Sunday Staples

sunday staples 3

Burberry trench sz 2 (similar), JBrand legging jeans (similar), H&M; scarf
Given goods tote c/o (very similar reversible one), LOFT top, CK leopard pumps (similar)

Every now and then, I get some requests to update my “how to look older in casual attire” post from years back. And while I don’t have enough material for a sequel, this basic outfit employs many of those tips using my wardrobe staples. Per the points in that post, a striped blouse + fitted dark jeans are just as comfy as a graphic tee + lighter flared jeans, but look a little more grown up. Rather than a poofy windbreaker, a tailored trench instantly makes outfits look more pulled-together while still keeping you dry (and warm, through a thick cashmere cardigan I have hidden as an extra layer). I finished with functional accessories that also add texture and dimension to the outfit – a warm camel scarf and oversized leather tote.
sunday staples4
This tote is from Given Goods, which I recently learned about through a reader. I chose this Lori tote because it’s a useful everyday piece, which would also make it a great gift. It’s handmade by leather artisans in Peru and each product sold through GG has its own story.
sunday staples5
This bag measures 13″ across the bottom, 18″ across the top, 6.5″ wide base and approx 9″ handle drop. The leather is a heavier weight with “weathered” markings, and is pliable but stands upright when sitting on its own. The inside is unlined with one small pocket and a seam across the base.

given goods tote

I also wanted to share a tip for working with unlined leather. Genuine leather is malleable and can be shaped over time by the contents or how you treat it (which is why I now use base shapers for all my large bags, including this one). Since this tote had a wider top, I folded in the upper side panels and secured them with large binder clips. I removed the clips after a few days and the sides now stay folded naturally, visually reducing the top width from 18″ to 13″ across.
given goods tote compare

^Comparison of before vs. after “shaping in” the sides against a 5 feet tall frame, wearing flat shoes.

sunday staples

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  1. Anonymous wrote:

    the website is still up and running:

    But I cannot find the cognac color in this post.

    Posted 6.15.15 Reply
  2. You lucky girl! You managed to snatch a beautiful bag! I rushed to the site after reading this post, and sadly the company is closing! Love your blog by the way, classic and timeless!

    Posted 10.6.14 Reply
  3. Classy and stylish 🙂

    Posted 3.14.14 Reply
  4. I am loving this look and the bag is just great!

    Posted 1.30.14 Reply
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    love the look and the bag! what size base shaper did you use with this?

    Posted 1.5.14 Reply
  6. What a small world. Yes, we just had snow several days ago and now it's all slush due to the recent rain. I love your other shoe posts–so in love with the Manolo bows! I'd love to wear pumps again, but yes as a teacher, anything but flats get to be painful! 🙁 Thanks for the recommendations, Jean! Just got a nice gift card to Zappos for Christmas– yay! Off to check out some nice winter shoes 🙂

    Posted 12.25.13 Reply
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    thanks jean, your so right… I look amazing.

    Posted 12.22.13 Reply
  8. Jean wrote:

    Hi Cheska! Thank you for your sweet comment. I saw in your profile you're a teacher in the Albany area, which is actually where I used to live! On to winter boots … I used to think leather boots could not withstand harsh winter conditions, but I most recently got a pair of Aquatalia boots from Nordstrom (previously reviewed) which are supposed to be fully weatherproof. I've been wearing them in the rain/snow/slush and they've held up amazingly. They were a splurge though even at 50% off. Another option are these leather boots that look fairly classic but are from Sorel, a trusted brand in 'weatherproof boots' – They are a little pricey as well, but I've heard their shoes last forever. For non-leather, I like the idea of snowboots like these;=25122&LinkType;=#fn=BOOT_HEIGHT%3DTall%26BOOTS_TYPE%3DWinter%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D15 – it's puffy and nylon-esque but they are still basic tall black boots and not un-stylish. They have great reviews at Macy's and also avail at Zappos. Good luck in your search!

    Posted 12.22.13 Reply
  9. Jean wrote:

    Hi Ellen – thanks so much for taking the time to say hello, and for your kind words! I'm so glad you've been able to apply some of the content here to your own shopping.

    PS – I noticed your profile is linked to TCP – do you write for them?

    Posted 12.22.13 Reply
  10. Jean wrote:

    Took these a day before the snowstorm- now it's Aquatalia weatherproof boots for commuting every day : ) Stay warm!

    Posted 12.22.13 Reply
  11. Jean wrote:

    Sounds perfect – a silk button up blouse is a classic in its own!

    Posted 12.22.13 Reply
  12. Jean wrote:

    Hi Jackie – I'll get on it!

    Posted 12.22.13 Reply
  13. Jean wrote:

    ^hi ladies! I will take some photos as soon as possible – it's super easy : )

    Posted 12.22.13 Reply
  14. Hi Jean,

    Love your blog, I get the feed daily on my iPad's feedly. I've come across many other petite fashion bloggers, but I do have to say that your classic style is my favorite! Can you please do a post on winter boots? Or at least give me some helpful advice? I live in the Northeast and while I love ankle booties and leather boots, they're pretty much useless once the winter snowstorms come in. I hate the winters because I'm pretty much restricted to big puffy jackets and clunky snow shoes. How can I be practical in the slush AND still be fashionable? Help!


    Posted 12.21.13 Reply
  15. Ellen wrote:

    Longtime reader, first time commenter.

    Just wanted to say how much I love your blog (I'm not petite – I actually have the opposite problem, and constantly need to look for tall sizes/alter things to fit a taller person) – but your tips are so helpful! Plus your style is just perfect!

    Posted 12.18.13 Reply
  16. Gigi Katz wrote:

    really cool bag and love the shoes, awesome outfit as usual! xx. gigi.

    Posted 12.18.13 Reply
  17. that bag is just gorgeous!!

    Sandy a la Mode

    Posted 12.18.13 Reply
  18. lin wrote:

    Great outfit. I love everything about it from the trench to the pumps. So casual and chic.

    Posted 12.18.13 Reply
  19. V wrote:

    Hi Jean, you must have taken these pics weeks ago haha. Boston is covered by snow now! Cant't wait to see your outfit in the real winter here!

    Posted 12.16.13 Reply
  20. Anonymous wrote:

    like the outfit, but wearing a silk legacy blouse from ann taylor underneath, what do you think?

    Posted 12.16.13 Reply
  21. Carol Li wrote:

    I love this look on you. Very stylish!

    Posted 12.16.13 Reply
  22. Jessy T wrote:

    I love this outfit, Jean. ♥ That scarf looks so cozy! So jealous at how you can still wear heels! It's already snowing here in Toronto, so I've busted out my winter boots. Can't wait to see more of your winter fashion.

    Posted 12.16.13 Reply
  23. I absolutely love how you tied the scarf 🙂

    Maggie A

    Posted 12.16.13 Reply
  24. Very chic and classy! You looks are always so wearable!
    LOVE it.

    NEW POST:: Home for the Holidays


    Posted 12.16.13 Reply
  25. Where do I begin? You even make cas dressing look chic and put-together! And that tote is gorge! And those pumps – suddenly I am in need of yet another pair of leopard print pumps …

    Posted 12.16.13 Reply
  26. Love this outfit! So elegant and chique. That scarf has such a great shade of camel, it really compliments with your hair and the combination with the beige trench, very pretty.
    A Burberry trench has been a wishlist item for years, I hope I will be able to buy one in the upcoming years.

    X Sara

    Posted 12.16.13 Reply
  27. Lovely outfit!!! Really like how you paired everything!!!
    Completely in love with your leo shoes!!!


    Jul du monde des petites

    Posted 12.15.13 Reply
  28. Jackie wrote:

    I'm thirding the other comments here. I'd love to see a tutorial on how you tied your scarf. I'm always looking for cool new ways to wear mine!

    xoxo Jackie
    Something About That

    Posted 12.15.13 Reply
  29. zozo wrote:

    That's an awesome idea with the binder clips! Love the color/shape of that bag.
    Do you think the exterior is easily scratched? I'm horrible with delicate care items.
    Thank you!
    x atelier zozo

    Posted 12.15.13 Reply
  30. Anonymous wrote:

    Yes, please share how you tied that scarf!

    Posted 12.15.13 Reply
  31. Gorgeous classics. How on earth did you tie/style that gorgeous scarf? Perfection!

    Posted 12.15.13 Reply

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