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Work the 2×2 Outfit Formula with Black Pants

September 7, 2023
This post is sponsored by Talbots

Have you heard about the 2×2 outfit formula that TikTok made all the rage? I’m not on TikTok, so I don’t know who started all that. But truthfully stylish women have been working this 2 by 2 outfit formula for years. So today I’ll explain a little more, and I’ll work the 2×2 outfit formula with a pair of fantastic black Tribeca pants from Talbots.

Working the 2x2 Outfit Formula with Talbots Tribeca Pants

What is the 2 by 2 or 2×2 outfit formula? It’s simply wearing two casual clothing pieces with two more elevated or dressier pieces in the same outfit. This formula gives you that desirable juxtaposition that creates interest, but it also keeps the look balanced. It’s a smart way to create elevated casual outfits, especially since so many great items in both camps – casual and dressy – are on trend right now. Also, I think using the 2×2 outfit formula is a good way to look more youthful without looking like you’re trying too hard.

The Tribeca Pants from Talbots
The Tribeca pants from Talbots

For all three examples in which I’m working the 2×2 outfit formula, I’m wearing the Tribeca pants, new arrivals from Talbots. You can learn a lot more about the Tribeca pants in this week’s video, but suffice it to say they are very modern and chic ankle pants with a high waist, simple darts, belt loops, functional but flat pockets and a smooth front closure. Talbots does such a great job with their pants, keeping them current, but also classic and suited to a real woman’s body.

The polyester, viscose and Spandex blend Tribeca pants have a nice light weight, a smooth hand and a lovely drape. I find them to run true to size, and they’re available in misses, petite, plus and plus petite sizes. Oh, and they do come in indigo blue, too.

Because my Tribeca pants are black and oh so polished, they definitely count as one of my two dressier items in all of my outfits. In this first combination the other dressier item is my blue double breasted blazer. Oh so sharp! I’m wearing a size 8 in the blazer.

Blue Double Breasted Blazer
blazer // earrings // sunglasses // t-shirt // bracelet not available (substitute)

My two more casual pieces in this first outfit are my dog days crewneck tee and my white leather sneakers. Sneakers and graphic tees are two casual items that I wear on repeat to work the 2×2 outfit formula. Paired with dressier items, they look very age appropriate, modern and stylish.

dog days crewneck tee and sneakers

Even with just the black Tribeca pants, my dog days crewneck tee and white leather sneakers look so sharp. But look what happens when I add the double breasted blazer.

Working the 2x2 Outfit Formula 1

How fun is that? I would definitely wear this outfit for a day out and about doing a little shopping or going to lunch with friends. And since I’m wearing sneakers and comfortable pants, I’d even wear this for a little daytrip.

2x2 Outfit Formula with Tribeca Pants
Tribeca pants // blazer // earrings // sunglasses // t-shirt // bracelet not available (substitute) // similar belt // tote option

Let’s try the 2×2 outfit formula again, this time with a cashmere sweater as our second dressier item.

Cashmere sweater with Tribeca Pants
Audrey cashmere Donegal sweater // Tribeca pants // necklace // loafers // earrings // bracelet not available (substitute)

The Audrey cashmere Donegal sweater is a Talbots classic. And because it is cashmere I’m counting it as our second dressier item in this outfit.

Tassel Loafers
burnished leather tassel loafers

Loafers are also a classic and always look polished and a little elevated. But, especially because my leather tassel loafers are in a burnished, cognac color, I’m counting them as our first of two more casual pieces in this 2×2 outfit formula.

Denim Jacket with Black Tribeca Pants
Audrey cashmere Donegal sweater // Tribeca pants // necklace // loafers // earrings // bracelet not available (substitute) // sunglasses

The second casual piece in this outfit is my denim jacket (similar). I love denim paired with black, and now I have a mathematical explanation for why this combination appeals to me so much. Ha!

Working the 2x2 Outfit Formula 2

This 2×2 outfit formula works great with a cashmere sweater and polished black pants because the two more casual items help give the two more traditional pieces a little more personality. They relax the look a bit.

Working the 2x2 Outfit Formula 2
Audrey cashmere Donegal sweater // Tribeca pants // necklace // loafers // earrings // bracelet not available (substitute)

Let’s work the 2×2 outfit formula one more time with my black Tribeca pants, this time with another blazer. I’m wearing my blue, black and ivory houndstooth blazer as my second elevated or polished piece.

So I’m wearing a denim or chambray shirt (similar option) underneath the blazer as one of my two more casual pieces. It always pays to have a chambray shirt in your closet!

2x2 outfit formula
Tribeca pants // chambray shirt (similar option) // houndstooth blazer// loafers (similar option) // similar earrings

And again I chose loafers (similar option) for my second casual piece. Yes, they’re patent leather, so they’re a little dressy. But the shoe itself is definitely more casual than, say, a pump. So I’m going with it. And I could have worn sneakers here, but I felt like I do that so often as it is. I think the black leather loafers are a smart choice.

Working the 2x2 Outfit Formula 3

I had a lot of fun working the 2×2 outfit formula with my black Tribeca pants. But you can work this popular and tested style formula with anything in your closet. Simply combine two dressier items with two more casual items in your outfit.

Some of my favorite casual items to work with include my white leather sneakers, my retro sneakers, jeans, a denim jacket, a chambray shirt, graphic tees, loafers, and solid t-shirts. Favorite dressier items to use when working the 2 by 2 outfit formula include blazers, silk blouses, dresses, skirts, scarves, sparkly jewelry, cashmere sweaters, slacks and pumps.

2x2 outfit formula
Tribeca pants // chambray shirt (similar option) // houndstooth blazer// loafers (similar option) // similar earrings

Can you think of items in your closet that would combine nicely in a 2×2 style formula? Talbots has a beautiful selection of New Arrivals you may want to check out, including my Tribeca pants. And just through Friday, they’re offering 25% off regular price pants and jeans.

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Blessed for My Day

If you’ve been a reader here for long you know that I encourage women to get dressed for their day so they can keep showing up in their world. I think we all have people counting on us and a reason to participate in the world around us. But I probably don’t say enough that as believers our main purpose for getting dressed for our day really should be so that we can carry out the great commission. Jesus has called us into the world to go and make disciples for Him. 

How can you and I be disciple makers? We can invest in younger women, whether they be our daughters and daughter-in-law, our neighbors or young women at church. We can rub shoulders with them on a regular basis, showing them what a grace-filled life looks and sounds like. We can build relationships with them so we have the privilege of speaking into their lives. And we can use those opportunities to speak words of faith, biblical truth, godly perspective and hope. We have a job to do, ladies. That’s why we must get dressed for our day.

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:18-20

xoxo, Kay
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17 thoughts on “Work the 2×2 Outfit Formula with Black Pants

  1. Love this post! Love the 2×2 formula. It will work perfectly in my life style. I also really loved your thoughts on being disciples to younger women in our lives. I think it is so important for us older women to be there for, encourage and complement them whenever possible. Thank you for reminding us of this. Enjoy your day!

  2. I hadn’t heard of this formula but it is definitely helpful. Could you do 2dressy pieces on top and 2 casual pieces on bottom? (Ex: cashmere sweater and blazer then jeans and sneakers)
    Thanks Kay!

    1. Yeah, I don’t know that it matters where they are in the outfit. It might, but I don’t think it always would. So yes, you could probably do two on top and two on bottom just fine.

  3. This is really great, Kay! I would never have run across this idea because I’m not on TikTok. It does require preplanning your outfit – which I don’t do – but I will incorporate the 2×2 going forward! Summer in the south is not the best time to be a style maven but fall is coming! I’m going to check out the Tribeca pants as I need some dressier black pants. Yesterday’s video was inspiring, as well!

  4. Great information today, Kay! I find that I have mostly casual clothes in my closet these days, so this is an encouragement to up my game a little!

  5. I’ve been thinking about the Tribeca pants since watching your video yesterday. Do I really need these pants? Well, after reading your 2 x 2 post this morning, I decided yes I do! Thanks for the fun and informative post!

  6. Love post. Having another outfit formula will be so helpful for me. I am not one who automatically knows what looks great or what constitutes a great outfit. I often use some of your other advice as well; bookending an outfit with matching shoes to top, keeping outfit in 1/3 proportions, intensity awareness. These things really helped me a lot! As I could tell an outfit did not look right but was not sure what to do about it. And having these ideas really helps me out! Thanks for your encouragement not only in getting dressed for my day but in my spiritual life too.

    1. Amen to Kristin’s post (and the others too). This isn’t a formula I’d heard of either. I also now bear in mind the bookending, and also the same colour top and jacket. Really useful stuff, Kay! Love BFMD too. Thank you.

  7. Hi Kay , Im not on TikTok so hadn’t heard of this either , but I love it ! After reading your Blog today i’ve gone straight to my wardrobe and put together some 2X2 Outfits , one which I will wear tomorrow when I go out for lunch with my friend . So thank you so much for this . I also loved your BFMD , my friend and I were talling about this subject a couple of days ago , how we owe it as mature ladies who have been there made the mistakes and worn the T-shirts, we were saying how as young 16 year old school leavers in our first Office jobs , just how we were taken under the wings of the older ladies there who really became like 2nd mums to us , and how they advised and complimented us and taught us so much about Life and Love and the right path (God’s) to follow . We never forgot those ladies and always vowed we would follow their example to younger friends/colleagues/sisters etc . I was able to pay forward some of that Love & Care I received from one of those lovely older ‘Mum’ Colleagues , it was 34 years later, and I had years before moved into being a Nursing Assistant at a Hospice , one day I came on duty to hear a voice I recognised and went i to her room , we looked at each other and knew who each other were immediately , after many higs and tears and catching up , I vowed that I was going to care for this lovely lady how she had for me , and I did until she died a few weeks later😭. It really humbled me but after her family thanked me for my care , I was able to tell them why I was so proud to have been able to do this ❤️

    1. So sorry about my spelling mistakes in my above post , I was in tears while I was typing it 😭just remembering about this lady ❤️

  8. How do these pants compare to the Hampshire pant? The spanx pant?
    I need a pair of black dress pants for a symphony outfit.

    Great info!

    1. I think the fit is very similar to the Hampshire pants, which I also love. But these are a little more modern because the leg is not tapered like the Hampshire. They’re not stretchy like the Spanx pant and don’t fit close to the leg like that one either. But the overal effect is somewhat similar.

  9. Love your advice. You offer readers very classy hints for dressing. I especially like your advice to those of us who are Christians. Keep up the good work!

  10. Kay–Based on your recommendation I ordered these pants online last week-end (25% off plus a $20 coupon) to pick up in the store as they only showed 1 pair in my size. When I went to pick them up and try them on, they told me that these pants weren’t even out in the store yet and I was only allowed to purchase them because I ordered them online. They said that 2 other ladies had come into the store that previous week and wanted to purchase them because of your post (or YT video) about them and the store employee asked if I’d also read about them on Dressed For My Day….you are famous here in Franklin TN. 🙂 I needed a new pair of “Symphony orchestra” black pants and I love these so far.

    1. Huh. That’s odd. They probably really were supposed to have them out on the floor if they had them in. But that’s funny that others had ordered them because of my video or blog post too. Hahaha! Thanks for sharing.