Back to Classics: Red, Leopard, and Trench


Thrifted & altered red skirt (similar in petites), Gap blouse

This outfit combines several of my wardrobe classics – the pieces that I reach for time after time because they make me feel happy, polished and lady-like. This includes my tan trench coat with a crisp silhouette (still in love with the shoulder epaulettes and sharp collar), my neutral bow blouse that friends are so sick of seeing, and my ever-versatile leopard pumps that just tie together outfits which I otherwise have a hard time finding shoes for.


Watch: Michael Kors Bracelets: c/o t+j Designs  Lip: Rimmel Bordeaux  Sunnies: Chanel #5182

My red pencil skirt is a piece that I am dying to wear more often, however it’s been a challenge styling it for the workplace in this frigid weather. Opaque black or brown tights (a must for staying warm) are acceptable with a red skirt, but I feel it takes away from the clean look and limits the options up top. Recently we were blessed with a 60 degree day, and I jumped at the opportunity to break out this skirt in bare legs…

I get a lot of questions on how to tuck blouses into skirts without getting unsightly visible lines. As you can see up above, I’m a victim of this as well. I know it has to do with the material/weight of the top and the skirt, because this only happens with certain skirts. Any tips to nix blouse lines are appreciated. 
I will be doing a video soon on styling a red pencil skirt, in honor of the holiday season. If you’ve been searching for one, there are quite a few options out there in various shades of red:

Left: Ann Taylor Wool Mini in Chili Pepper (use 10000003953 for 40% off 1 item – thanks Chloe!)
Center: Express Double Weave Pocketed Pencil Skirt in Mars Red, sizes 00 – 12 available
Right: Ann Taylor Wool Crepe Pencil Skirt in Bright Crimson (gorgeous alternative to bright red)


And this isn’t pictured, but J.Crew also has a Petite Wool Crepe Pencil Skirt in Decadent Red. Sizing runs similar to Ann Taylor. For petites who are new to these brands, I am 5 feet, 93 lbs, 32-24-32 and their wool pencil skirts in 00P usually require taking-in the waist & side slimming (a $25 job at my tailors).
And oh, the Ivanka Trump leopard pumps from this post arrived and were returned. The heel, measured from the back, was higher than expected at 4 inches, and the platform was hard for me to walk in. I’m sticking to my chunkier-heeled, rubber-soled CK’s. The pricier Diane Von Furstenberg April pumps have a similar, stable heel, and are currently on sale in sizes 6-10 (reviewers say they run small).


Readers – Which pieces are your wardrobe classics?
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  1. fabgab wrote:

    I just ran across your blog through Pinterest and have enjoyed seeing your outfit shots. I share a similar style as you'll see from my style blog. Here's my entry on my red skirt.

    Come by and leave me a comment to let me know you were there!

    Posted 3.7.12 Reply
  2. @Anonymous Thank you! We use the combo here:

    Posted 1.8.12 Reply
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean, what camera and lens did Nick use in this post? I love the outfit and quality of photos!

    Posted 1.8.12 Reply
  4. @karen Hi Karen – they are tortoise. A bit softer than black, and goes with various colors. I absolutely love them!

    Posted 12.5.11 Reply
  5. pia wrote:

    you are gorgeous ! love this outfit ! and the colors
    following !

    Posted 12.5.11 Reply
  6. Jackie wrote:

    If I had a red skirt, that would definitely be a classic for me.

    In all seriousness, I HAVE to have a pair of all-year-round black pumps (which I currently do not have *tear*) and a high-waisted black something (skirt or pants).

    Also, diamond stud earrings and red lipstick. =D

    Posted 12.5.11 Reply
  7. karen wrote:

    Hi Jean! You look très chic!! 🙂 Are your sunnies in black or tortoise?

    Posted 12.5.11 Reply
  8. Thanks so much everyone for your shirt-tucking tips. Reading through your suggestions, I see that a pair of shapewear shorts should do the trick.

    @Mia Thank you for saying hello, Mia! I'm sure you will wear that necklace well – bib necklaces are such an easy way to dress up plain blouses.

    @Anonymous Hi there, I think it's a very pretty skirt with the pleats and buttons down the middle. The flared silhouette and length are harder to pull off for petite women (myself, at least). If you are taller and usually feel comfortable in that kind of skirt shape, then you should go for it!

    @sara They are Chanel wayfarers style #5182 and they were a well-picked gift last year from my bf : )

    @Anonymous April – we must be style sisters. Wore the skirt last week with the H&M; blouse, black tights, and pumps. Also had it paired with a leopard cardigan and nude pumps. Both are classic and beautiful combinations. I just love the sound of red and camel together as well, but don't have any tops or coat in that color (yet). Thank you for that tip…adding it to my mental archives!

    @Anonymous I have not found any nude pantyhose that actually match my (changing) skin color. For opaque tights, I have some from H&M; in the 40den (density) in black and gray, and also from Forever 21 opaque tights in gray and olive, and then I recently bought some Target tights from the women's department in brown (cheapest type). The Target ones have held up nicely because they seem to have more nylon and are shinier (that's the downside), and the H&M; ones pill a little more easily but are nice and matte.

    @Chris @ Granola2Glam Sunny and brisk! I suppose that's better than gloomy and brisk.

    @Leslie Moo Hi Leslie, I touched on it briefly in this post ( ) where I discussed being aware of the measurements and weight of statement jewelry so they don't overwhelm you. Other than that, it's really just up to you trying on combinations and learning through trial and error. If you're just starting out, then your suggestion of picking one area to focus on while leaving the other areas minimal can be helpful.

    @Emily I remember good old Esprit. I wore their clothes for piano recitals through junior high because they actually fit! Too bad they are going away…

    @Michelle Hi Michelle, most of my bras are nude-colored so I don't often have problems with semi-sheer tops. I didn't even notice this Gap blouse was sheer, but after you mentioned it I went and checked it out and see it is slightly sheer. I suggest getting a smooth nude-colored bra to avoid anything showing through.

    Posted 12.4.11 Reply
  9. Mia wrote:

    Hey Jean,

    I have been following your blog for quite some time now but I think this is the first time I've ever left a comment. I absolutely love your streamline yet edgy style. You inspired me to look for and purchase a "bib" or baroque necklace like the one you have with the blue stones.

    I look forward to seeing all of your amazing updates! Keep up the good work!

    mia from

    Posted 12.4.11 Reply
  10. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean,
    You look so chic-love the skirt. Have you seen the flair skit in double-serge wool from Jcrew? What do you think of it in heather acorn? I've been looking for a camel colored skirt for work and the weekends.

    Posted 12.3.11 Reply
  11. I like how you're beginning to add more to your wrists! : )

    Posted 12.3.11 Reply
  12. sara wrote:

    ah beautiful! Where did you get your sunglasses from?

    Posted 12.3.11 Reply
  13. Meg wrote:

    This outfit is so pretty. I love those shoes!!!

    Posted 12.3.11 Reply
  14. Callandra wrote:

    Your outfit is very chic and classic Jean! I know what you mean about the tuck in blouse problem though….so annoying right?! So far our weather has been too cold for bare legs but I've heard that tomorrow might actually reach 60 and what a great idea to wear a red skirt!!

    Posted 12.3.11 Reply
  15. Anonymous wrote:

    You should try the red skirt and the H&M; blouse you posted last time. Plus a good pair of almond toe black patent leather heels.

    OR leopard print cardigan or shirt with red skirt, neutral pumps.

    Finally, I have a love of camel and red together. This pairing is particularly striking on blonds, but I also think it looks very French, esp with a chic scarf.


    Posted 12.3.11 Reply
  16. Jessica wrote:

    I am SO glad to hear that you are going to do a blog on styling a red pencil skirt. I just thrifted a Yves Saint Laurent red skirt for $6.99 (something I obviously couldn't pass up), but need tips on styling!
    Thanks for your amazing tips!

    Posted 12.3.11 Reply
  17. Megan wrote:

    Well, now there's another thing to add to my winter clothes wishlist! 🙂 Love the red skirt! I think it'd look great with sheer black tights.

    Posted 12.3.11 Reply
  18. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean , that's is a beautiful outfit. I love those heals.
    What brand do you recommend
    for opaque tight and pantyhose nude color?

    Posted 12.3.11 Reply
  19. Kiwi wrote:

    Love this look. The red skirt is really lovely. I think a royal blue pencil skirt would look great on you too.
    That blouse can definitely be a wardrobe staple.

    Posted 12.3.11 Reply
  20. Sarah wrote:

    Invest in a few pairs of seamless boy shorts undies..You can then tuck your shirt into them whenever you're wearing pencil skirts. Works for me all the time =)

    Posted 12.3.11 Reply
  21. Ahh It's so good of you to show visible shirt line. Makes me feel normal. I usually tuck thin blouses/shirts in nylons or Spanx (slip not shorts kind). As long as it isn't my underwear that is visible, I'm ok with the rest. As for classics, I'd say animal print scarf and chunky link necklace.

    Posted 12.3.11 Reply
  22. Michelle wrote:

    black dress

    Posted 12.3.11 Reply
  23. faye lu wrote:

    you look so beautiful in red. love the heels =)

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  24. E wrote:

    Looks great! Every time I convince myself it wouldn't be practical for me to get leopard heels, you push me back on the fence. And I really debated about it during Black Friday weekend…it's a shame my size is no longer available in these.

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  25. The red skirt and top go so well together! It's so sophisticated and well put together.

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  26. Way too cute! I hardly see you wear sunglasses, and I'm liking it! Was it sunny in Boston today?

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  27. You look lovely as always. May I please ask what is the fabric content & style name/number of your trench? Thank you.

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  28. tiffyama wrote:

    Great outfit! I too find that leopard print shoes can bring together an outfit ever so simply.

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  29. yuni.k wrote:

    So classy! Tortoiseshell, red, leopard print, trench, and the whole shebang! I have an Express khaki colored leather jacket that fits me perfectly that I can't seem to put away.

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  30. You.Are.So.Stylish!!!! This outfit screams Chic and Elegance, I really love your blouse, too bad it was last season I doubt I can still get it. I love all your videos too!! 🙂 xX

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  31. You look super gorgeous! I love the blouse and the shoes. The red skirt matches your beautiful red lips really well.

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  32. The outfit screams Parisian! So chic Jean. Love it.

    My wardrobe classics for the winter season is filled with neutrals. I love wearing my Banana Republic Ruffle Sweater Vest in a gray/brown with a layering tee or even a turtleneck for colder days.

    My Zara wool peacoat in cream is a favorite of mine. Unfortunately, I need to lose more weight to fit back in to it for this winter.

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  33. Tara D wrote:

    I often tuck my blouse into a pair of Spanx shorts. It keeps the lines smooth and also helps keep the blouse more securely tucked-in.

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  34. CC wrote:

    That trench coat is beautiful 🙂 Ahh the "visible tuck lines" (VTL)! To be honest, I don't know what's worse, VPL's or VTL's?! My only suggestion that I've tried myself is to wear shapewear undergarments (i.e. in pantyhose or even bike shorts) and tuck the blouse in those as snugly and as smoothly as possible. It works and your skirt will be as smooth as Joan's from Mad Men.

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  35. lin wrote:

    love everything about this outfit. i've never thought of wearing a red skirt with leopard pumps but it actually looks really nice. 😀

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  36. gorgeous as always!

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  37. Leslie Moo wrote:

    Cute outfit! I love the skirt, blouse, trench, and shoes separately as well. You and I have the same measurements, and I'm also a 00 Petite. I love the accessories that you're wearing in the photos above. How do you accessorize without it overwhelming your frame? Do you just pick one area to accessorize (e.g., your wrist) and then leave the rest bare? I'm new to your blog, so if you've already covered this topic, you can just post a link. Thanks!

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  38. Emily wrote:

    I love this outfit! You have completely converted me: I used to think leopard print was tacky, but you make it look so classy. You look so Audrey Hepburnish here.

    I bought an adorable red wool skirt in size 2 at Esprit last week that fits great (I'm 5'1, 110 lbs). Esprit made such a great comeback a few years ago with fantastic clothes… and now they're about to close all their North American stores! Booo. So get there while you can! Their sizes are similar to H&M; but the clothing is better quality.

    This is the skirt I got at Esprit… I couldn't find it on the Esprit site but I did a Google image search and found it here:

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  39. Express has a knee length red pencil skirt as well. It is high waisted and curve/hip hugging.

    I recently bought it in red and the "cool earth" color since its buy 1 get 1 t 50% off.

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  40. Anonymous wrote:

    I enjoy your blog, but the gap blouse you have in this post is over used.

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  41. anny wrote:

    i love your style its so me i recently splurge on this burberry tench coat for myself but unfortunatly i have to pay for full price because its all sold out everywhere it was only avialable at one of burberry store at chicago where i live but i really think its worth it ..and i m very pleased with my purchase and i really want u too do more styles with jeans and mix match with this trench i wear jeans a lot love anny

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  42. L.T. wrote:

    Gorgeous and classy. Really love this entire outfit.

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  43. You look marvelous my dear! LOVE the red skirt!

    I know what you mean, I want one so bad but I always struggle with how I would wear it. I have seen some great ideas over the last couple of weeks so i am getting closer to taking the plunge.

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  44. Mary Ann wrote:

    I love the red skirt and your photography is particularly beautiful today!

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  45. Michelle wrote:

    I love the bow shirt as well. I got it a while ago but don't wear is as often because it wrinkles easily. Also, it's very see-through so I have to make sure I have a blazer on top of it. If i wear a cami underneath it you can then see the straps. : Do you have this problem as well? DO you wear an undershirt with it?

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  46. Looks beautiful. Love those leopard pumps. It's nice to get back to basics.

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  47. Katherine wrote:

    How are you liking those sunglasses? They look lovely on you and I have tried them on a few times (as well as countless other Chanel cat eyes) but I'm afraid that they will slide down my nose after a few hours of wear – are these pretty good on you?

    Love the whole outfit btw!

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  48. JJ wrote:

    Beautiful skirt! When I have the issue of a particular shirt/skirt pairing causing visible lines to appear, I always smooth it out by wearing a pair of nude tights over my shirt – it helps create a smoother, more seamless look. It doesn't always work perfectly – particularly if the shirt is something thick like a wool sweater – but it usually doe the trick pretty well!

    On another note, I love that gold braided bracelet. How pretty!

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply

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