget below. Shop it here. Great tees in loads of colors and neutrals.

I’ve kept my collection to black and white for this spring, but you could also add grey or navy here.

long sleeve t-shirt
My long sleeve black tee with gentle puffs at the shoulders.

For each base layer essential I’m providing a shopping widget that is maxed out with options. Keep in mind that most of these come in at least several colors.

Essential Tanks & Shells

In the past I’ve generally encouraged tanks as an addition to a summer capsule wardrobe. But because tank tops are really trending this year, I think it’s smart to add them to your wardrobe now…or bring them out of storage, as the case may be. They’ll look great under button-up shirts or blazers while keeping you pleasantly cool, too.

Base Layers - Tanks & Shells
Kay’s Spring Capsule Wardrobe Base Layers: seamless rib tank // striped tank // off white tank // beige knit shell

Remember, we’re focusing on the base layer essentials right now. You’ll see me add tanks in the colors of my wardrobe in tomorrow’s post. But today I’m encouraging you to cover your bases first. (pun intended!) Notice I’ve included three different necklines in my tanks.

Classic Wardrobe Modern Outfit
from the fall, but this white tank works well in the spring, too

And I have a dressier shell to wear for a more elevated look.

Essential Button-Up Shirts & Blouses

Not every woman will want to add a button-up shirt to her closet for spring, but they are VERY on trend. So you might consider adding one and giving it a real try, even if you haven’t done so before. Because this classic piece is “having a moment” many brands are making them to fit a woman’s body better than before. They’re quite oversized this year, so many will accommodate a larger chest.

Button-Up Shirts & Blouses
Kay’s Spring Capsule Wardrobe Base Layers: white oversized button-down shirt // denim shirt // bow neck shell

I also love having a chambray or denim shirt in my wardrobe because they are equally versatile. You can wear them alone buttoned up (or snapped up, in the case of this denim shirt). Or you can wear them over those tanks above.

Another Reason You Need a Chambray Shirt
From an earlier time! But I have a chambray or denim shirt in my closet ALL the time.

Especially if you work outside the home or you prefer more elevated looks, you may want to add a pretty silk or silky blouse in a neutral, too. I don’t get dressed up that often, so the silky bow neck shell will suffice for me. And I’ll add a pretty blouse in a color or print to my wardrobe in tomorrow’s post.

Essential Pants

Next let’s consider the essential pants or trousers you’ll want in your spring wardrobe to make it really functional. I’m all for adding some more trending pants to your wardrobe like my wide leg chinos. And it’s fun to add some colored trousers to your spring closet like these beautiful green ankle pants. But you’ll run into problems when putting together outfits if you don’t also have a few more basic styles and neutrals at your disposal.

Base Layers - Trousers
Kay’s Spring Capsule Wardrobe Base Layers: white full leg pleated trousers // camel slim leg ankle trousers // black slim fit straight leg trousers

You can wear white pants all year long if you choose, but I enjoy pulling mine out for spring. And no, you do not have to wait until Easter or Memorial Day to wear them. This year I’m looking forward to wearing these new white Bristol pants from Talbots. They have just one front pleat on each side and they’re sewn in a way that doesn’t create a lot of fullness. I’ll also be wearing my camel Hampshire ankle pants and these classic black four-season stretch trousers from J.Crew.

J.Crew vintage slim-straight chinos in an ivory they no longer carry

Pro Tip: A lot of chinos feature a lower rise than other pants. So be sure to check that information if it’s available. Determine the rise that fits you best and go from there.

You could also add in a pair of classic chinos here. I do have several pairs of Talbots’ relaxed chinos in my closet, as well as a pair of J.Crew vintage slim-straight chinos in an ivory they no longer carry. But I’m really trying to show the minimum that you would need in your closet, so I left those out of the graphic above.

Relaxed Chinos in Sand Castle
Talbots’ relaxed chinos

I think it’s smart for every woman to have a pair of black or navy trousers in her closet. They’re smart enough for a funeral or other “emergency” situation when you need something a little elevated. But you can also dress them down if needed. And they’ll help you create endless options for work or church.

Essential Jeans

Finally, you’re going to want some great jeans for the spring. At least I do! I definitely like to have one or two pair that are full length in my closet for chilly spring days. But I especially like to have several pairs of jeans that are ankle length. ‘Tis the season! And the ankle length is so on trend.

Pro Tip: Plan to wear your ankle length jeans and pants with a gentle front tuck if possible. Or you can wear a slightly cropped top or sweater. Either styling hack will help elongate your legs and keep balanced proportions.

Base Layers - Jeans
white slim boyfriend jeans // natural relaxed fit jeans // light wash relaxed straight leg jeans // full length relaxed fit jeans // slim fit straight leg ankle jeans // similar grey slim fit straight leg ankle jeans

Now I love jeans for my casual lifestyle. And I know many of my readers live in them, too. But if jeans are not your thing, I still suggest having at least one pair in your closet for outings with the grandkids or other super casual days. Yes, there are other options for those casual outings, so take my advice with a grain of salt. But if you do like having one or more pairs of jeans in your closet, I’ve got you covered in the shopping widget below.

White Jeans from J.Crew
white slim boyfriend jeans

These white slim boyfriend jeans from J.Crew are perhaps my favorite white jeans I’ve ever owned…and I’ve owned a LOT of them. They’re just the right thickness, crisp white, have a casual vibe but also have that slim fit. They have a high waist, which I really like. And they have a lot of stretch (but don’t stretch out with wear). Do size down in them; I’m wearing a 29.

Pro Tip: I used to suggest sizing up in white jeans, but no more. Most brands have gotten more savvy with the sizing of their white denim and are accommodating the unique challenges white denim brings. So generally you’ll wear the same size in good white denim as you do blue. I do find that black jeans tend to run small, however.

similar grey jeans (without the raw hem) // slim fit boyfriend jeans // relaxed pink stripe shirt (TTS) // pink tank (sized up to a large)

Spring is also a great time to add some lighter neutrals to your jeans collection. I’m enjoying wearing grey, white and natural colored jeans. But I still want to have some blue denim. If I need a darker wash jean, I have them in the back of my closet. But I know I will opt for lighter wash jeans most often in the spring and summer.

Green Graphic Tee
full length relaxed fit jeans // Floral Pocket Tee

Straight leg jeans of all kinds are still very on trend and perhaps the most popular option right now. You can get them more relaxed or more slim fit. And you can opt for full length or ankle. But this silhouette will serve most everyone well.

Pro Tip: Be sure to check all sizing specifications when ordering jeans. Look for the rise (crotch to waistline) and inseam (length) that works best for your frame. Remember, it’s normal to have to try on a lot of jeans before you find the ones that work for you. Consider ordering in two or three sizes and returning the ones that don’t work.

Straight Leg Jeans by Lee
Women’s Lee® Instantly Slims High Waisted Straight-Leg Jeans in Inspire Blue (TTS) // ivory and black booties (TTS)

The straight leg jeans above are a more slender fit. And if you’re still a fan of skinny jeans, I really suggest you try a more slim fit straight leg jean and see if it doesn’t work just as well for you. It will look more modern, but still give you the slenderizing fit you like. Another great option I can recommend with confidence is the Talbots slim ankle jeans, and they’re 25% off today. They do come in several nice washes, too.

I didn’t opt for any black jeans in my capsule wardrobe, but I may add some eventually…or not. But I have to admit, they look sharp with my jacket below.

hooded London Fog active jacket (TTS, also in white & orchid)
hooded London Fog active jacket (TTS, also in white & orchid) // High Waisted Straight-Leg Jeans // everyday v-neck tee in white // similar necklace

Bottom line? You do you, when it comes to jeans. Yes, I’ll be adding a pair or two of the wider leg or maybe bootcut. But when we’re talking essential base layers, once again, we’re making sure you have the more basic styles in your closet…ones without a lot of bells or whistles, too.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog post! I’ll be sharing my entire Spring 2023 Capsule Wardrobe. That means I’ll add the color and unique styles that will give my outfits interest and personality. And you’ll be able to do the same!

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Blessed for My Day

This week we’ll continue to think about “What happens next?” I got a great offer this week from a friend. She’s invited me to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I was immediately excited and eager to accept. But I did, indeed, pause. I know that I’ve gotten myself into trouble before by running too quickly into things…even good things.

What about you? When you have a good opportunity offered to you, do you immediately jump in? Or do you pause and pray, think, seek godly advice and count the costs? I’ll admit that I have been hasty many times, so I’m not holding myself up as a shining example. I just want us to think about how we handle such things historically. And then let’s make a plan for how to respond in the future, too.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” ~ James 4:13-15


xoxo, Kay
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8 thoughts on “Do You Have Your Spring Wardrobe Base Layers?

  1. Kay, I really like your choices in the 1st three outfits. Very nice. I don’t own one pair of jeans. Never liked them. I wish I did because they’re everywhere! I found a pair of Elle white pants at St Vinnie’s in the fall expecting to wear them this winter but in the Wisconsin snow and slush, probably realistically not until May. Ha! Good to recognize when you need to take a day off. I think working from home makes it harder to keep work at bay. As always, thank you for keeping us on top of things in the fashion world.

  2. I could feel your stress as I read this post today . Helpful criticism I hope ….Sometimes I feel your posts and videos are a bit long , they are very informative and very detail oriented but sometimes a bit long. Todays post could have been broken down into two or three ,maybe? Also you go into body type dressing in a lot of posts where you could refer people to the posts about body shape ?? I love your posts don’t get me wrong but I do skim over them at times . I feel bad skimming because I know you have invested so much time and effort . I hope this is helpful and maybe it could save you some time . Please no hateful comments hahaha

  3. Kay, I look forward to all your posts and think about the time you put in. You want all of us to be our best. Just a suggestion to ease your work load a bit. Perhaps you could post like 3a week instead? Just a thought. Seems like most bloggers are not daily. Enjoy your day as you look forward to spring💐

  4. Another fantastic post to have as reference. Many thanks to you and your assistants for this great Spring and Summer basics guide! It will be so helpful!
    I too am totally changing how I respond to opportunities and invitations. Thinking and praying on them more as I feel the days go by so fast and I don’t devote enough time to my passions the way it is, much less take on more.
    For this reason I loved your BFMD and actually shared it with my son who received a great job opportunity but one that would disallow him time spent doing the things he loves. Thank you as your timing was impeccable 👌

  5. I like the advice about praying before jumping into something. The quote from the book of James is so good. My mother always would say if it’s God’s will. People in the past used language like that more than today.

    I enjoy your blog. I get ideas to apply to my own style.

  6. Thank you Kay for helping me build a closet full of pieces to pull outfits together. I struggle soo much and have learned so much from you. I can’t wait for your post tomorrow!🥰

  7. This was great!!! Thank you! The options you provided and the styles are perfect for spring. Also the ability to mix and match! I love simple and color shirts for spring and summer!

  8. Hi Kay,
    Great post. I love wearing jeans but they confuse the life out of me, with different styles, shapes, etc. Thank you for confirming something that has driven me crazy for years – that black denim runs smaller than blue! Best advice of all? Consult the Lord with prayer on everything- even the small stuff. Blessings to you!