Look du Jour: Coastal Chill

“Chill” in both the literal and figurative senses of the word. Here’s a relaxed look that’s comfortable on those May Gray cool & foggy coastal days.

Some days I want to wear color, but on others I gravitate toward the calming simplicity of neutrals. I love the easy elegance of this look, thanks to the soft cashmere and fluidity of the linen trousers.

Susan B. wears a beige cashmere sweater and linen trousers, gold sandals.
My sizes: Sweater – XS, Trousers – Petite Small

Some might find this look boring, but to me, it feels calming and expresses a very Californian type of casual elegance. Anything that feels too fussy or contrived is my style Kryptonite, and I’d rather be too simple than overdone.

Detail: Susan B. wears a split neck beige cashmere sweater, gold and neutral jewelry, beige linen trousers.

The cashmere sweater is from Madewell, and it’s such a good one! It’s lightweight, very soft, and relaxed but not hugely oversized. And I love that neckline! It’s also available in 3 bright colors (yes, I bought the green too!) sizes XX-Small to XX-Large. (I’m wearing the X-Small.)

My wide leg linen trousers are from last year, but this year’s version have a very similar cut. I love the fluidity and breathability of linen, and don’t mind the wrinkles.

I love my chunky, funky footwear, but at the moment am leaning into this more delicate sandal style with wide leg pants to add definition and refinement. These sandals are quite comfortable too! I put on this outfit to photograph in the morning, and ended up wearing it all day, including running a few errands. I felt well-dressed, but not overdressed.

I’d happily wear this look for casual drinks/dinner out on an outdoor patio, or an evening garden party.

More sandals like these

You’ll be seeing more of these trousers and some similar styles in upcoming outfit posts. Linen pants are a great summer alternative if you don’t wear dresses and prefer some leg coverage. They adjust to fluctuating temperatures, are washable, and wear well. (I’ve made peace with the wrinkles, but if you spritz with a little water and hang overnight, most of those creases will fall out.) I’ll be featuring more of my linen favorites in upcoming posts, so be sure you’ve subscribed for updates.

Do you wear linen in the summertime? What pieces do you reach for most often.

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  1. The outfit isn’t boring. It’s quite elegant and chic. We must be on the same wave length. Yesterday I went in person shopping yesterday and found a linen beach sweater at J Crew Factory. It is off white but not too warm. As a winter off whites are tricky, but this one works.

      1. Hi, Susan. I love this look – generally and on you particularly, Can you suggest or give an example of an off-white for Winters? The sweater is great, but I’m going through an itching phase with wool right now and don’t know whether this cashmere would work – sigh ..,

        1. I can’t off the top of my head, but the “Stone” color in the Winter palette is a light, grey-ish beige. You want to avoid anything that has a distinctly yellow undertone. Some Eileen Fisher items in Bone could work, depending on what you pair them with.

  2. You may have discovered the perfect outfit. I could live in that sweater and trousers 24/7. So easy, and so elegant.

  3. I live in Naples Florida, where it’s hot and steamy and I gravitate torwards knee length linen dresses, J Jill is my favorite and sandals and of course a hat always. I’m a soft autumn so the colors I prefer are cream, natural and soft greens. I love the color clay but it’s so hard to find. Cheers, Linda

    1. Hi Linda, J.Jill does have some good linen things. I’m going to be working on an updated linen roundup and will keep an eye out for that color.

    2. Check out the Quince Linen shirts. s/s and l/s. You might like one of the 3 different shades of browns. The s/s is boxy in a good way.

  4. I really like the look. You are right, it is cool and elegant. Had to laugh though when aivread this sentence: “Anything that feels too fussy or contrived is my style Kryptonite, and I’d rather be too simple than overdone.”
    And I thought “How can she be friends with me haha?” I can really hit it out of the park when it comes to fussy and overdone.

    1. Thanks, Greetje, but I don’t consider your style “overdone” at all. You like simple, bold pieces, which don’t read as fussy to me.

    1. Thanks! I haven’t seen the blue in person, but it could probably work for some summers (though might be too dark for Pastel/Light Summer).

  5. Hi Susan,

    You are rocking that coastal chic natural look! Please could you suggest a similar casual coastal look which would complement a true autumn? I love natural colours, but start to fade….I always find that some deep autumn colour closer to my face is necessary. How does a true autumn pull off a natural coastal look? I worry that even beige washes me out, without a more vibrant colour near my face?

    Many thanks Susan! I get so excited every time I see another message from you in my inbox!

    Warm wishes,
    Jacqui xx

    1. You can certainly do this. Check Quince and JCrew for linen tops in warm colors. Tie an autumn sweater over a neutral shirt/pants/dress. Add raffia belt?hat? Sandals? Try some striped nautical tees in brown or orange and white.simple gold jewelry. Good luck from a warm spring(and some autumn colors) on the east coast.

      1. Thanks so much Siobhan! Great suggestions! we are moving to the coast, so best I start trending towards a coastal vibe! I always feel a little “cheated” by traditional coastal colours, as they don’t compliment me at all. The naturals, with a well-placed pop of autumn colour will do the trick!

        warm wishes,

    2. Thanks so much Jacqui! You can absolutely go a bit deeper with the color. I think your Autumn soft browns, olive, and bronzes could work beautifully for this kind of look. Check out the current Bronze color at Eileen Fisher…it’s a good one! And Madewell usually has a great selection of browns and bronzes that work for the Autumn palette.)

      1. Hi Susan,

        Thanks for your suggestions of bronzes and browns – those will really suit me!
        Lots of great tips and advice on this forum – thank you!


  6. I’ve been increasing the linen in my wardrobe these past few years, so I enjoyed this. I liked all of those pieces!

    1. Hi Karen,

      I love green olive, so I will try to incorporate more into my wardrobe – thanks!


  7. I absolutely love color but I must say that a ‘palette cleanser’ is a wonderful idea. Head to toe neutrals (when they are ‘your’ neutrals) make for an effortless upscale look that goes almost anywhere. You nailed this outfit!

  8. I love simple linen tops. I also have three casual linen shift style dresses in various lengths and prints that I love to wear on especially warm days.. I have, honestly, avoided pants because of the wrinkles.

  9. I have three pairs of linen blend trousers from Old Navy that I practically live in all summer. They’re machine washable and tumble dry which usually gets rid of the wrinkles. They’re definitely a staple in my closet!

    1. They are amazing and great pieces to have when you don’t want to wear expensive linen to say walk the dog or grocery shop.

    2. Only three? I know I have black, white, rust and blue, with duplicates in black (because I wear so often) and white (because I am messy and prepared for a terrible mistake some day). It’s nice to have so many because summer is not meant to be spent doing laundry.

  10. I just can’t get used to the look of full pants. They just add weight to my frame. I did see them styled successfully on a tall, young woman worn with a slim fitting tank. No one wants to see me in a slim fitting tank. Perhaps it’s a matter of finding the right fit. Perhaps its all in the shoes.

  11. Lovely, calm, luxe. I love neutrals. They let you see the person rather than the clothes. What a beautiful look especially with your perfect lip and nail polish colors. That’s all the color you need with this look. It’s a keeper!

  12. Love the look! It’s simply elegant but still casual. That’s my goal on a daily basis.

    Have a great weekend.

  13. I agree with Lily. The wider pants are not suitable for petites. I feel we’re being forced into them and I won’t comply.

    1. I don’t feel forced, myself. I’ve always loved the kind of Katharine Hepburn vibe of them, but understand that not everyone feels the same.

  14. Love that outfit! And the neckline is fantastic. Very flattering, and less exposed than some v-necks can be.

  15. I’m a huge linen fan so love when you touch on this! PS-always love your glasses and would love a feature of sources for fun frames!

  16. I love this look! I like a linen blend that drapes like linen, but doesn’t wrinkle as badly. Thanks for the spritz and hang tip though. I’m definitely going to try that with my linen pieces.