Kicking Off the Long Weekend with a Splash (of Color)

Every time I work with color clients, I’m reminded (again!) of how energizing and uplifting color can be. While I love my neutrals, some days I just crave color. Bright color. And this outfit delivers!

A colorful, casual outfit for Memorial Day

Colorful casual outfit idea: Susan B. wears a red jacket, coral striped tee, natural linen pants, red bracelets, gold sandals, and carries an MZ Wallace raffia tote with gold accents.
(My sizes: Jacket – XS, Tee – Small, Pants – Petite Small)

This jacket is just SO good! The red is a spot-on match for “Geranium” in the Spring and Autumn seasonal palettes, and is one of my very best colors. (Also available in Navy). The weight is perfect for our coastal early summer weather, which can get a little cool and breezy. It runs a bit large; I’m wearing the XS (and probably could go down another size).

The striped tee is new from Kettlewell Colours. They’re a great source for colorful basics, and you can filter items by your seasonal palette, or search for a specific color. Orders over $100 ship free to the US, and returns are easy and free.

Details: gold buttons on a red jacket, MZ Wallace raffia tote bag with gold handles & sequins.

I love the nautical detailing on the gold snaps on the jacket. It’s hard to see in a photo, but the bag has small sequins woven in with the raffia, so catches the light in a really fun way.

Susan B. wears a red jacket, coral striped tee, natural linen pants, red bracelets, gold sandals, and carries an MZ Wallace raffia tote with gold accents.

White or off-white, or even blue denim jeans would have been the expected choice with the tee and jacket. But I wanted a more relaxed vibe, so went with my favorite pair of wide-leg linen pants, which tone down the preppy-ness of the look.

(For those of you who mentioned you’d like to see how linen pieces look after wear rather than freshly pressed, here you go.)

Going “off-piste” to personalize your look

That’s a skiing expression, which means to go outside of the marked runs. I use the term to describe adding something “wrong” or unexpected to your outfit to balance, create tension (and interest) or personalize the look.

It’s not uncommon for women our age to have been raised with a whole bunch of rules about fashion and style. One of those is that we always need to match levels of formality, or style genres (Preppy, Bohemian, classic, corporate, outdoorsy) within an outfit. But I think that can lead to outfits that feel flat and formulaic. Throwing in a “wild card” (e.g. sneakers with a tailored suit, pearls with a tee shirt & jeans) can create a more individualized and interesting look.

There’s no single formula or guideline for this. You’ll mostly find it through trial-and-error. Shoes are an easy way to start. Always wear sneakers with that outfit? Maybe try a loafer, or slingback. Play with combinations that aren’t necessarily “good on paper” to see what clicks for you.

Susan B. walks on sidewalk wearing a red jacket, striped top, natural linen pants, gold sandals, and carries a raffia tote bag.

What “off-piste” combinations do you like to wear?

The Sales have landed…

The Memorial Day sales are already in full swing. Here are some of the best ones…

J.Crew40% off sitewide (some exclusions)

NordstromHalf-Yearly Sale, up to 50% off

Talbot’s40% off one full-priced item, 30% off entire purchase, code SUMMER

Madewell25% off summer essentials, code LONGWEEKEND

J.Jill30% off full-priced linen

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  1. What I don’t understand about color is when a color is in my palette, but I don’t think it looks great with my untanned face color. I’m an autumn but even in a “autumn” light color top , I sometimes feel washed out. Not as bad as if it’s stark white, but still not great. Suggestions ?lyn

    1. Hi Lyn, it really depends on what type of Autumn you are. It may be that the brighter or deeper colors in the palette are your best, and will be the ones that really light up your face.

  2. I wear silk with denim so often that I’m not sure if it counts as ‘off-piste’ . Also I have always wanted to try ‘serious’ jewellery’ when swimming in the local public pool but think I lose enough there as it is ….

  3. I so agree with you. It’s a great outfit and the red jacket is not only stellar in colour, it is also spot on with being a little oversized. I wouldn’t go down a size if I were you. (And is there a size smaller than XS? Perhaps XXS?).

  4. Love the geranium red jacket. Off topic, but I wanted to ask about your Clergerie shoes–the raffia and canvas sneakers. How would you rate the comfort level, compared with say Paul Green? I had a really comfortable pair of Clergerie shoes years ago–wondered if they are still as good. Thank you.

    1. Hi Laura, I recently wore them for an entire day on my feet, and found them comfortable all day long. Because of the platform, they have a more firm sole than the Paul Green sneakers (though with the “slit” in the sole, they do bend when you walk).

  5. So pretty. Love the color, and your smile!
    I’m seeing a lot of the “minimal sandal” this year. I like the look, but wonder about the comfort of them. Does the Kaana’s brand offer arch support, and a little cushioning? It’s hard to tell!

    1. Thanks Lisa, these sandals do have some padding in the sole, and I’ve worn them all day between home and errands. I don’t think they’d have enough support as a travel sandal, but otherwise I do find them comfortable.

  6. What a joyful outfit you are wearing. It just made me smile on this another rainy day in my area. Thank you.

  7. Hi Susan, I love the jacket too! It’s a bit frustrating that J Crew has no tops in the poppy color to pair with the jacket. Your top appears to be more coral?

  8. Hi, Susan. I love the bomber jacket, but on the website, the sleeves look huge. You have them rolled, which looks great, but doesn’t show how wide they are. I’m your size and wonder whether the sleeves are more overwhelming when worn unrolled. My legs are not as long as yours, so I can’t balance an oversized top as well.

    1. Hi Maeve, the sleeves are wide, but I don’t find them overwhelming. They’re gathered at the hem with elastic, so they’re easy to push up (and will stay put).

  9. Thank you so much for your recommendation of ON cloud 5 sneakers. I ordered a pair and wore them for two weeks in Paris and Norway. As I have Type 1 diabetes and narrow feet, shoes are always an issue. These fit well and I had no discomfort!!!! Just looking at ordering another pair…..

  10. This is a great idea, thank you! Jeans would have been my automatic combination for this shirt and jacket but the linen pants is so good!!!

  11. Super cute ensemble! Love that color on you – wow. Everything is spot-on – the acessories the sandals, your glasses. What a great look!