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How to Look Polished in Casual Outfits

Building a Wardrobe
July 25, 2023

Whether you work outside the home in this season of life or not, I think most of us tend to dress casually pretty often. Especially in the summer I do tend to keep my outfits fairly easy. But I still want to look polished and put together. I hear from readers and YouTube viewers all the time that they do, too. So today I’m sharing tips to help us all look polished even in our casual outfits. And I’m thankful to Peepers for sponsoring this blog post.

Look Polished in Casual OUtfits
cropped wide-leg pants and graphic tee

To demonstrate the tips I’m sharing to help us look polished in casual outfits, I’ve chosen a pair of black cropped wide-leg pants and a fun graphic tee. The pants run large and the tee fits true to size. But loose-fitting silhouettes especially can look a little sloppy or overwhelming if we don’t take some care with styling. So to create outfits that look put together but still casual can be a challenge.

I created two different outfits, one for now and one for later as we transition into fall. And I’m showing those interchangeably throughout the post.

Tips to Look Polished in Casual Outfits

Make sure garments are pressed or steamed.

I definitely prefer easy-wear fabrics like seersucker or linen, ponte or other knits that can be worn a little more casually. But if I do wear something in poplin, cotton blends or other more polished materials, I think it’s important to take the time to steam or press those garments.

Wear a Little Black

They may not stay wrinkle-free for long, but the effort shows. And part of looking polished really is about appearing to have put in a little effort.

Wear a little black.

You may not want to wear head-to-toe black if you’re going to be outside a lot. But adding even a little black to your outfit is a surefire way to create some polish.

Wear a Little Black
cropped wide-leg pants

I’ve really enjoyed wearing these lightweight black cropped wide-leg pants (size down) this summer because they have a nice amount of stretch for comfort and ease of wear. But they stay polished looking through the day, too. I found these similar pants to consider, too.

Wear smart looking sunglasses and/or reading glasses.

Let’s face it, if I’m outside I’m wearing sunglasses. Period. And if I’m reading anything – a menu, a text on my phone, a price tag, a sign at a museum – I’m wearing my reading glasses. So it’s smart to pay attention to our choice of eyewear and choose those that look smart and complimentary.

Smart Sunglasses
Ultraviolet Sunglasses in gold

I’m wearing the Ultraviolet Sunglasses in gold from Peepers. Aviator style frames are really on trend right now, so I think these look so smart and current. They’re lightweight and versatile, working with all of my casual outfits.

Ultraviolet Sunglasses in gold
Ultraviolet Sunglasses in gold

Peepers offers a full range of sunglasses, readers and blue light glasses at affordable prices. (In fact, all of their non-sunglasses have blue light protection!) I love that because I don’t have to limit myself to just one pair of glasses, but can afford to have several pair that work nicely with the outfits I put together. I definitely consider my sunglasses and my reading glasses to be part of my total look. They will either add to or detract from my appearance.

Pisa Sunglasses in Teal Horn
Pisa sunglasses in teal horn

I also think the Pisa sunglasses in teal horn look sharp and a little more elevated. And Peepers makes it easy to find the frames that look best on you. Just use their Virtual Try-On with your phone camera or webcam to see how you’ll look in any of their glasses before purchasing. Or use their interactive Perfect Pair Finder quiz to help you find selections you’ll love.

Limelight reading glasses in tortoise
Limelight reading glasses in tortoise

You can also get vision correction on many of Peeper’s sunglasses. My Ultraviolet Sunglasses in gold are actually reading glasses. But I especially love my Limelight reading glasses in tortoise just above. I think they make me look so smart! And I have the Wren progressives, too, which are perfect for keeping on while doing things like touring an art museum or enjoying dinner with a friend.

You can use my code KAY15JULY for 15% off at Peepers for 48 hours. They have so many modern and attractive frames to choose from. Here are a few of my favorites from Peepers and then I’ll continue with additional tips for looking polished:

Coordinate your accessories.

My next tip to help us look polished in casual outfits is to coordinate accessories. You do not have to match the leather shades in your belt, handbag and shoes. They just need to “go together.” That said, you’ll always look smart and your outfit will look very cohesive if you do indeed match your belt, handbag and shoes.

Coordinate Your Leather Accessories
belt, handbag and shoes

The leather shade in my belt and sandals (also available here) do not exactly match that in the straps of my straw market bag. But it’s pretty close! And those pops of cognac against the black pants look so sharp and sophisticated.

Matching Black Accessories
black leather belt, mules (also available in cognac brown) and handbag

Likewise, the matching black leather belt, mules (also available in cognac brown) and handbag above lend polish to the transition-to-fall casual outfit above.

Add some structure to your outfit.

Anytime you add structure to your outfit it will help you look polished and put together. You can add structure with a blazer or other classic jacket. But you can still wear a modern, looser fit cut to keep it casual.

Add some structure
structured but modern blazer

But you can also add structure to your outfit by carrying a structured bag or wearing shoes with hardware or a pointy toe. The more structure, the more polish. My leather bag is not extremely structured, but that top handle adds enough structure to elevate the look a bit.

Wear a Little Black
mules (also available in cognac brown) and handbag

Add some impactful jewelry but with subtlety.

Accessorizing with tasteful but impactful jewelry is always a great way to look polished in casual outfits. And since your overall look is meant to be casual, less is definitely more. You don’t want to overwhelm your look with lots of jewelry, so choose just one, two or, at the most, three impactful pieces that resonate with your look.

Impactful but Tasteful Jewelry
gold link bracelet and stud earrings

I chose to wear just my gold link bracelet and stud earrings in both of these casual outfits. I didn’t need a necklace to distract from the cute graphic tee. And the gold link bracelet and stud earrings have enough sophistication and glamour to carry the look.

Again, thanks so much to Peepers for sponsoring this blog post. Be sure to check out their great selection of reading glasses, blue light glasses and sunglasses, and use code KAY15JULY for 15% off just for the next 48 hours.

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Blessed for My Day

Jesus’ twelve disciples lived and walked with Him for three years. They were right there when He healed the lame, restored sight to the blind, turned water into wine and calmed the raging sea. They were also there when He miraculously fed the 5,000, but shortly afterwards, when they realized no one among them had brought any bread for their meal, they began to panic about what they would eat. Maybe they even cast blame amongst them or began to get angry. 

But Jesus reminded them of what they had seen earlier. Had they not seen? Did they not hear? Couldn’t they remember?

I’ve discovered that when I grow frustrated and impatient it’s often because I’ve forgotten what I have seen God do in my life. Instead of pointing fingers and casting blame and growing angry with worry, I need simply to remember the miracles I’ve seen and heard. I need to look to Jesus instead of at my circumstances.

And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” ~ Mark 8:17-19

xoxo, Kay
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7 thoughts on “How to Look Polished in Casual Outfits

  1. Hi Kay loved the Blessing you chose today , it’s so true how quickly we do sometimes forget the many miracles God performs for us, I’m learning to try to just quiet my emotions when something comes up that might feel frustrating or overwhelming and trust that God knows what I need to happen , instead of me running around like a headless chicken which usually makes things worse ❤️. I loved todays post you are so right Kay we do mostly seem to dress more casual these days but like you I don’t want to look sloppy with it , so these elevated casual looks just so good ❤️. Your eyewear is lovely and you look so good in your sunglasses and your reading glasses . While Im here can I just ask you if you were wearing dark ankle grazer trousers ( my dark colour choice is Navy) and they were slim fit with side pockets and belt loops( just like proper trousers) would you wear them with a pressed in front crease or wear them smooth ? Thank you Xx

    1. Hmm. If they came with a crease I’d definitely continue to wear them with a crease. Otherwise I just generally press them so that they are smooth in the front but also not creased on the sides or seams. I can’t stand it when my pants have a crease at the side seams. Know what I mean? Just a personal preference really. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. Love everything about the black pants. They look very nice on you. I also love your idea about wearing a belt. I think it really adds to the outfit.

  3. Hi Kay,
    I enjoy your blog and videos so much! I get so many great styling ideas from you. I had already decided to order the blazer you wore in this blog. After seeing how great it looks with the graphic T-shirt I ordered that as well. I would not have thought about pairing them together if not for you. I look forward to seeing more tips from you as Fall approaches!🥰