Chic wardrobe basics to wear now and into spring

I can’t believe it’s March already! With spring just a few weeks away, I’ve been keeping my eyes on new collections beginning to arrive. Whether your wardrobe could use a refresh, or just an update here or there, here are some winter-to-spring wardrobe basics that caught my eye this week.

Chic basics for your spring wardrobe

Spring weather can be cold and wet one day, sunny and warm the next. Lightweight layers can help us stay comfortable during transitional season fluctuations, and they will travel well too. I’ve focused on some wardrobe basics here, as they’re the starting point to creating a cohesive wardrobe.

This new sweater blazer from J.Crew is perfect for those of you who have classic style, but a casual lifestyle. (But it could certainly dress up for the office or an evening out.) It’s lightweight, but softly structured. It can easily go over another lightweight sweater, or a blouse or tee, or be worn on its own.

3 colors available. The navy (shown above) is probably best on Winters, though I think it’s pretty neutral and could work for others as well. The bright green color lands in between Spring and Summer. The “bleached sand” color is definitely for you Springs & Autumns. Sizes XX-Small to 3X.

Shop more sweater jackets HERE.

A cashmere tee can be the perfect layering piece when a sweater is too warm, but it’s a cotton or linen tee isn’t warm enough. J.Crew has a nice one that’s available in several colors, sizes XX-Small to 3X. But the one above from Quince is more budget-friendly, and very well-reviewed (sizes XS-XL).

For those of you who love a crisp, button-front shirt, this one has some nice details. (Love those extra-wide cuffs which will look good turned up.) Wear this now under a sweater or jacket, and later on its own. This “rose” stripe should be great for Summers. Winters, check out the black and white gingham! Sizes 00-24.

While trench coats are hardly a “trendy” piece, they seem to be very much on-trend for spring. Perhaps because we’ve been getting so much rain, I decided to go on a hunt for one. I’ve tried and tried to make a classic double-breasted style work for me, but they never feel right. So I’ve been happy to see quite a few single-breasted options this season. I have the one above on order and will report back.

But the belted one shown in the collage at top is nice too. Here are a few more good ones:

For me, lightweight jackets are Wardrobe Gold. Throw on now over a cashmere sweater, later over a tee or tank. I love the subtle windowpane pattern on this one. I’m going out on a limb, but the color is subtle enough I think it could work for some Springs, Summers, and Autumns (depending on what you wear it with). In Misses & Plus sizes.

I jumped on this one, both for the color and the shorter length (AND, it’s one of the few jacket styles that’s also offered in Petites!). I have my fingers crossed the color is as warm as it looks here.

What are some of the wardrobe basics you rely on during transitional seasons?

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  1. Thank you so much for helping us identify the seasonal color when you highlight a clothing item (and the color way options/seasons). Really helps me understand to look a little harder when I see an item I like, but know that the color isn’t right for me.

    1. Yes! Thank you so much for this! I appreciate all the work that must go into doing his but please know that is so beneficial.

  2. I’m a bit of a rain/trench coat addict and bought a wonderful trench coat in France last summer from a brand called Flotte. The Concord style I have is made from recycled plastic and very, very packable – it folds into its own envelope. The company has a wide range of styles, their jackets come in a wide range of colors, and they’re well-priced…you might want to check them out. They do ship to the US, too.

  3. Your collection is very close to what I will be choosing for my upcoming travel plans… eg trench coat, striped shirt, linen t shirts, light cardigan.
    I am presently packing what I will wear for a much anticipated small ship cruise in the eastern Caribbean, that was originally in March 2020 .
    We will be coming from chilly BC (via ferry to Vancouver) , then an overnight flight to Toronto , and being rather bleary -eyed, a slightly longer flight to Barbados .
    I decided on a light cream trench (L.L.BEAN) for use outside when off the plane going and coming, but useful when out on deck on a blustery day , or if it rains. It will go in the overhead bin .My flight outfit must be comfortable, so will be a striped blue Breton top, soft print scarf, jeans with some stretch, and slip on chunky sneakers. A soft Jean jacket ( lighter blue than jeans ) will be worn in airports and on hand for sleeping. Had to really think this through for comfort since I have difficulty sleeping on planes… even though we always book economy plus for a smaller cabin with more space.
    Once landing, where it’s tropical, I can pop off the jacket and not be too hot for taxi trip to hotel prior to boarding PONANT the next afternoon. Happily, being my second cruise, we have complimentary laundry , so I can pack fewer items knowing that a few will be refreshed. Linen pants, striped shirts, soft dresses, shawls, comfy shoes and of course swimsuits , are my style. Smart casual is suggested by the French line, so it’s not necessary to pack OTT items.

    1. I’d like to know how you found a “soft” denim jacket. Have not had any success there. Each one I try is too thick and heavy. Maybe you have a suggestion?

      1. Me too. I love my denim jacket but it’s a little thick to be very comfortable. I cannot “declutter” it but honestly I should.

      2. Julia and Nancy, try looking for MAVI jeans co. My jacket is soft due to factory washing . You might find the line in independent boutiques. Hope this helps .

    1. This is a great article. Even if your style isn’t “French Chic” there are may helpful take away from it.

    2. Many of us on the same wavelength, I think! I’ve been working on an updated post on French style, look for it next week. 😉

  4. Susan,
    I am 5’4” and I believe that you like sporty clothes. I seem to be more appropriate and comfortable, in sport clothes. I don’t remember seeing you in relaxed or oversized clothing. I like Eileen Fisher clothing, although I have a problem with boxy and drop shoulders. Could you set me straight on how to shop for the right fit. I shop online, and returning gets exhausting. You seem to stay with the same style, and look so neat in your clothing. Thank you! Pat

  5. In reading Pat’s comments it made me think about body shape and proportions. For me most of my buying mishaps have come from buying clothes that do not flatter my particular body shape which is a V. I would see influencers with wonderful outfits and would attempt to emulate them but have them look horrible on me. Only when I started dressing to work with my proportions did I have more hits than misses. Maybe this would be a good Effortless Style posts? After much experimentation taking into consideration fit, style personality, and color choices has helped make dressing easier for me. Shopping not so much but that’s a tune for a different day.

  6. Susan, I just ordered those shoes. Hoping they’re comfortable. I ordered the Chloe two toned loafers and they were so heavy due to the very thick lug sole I had to return them. Same with the Gucci lug sole horsebit loafers with the bee logo. I really like the lug sole look but at my age I refuse to wear shoes that aren’t comfortable.
    Wishing that sweater blazer came in Petite sizing!