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