Casual chic: how to elevate an everyday look with accessories

Many of us are living more casual lives these days, and that includes our wardrobes. Even if you have an active social life, chances are that “smart casual” attire will cover most events. Here I’ve used accessories to dial-up jeans and a tee and create a comfortable, casual chic outfit.

We want to get the most from our wardrobes, and accessories are key. Accessories can add variety and personality to our trusty basics, and make a look more intentional and finished. Statement jewelry, refined footwear, lipstick, and something structured (whether a jacket, bag, or both) can help elevate your look without losing your style bearings.

I’ve been seeing a lot of “Paris street style” looks with jeans and slingback shoes in my Instagram feed, so decided to put my own spin on it.

Using accessories to level up casual wardrobe basics

Susan B. goes for a casual chic look with jeans, a striped top, sweater jacket, pearl jewelry and slingback shoes.
SWEATER JACKET | NECKLACE | TOP | JEANS (SIMILAR) |
BAG | STRAP | SHOES (C/O)

I’ve always loved a mix of rough and refined in an outfit. The pearl jewelry and classic slingback shoes add refinement, while the “rough” jeans keep the look laid-back and grounded. And the “pot de miel” 🍯 straw bag adds a little bit of whimsy. 🐝

Rather than a blazer, I decided to go with a lightweight sweater jacket, which adds structure but could also be draped or tied over the shoulders should the weather warm up. The pearl necklace with the vintage French medallion is from French Kande’s “Amour de Perle” stack-up collection. I love pearls, and they are one of my favorite ways to add some chic to a casual outfit.

The straw bag comes with a black leather handle that can be removed. So, I swapped it out for this fun resin chain handle (other colors available).

Versatile dress-up-dress-down footwear

Susan B. wears Sole Bliss Verity slingback shoes in Nude.
These 2″ block heels (c/o) are great for grassy or outdoor venues like graduations or garden weddings!

A comfortable, dress-up-dress-down shoe is one of my wardrobe essentials, and this one ticks those boxes. Slingback shoes are classic and timeless, but also on trend this season. This classic slingback style is from Sole Bliss (gifted), a brand specially designed to be comfortable for those with wide feet and bunions. (Helen Mirren is a fan!) Also available in 3 neutral colors, and runs true-to-size. I’m wearing a 38.

They have dozens of styles, from sneakers to sandals to loafers and heels, all with the same comfort technology. 👉 And Sole Bliss has kindly offered my readers 15% off with code SUSANSOLE ! 👈 Shipping and returns are free for the USA, as well as hassle-free.

Susan B. wears an off-white sweater jacket, green striped top, pearl & pendant necklace, light blue denim jeans, slingback shoes, carries an oval straw bag.
SWEATER JACKET | NECKLACE | TOP | JEANS (SIMILAR) |
BAG | STRAP | SHOES (C/O)

Bon weekend!

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48 Comments

  1. Long time reader, never commenter sending you the best vibes possible. I hope you are doing ok as you adjust to your life circumstances and that your husband is doing ok too.

    1. Thanks very much! We’re managing, getting some additional help and equipment to make things easier.

  2. Pricey when you add it up, but I love the style. Seanne sweaters are lovely. I’m a winter so thinking that a red top and red slingbacks would be great. Have you heard of Vivia? They are for women with bunions, which thankfully I don’t have, but I’m going to try their (washable) slingbacks. Happy weekend!

    1. Thanks, he was diagnosed with ALS last year. It’s a degenerative condition that won’t improve, but we’re getting help to keep him comfortable and functional as long as possible.

      1. Oh Susan I’m so sorry to hear this. I wondered what was happening. You are so amazing to keep posting for us like this. I do wish you all the best!

      2. Thanks for sharing this info. I think we (readers) walk a fine line between wanting to be caring and not wanting to be nosy. I’m so sorry to hear of the diagnosis, but happy you have resources and support.

      3. I concur with Bette – thank you so much for having the courage to share your husband’s diagnosis. Please know that you have my, and I’m sure other readers’, very best wishes for you as you navigate this challenging journey. Your posts have been so inspiring, and I just want to send you a big virtual hug.

      4. Just reading these posts….I am so sorry to hear about your husband. My husbands best friend had ALS, so I know what a devastating disease it can be..for both of you.. please know that you’ll be in my prayers ( as trite as that sounds), and I’ll be sending lots of wishes for strength and hope for both of you. There are some breakthroughs in treatment that are coming down the pike…I hope your hubby can take advantage of them. Thank goodness you live where you do and have access to excellent medical care.
        Hugs……..

        1. Thanks very much Cheryl. So far the treatments that are available will only slow the progression (in some people), not reverse it. Of course we are always hopeful for new breakthroughs!

  3. This is the first I’ve heard about your husband. I’m so sorry! ALS is an awful disease. Be as kind to yourself as you are to him.

  4. You have put together a very cute outfit! Very California! Is the sweater size small? I haven’t bought from Sezanne before

  5. Hi Susan – love the Sezanne sweater jacket. It’s described on their website as white, yet appears more cream in your pictures. Would you describe it as white? Thanks so much!

  6. Your outfit feature today is lovely, I want to copy it all, but I will practice restraint.

    My deepest condolences regarding your husband’s ALS. Our family has been affected by this ruthless disease as well. Only the very best thoughts and prayers to you all.

  7. My heart breaks for Your dear husband as he fights for his daily life needs. So many times we forget
    his wife and long time friend. You must take time for your needs. I pray for both at this time.

  8. Hi Susan,
    I really appreciate these posts on elevated casual. I’ve been trying to upgrade my Summer wardrobe with new (shorter) cardigans, good sandals and structured bags. I’m in San Diego, so your take on things is very useful for my climate. Recently I’ve also gone back to some of your old posts on making classic style less formal. I think I’m getting there! Now I just need some French Kande. Yesterday I got hooked on “The French Agency” that you recommended on Netflix. What an appealing family and such beautiful homes and scenery, a little vacation from reality! My husband is hooked now too.
    I was very sorry to hear about your husband’s diagnosis. Thank you for sharing with us.

      1. Oh yes Susan, we’ve had highs around 60 degrees for a couple weeks and most days we haven’t seen the sun at all. Several recent days of heavy drizzle too. Due for more of the same next week, but the sun did come out today and it’s 70 now.

  9. Susan, thank you for your openness about the ALS diagnosis. I have great respect for the way you move through the world with grace, honesty, kindness and lovely style. Hope that you and your husband will find comfort in one another. You have touched so many readers in this online community.
    Also, ALS support groups can be helpful.

  10. Susan,
    I love reading your stories and love love love your casual wardrobe style. I just recently retired and have given away my professional clothes. I’m now looking forward to creating a cohesive pared down wardrobe that reflects my new lifestyle. You inspire me every day!
    I am sorry to hear about your husband’s diagnosis. I hope you make plenty of time for each other.
    My thoughts are with you.
    Sandy

  11. Great casual accessory ideas. I love the bag, especially the tortoise shell handle! I love anything tortoise shell. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Oh Susan, I’m so sorry to hear of your husband’s diagnosis. These are very tough times. You’re both smart and I know you’ll work this out.
    I’ve been thinking of you. You’re the site I go to when i need travel advice. We’ll be going to Israel at Christmas so I was of course thinking what to take. I you’re who I turned to.

  13. Oh Susan, I am so sorry your husband and you have to deal with this terrible disease. Please take care of yourself so that you can be at your best for your husband. Prayers for you and your husband. I love today’s outfit, even if one is a different season the basic idea can be taylored to other colors. I enjoy your blog so much, always such great ideas.

  14. You’ve never looked better! You’ve come a long way from the days you wore mostly black outfits. Part of the effectiveness of this look is you’re streamlined shape, but mostly it’s the flattering colors, harmonious value and contrast levels, and the silhouette. I’d like to see you tackle the challenge of finding sunglasses that protect your eyes while being a value more in line with your light coloring.

    1. Thanks very much! Yes, sunglasses have been a challenge. I’m still on the prowl for a lighter-hued pair.

  15. Susan I’m not sure my ‘reply’ got to you or a fellow reader so I just wanted to say again how sorry I am to hear about your husband’s diagnosis. This must be so difficult for you on many levels. My heart goes out to you and your family. All my best wishes and thank you again for all your fashion advice and wisdom.

  16. Susan, I felt from the first time you mentioned your husband’s diagnosis that it was something neurological. So sorry to hear it is ALS. I know from my own experience of caring for my husband with young onset Alzheimer’s what a challenge you are facing. However, I feel certain you will face it with intelligence and resilience.

  17. Oh gosh-this is the first I’d heard about the diagnosis also. I’m so very sorry–know that you have a wide village sending r’fua sh’lema to you and your husband. One foot in front of the other of course. Thank you for your candor and your gentle way about you. Life is about navigating the curves you are thrown. All the best from a long time reader also,