November 14, 2022
When I’m out and about, I’m always looking at other people! (mostly, I’m looking to see if there’s anything with which I can help them…)
In Chicago, and I suspect in a fair number of cities, a black tee shirt with blue jeans is the base for all kinds of outfits, from casual to dress, and in any color you can imagine!
Their starting point is pretty simple:
I’ve seen some people bundled up:
I really admired a simple black cashmere cardigan with an amazing scarf that picked up the blue in this heroine’s jeans:
The scarf will take the place of a mortgage payment… but it is perfect with her coat and shoes!
This heroine was getting lots of smiles from everyone:
I admired the quiet subtly of this outfit – especially the touch of blue in her earrings!
Warm brown! So lovely…
This is the perfect thing to wear to those parties when you have no clue how dressy things will be…
Very few people wear burgundy. Why IS that?
A cool brown cardigan with the perfect scarf will always catch the eye of those who appreciate low-key elegance:
Maybe some of your friends will be dressed up, but YOU are going to wear jeans – this outfit will help you get away with anything…
When I’m finished with my black dress adventure, I very well could wear jeans and a tee shirt for a month! (but I won’t – I want to wear my new grey flannel pants, and my tweed pants, and and and!)
p.s. Eight years ago, I shared with you one of my favorite Helen Frankenthaler paintings, along with a “French 5-Piece Wardrobe” taking from its colors…
You can’t be a good black t! This is my favorite post ever!
Chris in Indy says
That cashmere color block scarf……oh my……cashmere is not my thing, but that is a beauty!
Thank you for the timely reminder that my closet is enough. For some reason scarves are not resonating with me this year so I will play around in my jewelry instead.
Although I find myself drifting away from black, there is still a part of me that would wear jeans and a black tee every day of the year.
No one wears burgundy in Chicago? In the Racine-Milwaukee areas it’s one of the more popular colors. I’ve been at more than one meeting/event where nearly every woman there had at least one item of burgundy clothing!
I think burgundy comes and goes. At one point I had quite a bit of it, now I don’t have any. I have yet to find a pair of jeans I like. I just returned another pair last week. Try and try again. Denim just always feels so stiff to me. All that being said, I would cheerfully wear any of the above outfits. Thanks Janice!
Have you tried any pairs of jeans with stretch? I love them, but I know many people don’t.
The Sure Violet painting: what beautiful colours!
Years ago I overloaded on black because people kept giving me free black stuff. Then I rebelled and said no black anything. It took a few years , but now I’m starting to like it again.
I agree about burgundy. I love it! Maybe it’s because people can’t decide if it’s a warm or a cool color? The beauty is it works either way…pair it with camel or with gray and it’s equally lovely!
I am going to try this with a black merino wool crew instead since I run cold. I love how you featured both cool and warm browns. I’m still thinking whether I would prefer to expand my pants selection to a different cut jeans or different fabric. I just wanted whether I would want to wear corduroy/velvet/flannel come March when it’s still cold.
Beth T says
I’m in the UK and I still wear cord and velvet in March as it’s still chilly. I’ve even worn velvet in the evening into June!
Kathy Doherty says
I wear a black cashmere crew (or a black cardigan) with a pair of jeans all winter just like you. I am wearing it now with a white t shirt under it because the weather is so crazy these days. a few days ago I was going through old photos and found a picture of me with my baby son(who is now 33) wearing… a white tee shirt and a black sweater. I think I had better pay attention to this post and buy some different sweaters
Why don’t more people wear burgundy? IMO, it’s because it often looks like dried blood. Seriously. I find it a bizarre color to wear, as it can be bright, muted, warm, cool, brownish, reddish, purplish, etc. Every time I try on something burgundy, I promptly take it off.
Sally in St Paul says
My husband likes to wear a belt + shoes in a maroon/burgundy color that looks fabulous as long as I don’t think about it being called “oxblood” so often in men’s leather goods.
Beth T says
Burgundy doesn’t suit everybody, particularly if you have very cool or clear colouring. Although I’m a Soft Summer, I can wear burgundy because I have a touch of warmth. There are some reds I can’t wear such as bright red but it suits other people.
Dee 2 says
From the thumbnail i thought the black cardigan was a motorcycle-style leather jacket! I am not disappointed, your selections are lovely! And yes truly all women could come together no matter race creed or religion over a black top and a denim bottom, and then still yes look distinctively ourselves! Love it!
The look back was beautiful too! Most of my knowledge of French 5 piece wardrobes comes from you — I now think of it as a seasonly update to a core wardrobe. Love those beautiful colors from that art!
Guess I’ll go put on… my jeans and black shirt!
Love those 2 party outfits! That’s just the kind of thing that I would need for the type of Xmas party that I attend.
Dee 2 says
Re: burgundy, I’m here in Atlanta. In my circles I feel it is a fairly formal color and generally masculine- more men than women wear it. It can be done so gorgeously though, for sure. Maybe I should get out more!
What a great post, Janice, thank you. So much inspiration, for everyday and for special occasions. I love burgundy/merlot — it’s one of my go-to colours for winter, including grey and navy, and I love how they all work together. Though I do have to be careful, as a cool summer person, to choose cooler tones of burgundy.
Beth T says
I have now separated burgundy, wine and plum colours in my wardrobe. They really are different. Wine and Plum bridge the gap between burgundy and purple. I’m also veering more towards grey as my winter neutral as it is far more versatile. I still wear dark blues but I wear it with lighter colours on top. I’m veering more towards blue-gray, Prussian blue and teal blue. It’s softer.
I would love to see your closet. It sounds beautiful!
Sally in St Paul says
That shades-of-denim geometric scarf is gorgeous and would be a workhorse for a denim-reliant heroine. While most of these outfits have a quietly chic and sophisticated vibe, I think the black T + blue jeans base is perfect for exuberant colors and statement prints as well…not just on scarves, but cardigans/jackets too. I love the T + jeans as a base for some of the gorgeous print jackets that heroines often save for “best” but that can be dressed down beautifully for more routine day-to-day activities. On that note, thanks for including the fabulous heart motif outfit…what an absolutely fun combination! The first idea that popped into my head seeing the base outfit was a bright pink moto jacket and embroidered western-style boots, haha.
As for burgundy, I love it and wear it often, especially in fall/winter. It also pairs so easily with light pink that I continue wearing it into the spring. But it can be a tricky color to find matching pieces because of how varied the undertones can be. I was *thrilled* when I realized I had finally put together an outer column in a warmer burgundy and an outer column in a cooler burgundy (wine) after living with mis-matched pieces for a while. Luckily my prints with burgundy can coordinate with either set. But getting my burgundies sorted did take some time and effort.
No Fear of Fashion says
You’ve put together a lot of lovely capsules. So unfortunate for me, that I don’t have the imagination to know what it would look like on me.
Katy Keene says
You could print everything out on a color printer along with a scale model of your full body face and hair (cute photo!) and play paper dolls!
Or there might be similar apps where you upload a photo and different clothes and can find what flatters you
Or find a girlfriend sister or personal stylist! No worries you got this
This is great Janice! Right along the lines of what I like to wear… I am often in jeans, tee and cardigan. I don’t usually wear black but favor navy. But I have a couple of black tees in the closet. I think I will go get dressed (having a lazy morning as one of my kids is home sick) and put on my worn bootcut jeans, black short sleeve v-neck tee and probably a colored cardigan (because I love color). That will be perfect for the day!
Susan from Dublin says
Thoughts on burgundy. Perhaps it is a colour people associate with their school uniforms. Many people avoid the colour they worn as a school uniform. Not sure it is a conscious or unconscious thing. My school uniform was burgundy and pale yellow and although I wear yellow I seldom wear burgundy as it’s too dark for my pale complexion.
Renee D says
People don’t wear burgundy because I HAVE HOARDED IT ALL! MWAH HA HA!!
OK, perhaps an exagerration, but it is definitely my color and has been for at least a decade (I know because just yesterday Facebook kicked up a memory from 2013 where I mentioned 2 different people that day having commented on the fact that my shoes, purse, coat, and hair were all the same color! ) I have to really hold back from buying something just because it comes in burgundy, and it’s really cyclical–some years just not available, and it’s hard to find in summer clothes. And I don’t wear black, but could replace the black tee with any number of Burgundy tops I own…
LOL, I so love the comments from everyone!!
Dee 2 says
Well i appreciated your comments!
Beth T says
I’m afraid that I’ve never liked black with denim blue but maybe that’s because I don’t wear black near my face. I would wear navy or burgundy with denim though. However, I’m another who’s not a fan of jeans because they are so stiff. Cotton, linen or cord for me. Generally my feeling is that these outfits would look a lot better with a black top and black jeans as an inner column.
The lookback is one of my favourites and persuaded me that you can wear pink and teal together. Burgundy is one of my autumn/winter colours. I tend to wear it with dark grey, navy or brown.
I always like to look at the different colourways of the scarves you feature. I wondered whether the burgundy bear scarf came in a different colourway. So I was very amused by the bear in the blue colourway.
I love this look and is how I strive to dress on a daily basis. Blue jeans, booties or loafers, black top and a scarf is always going to look European and chic! Dress it up with a blazer. Party time? Add sparkle! Timeless look on women of any age.
Also, burgundy is a beautiful color, especially for holiday dressing.
I love burgundy but it hasn’t been easy to find this year – that may be why. I agree with a prior poster that it’s always available for men.
I am coveting that two shades of brown scarf, even though I’m not usually a brown-wearing person!
Burgundy? Looks stunning on my dear friend with almost black hair, pale, cool, clear skin, brown eyes and lips tending toward that color with no makeup on. On me? Not at all.
I like the premise of the neutral T with jeans as a backdrop for a variety of cardigans, jackets, scarves, etc. so easy for every day living! I’ll make mine warm, chocolate brown or bright navy or dove grey because black ages me. 🙀 I love long sleeved Ts, but darned if this winter weather in autumn isn’t forcing me to pull out my sweaters. Which reminds me that the post on vests was very useful!
Black long sleeve tee and jeans are one of my basic outfits. I can add so much to dress up or down. Burgundy is a staple in my closet. It pairs well with gray, black, cream, navy, pinks, mauves and many shades of green. Because I NEVER wear red (washes me out and I look like the walking dead), burgundy is my go to for this time of year. Love these outfits, especially the brown. Glad to see it making a comeback.
Sharing Reddick says
Hi! I love the black T and jeans combinations! Fabulous. I live in Florida, so if I wear a black T and a pair of cropped jeans or a skirt, what could my third layer be to change the look,? It is too hot even for vests and light sweaters
Could a thin scarf and crossbody purse be the third layer? And if too hot, could a dramatic necklace be the third layer? Even though it is hot, in fall and winter it would be great to wear fall colors. Do you have ideas?
Beth T says
I love the idea of scarves and jewellery being regarded as a layer. Certainly, I don’t feel dressed until I put jewellery on. In the UK, we experienced the highest temperatures since weather records began. We are so unused to heat that the idea of wearing a scarf or even a necklace was unbearable. I couldn’t get my rings on either. So bracelets were often the only pieces I wore.
Perfekt! What a great post, Janice, thank you.
Thanks for this inspiring post. It inspired by OOTD – navy tee instead of black and stretch pull on jeans (that I made) topped with a brown, navy and white long cotton cardigan (also me made). Comfortable and warm for the cool rainy day.
Love this! This is my daily uniform, except that I mostly stay in a short sleeved T as I need to be ready to work at all times – there are dishes to be done at almost every function! I usually wear an oversized front button shirt as it works for my body and my lifestyle, and allows my hot-flashy body quick adjustments. I have what is now classified as Deep coloring and would love ideas that combine dark colors and combining warm and cool dark colors, as in chocolate brown, dark greens, and my new love, burgundy. 🙂
I love this post. Black tee and jeans with something over it is my Saturday uniform. I own and have worn similar outfits to several of these. Since I’m in the South and am old enough to often run hot I find myself substituting an open button down for the cardigans. Plaid flannel, corduroy, chambray and fleece shirts work particularly well. Another option I like is my olive utility jacket. I enjoy olive as an accent with black and denim.
I wear burgundy (or is it maroon? I can never keep those two straight! Whichever the cooler, bluer one is -) and always get lots of compliments when I do, even though I’m a Clear Winter and “not supposed to” look good in it. I seem to see a lot of it in winter, as a holiday color.
I love the Helen Frankenthaler painting and those delicious colors. I would happily add them to black, navy or charcoal.
Marcia Ake says
Love this post as its god for my casual office once a week. Would love to see this with a white tee or button down shirt.
The black and blue combo is my favourite! I have a very similar blue geometric scarf, and wear it with a black sweatshirt and blue jeans. I seem to always get compliments on the combination.
I also love the burgundy outfit as well. I bought a burgundy pair of Blundstone boots a few years ago and they get an amazing amount of wear throughout the winter. My OOTD tomorrow will be a copy of your outfit above. Thanks for the inspiration.