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Wearing Black Chinos in an Elevated Casual Style

March 20, 2020

Thank you so much for stopping by Dressed for My Day today. While we may have fewer opportunities right now to dress up a little, I’m still sharing an elevated casual style today. Readers have told me over and over that you are longing for a little normalcy, maybe even some levity. So I’m providing both today. (Wait for it…wait for it…)

Casual elevated style for black chinos

At first glance this outfit appears a lot more dressed up than it actually is. That’s because I’ve grouped very basic essentials using neutrals to keep the look pared down and fuss-free. But I’ve also added just a few accessories to elevate this casual style.

Style Tip: To achieve a more elevated look, choose all neutrals for your outfit. Any blend of colors such as grey, white, black, camel, brown or navy will achieve the same effect.

Trench coat
classic camel trench coat // black chinos // simple white shirt // black leather belt // leopard print flats // black leather hobo bag // brown tigers eye necklace // layered necklace set // brushed gold tear drop earrings

Obviously a classic camel trench coat is going to elevate the look. But I didn’t lose any comfort or ease when I tied it on rather than, say, my denim jacket. My double-breasted trench coat is marked down and I’m wearing a small.

Style tip: Learn how to tie the belt around your trench coat like I did here in this recent post.

Trench Coat

But could I have worn my classic denim trucker jacket with this look? You betcha.

Oooh, let’s go ahead and talk jewelry while we’re here. In the photo above, you can see that I wore my favorite brushed gold tear drop earrings. They’re marked down 25% right now, so I just ordered them in rhodium also. Around my neck I’m wearing a pretty layered necklace set I got at Kendra Scott for my birthday. But you can also get it at Nordstrom. Oh, and I’m also wearing my Kendra Scott brown tigers eye necklace, which you’ll see in a minute.

Style Tip: Elevate your look by wearing gold and/or silver toned jewelry. Dainty necklaces will look more expensive than large, chunky ones (even though they aren’t necessarily!) and streamlined pieces will look more sophisticated than complex ones.

Classic Black Chinos for Spring (3)

Now you can see how really very basic and casual this outfit is. It’s just chinos and a shirt!

My pants are simply relaxed fit black chinos. I have these same pants in about four or five other colors (they’re available in 10 shades!), but the black ones automatically look sharper.

Style Tip: Elevate any look with splashes of black. Whether you choose a black handbag, black blazer, black pullover sweater or whatever, black will raise the level of your look more than any other color.

Classic Black Chinos
Obviously I should have ironed the folds out of the hem of my pants. Ooops!

By the way, my black chinos are from Talbots, where currently you can buy one item at full price and get another for 50% off. You can see more of my favorites from Talbots here.

White popover

Again, remembering that this elevated look is really quite casual and comfortable, I topped my chinos with a simple white shirt from Everlane. I have three other similar cotton shirts from different brands – Madewell, Talbots and Chicos – and I like them all. But I love this one. This cotton short-sleeve popover features the highest quality detailing inside and out, feels the softest and is actually the cheapest. But it’s also disappearing. I’m wearing an 8; they run slightly large. I’m seriously considering buying this pretty oxford blue one, too.

Okay, get ready for the levity I promised. Here it comes!


Hahaha! When James showed me the photo above, I cracked up laughing. I’m not sure you can tell looking at the photo on your device, but he lined it up so that the proportions make me look about the size of a mouse! He was quite pleased with himself. LOL. Of course I nixed it from today’s line-up, but when he sent me the edited photos, this one was in the group…I assume as a joke. Well, the joke’s on him because I went ahead and posted it. Hehehe! What a funny photographer I have!

leopard print shoes

Okay, let’s wrap this up. I finished off my elevated casual style with a couple of interesting and chic accessories: my black leather hobo bag, a black leather belt and my leopard print flats. My bag and belt may be a little pricey, but these leopard flats are a sweet find from Target. Oh, an my bag is 25% off at Nordstrom right now, and available in a pretty light shade for spring.

Style Tip: Elevate your casual style by adding carefully chosen accessories that echo the classic theme you’ve created. They do not have to be expensive, but simply pared down and chic. A splash of animal print is always an elevated choice.

Elevated Casual Look
classic camel trench coat // black chinos // simple white shirt // black leather belt // leopard print flats // black leather hobo bag // brown tigers eye necklace // layered necklace set // brushed gold tear drop earrings

Honestly, it may be a while before we’re wearing outfits like this one again. I definitely hope it’s sooner than later. But at least now we know how simple it is to take the most basic wardrobe essentials and combine them in a way that creates an elevated casual style without sacrificing comfort or ease.

Shop the Post:

You can shop the look through the links in the copy above or through the shopping widget below. Sale prices are not always reflected in the widget, so click through to get pricing info. Remember, if you purchase anything through these links I potentially earn a commission, but at no cost to you. Thank you for shopping through Dressed for My Day. I am grateful!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. My goal right now is to serve you, my dear readers, in the best way I possibly can. Many of you have requested that I continue to share outfits, and I will. But I’m trying to provide style tips and other take-away value, too, since things are a little different and uncertain right now. I hope we can use these style tips soon!

Have a wonderful day, sweet reader!

Don’t Miss a Post:

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Blessed for My Day

Several years ago I wrote I Bible study on Habakkuk, and I remember learning that the familiar verses in chapter 3, verses 17-19 describe a “from bad to worse” situation. Over time the people had lost things of more and more value to them, beginning with the delicacies of figs and culminating with the animals that provided them nourishment and helped them plow their fields.

As we watch the news from day to day, we may feel something akin to the bad to worse losses experienced in this passage. Or you may have things going on in your personal life that are compounding the national emergency we’re all sharing. That’s why it’s all the more important to notice that three-letter word that Habakkuk pivoted on after rehearsing his woeful scenario: yet. Let’s determine today to declare, “yet….” when our losses start to mount up. “Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” It’s a choice.

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer’s;
    he makes me tread on my high places. ~ Habakkuk 3:17-19

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xoxo, Kay
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21 thoughts on “Wearing Black Chinos in an Elevated Casual Style

  1. I enjoyed the sweet wedding story in your email. That couple will have such an interesting wedding story to tell their children and grandchildren.

  2. Awww, bittersweet wedding story but thankful they were happy and made a memory they’ll certainly never forget. Was hoping you’d posted a picture. ?

    Even though we’re housebound here in Portugal, I love dressing smart for my day. Love your blog and your sweet insta stories!

    Have a blessed day! ?

  3. Sweet wedding story! Love your BFMD. I’m wearing joggers and a t-shirt this morning but I’m rejoicing in the Lord! My husband and I had a little dance off this morning to an old 70s funk song. I also put out some Christmas lights last night. Just spreading a little intentional joy!

  4. I love the wedding story! While we all love a beautiful wedding, in the long run it’s about the marriage, not the ceremony. They will have sweet memories of the day they made their commitment to each other!

  5. I love your informational fashions, your sweet stories and your spiritual thoughts! I am SO very glad I found you! Thank you for being a great ‘upper’ in my life and so many others!!

  6. Kay, I love your BFMD reference. I am going to share with my ladies in my BSF group–we all need this reminder…thank you!

  7. First, let me say you are so pretty and your blue eyes are gorgeous. In addition, you have a cute figure and enviable height at 5’7″.

    Now having said that, will I be booed off this website if I say that yesterday’s post, wide, cropped jeans, and today’s post were not flattering at all. Both posts made you look like a chubby, camp counselor and YOU ARE NOT CHUBBY.

    I know you have to do trends but please get back to the basics soon.

    1. Hmm. Well maybe I’ve gained a little weight. I honestly like the outfit I have on today. I didn’t see this as a trend at all. So…yeah that hurts a little.

      1. Kay:
        Didn’t mean to hurt you; you are adorable and I follow your posts all the time.
        I meant every word I said in the beginning about you being pretty and having a cute figure, etc. It’s just that, in my opinion, I don’t think the last two posts show you in outfits that are your most flattering.

        Please forgive me if I hurt you and just keep up the good work. I know (not personally,) that having a blog is a lot of work.

  8. Love the wedding story – what a memory they will forever have and what a blessing you and James have been for them. Love the photo of you next to the lamppost. And love that you are continuing your blog with fashion and faith.
    God Bless both you and James!

  9. Love the wedding story – what a memory this couple will forever have and what a blessing you and James were for them. Love the photo of you by he lamppost. And love that you are continuing your blog with fashion and faith.

  10. You and James were a blessing to the couple that got married last night! Their wedding is definitely a story that they will be able to share for years. I’m so glad that her parents were able to take part via FB Live. Yes, they are just as married. Maybe they can use the money that was going to be spent on a new home or a bid expenditure that need. I do like this outfit on you, Kay! James did a great job, especially on that one picture. Too cute! I hope that you’ve been able to get outside some today. I spent about 2 hours clipping weeds, briars, etc., in one area and used vegetation killer and weed killer. Then Larry and I walked a little bit in the woods looking for deer antlers in the 83 degree heat. Now I’m exhausted and ready for my shower.

  11. Some of my favorite memories are from a time in our lives when we were down to nothing and had to stay home because there was no money for movies or dinners out. We learned a lot about ourselves. That we were stronger and more resilient than we thought.
    My favorite photo of you so far. Love it! Love the simplicity of the outfit and although it’s too hot here for the trench, our winter is gone, and we are sheltered in, it’s something to keep in mind for when I can wear it.

  12. Beautiful wedding story Kay!!! I am sure the couple were so happy you and James were there to share their special moment. I really needed the BFMD. I am in NC and today the county I live in announced their first Coronavirus case. I am definitely holding onto God’s word and his promises. Stay Healthy and Safe. ~Lisa~