How to dress up a basic white button down shirt

Seriously? Yes, but with a smile!

Aaahhhh. My husband and I had our first massage of 2015 last night. That’s one of the things I miss most about my native China. Of course the other is the food! Oh, I guess my family is in there somewhere! For about the cost of a fast food combo meal here I could get a 90 minute foot massage at any of dozens of places within a few minute walk from my Shanghai apartment. When I went back to China this past summer with my husband for his job one of the first things I did was locate the nearest spa. What a great way to relax away the cares of the day. Once we returned home we couldn’t afford to keep up our once a week schedule but still try to treat ourselves to a one hour deep tissue couples massage every month at least. After the rubdown we went home and got the fireplace crackling. Not a bad Saturday night for sure!

How to dress up a basic white button down shirt
How to dress up a basic white button down shirt

So about those button down shirts; hate them. Wait, that should be HATE them! Especially plain solid white ones. They have been banned from my closet for years! Too businesslike. Too serious. Too corporate. Too stuffy. Too stiff. Too everything! But we all know a woman’s prerogative is to change her mind and hey, I’m a woman! So over these last couple years I started to dip my toe back into the button down pool. First a denim look Tommy Hilfiger. Hmmm, not too bad. Then a cute plaid pattern. Hey, this feels like bathwater! Well it seems I’ve jumped back into the pool with a splash. I have and wear lots of these style shirts, it’s just that now the bar’s set much higher when I choose.

Wine long skirt street style
Wine long skirt street style

Today I’m wearing a clean crisp solid white BDS (Button Down Shirt) but the key now is the fitted shape. The old ones I knew and disliked were boxy and unflattering. A nice cut on this kind of top can really enhance your look and figure. It’s critical that the collar not be too big or too tall and a soft material usually works better. One that’s stiff can quickly become scratchy and uncomfortable. Keeping with a smaller softer collar also keeps the bulk down so it can be worn alone or layered when paired with a fun sweater. The white shirt automatically steered me towards a more upscale look so I carried on the theme with a long flowy wine colored skirt. For an interesting transition from shirt to skirt I used a semi-concho look mid-width black belt with silver inserts. I left the long end of the belt tucked through the cinched portion to add a casual touch. Back to classy with my black dressy fitted coat. I love this little jacket with its frilly floral shoulder panels. This is the perfect finish to keep the outfit still looking formal but without trying too hard. My flash of colorful inspiration comes with the yellow studded purse to add just the right bit of playful splash. And speaking of splash I’m happy to say that button down and I now get along swimmingly!

basic white button down shirt street style
basic white button down shirt street style
Black dressy jacket street style
Black dressy jacket street style
Bright yellow studded purse street style
Bright yellow studded purse street style

White BDS @Express
Long skirt and Yellow bag @Nordstrom Rack
Cheers!

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How to create a tough chic winter outfit

Too cool to be cold!

Well that was fun. That first full workweek of the New Year is always such a struggle to get through. Of course it didn’t help that Michigan is currently locked in a deepfreeze of weather! I’m a blogger in real life but my paying hobby is teaching. I felt like I hit the lottery on Thursday because the school I teach at was one of only a handful that didn’t close due to the -20°F wind chill! Lucky me! After sitting in a frigid windy parking lot all day my trusty ride made some definitely not normal noises when I started driving home. At least it gets to live in our garage at night. I feel so sorry for our neighbor these winter mornings as I look out my window to see her scraping ice and clearing snow off her car. Her husband has some boy’s toys that take priority in their garage so her little car sits outside year round. Poor girl!

Black leather skinny pants street style
Black leather skinny pants street style

It seems my beloved readers respond pretty strongly when I show a look with a bit of attitude; and why not? I always love a tough and chic outfit. I think today’s selection gets right in your face, but in way that your face doesn’t mind! To create this kind of moody outfit, starting with a menswear style coat is always a good choice. I’m flaunting a hounds tooth pattern overcoat featuring flap pockets and a skinny lapel with black piping. Cool doesn’t mean complicated so I kept things clean and simple. But that doesn’t mean boring either. As they say, “the devil is in the details” and the key here is to make sure those details add to the total package.

hounds tooth coat street style
hounds tooth coat street style

I stayed with a mostly black and white palette by going with a solid white sweater. The top has added interest and sophistication with its irregular “V” shaped hem; a definite victory. To cover my legs I’m wearing some unbelievably useful and smooth black leather pants. I think of these pants as the Swiss Army Knife of my wardrobe as they are pretty much universal in their ability to be matched with different colors, styles, fabrics, moods and patterns of tops and coats. The black and white theme is a traditional go to combination but it really screams for a splash of flash. This came with my never fail leopard print on my purse and booties to break the strong contrast and add an even more modern feel. To really top things off my oversize black wool hat keeps the whole outfit unified and adds just that right touch of elegance.

leopard heel booties street style
leopard heel booties street style
Black felt hat
Black felt hat
leopard clutch street style
leopard clutch street style
tough chic street style
tough chic street style
leopard heel booties street style
leopard heel booties street style
White sweater street style
White sweater street style

Hat @Saks 5th Avenue
Coat & Leopard Clutch Purse@Express
Leather Skinnies & Leopard Booties @Nordstrom Rack
Cheers!

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